26 Million Golf Drives Analysed: Has driving distance increased?
Quick question: Do you know how far, on average, you hit your drives?
And, do you have an accurate gauge of whether or not your shots are traveling farther today than they did, say, three years ago?
Be honest, now.
If you’re like the majority of golfers, you probably think you consistently drive the ball “about such-and-such yards” and believe that you’ve definitely gotten longer in the past 24 to 36 months.
Truth is, the average driving distance of amateur golfers has actually decreased slightly in recent years.
This is just one of many findings from on-course data collected by Arccos via golfers using its Arccos Caddie Smart Sensors or Arccos Caddie Smart Grips.
Driving Distance: Amateur vs Professional Golfers
Data from more than 26 million shots shows that the average driving distance for 300,000 Arccos users decreased from 224.7 yards in 2017 to 222.1 yards in 2019.
Among men, the average decline was from 226.1 to 223.4 yards, while women actually inched up from 167.4 yards in 2017 to 168.5 yards in 2018 before slipping to 166.4 yards in 2019.
Arccos data also reveals that the average driving distance for low handicap players (0-5) in 2019 was 242.6 yards.
Parsed by age, golfers between 20 and 29 were the longest hitters, with an average driving distance of 239.7 yards that year.
Not surprisingly, driving distances dropped considerably as handicaps rise. Golfers who fell into the 16 to 20 handicap range, for instance, averaged 209 yards.
Compare that to the figures logged by the game’s elite players.
The 2019 Distance Report from the USGA and R&A shows the average drive of the 20 longest hitters on the PGA and European tours increased to 310 yards, with the average driving length overall clocking in at 294 yards.
Sorry, weekend golf warriors, the data is pretty clear: The distance chasm between professional golfers and average ones is wide.
But that’s OK.
And by no means should it ruin your enjoyment of the game, regardless of your handicap, age or gender.
Putting Data to the Best Use
As entertaining as it is to know how one’s drives compare to the game’s best players, the number most golfers should focus on is their “Arccos Caddie Number.”
That’s the yardage golfers really have when standing over shots they face on the courses they’re playing.
Using data from more than 200 million on-course shots across 3.8 million rounds with Smart Sensors or Grips, the Arccos Caddie Rangefinder (integrated within the app) is golf’s first artificial intelligence (AI) powered GPS rangefinder that uses algorithms to provide the Arccos Caddie Number based on real-time calculations of slope, weather and altitude.
Altitude adjustments are personalized to each Arccos user based on the elevation differential between his or her home course and the one he or she is playing.
AI-driven technology also makes club selection recommendations based on historical performance data and real-time conditions.
The Arccos Caddie Number is the most precise yardage calculation in golf, and the positive impact it can have on a player’s game is far more powerful than simply having a GPS measurement from point A to B.
On average, Arccos golfers lower their handicaps by 4.2 strokes in the first year, a game improvement rate that’s 47 times faster than non-Arccos users.
Sign of the Times
There’s an old adage in golf that you “drive for show and putt for dough.”
There’s no debating that a lot of money can change hands, both in the amateur and professional ranks, when a player’s putter gets hot.
But for the vast majority of golfers, a far better motto moving forward might be “play in the know and hit the club your Arccos Caddie number shows.”