The divide between professional and amateur golfers is growing

Emma Williams
By Emma Williams July 10, 2018 12:23

Two major surveys have shown that there is a growing divide between the average driving distances made by professional and amateur golfers.

In short, professional golfers are driving further than ever before while amateur golfers are not hitting the ball as far as they used to.

There has been concern in the past regarding issues such as course design when driving distances have gone up, but the latest data suggests several golf clubs may have to cater for two increasingly different types of golfers.

Earlier this year an R&A and USGA review of professional golfers’ driving distances found that the average drive in 2017 was three yards longer than in 2016 – when usually there is a growth of just 0.2 yards per year.

“This level of increase in a single season is unusual and concerning and requires closer inspection and monitoring to fully understand the causes and effects,” they stated.

“Increases in distance can contribute to demands for longer, tougher and more resource-intensive golf courses at all levels of the game.

“These trends can impact the costs to operate golf courses and put additional pressures on golf courses in their local environmental landscape. The effect of increasing distance on the balance between skill and technology is also a key consideration. Maintaining this balance is paramount to preserving the integrity of golf.”

Now, a new survey of amateur golfer driving distances has shown a decline over the last three years.

Arccos 360 analysed more than 10 million drives taken by amateur golfers in more than 100 countries between 2015 and March 2018. The data revealed thatdriving distance across all handicaps and age groups has either remained flat or declined.

“The recent USGA and R&A report showed a significant average driving distance increase of 3.6 yards across the seven worldwide tours since 2016, so we wanted to see if the same were true among amateur players,” said Andrew Turner, senior director of global sales at Arccos Golf.

“What we found was that even allowing for winter weather conditions, amateurs have struggled to gain distance on their drives and some age groups have gone backwards.”

In 2015, the average distance for all drives by amateur players with a driver was 220.63 yards. Three years later that average has dropped to 217.07 yards. The biggest drop came from golfers aged 50 to 59, who saw their average fall over nine yards across the three year analysis, leaving the average drive for that age group at 213.45 yards in 2018.

The average distance for all drives that finish on the fairway has suffered an even heavier slump, going from 223.51 yards in 2015 to 218.81 yards in 2018. Golfers with a handicap of 16 to 20 had an average distance for drives ending on the fairway of 216.05 yards, yet the report shows the figure has fallen to 207.45 yards in 2018 within that handicap category.


Emma Williams
By Emma Williams July 10, 2018 12:23
Write a comment

No Comments

No Comments Yet!

Let me tell You a sad story ! There are no comments yet, but You can be first one to comment this article.

Write a comment
View comments

Write a comment


Join Our Mailing List

Read the latest issues

Advertise With Us

For editorial enquiries in the magazine or online, contact:

For advertising enquiries in the magazine or online, contact: