Just posted a new article on this site - I had @CoryO present data from a few different sources showing how far amateur golfers are hitting their driver broken down by age and handicap level. I think you’ll find the results interesting!
@CoryO nice article!
I’m underperforming on handicap based on distance, though… hopefully will fix that this year!
Thanks! One of the side thoughts I had while writing the article, but didn’t really explore further is what the correlation is between distance and handicap (scoring) for amateur golfers. Based on what I saw and my assumptions, I would say as the average driving distance increases from 225-250, there would be a significant decrease in average handicap.
Once you get past 260-270 yards though, I think the correlation would be much weaker, as you’ll get a bunch of really skilled golfers who are physically limited to that sort of distance.
Yeah, i have also played with many gifted athletes who hit the ball a mile and have 0 other skill… it’d be interesting to dig into the data and see handicap trends filtered around rounds played in a year.
Much harder to track, but it’d also be interesting to see how well efficiency correlated to handicap… my guess is the more efficient players have a significant advantage… in other words, the guy hitting it 250 yards with a 95 mph swing would have a lower handicap than the guy hitting it 250 at 105 (those numbers are made up).
I’d say that’s a safe bet as the efficiency comes from strike quality and the better ball striker is generally going to have the lower handicap.
Yeah, I guess my point was more how much and whether or not it’s strike efficiency that’s driving the correlation between handicap and distance.
Yes! I’m average!!!
Let’s see if I can get to above average. Thanks for sharing the data and insights @CoryO!
Surprised to see that based on my Garmin stats, I’m above average for both my age and my handicap.
Wonder what the correlation is between average distance and guys who post on golf forums. Certain forums (not this one), you get the impression that everyone hits it 300 yards and hits 90% of fairways!
Interesting thought. I agree with you on this…just based on where I’m at in my game. I’ve started using Speed Sticks and realistically think I can get to 255-270 (currently I’m in the 235-250 range), but after that I’m not sure I have the commitment level to do what is necessary with my body to go beyond that.
I do think anyone who would have the commitment to chase 300 with the ability to control it would still see their handicap drop, but as you get lower in handicap, the margins become much thinner for dropping shots, so definitely wouldn’t see the same trajectory of reduction.
Well, looks like I’m above average for my handicap but below where I want to be. Lots of work to do yet. Had a really good practice session with my coach yesterday. We played three balls from different distances. 1) tee to green 2) 100-150 3) 60-100
Through seven holes I was +4 with my tee to green ball (stupid double bogey) cost me.
My other two balls I was combined total of 2 over par through seven holes, with three being par.
Probably my best scoring day to date. Driver was a bit off but I was able to score and that’s what is important.
Well I DO hit it 300 yards! I did so this morning! Yes, it was about 100 feet downhill, but it was 300. Now I will forever say I hit my driver around 300
Nice article, I appreciate the insight on driving distance for sure. I seem to compete with a lot of low handicappers and some of them certainly do hit the ball a mile. I am not one of them. 250-260 is a decent drive for me. I am working more on contact with my coach than speed at the moment. I would like to be able to get another 15-20 yards though to have shorter irons in. Either way thanks again!
I’ve seen very similar data sets from a number of sources and it always surprises me to see the numbers as low as they are. Even when broken down by age they shock me a little.
We absolutely do not have a distance problem in this game at the amateur level.
I was surprised and a bit encouraged by the average womens’ stats - I’m doing OK on the driving but that surprises me, I wonder what the average woman golfer’s age is - I’m over 60 and a beginner yet! Either us senior ladies are slamming it, or there are a lot of strong youngsters?
Girl, you stay out there CRUSHING it!!
It’s great stress relief, LOL! Kudos to Adams Golf for cantaloupe sized drivers! I wonder if it actually helps to be fat…ha ha… Now, to work on those fairway shots - need a club/swing combo that gets me 180 on the fairway, the quest is the challenge and the fun!
Exactly the same! My Shotscope P-Avg is 231, I’m 50 and play off 20. Encouraged but still got a lot of work to do, mostly finding a consistent feel and increasing speed. 2021 target is P-Avg 250. That should lead to more GIR.
I’m 45, my handicap is 11.1, my driving average is 243. Working in getting that WAY up. It’s a fun game! There is always something to be doing.
A couple thoughts:
Why is driving distance longer on the KFT than the PGA tour? Are they actually longer on average, or does it have something to do with course setup?
I’m always surprised at how short the averages are in these studies. I think it has a lot do with the fact that the people I golf with aren’t representative of golfers as a whole. Most the people I golf with are people who didn’t golf much growing up but played other sports (mostly baseball) at a relatively high level. Despite not being great golfers, none of us struggle with creating speed.