How Far Does the Average Man Hit a Driver?
So, you’re reading this article because you want to see where you stack up, don’t you? I can’t blame you. As men we like to think of ourselves as being the alpha-male, and the guy on the golf course who can hit it the longest generally fits the bill. Now don’t get me wrong, I would rather improve my overall score than bomb a 320 yard drive any day, but analyzing how far the average man is able to hit his driver is a fun little experiment.
Let’s start with the Pros
For starters, let’s use a little baseline data from PGAtour.com. At the time of this article (August 2011) the tour average for driving distance is 290.6 yards, with the longest hitter on tour (J.B. Holmes) averaging about 318 yards per drive. While this stat is a good indicator, it can be slightly misleading for a couple of reasons:
- 1. Each drive is not measured, and drives must end up in the fairway to be counted. If I recall correctly, each PGA tour round two holes are used for measurement where players are likely to hit driver, but they don’t always do so. In reality, most of the pros probably hit it 10-15 yards longer than what the stats tell us.
- 2. Another reason these stats do not have a linear relationship with the “average Joe golfer” data is because most of the courses that amateur golfers play on tend to have dry fairways during the summer months, and thus more roll is achieved. Now, this is not the case on every course, but it does hold true more often than not.
At first I was going to break this down by age, but then I realized that breaking it down by handicap or average score made a lot more sense for most golfers. Speaking in generalities of course, the higher the handicap, the lower the average driving distance for a man is going to be.
So what exactly constitutes whether or not a golfer is a high-handicap, mid-handicap, or low-handicap golfer?
While there are no hard and fast rules to measure this metric, here is how it generally breaks down:
- High-handicap: 20+ (anyone that shoots 92 or above on average)
- Mid-handicap: 10-20 (anyone that shoots between 80-92)
- Low-handicap: 10 & under (generally, any golfer who consistently shoots in the 70s)
Again, these are rough estimates and are not to be taken as gospel, but I wanted you to know the numbers I am working with when discussing the different average driving distances for male golfers.
So, let’s get back to the story shall we? A high-handicapper is on average going to hit the ball somewhere between 150 & 220 yards off of the tee. The distance varies widely for sure, but a lot of other factors such as age, consistency, accuracy, etc. come into the equation as well. If you are a high-handicapper and hit the ball between 150-220 yards with your driver, then that is pretty much the average distance of a drive for a man with your skill level.
The mid-handicap golfer & average driving distance
This is probably where the range varies the most, as there are some short hitters in this category with good short games, and some really long hitters that struggle with other aspects of the game. As I stated earlier, a mid-handicap golfer is generally someone who shoots in the 80s to low 90s, and/or carries an official USGA handicap index of 10-20.
Let’s break it down by short hitter, average hitter, and long hitter in this category:
- Short hitter: These are the guys who just seem to knock it down the middle everytime, even if they are consistently 30+ yards behind their playing partners. You know the type…they are just consistent all day, and don’t make any big mistakes. These guys tend to hit the ball somewhere in the 200-235 yard range.
- Average hitter: The average man that is a mid-handicapper tends to hit the ball between 235-270 yards off of the tee. They hit some fairways, but will also hit a few shots offline, only to come back and hit some decent recovery shots. These guys typically have decent short games, although maybe not quite up to the level as the shorter hitters with the same skill-level.
- Long bomber: These are the guys who have a decent all around game, but absolutely crush the golf ball off of the tee. You will see them hit a few 300 yard drives throughout the day, although this guy may or may not really know where they are going.
The lower-handicap golfer
This is the category that I fall into myself. For those of you that don’t know, I am about a 2 handicap and generally shoot somewhere in the 72-75 range. Anything over 78 for me is considered a nightmare round. I’m not saying this to toot my own horn (there are thousands of golfers around the United States that would make me look silly), but just to give you an idea of what a low-handicap golfer is.
While this category of golfers also consists of varying driving distances, it is generally a lot tighter pattern, with less variance. 90% of men at this skill-level hit the golf ball somewhere between 260-300 yards with the driver. I myself generally hit the ball around 280 yards off of the tee, so I fall right into the middle of this range.
Distance is not that important
If you have average swing speed and a sound, repeatable golf swing then you can hit the ball far enough to play this game successfully. All that you need are a few solid golf swing tips to get you going in the right direction. If you are a high or mid handicapper then keep working, your game will come around with solid fundamentals and a continuing drive to succeed. If you are already a low handicap golfer NEVER settle! I am always looking for ways to improve my golf game, and will be doing so as long as I still have the physical ability to play this great game!