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 is our Senior Staff Writer and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016. He graduated in Sports Journalism in 2016 and currently manages the Golf Monthly news, courses and travel sections as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. Elliott has interviewed some huge names in the golf world including Sergio Garcia, Thomas Bjorn, Bernd Wiesberger and Scotty Cameron as well as a number of professionals on the DP World and PGA Tours. He has also covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as three Open Championships including at Carnoustie in 2018 when he was inside the ropes with Tiger Woods. He has played 31 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Old Head and Alwoodley. He currently plays at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey, where his handicap index floats anywhere between 4-6. His golfing highlight is making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, and he has made one hole-in-one.

Elliott is currently playing:

Driver: Honma TR20

3 wood: TaylorMade SIM2 Max

2 iron: Mizuno MP-18 MMC Fli-Hi

Irons: Mizuno MP5 4-PW

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x