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Dr. George Franklin Grant gained notoriety as Harvard University’s first Black professor, and one of the early Black dentists of his era. On this day in 1899, Dr. Grant received his patent for what is generally recognized as the modern golf tee.|

Grant was born September 15, 1846 in Oswego, New York. He entered the Harvard School of Medicine in 1868, becoming a faculty member in 1871.  Grant took to the game of golf although, by most accounts, he wasn’t a skilled player. Nonetheless, Grant saw fit to improve the golf tees used by his fellow players.

The wooden golf tee and its importance in the sport’s history has been bandied about with some historians quick to note that Scottish and English inventors issued tees prior to Grant’s. However, Grant’s tee was a notable upgrade to what was previously used.

In 1991, the United States Golf Association officially recognized Grant for creating the modern golf tee and the device has been built on the model since that time.

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