Golf Driving Distance Increase “Unusual And Concerning” – Distance Report 2017

2017 saw a huge increase on driving distance across seven of the world's biggest Tours

golf driving distance

The R&A and USGA have released their golf Distance Report 2017 which shows a dramatic increase in driving distance in 2017 compared to previous years

Golf Driving Distance Increase "Unusual And Concerning" - Distance Report 2017

Golf's governing bodies - The R&A and USGA - have called the rise in driving distance on professional Tours "unusual and concerning" in their Distance Report 2017.

The Distance Report looks at driving distance across seven worldwide Tours and is based on almost 300,000 drives per year. It looks at both male and female professional golf.

It was the third Distance Report produced by the R&A and USGA, and this year's showed that driving distance on Tour had increased drastically compared to the previous two reports.

WATCH: Dustin Johnson almost aces 433-yard par 4

In 2015 and 2016, the increase per year since 2003 was around 0.2 yards. However, in 2017 it showed that the average distance gain across all seven worldwide Tours in the sample was over 3 yards.

That's an increase of more than 2.8 yards on the average seen previously.

The report says that an increase of around 4 yards on one single Tour is not uncommon, however an increase of over 3 yards across all Tours is "unusual and concerning and requires closer inspection and monitoring to fully understand the causes and effects."

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The R&A and USGA recognises that increased hitting distances impacts on the length, difficulty and cost of maintaining golf courses, which therefore impacts the costs of operating golf courses and puts additional pressure on them.

Golf's governing bodies will now "conduct a thoughtful conversation" over the issue of increased distance in 2017 in the hope of moving "forward together in the best interests of golf at all levels".

Related: The best drivers 2018

Their mission is to ensure a sustainable and enjoyable future for golf, but is the increased distance in our game hampering that?

This report comes after USGA CEO Mike Davis was recently quoted as saying "we do not think distance is necessarily good for the game".

A number of golf's biggest names have also had their say on distance in the game, with Gary Player saying he was "sad the Old Course had been brought to her knees by modern equipment" after low scoring at the 2017 Dunhill Links Championship and Tiger Woods predicting 8,000 yard golf courses.

Do you think golf has a distance problem?

As always, let us know your thoughts on the Golf Monthly social channels

Andy Dunbar
Top 50 Coach

Location: Stratford Oaks 

Andy is a PGA Advanced Professional with over 25 years' teaching experience. He has produced two British champions and 16 national champions, plus many county and club champions. He was England Ladies Coach for the Midlands for many years, and is currently Warwickshire County Coach for both the elite and junior squads. Andy is also a qualified NLP Sports Practitioner. 

Teaching philosophy:

Teach the individual. Find where he or she wants to go and then help them get there by realistic improvements in technique and developing the mental strengths to compliment this. Technically, the key is to develop a repetitive method set within the individuals' physical restraints and time available to practice. Keep things simple and enjoy the learning process.

Typical lesson:

For me, it starts with a chat on where the student is and what areas need improvement. This is followed by video or launch monitor analysis. It is crucial that the student understands what needs to be changed and why. Drills and exercises are then given to enable these changes. A practice plan is then given, working on one element at a time combining drills with hitting shots. I always finish the session with a few ‘free' shots without conscious thought. 

Students learn best when...

They are relaxed, enjoy the process and know where they are going.