Want To Shoot Lower Scores? Stats Show You Need To Drive It Longer...

Fascinating data from Arccos Golf shows how hitting it longer off the tee equals lower scores

Close up of a driver and a teed up golf ball
(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you were to add a few extra yards to your driving game, would you shoot lower scores? We asked Arccos, who have a huge bank of data based on their shot-tracking technology, to help shed some light on this topic. 

VIDEO: Want To Shoot Lower Scores? Stats Show You Need To Drive It Longer...

Every year new drivers come to market and almost every single one promises more distance. And that’s great, nobody wants to hit it any shorter but how much would extra distance actually help your game? Well, we now have some very interesting data that reveals the scoring impact that comes from hitting the ball further.

The data in question relates to players who have increased their average driving distance by 10 yards or more versus the previous season (one calendar year), and the data has been taken from golfers with a handicap below 25 who have played at least six rounds a year.

A graphic showing Arccos Golf data

(Image credit: Arccos Golf)

The key finding here is that 81% of golfers who added 10+ yards off the tee improved their average strokes gained total per round. Of those...

  • 65% improved by 1 stroke or more
  • 44% improved by 2 strokes or more
  • 29% improved by 3 strokes or more
  • 17% improved by 4 strokes or more

So amongst this entire group, the total strokes gained per round improved by an average of 1.80.

Now, it is worth saying that 10 yards off the tee is a big distance gain and there are likely to be a few reasons why hitting it further off the tee and shooting lower scores go hand in hand. If you’re taking lessons and improving the way you swing the club, you are likely to hit the ball both further and straighter.

And similarly, the combination of a proper custom fit for one of the best golf drivers and replacing older models with newer ones will mean that your driving game as a whole would improve.

Hitting the ball further also requires more speed and that usually improves as your confidence grows. So there might be a bit of a chicken and egg thing going on here - what came first, hitting the ball further or shooting lower scores?

The key point is that the data clearly shows a correlation, and that same principal is true in reverse. Golfers that saw their average driver distance decrease by 10-yards or more versus the previous season saw a decline in their scoring.

65% of players in this group saw their average strokes gained total per round decline. Of those 65%...

  • 45% declined by 1 stroke or more
  • 27% declined by 2 strokes or more
  • 15% declined by 3 strokes or more
  • 9% declined by 4 strokes or more

We suspect the same factors we’ve already mentioned above apply in reverse. A loss of confidence is likely to lead you into guiding the ball towards your target and a loss of speed. Injuries and equipment that’s not right for you may also be factors behind these numbers but the point is very clear that hitting the ball further and shooting lower scores go hand in hand according to the Arccos data that relates to regular golfers all over the world.

More Arccos data...

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