by Jaacob Bowden

When it comes to hitting the ball off the tee, remember to take driving distances with a grain of salt.  You might be only averaging 210 yards (190 m) per drive at one course…and you hear of a friend that tells you he’s averaging 250 yards (227 m) per drive at his home course.  However, when you play each other on the same course – you hit the same distance.  What gives?  You might think your friend is not telling you the truth about his distances…however, when you take in to consideration the various playing conditions of different courses around the country (and world), you might discover that your friend is actually being completely honest.

Take a look at the average driving distances by tournament his year so far on the PGA TOUR and you’ll see what I mean:

Mercedes-Benz Championship    252 (228 m)
AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am    268 (243 m)
PODS Championship    271 (246 m)
Verizon Hertiage    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)

Average = 283 (257 m)

If you play different courses, these differences are also useful to know for your iron play.  Granted that you know how far you hit your clubs, within a few good shots of the first time you play a new course, you should be able to tell for the rest of the round approximately how much to add or subtract for your average shot.  For example, if you regularly play TPC Scottsdale in Arizona and are planning a trip to play Pebble Beach in California, you should expect that your irons will go about 8-9% less at Pebble Beach.

Remember that this doesn’t only apply to courses in different cities.  Even within your local area, different courses play different distances.

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