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As you tune in to coverage on the PGA Tour, you’d have to wire your eyes and ears shut to avoid any mention of driving distance. Whilst that information is all well and good, do you know the same for our counterpart athletes on the LPGA Tour? Well, you should.
When it comes to driving distance on the LPGA Tour, it too has dramatically changed. Whilst the tour average has remained relatively stable over the last five years (252 vs 256 yards) we’ve seen impressive increases at the top. The 2021 average is 7 yards longer than 2020 and some 21 yards longer than it is was ten years ago.
2021 also saw the tightest margin between leaders on the LPGA and PGA Tour, with Anne van Dam averaging only 31.9 yards less than Bryson DeChambeau and 26 yards less than the PGA Tour average.
As we enter the 2022 season, we look at who to watch out for on the tee box.
Bianca entered the LPGA Tour in 2020 having earned status through the Qualifying Series. She would go on to establish herself as the longest hitter on tour with an average of 283 yards. Whilst second to van Dam in 2021, her 284 yard average would have taken top spot in each of the last 15 seasons. You’d have to go back to 2006 where Sweden’s Karin Sjodin averaged the exact same distance.
Bianca does two things noticeably well. Okay, a lot more than two but these stand out significantly to me. She uses the ground expertly and her hip movement through the ball is second to none on the planet. Whilst yet to win on tour, you’d have to imagine she will soon. Her back to back 65’s at the Women’s PGA Championship, on the way to a T9 finish, showed exactly what she is capable of.
With a T10 finish at the LPGA Qualifying Series, Bianca will be back teeing it up on the LPGA Tour in 2022. At the age of 24, expect to see her name a LOT in future.
Fassi first earned her LPGA Tour card in 2018, at the age of 20, but deferred membership until she finished college. The Mexican competed at the inaugural Augusta National Women’s Amateur in 2019 and finished second behind American Jennifer Kupcho. Kupcho put on a show by finishing five under for the final six holes; which included an eagle at the famous par 5 13th.
Fassi turned professional in May 2019 before making her debut with a T12 finish at the 2019 U.S. Women’s Open. Since turning professional, Fassi has averaged 280 yards off the tee and remained within the top three hitters on tour. Still only 23, expect to hear a lot of her name in distance conversations.
A name that needs little introduction. At the age of 12, Lexi made history by becoming the youngest to ever qualify for the U.S. Women’s Open. She went on to turn professional age 15 and set a then record by becoming the youngest winner on the LPGA Tour. The 11 time LPGA Tour winner is one of the most familiar faces in the game, thanks largely to her power off the tee.
2022 marks Lexi's tenth official season on the LPGA Tour. During that time, she has averaged a total of 272 yards off the tee which has consistently placed her within the top three power hitters on tour. Lexi recorded her highest average in 2021 with 278 yards; some 7 yards longer than 2020. That tells us that a fit and healthy Lexi can only mean one thing - Long walks from the tee.
Anne van Dam
With five Ladies European Tour victories to her name, van Dam joined the LPGA Tour in 2019. She became an instant sensation by leading the 2019 distance count with an average of 283.8 yards. She averaged 282.1 yards in 2020 but was narrowly pipped by Bianca Pagdanganan. Van Dam returned to the summit in the 2021 season and reclaimed her title with an average of 290.8 – Some increase from her two seasons prior! Her 2021 average was also the highest in LPGA Tour history.
Results haven’t quite gone in van Dam’s favour as she failed to retain LPGA Tour status for 2022. Van Dam, who competed at the Olympic Games in Japan last summer, finished five strokes away from a playing card at the LPGA Qualifying Series.
With a swing that is as close to technically perfect as you will see, it would be totally remiss of me not to mention her today. Don’t just take my word for it though, hear from her yourself:
2021 Top 10 Average Driving Distance
Who were the top ten in driving distance on the LPGA Tour in 2021?
- Anne van Dam - 290.822
- Bianca Pagdanganan - 284.846
- Maria Fassi - 279.784
- Lexi Thompson - 278.353
- A Lim Kim - 276.762
- Nanna Koerstz Madsen - 276.580
- Nelly Korda - 275.121
- Patty Tavatanakit - 274.703
- Brooke Henderson - 274.280
- Jessica Korda - 273.857
Average distances measured in yards and taken from LPGA.com
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.