By Jaacob Bowden

Every now and then I’ll have someone tell me that they are driving a certain distance and they don’t think it’s as far as they should be hitting…and I also get people who talk about how far they can hit it, but in person they don’t hit near as far as they claim. If you run in to something like this, it’s useful to remember the great degree to which distances can vary from course to course – even ones that are very close in geographic proximity.

To illustrate this let’s look at the Average PGA Driving Distance. I’ve taken a sampling of the driving distance average for all players from various tournaments that took place within a several month period. Please,

Mercedes-Benz Championship 252 (228 m)
AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am 268 (243 m)
PODS Championship 271 (246 m)
Verizon Heritage 276 (250 m)
Buick Invitational 277 (251 m)
Zurich Classic of New Orleans 279 (253 m)
Honda Classic 281 (255 m)
Arnold Palmer Invitational 282 (256 m)
AT&T Classic 283 (257 m)
The Players Championship 285 (258 m)
EDS Byron Nelson 286 (259 m)
Shell Houston Open 290 (263 m)
Northern Trust Open 291 (264 m)
Bob Hope Chrysler Classic 292 (265 m)
FBR Open 293 (266 m)
Sony Open 295 (267 m)
Mayakoba Golf Classic 297 (269 m)
Wachovia Championship 297 (269 m)


Notice that depending on which course the players were playing, there was as much as a 45 yard difference in driving distance average! That’s quite a difference! It also helps explain where some of those big distances come from that you hear the Tour players hitting (they were at a course that was conducive for long drives).

This also is a good thing to help ease the blow on your ego if, for example, you are on vacation with some buddies playing a sea-level course where there is very little roll (like Pebble Beach) and your drives are going some 20 yards shorter than they normally do at your home course.

Furthermore, I can personally testify this is the case with long drive too. I’ve seen a guy absolutely kill a ball just over 300 yards… and the same drive in a different place with a tail wind, at a higher elevation, and with hard ground goes 426 yards.

Distance really should be taken with a grain of salt!

Hope that gives you some good perspective on the distance variance.

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