Our Growing the Game* survey of 18,400 golfers shows that most golfers over-estimate the actual distance they hit the ball by more than 30 yards.
We asked golfers to estimate their driving distance as part of the survey. We also conducted field testing of golfers to develop actual average driving distances for each handicap group and verified this with a major manufacturer.
Here is what we found:
Women with a handicap between 10 and 19 estimate their drives are 170 to 230 yards (female golfers scoring 95-100 have an actual average driving distance of 145 yards).
Men with handicaps between 10 and 19 estimate their drives are between 210-250 yards (male golfers scoring between 90-94 have an actual driving distance of 192 yards).
Based on analysis of the survey responses:
The golf course should be approximately 6490 yards long for the average male respondent, but probably less than 6200 yards long for the national average male golfer.
The golf course should be approximately 5500 yards long for the average female respondent, but probably less than 5000 yards for the national average female golfer.
“Golfers want to be challenged, but the challenge must be an appropriate one. The ability to shoot par must be achievable. Having a facility that caters to and is defined by what a golfer ‘aspires to be’, or once was, only leads to frustration and disappointment. It reduces the potential satisfaction and enjoyment that golfers could realize from participating in the game.”
Frankly Golf, Growing the Game Survey*.
(NOTE 1: This survey was conducted in 2005, however there is no evidence that average driving distance or average handicap for golfers has changed significantly. )
(NOTE 2: We should recognize that women shooting the same score as men from the same tee will have a handicap of approximately 5 strokes lower than men. This is due to the difference in the calculation of the respective handicaps.)