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Drive distance for PGA vs. College vs. +15 handicap


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Yes yes, I know scoring all happens inside 30 yards, but long game was always the worst part of my game.

 

Drove 215 today, which may be my biggest drive ever.  What a feeling!    I never was able to hit long clubs

Tour average is 290 yards.  I am tickled pink that I am within 75 yards of a TOUR PRO

75 yards is not that much, and I'd be proud to line up at my ball only that much behind a TOUR PRO

 

If I can average 215 off the tee, that would put me in line with +20 to +15

+20 is like shooting low 90s / high 80s, which is a very respectable weekend warrior score.

I am very pleased with my 215 drive.   

 

I bet most people lie about their driving distances, or only remember the best ones.

 

https://practical-golf.com/average-driving-distance-handicap-age/

Edited by mangohead
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8 hours ago, mangohead said:

Good to know that a 215 drive average is good enough to shoot in the 70s and 80s.

My goal is to break 90.  

 

You'll break 90 just by firming up your chipping and putting around the green.

 

80 is the real challenge, and that's where I am now.  82 four years ago is best I've done.

 

 

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I'm 47, and I usually drive the ball around 240-260 (measured with my SkyCaddie). I get picked on by some of the guys I play with for being a shorter hitter than they are. When that happens, I either simply say "scoreboard", or remind them who the lower handicap is. 

 

Length off the tee isn't everything. A good short game, and good putting can make up for a lot. 

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I think you mean a -15 handicap LOL. A +15 is some serious golf!

 

You can definitely break 90 if you hit it 215yds off the tee. Especially if the course is <6600yds or ~

 

I have a friend that did that for years. As has been mentioned if you're good enough around the green to where you are not wasting shots --you'll do it

 

If you can work your way up to 250 there's really nothing stopping you from playing any level of amateur golf. I played against a guy who shot -5 for 14 holes on a 6800yd course a few weeks back and he was hitting it maybe 240 off the tee.

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I wouldn't be surprised if the college average was longer than the PGA at this point, or at least very similar. If you hit it 220 that's fine, just play a proper set of tees. Nothing says that you can't play from 6500 or longer but ideally you would be more in the 250 range or you will have a lot of long approaches. 

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14 minutes ago, TLUBulldogGolf said:

I wouldn't be surprised if the college average was longer than the PGA at this point, or at least very similar. If you hit it 220 that's fine, just play a proper set of tees. Nothing says that you can't play from 6500 or longer but ideally you would be more in the 250 range or you will have a lot of long approaches. 

Very likely. The KFT avg is higher than the PGA tour avg, the younger players are using the same data and analytics as the top pros and shaping their game accordingly. 

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Congratulations on your progress!

You will be able to break 90 if you hit it 215-220 off the tee on a 6000-6300 yard course. I've also seen people break 80 as well. 

Play well!

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1 hour ago, Krt22 said:

The link you provided sort of says otherwise. You can't really "score" if you aren't in a good position to score in the first place..ie on or around the green in regulation more often than not. The single biggest indicator of scoring ability is avg length off the tee

So what am I missing here ? I would think the single biggest indicator of scoring ability is what set of tee's you hit from ?

Example = hit it 250 and play a 5800 yd course you're probably shooting 70-80

250 on a 7000 is more like north of 80 ? This is all assuming one can chip and putt ok.

 

 

 

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I believe a average pro will easily carry the ball 280 yards and a good college player can carry 300+, I also have noticed a lot of college and high school players can really move the ball although their accuracy will be nowhere near the tour player.  As for the 15 handicapper, he may carry 180 or he may carry 350, there are a ton of experienced golfers who are a bit short off the tee but they hit their woods and hybrids straighter than I can putt, and of course there are some monsters out there who can swing for the fences but have no idea whee the ball is going.  Ive seen very old guys hit it 225-240 on the fly using a smooth arc and very little power.  I think 230 carry is a great goal to aim for if u want to play quality golf from 6200 yards.  

 

If u can find the fairway consistently and have a good chance of reaching the par4s in 2 swings, you are well on your way to breaking 90 !!!

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6 minutes ago, Ghostwedge said:

So what am I missing here ? I would think the single biggest indicator of scoring ability is what set of tee's you hit from ?

Example = hit it 250 and play a 5800 yd course you're probably shooting 70-80

250 on a 7000 is more like north of 80 ? This is all assuming one can chip and putt ok.

 

 

 

I'll agree with the premise here.  Hitting 215 off the tee I would be playing courses right around 6000 yards for par 72.  When you start to go longer than that you will start having too many long iron approach shots.  It's one thing to have a few because that is the way the course is designed, but hitting longs irons/hybrids into every par 4 gets old really fast.  

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19 minutes ago, Ghostwedge said:

So what am I missing here ? I would think the single biggest indicator of scoring ability is what set of tee's you hit from ?

Example = hit it 250 and play a 5800 yd course you're probably shooting 70-80

250 on a 7000 is more like north of 80 ? This is all assuming one can chip and putt ok.

 

 

 

You can look at it that way if you are interested purely in raw score. It's been discussed on here quite a bit and it may not be linear depending on the course, but in general that will mostly hold true, given how CR and slope factor in. Longer hitters  may not do linearly better on shorter courses if the layout forces them to layup vs using their distance advantage. Shorter hitters may not do linearly worse on longer courses if they can't carry hazards and what not.

 

But if you have two players on the same tees, one driving it 215 and one driving it 250 (all other parts of their game similar), the guy driving it 250 is going to score better and have the lower index.

Edited by Krt22
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You don't need to be long to break 90. Or 80. Playing from tees that are 6000-6200 yards, I could easily break 90 carrying a 5-hybrid (180-ish yards for me) as my longest club. I could probably break 80, as long as I had a reasonable day around the greens from 30 yards in.

 

The quest to break 90 isn't solely about distance. Keep you tee shot on the planet. Advance your second shot near the green. Chip on, take no more than 2 putts. Do that 18 times, and you break 90.

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215 is enough to score well from the right tees.  Turn the US Sr. Women's Open on, most of them are in the 200-220 range off the tee, course I think is around 5800 yards, and there's some great scoring going on.

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You need adequate length to not need a 3w or 5w approach every other hole. I'm 220 down the middle and take little joy in it. My fairways and irons miss a lot of greens from far away, and if I'm left with 220 on a long par 4 it just became a par 5. My short game is good, but nobody's is that good. 

Do not be satisfied with 200 down the middle unless you're old or sick.

 

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On 7/29/2021 at 8:12 PM, mangohead said:

Good to know that a 215 drive average is good enough to shoot in the 70s and 80s.

My goal is to break 90.  

 

If your goal is to break 90, your issue is general consistency in your swing and ballstriking, not distance. You're likely losing shots all over the course, and an extra 10-20 yards off your driver won't change that.

 

Don't get me wrong... Distance is great and it makes scoring MUCH easier when you can hit the ball farther (and take less club into greens). But gaining distance is simply not the top priority at this point. Distance isn't the priority until you're regularly hitting it off the center of the face, and if you're not breaking 90, then you're not doing that. 

 

Of course the secret is that if you get your swing and ballstriking more efficient and consistent--you'll probably gain distance anyway.

 

So focus on contact and consistency, not on distance. If you're hitting the ball well, the scores will come down. 

 

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On 7/29/2021 at 8:12 PM, mangohead said:

Good to know that a 215 drive average is good enough to shoot in the 70s and 80s.

My goal is to break 90.  

That's about my father's distance off the tee and he's a mid single handicap you can def reach your goal.  You just have to dial in your short game because of your short comings off the tee.  It's what's kept my father such a good golfer all these years.  As for driving distance averages, I find that it's best to make a true determination by looking at one's ball speed IMO. 

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In any kind of competitive setting, distance is critical. If the goal is to have a fun 18, play the tees that match your ability. But to say that distance doesn’t significantly impact scoring is just flat wrong.


Driving is more important than putting for scoring, relative to average (see strokes gained stats across handicaps).

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12 minutes ago, betarhoalphadelta said:

An awful shot isn't hitting the ball 215 rather than 260, it's topping the ball 40 yards off the tee leaving you a 3w to where your drive should have been, or shanking it into the trees necessitating a punch out, or chunking it into a pond when you're only 120 yards from the green and taking a penalty stroke. 

 

What's more important, long or short game?  

Yes.

 

But, I agree that hitting 215 off the tee is the least of MY worries.  Those other scenarios are.  I still hook balls OB.  My mid irons are weak.   My goal is to just have an enjoyable round.  The means fairway, regardless of distance.  If I could hit 215 straight every time, I'd sign that deal with the devil !    Today, I drove 188 off the same tee, and thought I smoked it.  Weird.  No roll in the first cut, I guess.

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On 7/29/2021 at 10:12 PM, mangohead said:

Yes yes, I know scoring all happens inside 30 yards, but long game was always the worst part of my game.

 

Drove 215 today, which may be my biggest drive ever.  What a feeling!    I never was able to hit long clubs

Tour average is 290 yards.  I am tickled pink that I am within 75 yards of a TOUR PRO

75 yards is not that much, and I'd be proud to line up at my ball only that much behind a TOUR PRO

 

If I can average 215 off the tee, that would put me in line with +20 to +15

+20 is like shooting low 90s / high 80s, which is a very respectable weekend warrior score.

I am very pleased with my 215 drive.   

 

I bet most people lie about their driving distances, or only remember the best ones.

 

https://practical-golf.com/average-driving-distance-handicap-age/

 

My hc is around yours but I hit the ball pretty far and my course is short to boot, so I need to work on accuracy. Still one thing I see from other fellow high hc'ers that don't hit it as far as they could(imo) is that they rarely get their weight on their right leg, or even if they do move to their right side the right leg does not resist in the least bit. IMO, with a focus on getting to the right side on the backswing with the driver and keeping the right leg bent anyone can add 25 yards to their driver w/o changing anything else. A good practice routine for this is to throw old tires many times to the point of being tired, so that the body no longer resists using the big muscles naturally. It really works I have a friend whose best drives are a banana slice of 180 yards but when I can get him to load to his right side he is capable of flying it 230 just like that nothing else. If you still have problems loading the right side naturally you could start the swing by turning the left hand back so the knuckles are pointing down and the back of the hand is pointing in front of you then push your shoulder to your chin - that should force your weight to your right leg naturally plus setting the club early will help the right elbow stay down so that it is in a good natural position to add power on the downswing.

Edited by chipa

 

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25 minutes ago, mangohead said:

 

What's more important, long or short game?  

Yes.

 

But, I agree that hitting 215 off the tee is the least of MY worries.  Those other scenarios are.  I still hook balls OB.  My mid irons are weak.   My goal is to just have an enjoyable round.  The means fairway, regardless of distance.  If I could hit 215 straight every time, I'd sign that deal with the devil !    Today, I drove 188 off the same tee, and thought I smoked it.  Weird.  No roll in the first cut, I guess.

 

Exactly. My point was that you've got bigger issues than distance. Go see a good pro and work on addressing the big swing problems, and then put in the effort to practice and get consistent. 

 

Because just adding distance would make you like me--hit with a lot of distance and still hook balls OB!

 

In a semi-recent round I hooked a 9i on a 150y par 3, 55y off line into the adjacent fairway. Then I stuck a lob wedge to 12 feet and made par. Go figure 😉

 

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On 8/1/2021 at 7:07 AM, Justsomeguy said:

You need adequate length to not need a 3w or 5w approach every other hole. I'm 220 down the middle and take little joy in it. My fairways and irons miss a lot of greens from far away, and if I'm left with 220 on a long par 4 it just became a par 5. My short game is good, but nobody's is that good. 

Do not be satisfied with 200 down the middle unless you're old or sick.

 

Or complacent playing the forward tees at all times

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