Data Shows How Driving Distance In Amateur Game Has Actually Decreased
The Arccos Distance Report, based on over 20 million driver shots, shows that handicap golfers have lost distance in recent years
Elite level golfers might be set to use a rolled back golf ball from 2026 to cut distance, but drives are going the other way in the amateur game according to Arccos Golf's latest distance report.
The report, with data based on more than 20 million driver shots hit on par 4s and par 5s, shows a trend that golfers, both men and women, who use the Arccos platform are actually hitting the ball ever-so-slightly shorter than they were four years previously.
The average driving distance for men in 2018 was 226.4 yards and that reduced by half a yard to 225.9 in 2022. It's similar for women. The average woman drove it 179 yards in 2018 but that was down to 177 yards in 2022. It's down four yards on the 181 yard average in 2020.
The in-depth report shows driving distances for men and women of various ages and skill levels, and lower handicappers continue to drive it longer as skill trumps age - to a degree.
The longest-hitting men are +0.1 or better golfers in their 20s, who average 273 yards, while unsurprisingly the shortest are 30+ handicappers in their 70s with an average of 157 yards.
Golfers in their 70s with a handicap of +0.1 or better can certainly keep up with the higher handicap youngsters though. The average +0.1 or better man in their 70s hits it 212 yards off the tee, which is the same length as 15-19 year-olds and golfers in their 30s who play off of 20-24.9.
They hit it longer than plenty of age/skill ranges including golfers in their 20s and 30s with a handicap higher than 25, golfers in their 40s with a handicap higher than 20, golfers in their 50s with a handicap higher than 15 and players in their 60s who play off 10 or higher.
Male golfers who use Arccos lose on average 43.6 yards between the ages of 15-19 and 70-79.
For women, it's a similar story where skill trumps age to a certain degree.
The longest-hitting women are 0-4.9 handicappers in their 20s, with an average of 244 yards. That's longer than plenty of men including golfers in the 20s with handicaps of 10 and higher.
Women who use Arccos lose an average of 32 yards between their 20s and 50s.
When it comes to driving accuracy, the older the player, the more accurate they tend to be off the tee.
Men in their 70s with handicaps between 0-4.9 find the most fairways with a driving accuracy of 60%. The least accurate golfers are men in their 20s with handicaps higher than 30. They hit just 35% of fairways.
In the women's game, golfers in their 50s with 0-4.9 handicaps are the most accurate with an accuracy of 58%. The most wayward women are 10-14.9 handicappers in their 30s and 30+ handicappers in their 20s - both with an accuracy of 44%.
That means that even the least accurate female golfers are 9% more accurate than the most wayward men.
Elliott Heath is our Senior Staff Writer and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016 after graduating with a degree in Sports Journalism. He manages the Golf Monthly news, features, courses and travel sections as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as four 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 at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey, where his handicap index floats anywhere between 2-5. 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: TaylorMade SIM2 Max
Hybrid: TaylorMade SIM Max
Irons: Mizuno MP5 4-PW
Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58
Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5
Ball: TaylorMade TP5x
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