Real Driving Distance

Hi Frank,

Thank you for designing the Frog putter. It is the truest rolling putter I’ve ever owned. And the last. One of your archived articles says the average golfer thinks he drive the ball almost 40 yards farther than he actually does (230 vs 192). Is driving distance measured tee to ground contact? Or is roll included in the measurement? Thank you for your help and your dedication to this wonderful game.

–Jack

Jack,

We are pleased that your Frankly Frog is behaving itself and has found a good home. A happy Frog will always behave better.

In our survey of over 18, 400 golfers several years ago – see our Growing the Game Report – our pilot study and subsequent survey analysis shows that the average golfer shooting between 90 and 94 will drive the ball 192 yards in total – carry and roll – but he believes that he drives the ball about 230 to 240 yards. The numbers regarding total driving distance for these average golfers have been verified by several other sources.

The problem stems from the fact that – in golf and fishing — we are inclined to treat the extraordinary as commonplace.

Our ego is a problem we need to confront if we are to enjoy our game more.

The fact that we have hit our driver 24o yards a couple of times over the last several seasons does not mean that this is a common occurrence.

And our one-off, 179 yard 5-iron, now considered “my 5-iron distance”, is the reason why we are inevitably short every time we pull the 5-iron from our bag.

Jack, I know you didn’t expect an explanation but it is a contributing factor to the slow play problem we face, stemming in part from selecting the longer “ego driven” tees rather than the next set forward.

Our objective at Frankly is to hear golfers loudly wishing they had time for another nine as they walk (or drive) up the eighteenth, rather than a gasp, thanking God it is over at last.

May the Frog Be With You
Frank

Have you tried playing the forward tees? Share your experiences with us and other visitors to the site by leaving a reply below.

16 thoughts on “Real Driving Distance

  1. I use the Garmin G5 GPS and can record how far I Hit EACH club. I record “normal” distances and don’t record the chunks or the flush flyers. That way I have a complete database of my reasonable expectation of each club. It really makes it easier to commit to a shot when you know how far the club will probably go. Then you can factor in wind and temperature and humidity (it goes FARTHER when it’s humid–REALLY-Read Frank’s book, Just Hit It, if you don’t believe me).

    A few weeks ago the hole got in the way of my FROG and we dropped a 54 footer!!

  2. if your drive is 200-20 And your 3 or 4 wood is 190-195 anything over 410 should be played as par 5. thats the way my son’s and brother – law lets me play. they move back to the tips to make it a par 5 to. i’m 71 years old and i play senior tees or the forward tees. this makes it fun and quick.

  3. I have way more fun playing from my course’s Silver tees at 5,603 than the Black’s (6,816 yards). I have a good chance at par and an ocassional birdie. I played in a foursome last week and could only grin at the pair in front of us playing from the Black’s. Neither could hit a drive 200 yards and one have difficulty getting it into the air. The only problem: Our foursome waited on that twosome the whole round. OUCH! As far as club selection: I take a club that if I hit it square, flush and on the screws it will be over my target. Unfortunately, I rarely am. One more thing: I played with a pair of women and they were astounded that I would play from the Bronze tees (5,014 yards) with them. My response, why not? I can still post a score! And I had fun playing from those tees, too. It was a different course. FORE!

  4. I will second everyone’s positive experience moving up. I have heard every excuse possible for playing the “Blues” (I don’t want to hit through the fairway, I don’t want to hit wedges to the green, the course is designed to be played from the back tees), but I just ignore them. If they want to play from the Blues, let them. I’m playing from the Whites…

  5. My wife & I are both 76. She played the white tees and I played the blue tees (our club only had 3 tee positions). This year we both moved up and playing golf is more enjoyable. We can reach the green in regulation on many of the holes, there are more pars and even birdies are seen. There would be a lot more if either of us could improve our putting.

  6. Hi Frank,
    Purchased and enjoyed two of your books…truly enjoyed them. I am 63 and have a 14 index. My swing has slowed down that last few years. My driver speed ranges from 95 to 100. I have played the forward tees. From the forward tees the mid-fairway traps are no longer in play because I can carry them. Getting closer to the green is not always that attractive because a partial iron shot can create a hosel rocket. So, if I am playing forward tees I usually will play a shorter club from the tee. From the back tees, the mid-fairway traps are not in play because I can’t reach them from the tee anymore. I usually play the white or blue tees depending upon who I am playing with. In fact, I use reaching the mid-fairway traps as a gauge. If I can’t reach the traps I am using the wrong tees. If I really catch a drive and it gets past the traps then I am probably using the right tees. Using my SkyCaddie, I know that my 3 wood off the tee is about 230 yards – carry and roll – at sea level. The driver can get better results – sometimes.

  7. I recently played a round with friends in which we used the forward tees on the 9 toughest holes on the course. It took the edge off the total distance and we played faster and better than from the back tees. One of the guys called this a “composite” round. You might try it if you do not want the “complete” forward tee experience.

    • Mike, your handicap chairman might have difficulty with the ‘composite’ round if you post it as a back tee round. Better to make it a forward tee round, wouldn’t you think? And I agree, it would be more fun. We make the forward tees available to any member whose age and handicap total 90 or more.

  8. I am 61, my average drive (I think) is about 200 yards and I have a 12 handicap index. I am in 3 golf leagues and can play the “senior tees” in 2 of them. It is much more enjoyable to have a pitching wedge to a green rather than a long iron or a 3 wood. When playing with friends, i will choose the 5600 to 6000 yard tees, whenever possible. Again, it is more fun to have an approach shot with a wedge than a long iron.

    • I agree with Harry. It’s alot more fun to hit a PW into a green and bash a four hybrid into a trap. I’m a 3 handicap, and I don’t score any better from 6000 yards than I do from 6500.
      When nobody is watching, I actually play from the green (horrors!!) tees at 5600. Much more fun.

      MRH

      • I actually measured my swing speed and it is 85 tops. Carry a 3.5 handicap, so it really doesn’t matter than much. Ball goes about 200 on the fly.

        MRH

  9. In the past year I have consciously moved up a set of tees. I’m a low handicapper but have just entered the ranks of seniordome golf wise at least. Since I’m typically the best player in my group the folks who are with me have no choice but to move forward. It’s a truly enjoyable experience – the game is no less challenging and when I play well I can shoot some really low scores because I have wedges and short irons in my hands more frequently. Best of all if the course is not crowded we can finish a round in just over 3 hours giving us more time to brag about our 250 yard drives or the big one that got away. 🙂

  10. I have observed this phenomenon myself. In an age where there are laser rangefinders and GPS units one would think that problem would go away but it persists. If you hit a driver on a 400 yard hole and your rangefinder/GPS shows you have 170 yards left it is pretty obvious that the drive went 230 but that person still will adamantly insist that he drove the ball 250 on the hole.

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