Introduction to

Introduction to

The Golf Distance debate reports

In February 2020, the joint R&A-USGA report (European and PGA Tours) on the distance debate was published and widely reported on. It concluded that while the pro tours are increasing average yardage year on year, the same cannot be said of average golfers whose average driving distance is not increasing at all. In fact, they feel they need all the help they can get to gain more golf club distance. While golf equipment and golf balls have improved, it seems the main reason for increased club head speed and distance is the increasing athleticism of modern pro golfers.

There are several problems caused by the increasing ability of modern pros to continue to gain distance, especially at the elite level. These include-

  • Golfers such as Graham McDowell (US Open winner 2010) who cannot drive the golf ball 300 yards are not able to compete on certain courses which favour the long hitters
  • Many great old traditional golf courses can no longer aspire to hosting future major tour events as they are simply too short for the modern pros. Hallowed venues such as the old course at Saint Andrews in Scotland are becoming almost obsolete in terms of a competitive modern venue
  • The costs of building and extending golf courses that need to be almost 8,000 yards long for the elite players are prohibitive. This is even worse when you consider that such lengths are completely irrelevant to the remaining 99.9% of the golfing universe

There are no easy answers to this debate. Most current talk is around trying to do something that limits only the tour pros. A so call twin or ‘bifurcation’ system between professional and amateur equipment, with either golf clubs or balls being limited for the pros has been proposed. This seems to be finding potential favour with both Tiger and Rory expressing mildly supportive views. Amateur Male and female golfers will be able to keep the golf game they already enjoy, aspiring to the day they can hit the ball 270 yards and use a pitching wedge on a par 4!

My average golf distance

The reports included many interesting driving distance charts for amateur golfers such as average distance by handicap and these can be supplemented by age from the Arccos golf database as shown below-

Many golf players questioned how they could make the above charts relevant to their specific age and handicap, as a 50-year-old 15 handicapper knows that the above averages has them being compared to 25 year old 15 handicappers who should outshoot them for distance. The average distance simulator works this out for all individual golfers by separating them by exact age (from 15-85), handicap (from 0 to 28) and by male or female. It then goes further and not only gives them their average total distance, but also gives them their average carry as well as the total distance of their ‘good shots’. Good shots have been estimated based on Sure Shots performance average concept which removes bad shots from the average calculation.

My optimal golf distance

We then went further and rounded up all the extensive data available to answer the next obvious question of what my potential ‘optimal’ distance should be for every given golfer. Accordingly, the Optimal Golf swing simulator calculates this for everybody accounting for a variety of factors needed in the calculations such as choosing targets for desired clubhead speed and angle of attack (with recommendations) to calculate optimal launch and spin conditions resulting in optimal carry and total distance estimates.

A lot of work has gone into the data and we hope you enjoy the results and might even be inspired to improve your own golf game, which for us poor amateurs means the more distance the better!

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  1. - MyGolfDistance - […] regular club golfer (now off 11 handicap), I hope I can help you with this site in some small…

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