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19th Hole

Study: Amateur golfers are actually hitting it shorter than they were 3 years ago

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While the USGA’s distance report found a “concerning” increase in driving distances at the professional level, a new report from Arccos Golf — Mike Stachura of Golf Digest got the exclusive on its study —  identifies a very different trend at the amateur level. The golf GPS and statistics-tracking app found that the average golfer’s average drive decreased from 220.6 yards in 2015 to 217.1 yards in 2018.

Before we go crazy, however, it’s worth pointing out that we’re only four months into 2018 and the golf season hasn’t even started in much of the country. Thus, it probably makes more sense to look at the average golfers’ average drives from 2017, which measured 220.0 yards — a difference of a little more than half of a yard since 2015, rather than more than three yards, as the 2018 number suggests.

Again, maybe the trend for 2018 will continue, but it seems inappropriate to draw far reaching conclusions based on the “220.6” number.

Nevertheless, if we assume Arccos’ data is representative and statistically significant, then it would be, at the very least, a bold check in the “yes” column for bifurcation/not limiting the golf ball at the amateur level.

However (again, assuming data derived from Arccos users is representative of all golfers), the findings beget another question: Why are amateurs, equipped with the latest and greatest technologies that Iron Byron and his robotic colleagues are crushing past previous years’ models, stagnant in the distance department?

Stachura points to a Club Champion study showing that an average increase of 11 yards after fitting, that the drivers of 2018 go an average of six yards farther than the drivers of 2012.

Nick Clearwater, Director of Instruction for Golftec, strikes a similar tone

“It’s likely that many golfers used in the data are still using five-plus-year-old drivers as well and most don’t get fit for their equipment to benefit from the advancements. The average golfer uses too much spin loft with all of their clubs, so increases in tech still show minimal improvement in the quality of the shot. The shots still start to the right, spin too much and are mishit.”

This may be true, but for distances to decrease, golfers would have to be hitting new equipment that’s ill-suited for them, not merely sticking with the same drivers they were hitting in 2015.

Those with skeptical inclinations toward the benefits of new equipment, particularly $400 drivers, will assuredly have a field day with this data, and OEMs will be keen to emphasize the importance of fitting. They’ll also be quick to point out we have no idea what drivers the Arccos sample set is/was playing.

If, again, we assume the data to be accurate and representative, the USGA would look foolish if they advise a rollback of the golf ball for amateurs.

The amateur golfers in question will want to visit a qualified fitter or take part in a demo day with a buffet of options before shelling out for a new big stick, which is the advice we give in conjunction with Gear Trials (and the same reccomendation we’ve offered for years).

What do you think about this data, GolfWRX members?

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20 Comments

20 Comments

  1. david

    Apr 20, 2018 at 9:42 pm

    sorry but the most incorrect number is the average driving distance. it is not 220 but actually closer to 210 yards for the average male golfer.

  2. Drala

    Apr 20, 2018 at 6:27 pm

    I wonder if there was more rain and cooler temps last year 2017…sun is in weak part of solar cycle 24, maybe that hedged the roll out data where arccos is/was gathering by 1-2%. IMHO a carry/roll comparison and geographic division could be a helpful addition to this discussion.

    California was very dry for several years, then got lots of rain at end of 2016 etc… 3+ years we can return to the subject again…

  3. Evan

    Apr 20, 2018 at 12:09 pm

    GLOBAL WARMING

  4. Steve S

    Apr 20, 2018 at 11:37 am

    I got 10 more yards last year by using a 4 inch tee, placing it off my left toe and swinging up thru the ball…with a 2007 Burner……Ping’s driver study showed that everyone should be launching the ball at a much higher angle, 17-19 degrees, than previously thought to maximize carry distance.

  5. jonsnow

    Apr 20, 2018 at 8:57 am

    Of course us average golfers are hitting it shorter than we were 3 years ago. We are 3 years older.

  6. acew/7iron

    Apr 20, 2018 at 7:49 am

    I agree Kevin but at my club I have not run up on ANY player using it….and I play 3-4 rounds a week.

  7. Kevin

    Apr 20, 2018 at 7:36 am

    I do not know a single good golfer that uses Arccos. That is for the guys that think tech can make you better and want to have all the cool stuff instead of learning how to play the game. Very unreliable information and a very very small sample size to make all these conclusions from.

  8. J Zilla

    Apr 20, 2018 at 4:18 am

    Also worth considering is if current golfers aging are outnumbering younger golfers starting to play

  9. A. Commoner

    Apr 19, 2018 at 10:31 pm

    So called ‘studies’ such as this, and there are many in the world of golf, remind one of the old label ‘GIGO’…. garbage in, garbage out. There is no adherence to acceptable academic standards of statistical analysis. Here, it starts with flawed grouping and goes down hill from there.

  10. steve

    Apr 19, 2018 at 5:30 pm

    Soooo …. if I buy a new super-game improvement driver I will regain 3 yards I am losing with my 5 y.o. driver? Noooooo thaaaanks …. 😮

  11. Garb

    Apr 19, 2018 at 4:31 pm

    You really should quit writing. Because you write garbage.

  12. R

    Apr 19, 2018 at 2:33 pm

    Where did they do the survey? In the retirement communities of Florida and Palm Springs? Geez

  13. larrybud

    Apr 19, 2018 at 1:58 pm

    omg, we’re using Arrcos data? C’mon. Totally unreliable since you have to idea if player’s shots were registered correctly.

    • the dude

      Apr 19, 2018 at 5:45 pm

      ….tell that to Hank Haney…..he crucified the USGA and R&A on his show yesterday (XM radio)….that guy believes ANYTHING!!!…..(how do I know that?……look at his track record on SH*t he sell on the golf channel infomercials)…..that guy is “foooooore right!!!”…..

  14. Biddles

    Apr 19, 2018 at 1:40 pm

    “Nevertheless, if we assume Arccos’ data is representative and statistically significant, then it would be, at the very least, a bold check in the “yes” column for bifurcation/not limiting the golf ball at the amateur level.”

    No, not really. Certainly not a “bold” check in the for column.

    Amateurs aren’t short because their ball or clubs aren’t good enough, they’re short because they’re bad at swinging a golf club properly. Their sequencing is terrible, they throw the club OTT, they make poor contact, etc. Giving them a better golf ball is not going to make a huge difference– the average amateur doesn’t hit it much farther today than they did 20 years ago despite the changes in club and ball technology. Bifurcation based on technology isn’t going to help the average amateur who doesn’t hit the ball well to begin with. It will help the better amateur, though, increasing the gap even more between low handicappers and high handicappers.

    For most people who pick up the game at a later age it’s not that it’s terribly difficult to hit a golf ball well, it’s just that it’s not intuitive at all. Better clubs and a better ball will never fix that. Even getting your clubs properly fit is only going to make an impact around the margins (unless you’re playing with really poorly fitting clubs), because it’s not going to fix the poor rhythm and sequencing that plagues the vast majority of bad golfers to begin with.

    Most of the improvements in tech in the last 20 years only help you if you are swinging the club properly and hitting the ball decent to begin with. The guy who shoots 105 isn’t going to notice a huge difference between a 2008 Big Bertha and Pinnacle Distance vs. a 2018 Big Bertha and Chromesoft.

  15. Andrew

    Apr 19, 2018 at 1:36 pm

    “if we assume Arccos’ data is representative and statistically significant”

    That is ummm…quite a significant and rather important conclusion to simply “assume” considering it is the basis for the entire claim.

  16. Steve

    Apr 19, 2018 at 12:05 pm

    The other day I picked up a used set of TA 845s for $50 that had a Titleist 975D thrown in for free.

    I used it on a par 5 the next day and made birdie. I’m sure with those extra three yards from a $500 driver I would have gotten an eagle.

    • the dude

      Apr 19, 2018 at 5:40 pm

      now yer just being stupid….

      • lulu

        Apr 20, 2018 at 3:29 pm

        babbling to yerself again… look in the mirror stupid..

  17. Matt

    Apr 19, 2018 at 11:52 am

    The answer is obvious, assuming these amateurs are using the new equipment. The last few years manufacturers are making heads that spin the ball less. New materials, CG placement allows for lower spin while retaining a good bit of forgiveness. COR and MOI were maxed out years ago, which is all you can do for the slower swing speed. They need more spin, not less. The guy swinging 115 has gained yards in the past 5 years because he reduced his spin from 2900 rpms with his old driver to 2300.

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19th Hole

GolfWRX Classifieds Spotlight (06/02/20): T.P. Mills, Toulon, Odyssey

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At GolfWRX, we love golf equipment plain and simple.

We are a community of like-minded individuals that all experience and express our enjoyment for the game in many ways. It’s that sense of community that drives day-to-day interactions in the forums on topics that range from best driver to what marker you use to mark your ball, it even allows us to share another thing – the equipment itself.

One of the best ways to enjoy equipment is to experiment and whether you are looking to buy-sell-or trade (as the name suggests) you can find almost anything in the GolfWRX BST Forum. From one-off custom Scotty Cameron Circle T putters, to iron sets, wedges, and barely hit drivers, you can find it all in our constantly updated marketplace.

These are some of the latest cool finds from the GolfWRX BST, and if you are curious about the rules to participate in the BST Forum you can check them out here: GolfWRX BST Rules

Member Backtee72 – Custom Toulon Garage Putter

Sean Toulon quickly established himself in the putter industry with the introduction of Toulon golf just a few years ago. It was soon absorbed into the Odyssey brand and the rest is history. This Toulon Garage is full custom—flame finish and flow neck—and if you are looking for a new wand, this could be the one.

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: Toulon Garage Putter

Member Puma74 – Handmade TP Mills

On the Mount Rushmore of putter makers, T.P. Mills is one of the faces you will find. Known for soft lines and beautiful custom putters this one here is a perfect example of his craftsmanship. This kind of piece doesn’t come cheap, but when you buy a Mills putter, you have the knowledge you are buying a piece of art.

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: TP Mills Putter

Member Rig14Port – Odyssey Stroke Lab Black

Well…I guess this officially became an all putter piece today! Here is a brand-new-in-plastic Stroke Lab Black at a less-than-new price—sounds like a deal to me! This is why it’s important to always keep an eye on the GolfWRX Classifieds page, because you never know what you’re going to find!

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: Stroke Lab Black Putter

Remember that you can always browse the GolfWRX Classifieds any time here in our forums: GolfWRX Classifieds 

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19th Hole

The DailyWRX (6/2/2020): What your playing partners are really saying, the power of the golf foursome, Golf U

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Top of the week, and I’m already counting the minutes til the weekend arrives. Nonetheless, here is what’s buzzing on IG and Twitter.

How…

Do you see into my mind?

This is the truest thing ever…

If I like you on the course, I will like you in the streets…hell, you can watch my kids…I’ll help you move. That kind of stuff.

It’s about time…

Maybe some good actually will come out of the Corona…

My 3-year-old…

…can’t hit it like this kid, but he does know all the characters in “Paw Patrol”…so there’s that.

I can’t…

I love this guy….I guess I’ll save my “I was 3 under after 13 and shot 76” speech.

DM @johnny_wunder for things

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19th Hole

The 6 best #GolfWRX photos on Instagram today (6.2.20)

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In this segment, we’ll be taking a look at some of the best #GolfWRX tagged photos on Instagram. In case you aren’t already, there’s a whole load of action going on at our page, so follow us: @golfwrx

Let’s get to it then, here are six of the best #GolfWRX photos from the past 24 hours.

Space rocket themed headcovers from Dormie.

Pretty in pink.

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That pink paint tho. #LambCrafted

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The Golf Garage with their Damascus etched finish on these MP-20s.

Tiger’s 2019 stock yardages.

Coming this Thursday from American Flatsticks.

Dropping in the near future from Sugar Skull.

Get hashtagging your golf posts #GolfWRX for your chance to feature in our best of Instagram posts in the future!

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