Chances are you’ve seen or used a golf tee.

What you might not know: The wooden golf tee patent was established December 12, 1899 by one of 12 students in the Harvard Dental School Class of 1870.


Dr. George Franklin Grant (1846-1910)

Dr. George Franklin Grant (1846-1910), a Boston dentist, made more than a few pioneering moves in his lifetime.

According to, George Franklin Grant, DMD 1870, the son of abolitionist Tudor Elandor Grant made history as:

  • the second African American dental school graduate in the U.S.
  • the second African American graduate of Harvard Dental School (now the Harvard School of Dental Medicine)
  • the first African American faculty member at Harvard University
  •  inventor of dental prosthetics

“In addition to Grant’s renown as a dentist, he was a passionate golfer; considerable evidence points to Grant and his golfing partners as some of the earliest African American golfers in the post–Civil War era.

His daughter, Frances, recalled caddying for her father in the 1880s in the Boston suburb of Arlington Heights, where her father had built a meadow course next to his home in the country. The family had moved to Beacon Hill, but in his free moments Grant returned to the course in Arlington Heights.”

Learn more about Dr. Grant’s inspiring backstory


Which other dentists patented golf tees?

According to

  • In 1922, Dr. William Lowell designed a “red-painted, cone-shaped, wooden peg with a small concave platform that was patented and became the world’’s first commercially produced golf tee called the ‘reddy tee.'”
  • Dr. Arnold DiLaura patented the Sof-Tee, “a tee that sits on top of the ground


    instead of in it.”