Golf Club 101: Average Driver Distance and Driving Distance ChartsPublished on 06/16/2023 · 7 min readGolf Expert Jorge Arteta explains what the average driver distance is for different categories of golfers, and how you can improve your own driving distance.
Photo by Virginia Anderson
When looking over the driving range at a golf course, it's interesting to see which clubs most amateur golfers—both women and men—use. These golfers aren’t using irons, wedges, woods, or hybrids, but a driver. So what are they doing? They’re all trying to increase their swing speeds to hit the golf ball like Bryson DeChambeau. It’s something I see often as a golf teaching professional. The first request I get is, "can I hit my driver farther?" Whether it’s male golfers or female golfers, it doesn't matter—everyone wants to hit their driver further. However, driver distance is influenced by a number of factors and simply increasing swing speed will not improve one’s distance. Let’s talk about some of the statistics available on driving averages, and what may be impacting how far the ball travels.
- The average driving distance for all male golfers is about 216 yards, while the average driving distance for female golfers is about 148 yards.
- The average length for a drive on the PGA Tour is different than the LPGA Tour driver distances. Tour pros' average driver distance is different than the amateur averages in both female and male golfers.
- The tour average chart shows that driving averages have increased over time. For example, the PGA Tour driving average was 278 yards in 2003. In 2021, the driving average increased to 296 yards.
Are these numbers a result of tour players using a better golf ball or technology, or are golfers working out more these days? Arguably, golfers becoming stronger and more flexible and improvements in technology have impacted driving averages. The golf ball has been made to go further over the years through enhanced dimple patterns on the golf ball and the types of materials being used inside the golf ball. The USGA has set limits on how far a golf ball can go, for example, the ball can’t go further than 317 yards when hit by a golfer at 120 mph. Golf ball manufacturers have to be very creative when trying to make a golf ball go farther.
Driver Distance Charts
There are three distance charts which show the averages for drivers. 1. Tour Player Averages Chart 2. USGA Amateur Averages Male Chart 3. USGA Amateur Average Female Chart
The Tour Chart shows the driver distance averages for various Professional Golf Tours around the world. In red are the men’s PGA tour average and the women’s LPGA tour average for driver distance.
- The PGA tour had an average driver distance of 277 yards in 2003, and the average in 2021 was 289 yards—an increase of about 12 yards over 18 years.
- The LPGA tour had an average driver distance of 249 yards in 2003, and the average in 2021 was 257 yards—an increase of about 7 yards.
This chart shows the average driving distances for men. It breaks down the categories by handicap. You will notice that the lower handicap player (<6) averages the longest drives at 240 yards and they use the driver 84.5% of the time off the tee. Meaning that the lower handicap player also uses other clubs to tee off, depending on the hole layout.
In contrast, the higher handicap player (21+) averages about 177 yards and uses the driver 96.7% of the time off the tee. Overall, the average drive in America for all men is 216 yards.
This chart shows the average driving distances for women by handicap. You will notice that the lower handicap player (<6) averages the longest drives at 196 yards and they use the driver 97.4% of the time off the tee. Meaning that the lower handicap player also uses other clubs to tee off, depending on the hole layout.
In contrast, the higher handicap player (29+) averages about 119 yards and uses the driver 94.8% of the time off the tee. Overall, the average drive in America for all women is 147 yards.
Average Yards by Age Group
Breaking driver distance down by age groups, the results are as to be expected—the younger age group, on average, hit the ball farther due to increased strength. Check out this article for more on senior golfing.
It is interesting, however, to see that on average the numbers from the 20 to 30-year-old age group are close to those of the 30 to 40-year-old age group. There’s more of a drop-off as the age ranges get higher. Some of the reasons a golfer loses distance as they age include a decrease in balance and stability, less flexibility, decreased swing speed, and less strength.
|Age Range||Average Driver Distance|
|All Golfers||219 yards|
Data courtesy of OutOfBoundsGolf
Another point of note from these charts is a trend with handicaps. The lower the handicap, the higher the average distance gets. For example, in the women’s chart, those with a 6 handicap or lower average about 197 yards on their drives. The 29 handicap or higher averages about 120 driving yards.
Although lower handicap golfers drive the ball further, they also do other things well. For example, low handicap golfers work on putting, chipping, pitching, and irons. Yes, they want to drive the ball further, but they also understand that the short game is the difference, so they work on it.
The Challenge of Time
When golfers ask me: “how far should my driver go?”, there is no right or wrong answer. It depends on you. It depends on how you swing, how often you practice, and how often you work out. If you’re playing five days a week, the general thought is that you’ll be a better player. The more you practice, the better you’ll be, and the farther you will hit the driver. Either technique will improve, or you will get more repetitions. Time is a factor in this.
There was a student who hadn’t played in a couple of months, and I thought, "Okay, she’s going to be rusty. Let’s just let her warm up longer than usual." Within five minutes, she was upset and didn’t understand why she was hitting the ball poorly. Like I had done with other students countless times I looked at her and asked, “when was the last time you hit a golf ball?” Despite not having played for a while, she thought she should be playing at the same level as she did before the time off.
As a golf teacher, I try to play to improve my game, but it’s limited. If I skip a couple of weeks, the first thing to go is my short game and putting. That area of the game needs repetition; otherwise, you feel like you’re starting over when you return to it.
There’s a difference between the player that wants to drive the ball farther and the player that wants to lower their scores—working on just your driver, while a lot of fun, is only one part of the game. Neglecting the short game, putting, and irons will not help your scores.
According to the USGA, the average male golfer drives the ball about 216 yards. The average female golfer drives the ball about 148 yards. So the tees a golfer plays have a significant impact on their game. If you’re hitting about 216 yards, you have no business trying to shoot from the tips (the longest tees on a golf course). But, on the other hand, if you’re hitting it 280 yards and playing from the white tees (average tees for the average golfer), then go back and shoot from the tips.
However, while getting off the tee is vital, it's not the be-all, end-all of golf. Players with the longest driver, the biggest hitters, or the fastest clubhead speed don't always win. Accuracy, whether in your 20s, 50s, or other age groups, will typically win out by a few or many strokes, but they usually do win out. Equipment technology, like Trackman, can look at your shots and show launch angle, trajectory, mph club speed, attack angle, and many other shot scopes data, but that won't help you hit the ball farther.
To hit a drive farther, one of the things you’ll want to do is increase your swing speed. So get ready for a workout and give it your best efforts. If you don’t have the time, be happy on the course, enjoy the camaraderie, laugh with your friends, and smile.
Chat with me or one of my fellow Golf Experts here on Curated for free, personalized advice on the best gear for your game to help you beat the average driving distance. Then, have fun in your next round!