How Far Do Average Golfers Actually Hit It?

These statistics show that average golfers probably aren't hitting it as far as they may think...

A golfer preparing to hit a drive
(Image credit: Tom Miles)

Driving distance in the professional game is longer than it has ever been but what about the amateur side of things? A long drive for a man is probably considered to be some 280-300 yards but in reality golfers aren't getting anywhere near that figure. In the video and article below, we run through data derived from Arccos Golf and reference figures from the R&A and USGA's recent Distance Insights Report.

The report produced by the governing bodies shows that the average amateur male club golfer hits the ball 215 yards. Specifically, five-handicappers and below average 240 yards, golfers with a handicap ranging between six and 12 average 220 yards, those with a handicap between 13 and 20 average 204 yards, while 21-handicappers and over average 187 yards.

The average of 215 yards is up 15 yards on the 2000 figure recorded, although it is down two yards on 2005, perhaps evidence that not much distance has been gained since 460cc drivers were released in the early 2000s. It;s worth noting the figures below are based on 87% of shots being hit with a driver.

How far do female amateurs hit the ball on average?

A female golfer hitting a tee shot at Essendon Golf Club

(Image credit: Kevin Murray)

The Distance Insights Report also looked at the female game and the numbers show that the average drive by a woman travels 148 yards, with five-handicappers and below averaging a fraction over 196 yards. Those in the six-12 bracket average 178 yards, 13-20s average 153 yards, 21-28s average 138 yards and golfers with a handicap of 29 and above average 118 yards.

How far do average golfers actually hit it? 2016 data...

A golfer hitting a drive at Essendon Golf Club

(Image credit: Kevin Murray)

These statistics on average driving distance were calculated using data collected between April and September 2016, and note they are based on total distance, not carry. As can be seen below, the average golfer with a handicap less than five hits it 250.93 yards with run, 65 yards shorter than the PGA Tour's biggest hitter on average. This is one of the biggest differences between a scratch golfer and a PGA Tour pro

That drops to a little less than 220 yards when taking the average driving distance for all golfers using Game Golf. The average 3-wood goes just under 190 yards and the average 7-iron flies 133 yards.

With technology constantly improving in golf clubs and balls, the common conception is that golfers are hitting it further than ever before, which is therefore making our courses obsolete. However, if the average driving distance of four-handicappers and below just tops the 250-yard mark then this argument is surely quashed, at an amateur level anyway.

The realistic picture is that nearly all club golfers don't come anywhere near the 300-yard mark - after all, professional golfers do specific work in the gym to add power and speed, and a perfect technique will always produce longer distances. Remember, as well, that on the PGA Tour it is usually 20-30°C and when you add that to all the other factors, it is no surprise that launching the ball well over 300 yards is just one of the things tour pros do that you don't.

An interesting number from Game Golf is that golfers find 46% of fairways - far below the 74% that Ryan Armour managed during the 2021/22 PGA Tour season. Forget distance, that's a number amateurs should aspire to achieve.

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