How Far Did Nick Faldo Drive The Golf Ball?

Nick Faldo was one of the most successful golfers of the 1980s and 1990s. He was Mr Consistent but how far did he hit the ball?

Nick Faldo
Nick Faldo at the 1992 Open Championship
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Sir Nick Faldo was one of the most consistent performers in men’s professional golf through the 1980s and 1990s. He began his career on the European Tour and enjoyed early success, winning 11 times between 1977 and 1984. He had chances in a couple of Open Championships but felt he needed to find more consistency to be a true Major contender. Under the tutelage of David Leadbetter, Faldo completely rebuilt his swing in the mid 1980s. It was a lengthy and challenging process, but it was one that would pay dividends. Faldo’s new action stood up under pressure and earned him six Major titles in the space of nine years between 1987 and 1996.

Although he was renowned in his prime for being a technically excellent golfer, he wasn’t known for being a long hitter. Faldo purposefully played with precision rather than power. In his early days, his swing was looser and longer but the stats would suggest it didn’t necessarily produce greater distance. In the early 1980s, pre swing change, the driving distance stats show that Faldo averaged between 256 and 263 yards from the tee with an overall average of 258.6.

Nick Faldo

Nick Faldo and coach David Leadbetter

(Image credit: Getty Images)

After his swing re-build, Faldo’s driving distance average remained around the same level. In 1989 on the PGA Tour, he averaged 255.1 yards off the tee – 146th on the ranking. Between 1995 and 2000 he never ranked in the top-100 for driving distance and always averaged below the Tour average for the season. His best average was in 2000 when he recorded 268.3 yards. His average through the 1990s on the PGA Tour was 263.3 yards.

He may not have been one of the longer hitters, but he was one of the straightest. In the 1989 season on the PGA Tour he was fifth in driving accuracy, finding more than 76% of fairways he aimed at. In 1996, the year of his last Masters victory, he was second in accuracy with an average of 78%. Between 1995 and 2000 on the PGA Tour, Faldo never averaged less than 75% accuracy from the tee.

Nick Faldo

Faldo at St Andrews in 1990

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Nick Faldo was not a bomber – He didn’t try to be. He averaged around the 260 – 265 yard mark from the tee. His real skill was in finding fairways and playing with reliable consistency. His repeating action allowed him to keep the ball in play, giving himself the best possible chances to find greens, make birdies and win tournaments. In total, he won 43 events as a professional over 19 years between 1977 and 1998. He won six Majors, but he also recorded 20 further top-10 Major finishes. Faldo rebuilt his game to be a big-event player and, for a spell in the late 1980s and 1990s, that’s exactly what he was.

Fergus Bisset
Contributing Editor

Fergus is Golf Monthly's resident expert on the history of the game and has written extensively on that subject. He is a golf obsessive and 1-handicapper. Growing up in the North East of Scotland, golf runs through his veins and his passion for the sport was bolstered during his time at St Andrews university studying history. He went on to earn a post graduate diploma from the London School of Journalism. Fergus has worked for Golf Monthly since 2004 and has written two books on the game; "Great Golf Debates" together with Jezz Ellwood of Golf Monthly and the history section of "The Ultimate Golf Book" together with Neil Tappin , also of Golf Monthly. 

Fergus once shanked a ball from just over Granny Clark's Wynd on the 18th of the Old Course that struck the St Andrews Golf Club and rebounded into the Valley of Sin, from where he saved par. Who says there's no golfing god?