Driving Distances: How Far Amateurs Hit the Ball in 2021

It’s time to take a look back on 2021 and discover just how far amateur golfers are actually hitting the ball, more specifically their driving distances.

The Shot Scope database of over 80,000 golfers hitting more than 140 million shots around the world, is used to provide the statistics in this article. You can find out more about Shot Scope here.

The table below is split into 6 handicap benchmarks and highlights how far an amateur golfer hits their Driver, as well as stating the Shot Scope’s P-Avg (performance average) for each handicap.

Shot Scope use what is called a ‘Performance Average’ this removes all outliers (good and bad) when calculating shot distances. It provides the golfer with an average distance, if they were to hit the shot well.

Shot Scope Data: Driver Distances based on handicap, average and p-average.

From the graph we can clearly see that as driving distance increases, handicap decreases. So if you can hit it further, or gain 5-10 yards off the tee (on average) the chances are you will become a better golfer. This does not mean you need to swing faster…. An average takes into account the best and the worst. In the case of higher handicaps, it may almost mean the opposite – perhaps a slower more controlled swing will produce a more consistent strike, which also leads to more distance. Each golfer is unique, however there are many studies and articles out there that support the fact that hitting the ball further is advantageous to the golfer.

The graph also shows that it is actually only 15 handicap and below golfers who average more than 200 yards off the tee with their Driver. Perhaps more surprisingly, it is only the scratch golfer who averages over 250 yards off the tee with their Driver. Of course as with every data set there are outliers to this but for the purpose of this article we are merely talking about the average 5, 10, 15 handicap and so on.

When looking at Shot Scope’s Performance Average, the numbers are higher and perhaps more aligned with what you might assume amateur golfer’s hit their Driver. It would seem that when talking about how far they hit their Driver, golfer’s typically state how far they hit their ‘Sunday best’ drive when in actual fact the reality is their ‘average’ is considerably less.

A key step to becoming a better golfer is truly understanding how far you can hit the ball, not only with the Driver but with each club in the bag. While it may be a harsh learning for some, knowing your distances helps massively when it comes to selecting the correct club for the shot in hand.

The Shot Scope V3 tracks every shots you hit on the course automatically to provide real club distances based on how far you can hit the ball on the course – not the driving range. Rarely, in fact almost never do you get a flat stance and a perfect lie on the golf course, so using on course distances gives you a true reflection of how far you can hit the ball on the golf course.

Analyzing the distribution of 2021 driving distances provides another way to examine amateur golfers.

Shot Scope Data: Distribution of average driving distances

The pie chart showcases the percentage of golfers who hit the ball into specific distance segments. This is more heavily weighted towards the bottom end of the scale with 76% of amateur golfers hitting the ball less than 250 yards. With only 10% hitting the ball over 275 yards on average, it really shows that this is the minority amongst amateur golfers.

So is there a distance issue? I don’t think so. Certainly not amongst the majority of amateur golfers that’s for sure.

Understanding Shot Scope performance statistics can help provide a golfer with better knowledge of where they can improve their game, alongside allowing them to see any changes over the years just as in this example. Knowing how to analyze and understand statistics of this type can be hugely beneficial to your game. For more information on Shot Scope visit shotscope.com.

Shot Scope Data: Distribution of performance average driving distances

Shot Scope Data: All tee shot distances measuring handicap, average and p-average.