Get our free ebook
Sign up for the newsletter and receive our free 30 page course strategy eBook!
There is a lot of talk these days about the distance between the drivers and its impact on the game. This isn't really a new topic as the same discussions took place when Tiger first made a splash on the pro tour. Apart from the professional tours, many amateurs wonder if they hit their driver far enough. This article examines the different ways we can answer that seemingly simple question.
How far do amateur golfers hit their drivers?
To find out how your driver distance compares to other recreational players, we have collected data from several sources:
Distance Insights Report from the USGA / R & A
Between these three sources we can see to what extent millions of golfers achieve their drive based on handicap level and age (spoiler alert: you may be surprised).
Distance Insight Report
The common assumption is that golfers are playing it much further today than in the past. To study this, the USGA and R&A released their “Distance Insights” report earlier this year. While the report turned out to be light on the recommended solutions, it did provide a lot of data.
Here is their driving distance per handicap level since 1996:
This data comes from an R&A survey of club golfers. Unfortunately their methods were not exactly 'robust' and the USGA has not yet collected or released this data to US golfers. However, the R&D data is in line with what we can gather from golf technology providers such as Arccos and Shot Scope.
As you can see, amateur golfers don't actually bomb the ball. The majority of players do not drive more than 220 meters on average, and that number has been stable for more than 20 years.
Shot Scope Driver Distance Data
Shot Scope has tracked millions of real golf shots around the world over the years. If you look at the distribution of the driving distances among their users, you will see that only 29% can reach the distance more than 250 meters.
The largest segment of golfers drives the ball between 200-224 yards.
Also if you look at the driving distance at handicap level, you can see that hitting longer from the tee is a scoring advantage.
Arccos Average Driving Distance Report
As with Shot Scope, Arccos has had the advantage of tracking millions of real shots from golfers of all skill levels. This year they released their average driving distance report, with data dating back to 2017.
If we look at the driving distance at the handicap level, we see similar distances:
If you take a bigger step back and look at all of their users, you can see that the average male golfer hits their driver about 225 yards, while a woman averages just under 170 yards .
Driving Distance Professional Golfers
While on average amateur golfers don't seem to hit it any further than they used to, it is clear that the professional game has changed.
The Distance Insight report collected the average driving distance of the most important professional rides over the decades. W e can definitively say that pros of all tours today go further than 30 years ago.
All things considered, it seems pretty compelling that while the pros have gained distance, that hasn't really translated to the amateur level. While you may have a playing partner who regularly rides cracks over 300 meters, the average (and median) rides across all handicap levels are rarely above 250.
So how do you get along? Let's Discuss …
How far do I have to hit my driver?
To get more depth than the above averages, we must understand that everyone's golf game is different. Controlling the ball is an essential aspect of the game, so a better understanding of our potential driving distance can help all golfers play better on the course. That begs the question; how far do you have to hit your driver?
The Basics of Distance
Two fundamental factors largely determine how far you can hit your driver: clubhead speed and shot quality. If we look through the data from all the different wave levels, we know that it will produce about eight feet of sea level carry distance for every mile per hour clubhead speed.
This 2.55 yards per mph clubhead speed is what we can call "driving efficiency". While some golfers can produce higher efficiency (particularly LPGA tour players who are typically more efficient than their male counterparts), this would be considered very high for most golfers. Producing this kind of efficiency comes into play with the second factor: hit quality. While a lot goes into hitting quality, it's all about creating the optimal launch angle and spin characteristics for the operator's swing speed.
Optimal Row Spacing
Trackman provides technicians with "optimal driver numbers" based on club speed. We can see that slower club speeds require a higher launch and higher spin to get their optimal carry from this data. As club speed increases, these start and spin numbers decrease.
Another interesting tool to play around with to determine optimal numbers is the Flight Scope Trajectory Optimizer tool. On this site you can enter the starting parameters and get an estimated carry and total distance. It uses ball speed instead of club speed. This is another hit quality variable, but is about 1.4 to 1.48 times the club speed (this multiplier is the smash factor).
For example, a golfer hitting the ball at 150 mph on a 15 degree launch at 2500 rpm will create a carry of approximately 246 yards.
However, by increasing the launch to 18 degrees and decreasing the spin to 2000 rpm, the ball is expected to go six meters further.
Equipment certainly plays a role in both club speed and shot quality; the main influence, however, is the swing itself.
Maximizing the distance between the driver
The reason golfers care so much about distance between drivers is simple; we want to take it further. And we should. Hitting your driver well is one of the keys to a lower score !. The simple answer to hitting farther is to swing faster, increase your angle of attack and improve the shot. This is much easier said than done, but a few general tips covered earlier in Practical Golf can help make them a reality.
You can read our guide to increasing your driving distance for more in-depth tips.
Know your data
To understand the distance of your driver, you need the data to complete the picture. While keeping track of your drives during rounds certainly helps, there are many uncontrollable variables involved that will affect the results. This is where starter monitors help.
Obtaining your data on a professional level system such as GC Quad or TrackMan can be done with club fitters or teaching professionals. There are also several Personal Launch Monitors on the market that can provide the essential numbers for adding distance, such as swing speed, ball speed, and launch angle.
Improve your impact location
You will generally hit him farthest with the driver by hitting the center of the clubface or even just above it. Buy a can Dr. Scholls Odor X and spray your driver's face. Watch where you hit the ball. By working with a professional or using resources such as Adam Young's Strike Plan you can improve the location of your impact.
Hit Up On the Ball
As seen in the Trackman data, an up angle produces the most distance at swing speeds at the amateur level. Launching the ball higher can be as simple as hitting it a little higher or moving it further up.
Here's a great exercise to help from Andrew Rice:
The problem many regular golfers have is that they & # 39; faster & # 39; swinging with & # 39; harder & # 39; waving connect. Trying to swing harder usually leads to tense muscles and poor mechanics, which cause terrible shots and lead to injuries. Faster swinging can be achieved with golf-specific fitness plans to increase strength and flexibility.
In addition, training regimes like SuperSpeed Golf can certainly add speed to your swing and meters to your drives. Check out this review for more details.
The SuperSpeed Golf training system is the real deal (if you can spend 30 minutes a week)
The distance between the drivers will always be a topic of discussion. However, the data proves that most recreational golfers don't go any further than ever before. Still, the quest for more distance will remain a goal for many of us. While buying the latest new driver is an option ( get fit for it ), you can probably add as much distance, if not more, by adding a few concepts to apply to improve the hitting of your ball. Training your body to swing faster is an almost guaranteed path to more distance and has the added benefits of improved fitness for your off course life.
About the author
Cory Olson is an avid golfer and writer for Practical Golf, a website that aims to be an honest resource for the everyday golfer who wants to enjoy the game more while improving it. He is passionate about all parts of the game, from equipment to training, and especially the mental aspects of doing your best on the track.