New Data shows Club Golfers need more Dis­tance

Golf Digest (South Africa) - - The Golf Life -

What con­sti­tutes a long drive? If you watched the tour pros at the SA Open, tee shots go­ing 300-plus me­tres at Glen­dower were not the ex­cep­tion.

South African Dean Burmester (right) was the early No 1 in the 2017 Euro­pean Tour driv­ing dis­tance stats, av­er­ag­ing 309 yards this sea­son, or 283 me­tres. He headed the tour’s driv­ing dis­tance stats in 2016 with an av­er­age of 315.6 yards. On the PGA Tour, J B Holmes was No 1 in 2016, with 314.5 yards.

But for mere mor­tals – read av­er­age golfers – the num­bers are far more mod­est, and goes to show that it would be fool­ish for golf’s gov­ern­ing bod­ies to try and curb golf­ball tech­nol­ogy.

Game Golf, maker of a wear­able, re­al­time shot-track­ing sys­tem that re­ceived Golf Di­gest’s 2016 Edi­tors’ Choice award for Best Game Anal­yser, com­piled the av­er­age driv­ing dis­tance in the United States for all users from rounds played be­tween April and Septem­ber 2016.

The over­all av­er­age? Try 219.55 yards, or 201 me­tres. Of course, that num­ber varies by age and hand­i­cap.

Golfers aged 20 to 29 av­er­aged 238.68 (218m), while those be­tween 30 and 39 (the largest group at 25.76 per­cent of users) av­er­aged 231.21 yards (212m), while those be­tween 40 and 49 av­er­aged 220.52 yards (202m). Golfers over 60 av­er­age 196.4 (180m).

Play­ers with hand­i­caps of 5 or lower av­er­aged 250.93 yards (230m), with golfers be­tween a 5 and 9 hit it 231.04 yards (211m).

Game Golf also pro­vided other club dis­tances: the av­er­age 3-wood went 186.89 yards (171m), the 7-iron clocked in at 133.48 yards (122m), with the pitch­ing wedge at 73.97 yards (68m).

And for what it’s worth, golfers found the fair­way off the tee 46.46 per­cent of the time. What to make of the find­ings?

While the long­est dis­tance num­ber may seem puny – es­pe­cially when Hen­rik Sten­son is out­driv­ing that fig­ure by 40 yards with his 3-wood – at least it’s clear that when golf of­fi­cials dis­cuss the po­ten­tial need for curb­ing es­ca­lat­ing driv­ing dis­tances, they’re not talk­ing about an is­sue for recre­ational am­a­teurs.

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