Average Driver Distance (Amatuer Golfers to the PGA Tour Pro)

Author Ned Howard - Golf PGA Teaching Professional

Author: Ned Howard – Retired PGA Teaching Professional

How many times have you heard the 30 something weekend warrior say they hit their drives 300 yards? Better yet, how shocked were you when you first saw how far you actually hit it off the tee?

You’re not alone.

Most people are looking at their drives with rose colored glasses. The average driver distance for amatuers might shock a lot of you. Through recent studies, it is found that the average drive distance for male amateurs is just 217 yards!

For perspective, would it surprise you that the average drive distance on the PGA tour is less than 300 yards? On tour, the average distance off the tee is 293 yards.

Here I will break down the subsections that create that yardage of 217, to better explain how the number is so much lower than a lot of players think they hit it.


Average Drive Distance for Amatuer Golfers

Amatuer golfers of all ages and skill levels average a driving distance of 217 yards. Less than you thought? Probably. But that is why amateurs are amateurs, and touching 300 yards off the tee is such a feat.

Two point list data collection products on the market are Arccos and Shot Scope. Their datasets should offer different insights to the driver distance game. If you are using one of these tools, you must be a serious golfer, and thus have more serious drives.

Arccos Average Driver Distance Report

Arccos Swing Caddie is a popular distance tracking system. It involves inserts at the butt of the club, and communicates with your smartphone to track the distances of each hit.

Each year Arccos releases a distance report. It compiles data of over 516,000,000 recorded shots! That is an incredible data set! For the driver section, Arccos only takes data from players who hit driver at least 60 times in the calendar year.

With that requirement, Arccos found that out of 29,466,594 shots with driver, the average distance was 219.4 yards. Slightly longer than the 217 average.

This is because a player using Arccos is a slightly more committed golfer than someone who only plays a few times a year, and has no interest in such data collection.

Shot Scope Driver Distance Chart

Shot Scope is another popular distance tracking product that operates similar to Arccos. Inserts in the butt of the grip, app on the phone, and Shot Scope also has a watch.

Shot Scope pooled all of their logged distances off the tee, and found that their users average 225 yards off the tee. This is nearly 10 yards further than the total average of 217.

This is also because tech like Shot Scope tends to attract lower handicappers and longer hitters. Shot Scope also found that 70% of amateurs average less than 250 yards off the tee.

This offers incredible insight into the distance game. Shot Scope has also found that driver averages vary between handicap and age. Furthermore, they found that as age increases, distance decreases, and it causes the handicap to go up.


Average Golf Driving Distance by Age

As you can imagine, age has a major impact on distance off the tee. Throughout the entire bag really. This is because distance is all about swing speed.

As you get older, your flexibility and strength decrease, and those are speed killers. Golfers from 20-30 years old average 238 yards off the tee. That is 20 yards further than the overall average.

From 30-40 years old, the average driving distance drops to 231. Still above the average, but trending downward. Even at ages 40-50 years old, the average driving distance is still above the 217 average at 220 yards.

So if those age groups are above the average, 20-50 years old, how is it possible the average is just 217 yards? This is because a large portion of the golf community is over the age of 50.

For senior golf, ages 50-60, the average driving distance drops to 211 yards, and below 200 when you get above 60 at 196 yards. With 26% of golfers above the age of 60, their numbers tend to drive the overall average.


Driver Distance by Swing Speed

It’s a pretty simple formula; Speed = Distance. There are nuances, of course, like launch angle, spin, ball quality, elevation, wind, etc. that can affect driving distance, but the fact remains.

The faster you swing, the farther it will go. Things like strength, flexibility, and lag can increase speed, and not having those things can decrease speed.

It has been found that swing speed not only affects distance, but also handicap. It might be surprising, but it’s pretty simple. Swing faster, hit it further, and you are closer to the green.

Player A hitting a short iron approach shot will have more accurate results than Player B needing a mid to long iron on the same hole. They don’t call short irons “scoring clubs” for the heck of it!

The average driver distance for someone with a 60mph swing speed is just 157 yards. If you struggle with this, check out our recommendation for the best driver for slow swing speed.

Conversely, the Tour Pro swing speed average of 113mph garners 293 yards.

The average male amateur swing speed with driver is 93mph. At that swing speed, with consistent contact, the total driving distance is around 246 yards. So how is the average for amateurs only 217 yards?

Again, the answer is simple, consistent contact. An amateur tends to make strikes all over the face, and rarely the center. Consistent center contact can add nearly 30 more yards of distance!

So yes, speed equals distance, but there is something to be said about dropping the DeChambeau speed training, and working on consistent contact!


What are the Average Golf Drive Distance Differences Between Men and Women?

The average driving distance between men and women is mostly because of size and strength, but did you also know that the average men’s driver is 10.5°, while the average women’s driver is 12°?

That increase in loft certainly has an impact on driving distance. The higher loft does however make it more forgiving and easier to hit in the air. The difference in distance between men and women is fairly significant, but as stated before, skill plays a huge role, and narrows the gap.

The average driving distance for men is 217 yards, and the average driving distance for a female golfer is 148 yards. A difference of 69 yards. However, as the handicap lowers, as does the difference between men and women.


Average Driving Distance by Handicap

There is a common thread appearing throughout this breakdown of driver distance, and what creates it:
  • Consistent contact
  • Solid swing mechanics
  • Skill

Sure, two players with the same level of skill, the one who swings faster hits it farther, but the gap isn’t nearly as great as two players 10 handicap points apart.

If you’re a new golfer, first off, check out beginner golf tips to get started; or you carry a handicap above 28, meaning you shoot 100+ every round – the average driver distance is 177 yards. This is mainly because the ball rarely finds the center of the face, and a swing path that causes a slice/hook.

With some practice and hard work, possibly getting a high handicap driver, and lowering the handicap into the 20s, the average driver distance gets close to breaking 200 yards at 195. Again, the main culprit is consistent contact and swing path.

It isn’t until handicaps are in the teens before 200 yards is broken off the tee. Handicappers 10-19 average 215 yards with the big stick.

Single digit handicap players (5-9) average 231 yards off the tee, which can be a surprising figure, but a 5-9 handicap is a lot farther from scratch than you think. That being said, reaching single digit handicap is quite the accomplishment, and takes a lot of hard work.

A sub 5 handicap player averages 250 yards off the tee. That is a 73 yard difference compared to a high handicap player. That puts a 9 iron in the hands of a low handicapper compared to a 3 iron/hybrid left for a higher handicap player.

The lower handicap player will also likely be in the short grass versus the higher handicapper likely in the rough or worse. They say “drive for show and putt for dough” but looking at it this way, you need the show to get the dough!


Average PGA Tour Drive Distance vs LPGA Tour

At the Tour level, PGA pros average 293 yards off the tee. LPGA pros average 256 yards with the driver. That is only a difference of 37 yards.

Yet another example that skill is just as important as speed. The difference between PGA and LPGA driver distance is nearly half that of total driver average for all men and women.

The longest player on the LPGA Tour, Emily Kristine Pedersen, averages a whopping 281 years off the tee. That is 25 yards above the average.

On the PGA Tour, the longest driver average crown belongs to Cameron Champ. He averages 322 yards from the tee box! Average! That’s nearly 30 yards farther than the total average.


Golf Driving Distance Benefits

Why hit the ball farther? Is it fun? Sure. Impress your playing partners? Absolutely. The real answer is, lower scores.

If you hit the ball farther, and more accurately, you will have shorter clubs into the green, and that increases your chance at birdie.

If you can hit the ball farther, par 5s become real scoring opportunities. On the PGA tour, the average score on par 5s is significantly lower than par 3s and 4s. This is because a long drive gives you a chance to reach the green in two, and a look at eagle or two putt birdie.

Golf is all about scoring, and scoring as low as possible. Longer drives usher in those scoring opportunities, and give you options at every hole.


Average Driver Carry Distance vs Total Distance

When talking about averages off the tee, the total distance number is the number that is used. The average total distance for male golfers is 217 yards. The average carry distance is 197.

That means the average roll out is 20 yards. This is important to keep in mind. For example, you are on the tee and see there is a hazard 200 yards from the tee box.

One may think “oh I hit the ball 217 yards, I don’t need to worry about that!” You certainly do! Not knowing your carry distance will put your ball in that hazard, and cost you strokes.


How Far Should I Hit My Driver?

The Fundamentals of Driver Distance

Hitting a driver, and how far it goes, is affected by many variables. Attack angle, swing speed, swing arc, optimum driver launch angle, and impact position all can increase or decrease your distance.

Unlike iron shots, the driver should make contact with the ball on an upward angle. Hitting the ball at a downward angle will increase backspin, and zap distance worse than anything.

Optimal Driving Distances

The optimal driving distance varies between age group and skill level. A younger player or lower handicap should hit the ball further, making optimal driving distance 230 yards and up.

As age increases or skill level decreases, you need to manage expectations off the tee. Any drive over 200 yards should be considered a win. Finding the short grass even more so!


Tips to Increase Driving Distance

You need to learn how to hit a driver the right way. Here are a few tips:

1. Find the Sweet Spot (improve your impact location)

Center contact is going to get you the best results. Drivers are designed to pack the most punch at the center of the face. The “sweet spot” is not a myth. Improving your impact consistency will help you gain distance more than a few miles an hour swing speed!

2. Hit Up on the Golf Ball (tee height and attack angle)

Angle of attack reduces spin, increases drive height, and greatly improves distance. Keeping your trail shoulder down, and “hit up” as a swing thought will do wonders for your club head position at impact.

Finding the optimal tee height will help get to the proper attack angle, and create distance. A higher tee height should help reduce backspin, which also improves distance. Lower tee height will effectively create the opposite effect.

3. Increase Club Speed

This one is an easy one. The faster you swing, the farther it will go, right? Sure, but without a proper swing path, more speed could accentuate a swing flaw.

Killer slice? With 10mph more swing speed, that banana ball will just get worse. Although swing speed is important, as is a repeatable swing. That shouldn’t deter you from increasing your swing speeds though!

4. Know Your Data

Knowing your metrics is important throughout the game of golf, but arguably most important off the tee. Knowing your carry distance, total distance, spin rates, launch angle, and impact position can help you improve your game.

This will also help you track improvements in your game, or find where you are lacking. Having access to these metrics and data is more accessible now more than ever, and should be utilized whenever possible.

5. Use a Distance Golf Ball

Some balls are geared more towards control and spin around the greens, while others are designed more for getting the most distance down the fairway. Some are kind of in the middle. Check out our list of the best golf balls for distance if you’re looking to squeeze out some more yardage off the tee.


Final Thoughts

Unpacking all this information about driving distances is truly eye opening, and important to everyone’s game. It’s not just for the pros anymore!

It is very easy to overestimate your distance off the tee, and it doesn’t do you any favors. I think most of you will find peace in knowing the average distance off the tee is 217 yards.

You see the pros on TV hitting 5 iron that far, and assume there is no way you are that far behind. Although none of us think they can throw a fastball like Justin Verlander, or a football as far as Patrick Mahomes, so why would you be able to hit the ball as far as Rory?!

The common thread throughout this in depth look is that consistent contact is just as important as swing speed. Hitting up on the ball, finding center contact, and a stable face will get the ball going straight.

Until you get those fundamentals down, swing speed should be secondary. Hit up, consistent contact! The ball will do the rest!


FAQ

How far does the average golfer drive the ball?

The average golfer drives the ball 217 yards on average. This is taking into account all ages and handicaps.

How far is a good drive in golf?

A good drive in golf is a loaded question. A lot of factors play into what makes a “good drive.” The short answer is over 200 yards and in the fairway. That will position you for a chance at par.

How far does Tiger Woods drive?

Tiger Woods drive distance average has changed over the years. Peaking in 2018 at 303.8 yards. Seemingly, his age and injuries haven’t slowed him down off the tee. Tiger averaged 301.1 yards off the tee in 2021-2022 in two events.

What is Bryson DeChambeau’s average drive?

Bryson DeChambeau’s average drive distance has been a scientific adventure to say the least! He has transformed his swing and body to maximize swing speed.

Bryson was averaging 299-302 yards off the tee before he started his transformation. The 2019-2020 season was the debut of the Bryson Project. That year he averaged 322 yards off the tee! More than 25 yards farther than the PGA average!

Can A New Driver Increase Distance?

A new driver can certainly increase distance. Technology advancements can help increase distance without changing your swing. A good rule of thumb is 1-2-3.

If your driver is a year old, you will likely not see much change. Two years old will provide a mixed bag of results. If your driver is three years old or more, then you should see some significant gains due to technology advancements if you decide to get a new 2022 driver.

Why Does My Driver Not Go Far?

Most of us have asked the question; Why won’t my driver go far? There could be a few reasons, or one big problem. The biggest issue is a developed swing flaw, or you may be popping up driver.

The issue could also be your driver losing its POP. High levels of repeated stress to a driver’s face can cause microfractures. These stress fractures can decrease the performance of the face.

However, club makers spend a lot of time, and money, to make faces that handle a lot of stress. Every driver is different though. If you notice distance losses, maybe it’s time to shop for a new driver.

Does A Longer Driver Shaft Length Add More Distance?

A longer shaft can add more distance off the tee, but it comes at a price. The general rule is every extra inch will add 5 to 10 more yards of distance. Check out our standard driver shaft length recommendations.

The extra length has an equal and opposite effect on accuracy. Especially with amateur golfers. Amateurs will find a longer driver harder to bring square at impact, which will put the ball all over the course.