Driving distance is getting a lot of buzz these days. Advances in technology combined with golfers focusing more on strength training and fitness have led to increases in average driving distances year over year.
With BIG Beefy Bryson DeChambeau driving the golf ball over 350 yards these days, the popularity of driving the ball a long way off the tee is at an all-time high. It seems as if everyone in golf these days wants to “hit it hard, man,” as the great John Daly always says. The obsession with driving distance can be traced back to as long as when golf was first invented.
You may be wondering how far the average amateur golfer drives the ball. Perhaps you may ask about the driving distance differences between age groups, genders, or skill levels. I compiled data from USGA’s 2020 distance insights report and a study from Shot Scope.
Let’s get into the findings.
What is the average driving distance for amateur golfers?
The average driving distance for amateur golfers is 216 yards across all handicaps and age groups, as reported by the USGA in their 2020 distance insights report. 56% of amateur golfers drive the ball between 200-250 yards, and only 31% drive the ball over 250 yards.
That may not sound like that far, but that is probably because most weekend golf hacks tend to exaggerate how far they really hit the ball. Regardless of what people may tell you, a 200-yard drive for an amateur is a decent distance because most par 4 holes come in at around 350 yards in total distance.
A 2020 driving distance report from Shot Scope shows the distribution of average driving distances.
- 56% of amateur golfers drive the ball between 200-250 yards
- Only 31% of golfers drive the ball over 250 yards.
Average Driving Distance by Age Group
Does driving distance decrease with age? It certainly appears so. Check out the interesting statistics below that show the average driving distance by age group.
|Age||Avg. Handicap||Avg. Distance|
It’s not surprising that driving distance drops off with older age. I know a few guys in their 70s that, although they’re only hitting the ball 200 yards off the tee, it’s normally straight as an arrow. Watch out for these ole’ timers.
Golfers can expect to lose about one yard of driving distance each year after turning 40.
Interestingly, there is not much difference in driving distance in the 20’s and 30’s age group. However, this makes sense because most people do not start losing flexibility and hand speed until father time gets them past the 40-year old mark.
As a round number, golfers can expect to lose about one yard of distance each year after turning 40. Remember, though, do not let these numbers discourage you as they are just averages. What is so great about the game of golf is that most folks can play it their entire lives. It is really kind of cool to think that the average 20-year old can only outdrive the average 70-year old by about 50 yards or so.
What are the driving distance differences between men and women?
Due to a drastic difference in height, weight, and overall muscle mass, there is a difference between the average drive for a male golfer and the average drive for a female golfer. According to a study released by the USGA, men tend to drive the ball about 67 yards further than women (golf.com). If you are a guy reading this and think that means you can beat any lady golfer, think again! I have personally lost to many ladies on the course because they hit the ball straight as an arrow every time.
Average Driving Distance by Handicap
Do better golfers with a low handicap simply drive the ball further than other golfers? Check out the graph below and we will talk about some of the most interesting findings.
- Low handicappers of less than 6 drive the ball about 240 yards on average, which is not as far as you may have thought. However, this number is distinctly further than high handicappers (21+) as they clock in at around 175 yards. That extra 65 yards that the low handicapper enjoys makes for a huge advantage on the course.
- Average level golfers with a handicap of 13-20 usually drive the ball right around the 200-yard mark.
- Interestingly, every level of golfer is hitting the ball further since 1996. This graph shows how far equipment technology has improved the game of golf over the last 25 years.
Average Driving Distance on the PGA Tour
Ever wonder how far the pros drive the ball on average? We all know bombers like DeChambeau and Koepka really bomb it off the tee, but how far does your average PGA Tour player hit their drive?
The average driving distance on the European Tour and PGA Tour is 294 yards. The average of the longest 20 hitters is 310 yards.
- DeChambeau leads all PGA golfers with an insane 321 yard average off the tee. Surprisingly, Bryson is only a few yards longer on average than Wyndham Clark (319) and Cameron Champ (318).
- 68 PGA Tour pros regularly drive the ball 300 yards or longer!
- It is fascinating that 50 yards separate the longest driver on tour (Dechambeau) from the shortest driver on Tour (K.J. Choi). Choi’s average drive is 271 yards.
- Over the last 30 years, the average driving distance on the PGA tour has increased by 39 yards, a 15% increase.
Tips to Increase Driver Distance
Driving the golf ball may only be one small segment of the game of golf but, let’s be honest, it is the most fun! After all, nothing comes with more bragging rights on the golf course than driving the ball further than all your playing partners. If you want to increase your driving distance, here are a few short tips.
1. Find the Sweet Spot
No matter how fast your swing speed may be, it does not mean anything if you do not find the driver’s sweet spot. Failing to hit the sweet spot with the driver leads to many frustrating errant tee shots that lead to many unwanted penalty strokes. The best way to find out where you are hitting the ball with your driver is to do a little test.
Pro Tip: Sweet Spot Test – Get a can of spray powder (link to Amazon) and cover the face of your driver with it. Next, hit a few balls at the range and study where you are making contact. This simple drill will give you the correct feedback on where you are really hitting the golf ball with your driver.
2. Hit Up on the Golf Ball
The driver is the one club in your bag that you want to ‘hit up’ with while swinging. Since the ball is on a tee, an upward angle is the most effective for getting the most distance out of your driver. Two simple tricks that you can try on the practice range are teeing the ball up a little bit higher and playing the ball a little further forward in your stance. Both of these tips can help make it easier for you to ‘hit up’ on the golf ball.
3. Lift Weights
Back in the good ole days of golf, it was considered taboo to lift weights or be dedicated to fitness. Times have definitely changed, and we would venture to say that at least 90% of PGA Tour players now spend time in the weight room. Increasing your muscular strength will definitely increase your driving distance. Do some research to find a good weight training program that works well for golfers.
4. Improve Flexibility
While getting stronger will definitely help increase your distance, be careful not to lose flexibility. In fact, you should be stretching extensively before practicing on the range or playing a round. When researching stretches, be sure to focus on your hamstrings, glutes, shoulders, and lower back. Keeping all four of those areas flexible is of vital importance.
5. Invest in a Swing Training Program
6. Loosen Your Grip Pressure
So much of golf is counterintuitive (like swing ‘down’ to make the ball go ‘up’). Here is another tip that is counterintuitive but can greatly improve driving distance. Loosen your grip pressure! Gripping the club too tight prevents the wrists and hands from swinging with their full range of motion and hinders the golf swing’s follow-through.
I have seen many golfers hit their driver 20-30 yards further by simply loosening up their hands and not ‘choking the club to death.’ How many times have you seen a guy really muscle up and try to kill the ball? What usually happens? They end up hitting an embarrassing top shot that only goes a few yards.