By Paul Myers
Driving distance might not be the most important stat on the PGA Tour in terms of correlation to score, but that doesn’t mean it is any less fun to keep track of or talk about. Everyone loves bombing long drives, and that certainly includes the best players in the world. While it might be a little tricky to keep track of your own driving distance average, it certainly can be done.
Technology is Your Friend
The easiest way to track driving distance on your own is probably through the use of a GPS device. If you already have a GPS for the purpose of getting your yardage to the target, it can be used to track distance off the tee as well. In fact, many golf-specific models have a function built in to help you accomplish this. All you need to do is push a specific button when standing on the tee, then push it again when you arrive at your ball. The unit will calculate the difference between the two points, and give you a total distance for the shot.
If you make a habit of doing this after each drive you hit, you can quickly accumulate enough information to calculate your own personal driving distance average. Note that it is important to do this for all of your drives if you want an accurate number. Many amateurs make the mistakes of only measuring the drives that they really hit well – leaving them with an inflated number that isn’t an accurate reflection of their power off the tee. The PGA Tour players don’t get to pick and choose which drives they count on their average, so neither should you.
World Class Athletes
Whatever you do, don’t feel like you have to keep up with the long hitters on Tour in your own game. For instance, Dustin Johnson is averaging a ridiculous 315.5 yards per drive so far in the young season. That is a huge number, especially considering he is doing that while trying to hit fairways and play good golf. Those numbers are being put up on a wide driving range where he can just swing away – that is driving distance during highly competitive PGA Tour rounds. So far for 2015, there are 28 players with an average that is topping 300 yards. These guys are good, indeed.
Be sure that you don’t get so caught up in driving distance that you forget about playing your game for score first and foremost. Long drives will help you score in that you can get your ball closer to the green for your approach shot, but distance is only helpful when the ball stays in the fairway. It is fun to track your driving distance so you can see how you compare to the big hitters on Tour, but make sure your focus remains on improving your overall game and lowering your scores.