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Distance is a hotly debated subject and not just in the clubhouse at your local municipal. So much so, earlier this year, the United States Golf Association (USGA) and R&A sent an official notice to equipment manufacturers, detailing new areas of interest in the distance debate.
The notice did not include any official changes to the Rules of Golf but it did give a glimpse into the future and just how they intend to stop the ever increasing trend of further drives and lengthening of golf courses.
As the general consensus is that PGA Tour pros hit the ball too far, do you know how far they actually hit it? Well, let's take a look.
The PGA Tour collates this information under the Driving Distance category. The average number of yards per measured drive is recorded on two holes per round. The PGA Tour accounts for possible variance, such as elevation and wind, and take care to counteract this effect in the chosen holes. The drives are measured at the point in which the ball come to rest regardless of whether it is in the fairway or not.
Cameron Champ leads the 2022 Driving Distance category with a whopping average of 326.1 yards. The American maintains a rather comfortable lead with Matt Wolff some 5.4 yards behind - averaging 320.7 yards off the tee.
The 5.4 yard difference between Champ and Wolff separates Wolff and Luke List; who is twelfth in the Driving Distance category - averaging 315.4.
The PGA Tour average driving distance is 298.4 yards; which is enough to rank 106th in the category. Notable players that fall beneath Tour average are Matt Fitzpatrick, who came agonisingly close to his first Major at the PGA Championship, Russell Henley, Billy Horschel, Abraham Ancer and Daniel Berger.
What Is The Longest Drive Ever Hit On The PGA Tour?
Unfortunately, this isn't as easy to answer as you might think.
The PGA Tour introduced ShotLink in a limited capacity in 2000. Since 2003, they have used the laser-based system to gain precise measurements on every hole - something which was not possible before.
Prior to 2003 and the expanded use of ShotLink, Tiger Woods hit a 498-yard drive on the 18th hole at the Plantation Course at Kapalua during the 2002 Mercedes Championship. Sadly for Woods, this is classed as an 'unofficial record.'
David Love III takes the spoils in the post-2003 era having driven one 476-yards on the exact same hole as Woods during the 2004 edition of the Mercedes Championship. Those familiar with the event will be aware of the cambering fairway that can be used to the players advantage.
Perhaps the most impressive drive recorded was by Jeff Sluman, who, at 5 foot 8 inches tall, put one out there 473-yards at the PGA West course during the 2003 Bob Hope Chrysler Classic. Pound for pound, that is an extremely long drive.
Driving Distance Analysis Through The Years
- The 2022 leading average driving distance is the longest in the last ten years
- The 2022 tour average driving distance is the longest in the last ten years
- The difference between the longest and tour average was the biggest in 2015 (28 yards)
- The difference between the longest and tour average was the second biggest in 2022 (so far - 27.7 yards)
- The average driving distance has increased 11.2 yards in the last ten years
Driving Distance Leaders Through The Years
In 2003, Hank Kuehne averaged a staggering 321.4 yards off the tee. Only Bryson DeChambeau (2020 & 2021) has bettered that total across a full PGA Tour season.
James joined Golf Monthly having previously written for other digital outlets. He is obsessed with all areas of the game – from tournament golf, to history, equipment, technique and travel. He is also an avid collector of memorabilia; with items from the likes of Bobby Jones, Tiger Woods, Francis Ouimet, Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino, Adam Scott and Ernie Els. As well as writing for Golf Monthly, James’ golfing highlight is fist bumping Phil Mickelson on his way to winning the Open Championship at Muirfield in 2013. James grew up on the east coast of England and is the third generation of his golfing family. He now resides in Leeds and is a member of Cobble Hall Golf Club with a handicap index of 1.7. His favourite films are The Legend of Bagger Vance and Tin Cup.
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