Arccos Driving Distance Report – 2023
Golf Technology

Arccos Driving Distance Report – 2023

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Arccos Driving Distance Report – 2023

How far does the average golfer at your home course hit the ball off the tee?

It depends, right? Age and skill level are the two key criteria. But according to the Arccos 2022 distance report, skill has a greater impact than age.

You’ve likely heard something about the distance rollback proposal announced jointly by the USGA and R&A. If not, here’s the skinny. For their part, the ruling bodies seem intent on leaving the ball alone for recreational golfers, reserving any changes for those who intend on playing in professional events and elite competitions.

I mention that as an important context because while “distance” is routinely part of the equipment dialog, it’s squarely in the crosshairs as the industry prepares for what could become a serious line of demarcation.

That aside, let’s take a closer look at amateur driving distance in 2022.

Disclaimer: The following information is sourced from the Arccos database which includes 650 million total shots and 20 million shots (driver only) on par-4 and par 5-holes.

  • Year-over-year variation isn’t significant.
  • Men’s driving distance in 2022 (225.9 yards) is up 1.6 yards over 2021 but 0.5 yards less than in 2018.
  • Women’s driving distance in 2022 (177 yards) is one yard less than in 2021 and two yards less than in 2018.

MEN’S DISTANCE ACROSS AGE & HANDICAP

  • Unsurprisingly, golfers with the lowest handicap have the longest driving distance.
  • The longest driving distance belongs to golfers with “plus” handicaps (better than scratch) in the 20-29 age group.
  • This group also loses the largest percentage of driving distance (25.51%) by the time they reach the 70-79 age bracket.
  • As a percentage, the 10.0-14.9 handicap segment loses the least amount of distance over the same time period (19.95%).

MEN’S ACCURACY ACROSS AGE & HANDICAP

  • Golfers become more accurate over time as driving distance decreases.
  • The most skilled group (plus handicap golfers), in the 20-29 age bracket, have the highest percentage of fairways hit for any handicap range in that age group (47%).
  • However, plus handicap golfers hit a higher percentage of fairways in their 20s than at any other age.
  • The most accurate golfers (60% fairways hit) are in their 70s with a handicap of 0.0-4.9
  • The least accurate golfers (35% fairways hit) are in their 20s with a handicap of 30+.

WOMEN’S DISTANCE ACROSS AGE & HANDICAP

  • Golfers with the lowest handicap have the longest driving distance.
  • The longest driving distance belongs to golfers with a handicap of 0.0-4.9 in the 20-29 age group.
  • This group is the only handicap bracket that maintains a driving distance of over 200 yards throughout the measured period.
  • As a percentage, the 15.0-19.9 handicap segment loses the least amount of distance over the same period (10.53%).

WOMEN’S ACCURACY ACROSS AGE & HANDICAP

  • Golfers become more accurate over time as driving distance decreases.
  • The most skilled group (0.0-4.9 handicap), in the 20-29 age bracket, have the highest percentage of fairways hit for any handicap range in that age group (49%).
  • The most accurate golfers (58% fairways hit) are in their 50s with a handicap of 0.0-4.9.
  • The two least accurate groups of golfers with (44% fairways hit) are in their 20s with a handicap of 30+ and those in their 30s with a handicap of 10.0-14.9.

FINAL THOUGHTS

What’s clear is that when assessing driving distance, the difference between recreational amateurs and competitive professionals is stark. Additionally, recreational golfers don’t appear to be experiencing year-over-year distance gains which is contrary to what we often hear from manufacturers when launching new equipment. But these realities are not mutually exclusive.

The disparity is likely due, in part, to the degree to which golfers are optimally fitted for equipment. Beyond that, it’s fair to question how many recreational golfers actively train and work to improve driver distance.

As always, please share your thoughts.

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Chris Nickel

Chris Nickel

Chris Nickel

Chris is a self-diagnosed equipment and golf junkie with a penchant for top-shelf ice cream. When he's not coaching the local high school team, he's probably on the range or trying to keep up with his wife and seven beautiful daughters. Chris is based out of Fort Collins, CO and his neighbors believe long brown boxes are simply part of his porch decor. "Isn't it funny? The truth just sounds different."

Chris Nickel

Chris Nickel

Chris Nickel

Chris Nickel

Chris Nickel

Chris Nickel

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Chris Nickel

Chris Nickel

Chris Nickel





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      Glenn

      11 months ago

      If 70+ players with low handicaps are averaging 212 yards, they must be playing from very short tees. A scratch player at almost any age is going to hit farther than that to play at par. Some intervening variables involved here? Executive courses of 3,000 yards? 230-yard par 4s? Interesting stuff, thanks, but I need more context to make sense of these averages.

      Reply

      Christy

      11 months ago

      Why is the chart for driving distance across age and handicap given twice for men? Nothing comparable for women?

      Reply

      Cliff

      11 months ago

      Driving Distance is Scratch, Driving Accuracy is on par with my 16-17 handicap. Will be working on my game more once my launch monitor arrives.

      Reply

      sam

      11 months ago

      then, I’m sitting pretty,,
      ,I’m 64,, 9 HC. I use my 3 wood 90% of the time,
      3 wood=235m(256yrd),,, best drive with great swing,clear day and favorable roll=286m(312yrd)
      Driver= 250m (275yrd),, ” ” ” ” ” ” ” ” ” ” = 305m (333yrd) That’s Australian summer distances,

      Reply

      DaveyD

      11 months ago

      My improvement started when I paid more attention to Greens in Regulation. Once I focused on that, accuracy and the short game came into real focus. I’ve always been a long ball guy, trying to get into position for the albatross attempt (2 so far).

      Reply

      Rick

      11 months ago

      Where are your over 80 years statistics ?

      Reply

      mackdaddy9

      11 months ago

      Just about 20% over for driver.

      Reply

      Doug Hansen

      11 months ago

      I play in the Pacific Northwest. We generally play year-round. There is a 10-18% variance in distance from warm months to cooler, wetter months. I guess this data is averaged across climate considerations.

      Not to be critical, but averaged data can be quite flawed. But fairly easy to apply factors. And still pretty interesting. Glad to know that I am slightly longer than most 20 HC’s my age and quite a bit more accurate. About 73% fairways hit.

      Would love to see some approach shot data. GIR is where I really struggle.

      Reply

      Vic

      11 months ago

      I am 62 and can hit it past 240 with one arm, mostly. A bad drive for me is 240 and I am nowhere near a 10 hdcp on a perfect day.

      Reply

      surfinguru2000

      11 months ago

      Interesting analysis, but I’m not really sure how relevant it is. I’m 54, playing at ~20hcp and my Arccos shows 229yds as my driver avg. According to these charts, that puts me in the 5-9.9hcp range for my age. Accuracy is right on the mark at 55% though. So my driver game is GTG?

      Reply

      Kevin

      11 months ago

      I don’t buy into that chart at all. I would be grouped w the +0.1 hdcp and I have to knock off 37 yrs….. track your own stats and believe in what you see in your game.

      Reply

      JW

      11 months ago

      So I should be HCP 5 or better….? Or be 30 years looking at my HCP…. ;o)) (being 54)

      Reply

      Paul

      11 months ago

      Again … The Important question … Is This data Carry or Total Distance ???

      Please the answer ?

      Reply

      Ryan

      11 months ago

      Since it’s Arccos, it’s safe to assume we’re looking at total distance. Arccos measures distance by knowing where the player hit from and where they hit their next shot from.

      Reply

      Tom

      11 months ago

      Total. Arccos only deals in total distance.

      Reply

      Scott

      11 months ago

      Don’t you play total distance on a golf of course? What’s your point??

      Steve S

      11 months ago

      Well, I’m slightly(5 yards, based on my shot scope data) above average for my age and handicap. Got to keep working on core strength and flexibility. Age will win but I’ll delay it as long as possible….

      Reply

      AWgolf

      11 months ago

      I checked my own arccos to see where I stack up and realized this stat includes any club chosen off the tee. Anytime a player pulls iron, hybrid, three wood off the tee it is included in this report. Low handicappers who hit it far are more likely to go with less than driver of the tee more often. It does not include par 3 tee distance, but it is not really driving distance as compared to the tour. I believe the tour driving averages come from select holes up and down wind that driver is almost always used(may be wrong on this). It would be much more interesting to see arccos average distance by club for players in this same chart. For comparison, the gap in my average driving distance vs my average distance for my driver is 22 yards on my arccos. I’m barely single digit and use driver on most 4 and 5s. Its possible average golfers actually hit their drivers much further than this chart.

      Reply

      Mat

      11 months ago

      If this stat includes anything other than using a driver as their club, it’s entirely useless. All of it.

      Reply

      Tom

      11 months ago

      The disclaimer at the at the end of the intro says driver only par 4 & 5 holes.

      Dylan

      11 months ago

      Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t think your assessment is accurate. Arccos will know what club you hit, so this would be driver only, right?

      Reply

      Jakob

      11 months ago

      Each Club have it’s own sensor. How would the driver be registreret if you use Any other Club ?

      Reply

      Jimmy

      11 months ago

      Are these numbers carry distance or total yards?

      Reply

      Bunkershotbirdie

      11 months ago

      Arrcos would be total since it goes from point A to point B for the next shot.

      Reply

      StrokesGained

      11 months ago

      Total distance. There’s no way to measure pure carry with Arccos.

      Reply

      bob

      11 months ago

      If the year over year trend keeps going we can expect to see everyone with the new Callaway Paradym and TaylorMade Stealth 2 drivers bombing it about 1.3 yards less than last year with their old driver? This data is pretty damning for the driver distance hype and I can see why companies are starting to focus on accuracy.

      Reply

      Michael

      11 months ago

      Not really, probably points to the aging golf population. Clubs are getting longer but golfers are getting older, just cancelling each other out.

      Reply

      Ash

      11 months ago

      Yep. A (very) few manufacturers have actually admitted that distance has been maxed out now (with the COR restrictions since 2008). It makes it tougher for them to sell the latest gear. Testers have shown 10 year old models within a couple of yards of the new stuff. They can pretty much only make improve forgiveness and spin now (which has been the case – sweet spot is anywhere on the face now). There have been improvements in the ball too (likely why there is talk of rolling it back for the pros).

      Reply

      KD

      11 months ago

      Good to know that at 38 years old, and only playing golf for 18 months at a 7 HC, my 5 wood carry is the same distance as someone’s driver in my HC bracket and age and my 3 wood carry is the same as a 20-29 year old driver distance at 4.9 HC. I’ve seen these charts many times and never really believed them until I compete a my clubs tournaments and can see why the yardages are pretty similar.

      Reply

      Bill

      11 months ago

      Interesting article. Insight for me was an acknowledgment of what I already knew to be true – my weakness is the short game. I’d describe myself as a 25 handicapper but based on my driving distance I’d be a 10-14. I take from this some encouragement that I can finally break 90 if I work on my short game and putting.

      Reply

      Fred

      11 months ago

      Yes Bill – get rid of the three putts and learn 50yds and in – I went from 15 to a 5 in a year and half – I drive the ball on avg 265 – hit the fairway about 42% of the time
      Also if you do not already do it – keep track of all data like fairways hit (and what side you miss on), how many putts (from what length) and chipping (how close to pin)
      The two biggest things that helped me were keeping track of distance from pin on chipping and lentgh of putts made or missed

      Reply

      Jon

      11 months ago

      Solid advice Fred, for anyone

      Tony

      11 months ago

      Thanks for that info, Fred! I just started golfing at 53, and I can drive the ball 250 avg (not too accurately). When I get within 50-70yds, I am a train wreck. 4 strokes from 50yds is my current goal!

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