How Far Do Male Golfers Hit Their Drives?

Data from Arccos Golf shows some fascinating insight into how far different handicaps and ages hit their drives...

A TaylorMade driver next to a Titleist ball on a tee
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Driving distance is a big talking point in the professional game and also a big talking point at club level too, often the focus of debates and jokes in and around the clubhouse. So, how how do male golfers hit their drives?

Thanks to data from Arccos Golf, gleaned from over 20 million drives around the world on par 4s and par 5s, and its 2023 Distance Report we know exactly how far male golfers average off the tee depending on their age and handicap.

The conclusion from the data shows that skill trumps age in terms of distance, although ageing inevitably does lead to a loss of distance.

The average male golfer drives the ball 225.9 yards, based on Arccos Golf's 2022 numbers, which is actually half a yard down on 2018. So while the world's best players tend to be getting longer, it's the opposite in the amateur game.

Average male driving distance through the years

  • 2022: 225.9 yards
  • 2021: 224.3 yards
  • 2020: 225.3 yards
  • 2019: 224.4 yards
  • 2018: 226.4 yards

How far male golfers drive the ball

A golfer plays a drive

Plus handicappers in their 20s are the longest hitters with an average of 274 yards

(Image credit: Future)

The longest hitting male golfers are 20-29 year olds with a handicap of +0.1 or better. They average 274 yards off the tee, which is one yard longer than golfers aged 15-19 and 30-39 off of the same handicap.

Golfers between 15-39 who play off of +0.1 or better are by far the longest hitters, averaging 8 yards longer than the nearest - which is 265 yards by 20-29 year olds with a handicap of 0-4.9.

This clearly shows the technique needed to be a golfer of that ability helps with distance. Plus handicappers are likely finding the middle of the driver face every time and have a high level of skill to hit the ball a long way. They'll be able to shallow the club through the ball to hit long, low spin drives compared to higher handicappers who are more likely to come over the top and hit higher spinning drives that don't go as far.

Evidence of that is shown in the Arccos data where plus handicaps in their 60s are able to outdrive all golfers in their 30s with a handicap of 10 and above.

Despite being 40 years older, plus handicappers in their 60s outdrive golfers in their 20s with handicaps of 15-19.9 by an impressive nine yards.

A table showing driving distances for a range of different ages and abilities

(Image credit: Arccos Golf)

The shortest hitting golfers are 70-79 year olds who play off of 30+. They average 157 yards off the tee, which is 55 yards shorter than golfers of the same age who play off of +0.1 or better.

The biggest difference between the shortest and longest hitters of the same age is actually in the category of golfers in their 30s. The average 30-39 year old who plays off of +0.1 or better hits it 273 yards, which is a huge 78 yards longer than golfers of the same age who play off of 30+.

The difference between the longest and shortest hitters in each age category then goes down as golfers get older. In the 40-49 year old category the difference between top and bottom is 72 yards, which then goes down to 70 yards for golfers in their 50s, 59 yards in the 60s and then 55 yards in the 70s.

The biggest gap in driving distance between golfers of the same handicap comes in the +0.1 or better category. Plus handicaps aged 15-19 hit it 273 yards off the tee, which is 61 yards longer than golfers in their 70s of the same handicap. This clearly shows how plus handicappers in their 70s have excellent accuracy and short games to shoot the same scores despite giving up 60+ yards on average.

When it comes to which golfers hit it the average length for males, which is 225.9 yards, there are two profiles of player that are closest to that number.

Golfers in their 40s who play off of 10-14.9 hit it 225 yards on average, while golfers in their 20s off of 15-19.9 average 227 yards.

Every ability of player in their 70s is well under the average distance, while every player off of 5 or better under the age of 70 is well above the average driving distance. 

All players with handicaps of 20 or higher hit it below the average men's driving distance, while all 15-19.9 handicappers are also below the average distance barring those in their 20s.

How many fairways male golfers hit

A table showing data of how many fairways different types of male golfers hit

(Image credit: Arccos Golf)

Being a great driver of the ball is to mix distance with accuracy, and the best players at doing that in the amateur game are 15-19 year old plus handicaps.

They drive the ball 273 yards and find the fairway 53% of the time. Interestingly, plus handicappers in their 20s are less accurate, finding just 47% of fairways despite hitting it just one yard longer.

Overall though, it's golfers in their 70s who find the most fairways. They're the shortest hitters, on average, but also the most accurate. 

Golfers who find the most fairways are players in their 70s between scratch and five, with a seriously impressive 60% of fairways. All golfers in their 70s find more than 50% of fairways, which is the only age range able to do that. 

Even 30+ handicappers in their 70s are impressively accurate. Their 52% total of fairways hit is higher than plus handicappers from the age of 20 all the way to 49.

The least accurate players are in their 20s with handicaps higher than 20. They hit just 35-36% of fairways, which is 24% fewer than the most accurate golfers. On a typical 18-hole course with 14 par 4s and par 5s, the most accurate golfers will hit 8.4 fairways vs just 4.9 for the most wayward players.

The numbers show that technique contributes to long distance but not necessarily accuracy. When it comes to finding fairways, it seems the older you are, the more you'll find.

Elliott Heath
News Editor

Elliott Heath is our News Editor and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016 after graduating with a degree in Sports Journalism. He manages the Golf Monthly news team as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as five Open Championships on-site including the 150th at St Andrews. His first Open was in 2017 at Royal Birkdale, when he walked inside the ropes with Jordan Spieth during the Texan's memorable Claret Jug triumph. He has played 35 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Western Gailes, Old Head and Turnberry. He has been obsessed with the sport since the age of 8 and currently plays off of a six handicap. His golfing highlights are making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, shooting an under-par round, playing in the Aramco Team Series on the Ladies European Tour and making his one and only hole-in-one at the age of 15 - a long time ago now!

Elliott is currently playing:

Driver: Titleist TSR4

3 wood: Titleist TSi2

Hybrids: Titleist 816 H1

Irons: Mizuno MP5 5-PW

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5

Ball: Srixon Z Star XV