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Why the LPGA deserves a major championship at Augusta National

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A holy “tradition unlike any other” or a contrived event deliberately cloaked in mystery, whatever your opinion is, Augusta National has represented the pinnacle of golf for years.

The elite southern club’s allure has grown to a crescendo over the years. So much so that it brought Rory McIlroy to declare that the Masters is now “the biggest golf tournament in the world.” It hasn’t all been smooth sailing for the club, however, which has fought hard in recent times to make restitution for its murky past.

One of those moves was made last April when the club announced that it would host the Augusta National Women’s Amateur Championship. However, instead of the groundbreaking step to host a women’s event on the hallowed turf of Augusta National uniting women’s golf, it divided it.

The Championship is due to be held the week before the Masters, clashing with the LPGA’s opening major of the season, the ANA Inspiration, which created unnecessary pressure on the LPGA to move the event. While the announcement also produced jealousy amongst LPGA Tour professionals who long for an opportunity to play a tournament at the Georgian club.

At the time, world No. 5 Lexi Thompson reflected on the news saying, “I think we all as women want to play there. It’s on our bucket list.” While two-time major champion Brittany Lincicome stated, “I wish I was an amateur. I’ve never gotten to play Augusta. I’m super jealous.”

This week, the LPGA announced that in 2019, prize money would rise from $65.35 million to $70.55 million, as the women’s game continues to show its strength and growth. But what the Tour truly needs is a game-changing moment, and that moment will arrive if Augusta National decides to open its doors to the LPGA.

Whether you’re a fan of women’s golf or not, there is little doubt that a LPGA major event hosted at Augusta National would grip golf fans. It may be the one course in the world where the majority of fans would be happy to watch two high handicappers hack their way around for 18 holes, let alone watch the best players in women’s golf battle it out for 72 holes.

The LPGA has global stars such as the likes of Lexi Thompson, Lydia Ko and Michelle Wie, and the quality of golf on display, combined with the continued growth of the Tour deserves to be rewarded by allowing these players the opportunity to compete at Augusta National.

An LPGA tournament at Augusta National would not just be for these professionals, or onlookers who want an extra few days a year to peek inside the hallowed grounds. The event would see ratings that women’s golf has never before seen, and it would be the ideal platform for golf fans, many of whom will have similar swing-speeds to these women, to recognize the excellence that these women possess at one of golfs grandest stages.

This is not a call for parity between the PGA Tour and LPGA Tour. There is never going to be the same general interest or standard of play in the women’s game compared to the men.  However, inclusivity is an area that has too often been lacking in the game of golf, and there is now enough quality and interest in the women’s game to justify Augusta National staging a women’s major championship.

 

 

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Gianni is the Assistant Editor at GolfWRX. He can be contacted at gianni@golfwrx.com. Follow him on Twitter @giannimosquito

89 Comments

89 Comments

  1. Larry

    Dec 12, 2018 at 3:48 pm

    Not to be get into a conversation if this is male vs. female but I think the writer answered his own questions in the first line. “A tradition unlike any other.”

    So there you have it, you’re not going to replicate the Master’s, the LPGA should look for another prestigious venue that is not used by the PGA Tour to create their own “Master’s” that girls can dream of playing as theyre growing up, because a Women’s Masters will never compete with the popularity of the Masters.

  2. Blake

    Dec 10, 2018 at 10:46 am

    No one would watch after day one. WOmen would have to play form the members tees which dont look the same and then they would be playing the second shot from much farther away from the green and less likely to hold the green.

  3. Tom

    Dec 10, 2018 at 1:42 am

    Ain’t no buyers for what they’re sellin!

  4. Ronald Montesano

    Dec 9, 2018 at 11:27 pm

    I disagree. Why celebrate a club that kept women out for so long, with an LPGA major? This is a historically short-sighted suggestion. Women should chart their own course, not curry favor with men’s coattails. The women’s open at Sebonack, in 2013, was the type of groundbreaking achievement you should cover, not some regressive ANGC hand-me-down.

  5. a millennial

    Dec 9, 2018 at 12:53 pm

    Say we have LPGA Masters @ August National, who will watch? What TV channel will broadcast?

    If the equality and Deserve are issue, why dont we have one PGA tournaments consisting both sex. Then problem solved?

    Of course, some will say it is NOT fair as the most fairness lies.

    Thus, I totally disagree with the writer. I rather see women writer, who knows in & out of the golf history commenting on this topic. Not this dude.

  6. Hawkeye77

    Dec 8, 2018 at 10:50 pm

    Click bait populist nonsense from a writer who continues to demonstrate he really doesn’t have any real sense of golf or the history of the game.

    Can we get some interns to start writing here?

  7. noble mind

    Dec 8, 2018 at 7:46 pm

    Hey, while we’re at it…
    Why don’t we speak for the 99.9% of golfers that will NEVER play Augusta National. Yeah, isn’t that unfair? Everyone should play Augusta National – equal golf rights! Inclusivity all the way!

    Not. It’s a private club. They have their own rules. They can do whatever they want. Period.

    This article attempts to take a “progressive” stance by trying to solve the issue of lack of inclusivity in golf.. but really, this is as backwards as it gets. The American ideals of living in a free country where you can start your own business, create your own opportunity, and call your own shots.. is inherently progressive and what makes our country so great. That means you can start your own Augusta National, make it your own idea of a great golf course, and host a major championship that only women can play on (if you so wish). And that would be totally awesome.

    Would it be cool to watch the LPGA play at Augusta National? Absolutely. But don’t ride the political coattails regarding lack of inclusivity.

  8. ChipNRun

    Dec 8, 2018 at 7:09 pm

    Augusta National runs its own show for the Masters, so this overlap may indicate a lack of communication among Augusta, the PGA and the LPGA.

    As far as slotting the LPGA event at Augusta the week BEFORE the Masters, what would this do to the course having two large tournaments back-to-back? What does the Augusta National greenskeeper think about this? That’s a lot of wear and tear on the course.

    Also, coordinating the logistics for a 1+1 would be mind-boggling. Would one overall crew run both tournaments and coordinate two teams of volunteers? How would this work?

    Possible the LPGA could come in two weeks AFTER the Master’s.

  9. Bert Gwaltney

    Dec 8, 2018 at 6:53 pm

    The LPGA deserves nothing! Why? One comment was to have an event at Cypress Point. Good choice.

  10. Johnny Penso

    Dec 8, 2018 at 3:11 pm

    “Deserve” is absolutely the wrong word to assign to this discussion. Deserve implies entitlement and there is no entitlement to play at a golf course. The discussion should revolve around whether the idea has merit on it’s face, is it good for the game of golf, good for the women’s game? etc. IMO yes it is. Augusta is arguably the most revered golf course in the world and one can argue it’s importance as a tournament as well. I made this argument the other day on a different thread about women’s golf and my point remains the same. I think it’ll be good for golf, good for the women as well and for girls coming into the game. I’d have one caveat though. It has to be a major from Day 1 and they’d have to drop a major, maybe 2. IMO both tours should have 4 majors, 6 is definitely too many.

    One can argue about the event’s exclusivity being part of it’s charm but I think that’s bogus quite frankly. There will be no change to the prestige of this tournament for as long as it’s played.

  11. I guess I’m the idiot

    Dec 8, 2018 at 7:43 am

    Can I ask one simple question? How did you guys feel when they first let black people play there in 1990? Wasn’t that long ago. Was it approached with the same fervent attitude as this proposal?

    • Brian McGranahan

      Dec 8, 2018 at 1:06 pm

      Lee Elder played in the Masters in 1975.

    • Brian McGranahan

      Dec 8, 2018 at 9:20 pm

      Lee Elder played The Masters in 1975. Again.

    • Funkaholic

      Dec 10, 2018 at 11:20 am

      Your guess is correct, you are in fact an idiot.

  12. bk

    Dec 8, 2018 at 6:31 am

    Deserve’s got nothing to do with it. Did Martha Burke put you up to this? Grow up kid.

  13. Frankie

    Dec 8, 2018 at 1:58 am

    Have it at Cypress Point instead of Augusta National because a woman found it. There’s your equality right there.

  14. Tom

    Dec 7, 2018 at 11:26 pm

    LPGA = Asia Ladies Tour….no thanks!

    • Scott Ivlow

      Dec 10, 2018 at 3:39 pm

      Your statement is stupid. That like saying the Masters= the European Tour. If paid any attention there are many American women on the LPGA.

  15. Tim

    Dec 7, 2018 at 10:26 pm

    Well would they have to tame the course for the women? If they did it wouldn’t really be fair would it? If the LPGA were to play it in the condition the men do for The Masters the women would get eaten up. It would not be fun to watch the LPGA women 3-4 jack most of those greens.

  16. Bob Barker

    Dec 7, 2018 at 10:01 pm

    Leftist progress = Society regress

  17. Pierre Morgan

    Dec 7, 2018 at 9:55 pm

    Third wave fe minism has become a cancer that is destroying the moral fabric of the West. Women are now fighting their biological imperative and are more miserable than ever trying to behave like men.

  18. Uncle Adolf 1488

    Dec 7, 2018 at 9:51 pm

    Third wave femini sm pushed by the left had destroyed the moral fabric of our society. Women are natural caregivers and are not leaders, thanks to the lie that they are being held down by the patriarch they have never been more miserable. Fighting your biological imperative is never a good thing. Feminis m = cancer.

  19. Scheiss

    Dec 7, 2018 at 3:50 pm

    They’ll always have Lingerie Football

    • Eric

      Dec 7, 2018 at 7:45 pm

      It’s OK to be a man. It’s OK to be a woman. It’s OK if you’re a PRIVATE club/organization to have your own rules. Go start your own Augusta or whatever and make your own rules. It’s like this country is so adverse to having ANY exclusion. I am a man and there are certain places that only women are allowed to be or join that I can’t…and I’m not going to get upset because they’re excluding me. Their private club, their rules. I’m also a male model. We get paid less than women models. WOMEN models are in higher demand, there are certain events that I can’t go to because I’m a MALE – sorry, when men start to be in higher demand, we’ll get paid more. Until then, I’ll just shut up and keep working and be thankful for the opportunities I do have.

      This golf thing isn’t about who is capable of playing well and who’s not and who may or may not deserve to play blah blah. It’s about their rules, their money, their house. Stop complaining and go start your own club. LIfe isn’t fair, get over it.

  20. Bill Parsons

    Dec 7, 2018 at 2:58 pm

    How many times have you picked up the remote to put on the golf channel and saw it was the LPGA on at the moment and felt super disappointed? It happens to me a lot.

    • Jordan

      Dec 7, 2018 at 3:29 pm

      Same. It’s almost like they need to be playing at better courses to make it interesting.

      • JP

        Dec 7, 2018 at 5:36 pm

        Haha. They just need to NOT televise it. I’d rather watch reruns of Feherty.

        • Billy p

          Dec 8, 2018 at 3:13 am

          They could be playing on the moon. No one cares

  21. george

    Dec 7, 2018 at 2:54 pm

    Some of these comments is what is wrong with golf. Grow up and let the ladies be a part of it. Geez its just a sport and it is ok to share it with others. Didnt realize a women’s golf tournament at Augusta really gets your depends diapers in a bunch.

    • Jordan

      Dec 7, 2018 at 10:15 pm

      Thank you.

    • Tim Tracks

      Dec 8, 2018 at 4:24 pm

      Found the cuck right here. If we keep on letting women push more and more there will be nothing left of our once civilized society. Please watch the Black Piegeon Speaks video about “Why women destroy nations and other uncomfortable truths” it will help you.

      • ^^This dude is deathly afraid of women

        Dec 8, 2018 at 9:01 pm

        Show me on the doll where the women hurt you Tim

        • Tim Tracks

          Dec 9, 2018 at 9:10 am

          Not an argument moron. Keep holding your head in the sand Cuck.

        • Tim Tracks

          Dec 9, 2018 at 9:13 am

          Not an argument. Keep burying your head in the sand c uck boy. It’s because of weak men like yourself the west is in the mess it is in.

  22. Tom

    Dec 7, 2018 at 1:26 pm

    LPGA, WNBA same story, nobody wants to watch. No viewers, no advertisers, no interest no money….very simple.

  23. Mike C

    Dec 7, 2018 at 1:04 pm

    The problem with Augusta National hosting a women’s major is that the whole allure of Augusta is the exclusivity. If it becomes overexposed it loses it’s appeal which is the whole reason you want a tournament there to begin with.

  24. Jamie

    Dec 7, 2018 at 12:28 pm

    So have a tournament for the sole purpose of catering to women? That’s sexist. Change women to men and you can see why.

    • Brian

      Dec 7, 2018 at 3:14 pm

      This doesn’t make any sense. There’s already a men’s only tournament there.

      I don’t think this is how sexism works…

      • James Glenn

        Dec 8, 2018 at 8:17 am

        To be fair, it’s not specifically “men’s only.” If a woman were able to get herself into the Top 50 of the World Golf Rankings or win on the PGA Tour, they would automatically get an invite.

  25. Fergie

    Dec 7, 2018 at 11:50 am

    If Augusta consents to it, I think it would be great to have an LPGA Masters there.

    We’ve seen Asian players literally dominate the LPGA over the years. More emphasis on womens golf and high visibility televised events may get women more interested in golf in America. Hopefully, it would help grow the game.

    At the course I play, I see an occasional female high school or college team player playing practice rounds, or, more often, older ladies playing friendly rounds with their husbands. I’d like to see more young women (not necessarily tethered to husbands) drawn to the game, invested in it.

    • JP

      Dec 7, 2018 at 2:35 pm

      Placing emphasis on something nobody cares about is pointless. And it takes away from Augusta National’s allure. It takes something that is held in high esteem and lessens it.

    • CaoNiMa

      Dec 7, 2018 at 3:47 pm

      Fergie is racist.
      The fastest growing immigrant population in America is Asian

      • Fergie

        Dec 7, 2018 at 6:33 pm

        . . . And, Mexican Americans are the second fastest growing demographic.
        So what?
        I’m not talking about “white” women.
        I’m talking about American women.
        When I say Asian women, I’m talking about Koreans, Japanese, etc.
        Their culture embraces women’s golf.
        American culture obviously does not.
        About 70% of the responses here testify to that!

      • Jordan

        Dec 7, 2018 at 10:13 pm

        Dude how do you get to that conclusion from that statement? Can you even read? Fergie is merely alluding to the challenge with amateur woman’s golf in America and how Asian countries do a better job at creating woman professional golfers currently.

      • Fergie

        Dec 7, 2018 at 11:51 pm

        Yeah, and the second fastest is Latino. So what? I said, grow the game in America, not grow the game for white women.
        I’ve been married to an Asian for 27 years.

        Who’s the bigot, now?

        • CaoNiMa

          Dec 8, 2018 at 1:57 am

          Prove it. Links to your home pages.
          If not, then you’re just another idiot troll who’s not very smart, who just complains on a place like this, thinking that complaining behind a concealed ID is being intelligent. It’s not. You’re not.

          • Fergie

            Dec 8, 2018 at 3:52 pm

            I’m not linking you to anything, Idiot.
            She’s half Chinese, half Pacific Islander. 100% naturalized US citizen.
            Not a ChiCom.

  26. I guess I’m an idiot

    Dec 7, 2018 at 11:08 am

    The Masters is easily my favorite major of the year, but for people to completely ignore Augusta National’s shady, racist past just shows how out of touch people are. The fact that woman who are way better than any of you will ever be, simply want an opportunity to play competitive golf at the #1 course in the world, and that is a future you wouldn’t condone, is unbelievable. What do you tell your daughters?

    • Jamie

      Dec 7, 2018 at 12:32 pm

      That you’re an idiot. Are you even capable of procreation, cakeboy? Augusta is a private club and can make its own rules. Women can start their own club and have their own tournaments. But I guess it’s just easier to tell gov to take from others and redistribute?

      • I guess I’m an idiot

        Dec 7, 2018 at 3:28 pm

        Dude, so let me understand this. Because I’m arguing that women should have the ability to play an event at the best course in the country, you’re questioning my ability to procreate?

        Being a middle aged man with a name like Jamie, I can tell you’ve dealt with some shit. Either that or it sounds like some woman ran an absolute TRAIN on you at some point in your life. Sorry about that man.

    • Brian

      Dec 7, 2018 at 3:21 pm

      They tell them how to be submissive to their future husbands. They tell them to learn how to cook and clean. They tell them it’s an honor to be looked upon with desire by men. But they don’t tell them anything empowering, because that might detract from their “masculinity”.

      I’m glad we’re banging the same drum here. People know it takes money to make the game grow, but no one wants to be the one to take on the big risk to help the game make money. They’ll only jump on board once it’s safe to do so. Let the women play anywhere they want to. It’s obscene that this is still considered normal and acceptable.

      Keep telling the truth. You’re one of the good ones.

    • Scheiss

      Dec 7, 2018 at 3:49 pm

      Two words, Idiot:
      Lingerie Football

  27. alexdub

    Dec 7, 2018 at 10:53 am

    Interesting that you reference the need for inclusivity in the sport. Isn’t that what ANGC has done with the amateur women’s event? Although professional women’s golf is noticeably short-sided with respect to coverage and attention in the golf world, women’s golf at the amateur level is discriminated and excluded at an exponentially higher level. Outside of the inclusion of women in USGA events and the widespread adoption of women’s golf at the collegiate level, ANGC’s new amateur event might be considered one of the most significant milestones ever in women’s golf.

  28. Snowflakes suck

    Dec 7, 2018 at 10:45 am

    It’s a private club. They can do whatever the hell they want.

    If you don’t like it, then maybe you should work your ass off and become a millionaire, then get invited by having a select group of friends in the right places and change their ways.

    Until then…Get lost, losers.

    • eric

      Dec 7, 2018 at 7:53 pm

      “It’s a private club. They can do whatever the hell they want.
      If you don’t like it, then maybe you should work your ass off and become a millionaire, then get invited by having a select group of friends in the right places and change their ways.
      Until then…Get lost, losers.”

      This a billion times over. I’ll never play Augusta. LIfe isn’t fair, I’ll get over it and someday I’ll die.

  29. Clay

    Dec 7, 2018 at 10:44 am

    It would be fun to watch the LPGA play at Augusta, BUT it is a private club and they hold the right to pick and choose who plays their course. Why do we continue to attack private organizations in this country?

    • Jordan's still an idiot

      Dec 7, 2018 at 10:46 am

      Because people are morons.

      • JP

        Dec 7, 2018 at 2:38 pm

        These same people would embrace socialism.

        Don’t earn it, b*#%ch about it until it’s given to you…

    • I guess I’m the idiot

      Dec 7, 2018 at 11:13 am

      Absolutely let them choose. It’s their club do what they want. Just don’t be surprised to get backlash. It took them until 1983 to stop exclusively using staffed black caddies. So I figure we’re on pace for an LPGA event by 2038?

      • AL

        Dec 7, 2018 at 7:12 pm

        News flash shit happened in the past and they corrected it. You dont like it stop watching Augusta events. Im sick of dumb ass people constantly beating a dead horse. I laugh when idiots act like men hate women or something. Women ARE NOT discriminated against. Mens entire lives are dedicated to making women happy. We all have mothers and wives and girlfriends who we love. Hell most of the time its the people crying foul who are really the non tolerant hateful types who cant stand anyone who speaks the truth to them. How about we have real equality and just allow anyone and everyone play in one league?

  30. Jordan

    Dec 7, 2018 at 10:41 am

    Some of these comments are amazing. I figure we have 20 more years of these old blowhards before they start dying off. After they suck social security dry of course.

    • Jordan's an idiot

      Dec 7, 2018 at 10:42 am

      Dear idiot,

      They paid into Social Security just like you and I. Are you saying they don’t deserve it?

      • Jordan

        Dec 7, 2018 at 10:55 am

        It’s not our problem these good ole boy traditionalists were 1 of 8-10 siblings who all have zero future translatable workforce skills that they have to bleed social programs dry all because the future is “changing too fast for them”. But atelast they’ll get to watch good ole boys play golf at Augusta once a year.

  31. T

    Dec 7, 2018 at 10:29 am

    How do you write an article supporting the LPGA and not include any of the 4 players ranked above Lexi Thompson that aren’t American as “worldwide superstars”? Nothing against Lexi, Lydia Ko and Michelle Wie but the international players are easily the biggest worldwide draw for the LPGA. This is super transparent and pretty clearly written by somebody who doesn’t watch much LPGA golf.

  32. Thomas A

    Dec 7, 2018 at 10:21 am

    Bring it on. Let the old guard fade away in their stubborn stupidity as they should.

    • Yep, Jordan's still an idiot

      Dec 7, 2018 at 10:49 am

      Private club’s can do whatever they want. It has nothing to do with “The old guard”

  33. Dr Troy

    Dec 7, 2018 at 10:09 am

    No….No….No….They have their own venues. Sorry, not sorry.

  34. Brian McGranahan

    Dec 7, 2018 at 10:05 am

    An SJW at his worst.

    Why can’t the LPGA have it’s own majors. Why do some women and other SJW think women have to ride the coattails of men, i.e the wnba, lpga, wta?

    Why aren’t the 5 majors they already have enough?

    • Marcus Aurelius

      Dec 7, 2018 at 10:31 am

      If I could somehow super like this comment.. I would. It is OK to have separate venues for men and women. “Progress” has been overused and weaponized to push leftist narratives and disrupt normal behavior – along with many other made up neologisms of the 21st century, especially those ending in ‘ist’,’ia’ and ‘obe’.

      • Jordan

        Dec 7, 2018 at 10:46 am

        Women who are way better than you’ll ever be want to play competitive golf at the best course in the world, and you’re saying this is apart of a liberal narrative? WHAT?!

        Also, who the hell are you to say what “normal behavior” is in the first place?

        Jesus I hope you don’t have a daughter. She’s probably either a maid, seamstress, or a midwife by now.

      • JD

        Dec 7, 2018 at 10:58 am

        Who are you and why are you dictating what normal is?

        • Marcus Aurelius

          Dec 7, 2018 at 11:11 am

          Irrelevant comment – I’m not ‘dictating’ anything. Although I know who you are.. A soy-boy that probably cucks on most issues.

          • JD

            Dec 7, 2018 at 11:19 am

            Very active republican from the great state of Ohio. I think you’ve floated a little too far right of the bell curve though sir. Come back over a little more towards middle. It’s peaceful over here.

            • Marcus Aurelius

              Dec 7, 2018 at 11:26 am

              No bro, you need to wake up. You probably wont and continue your life as an NPC unfortunately.

  35. david forsythe

    Dec 7, 2018 at 10:01 am

    Who is this kid? “….its murky past”.
    Stop please.

  36. JP

    Dec 7, 2018 at 9:46 am

    I disagree.

    I also think it was wrong to ever let a female play Augusta National. The old ways had it right.

    • Golfer Girl

      Dec 7, 2018 at 10:42 am

      As a female who has had the privilege of playing Augusta National, to someone who probably never will, kindly f off.

      • JP

        Dec 7, 2018 at 2:31 pm

        metoo privileged.

        • Jordan

          Dec 7, 2018 at 3:46 pm

          To help you, this was about sexual abuse, and we’re talking about golf here. Keep it together JP!!!

          I bet you were real confused when you forgot why you burned all your Nike stuff too.

          • JP

            Dec 7, 2018 at 10:39 pm

            I burned my nike shyyt because Kaepernig acts like an unpatriotic pig

            • Yes sirrr

              Dec 8, 2018 at 8:56 pm

              I feel like you could benefit from a good ass kicking. I think it would really help you.

      • Jordan

        Dec 7, 2018 at 3:43 pm

        Change scares the shit out of these people. That’s awesome you got to play there.

        Now I’m going to go play an afternoon 9 with the Mrs. (she’s a 5 handicap, I know I’m blessed)

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Opinion & Analysis

From the GolfWRX Vault: How far should you hit your golf clubs?

Published

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Editor’s note: Jaacob Bowden‘s 2013 piece on how far a club “ought” to carry based on clubhead speed—i.e. how far you should hit your golf clubs–remains one of our most widely read pieces (thanks, Google search). And while seven years have passed since its publication, the data remains the same, and thus the piece remains just as relevant today. 

We’re happy to crack open the GolfWRX Vault for this excellent bit of writing. 


One of the nice things about having all this new fancy technological equipment like Trackman, Flightscope, ShotLink, etc., at various PGA Tour events is that distance data can be gathered for each of the players.

In case you haven’t come across it already, here are the approximate Trackman carry distance averages for men at the professional level.

Average PGA Tour Carry Distances (yards)

Club Carry
Driver (Total) 289
Driver (Carry) 269
3-Wood 243
5-Wood 230
Hybrid 225
3-Iron 212
4-Iron 203
5-Iron 194
6-Iron 183
7-Iron 172
8-Iron 160
9-Iron 148
PW 136

Pretty cool info. Perhaps they hit it farther than you might have thought…or maybe they hit less than you may have been lead to believe based on what you’ve seen on TV, read on the internet, etc.

Since I deal a lot with swing speed training and helping people in general hit the ball farther, a relatively common question I get is, “How far should I hit my clubs for my swing speed?”

Well, since we also know that the average driver swing speed on Tour typically runs around 112 to 113 mph, using a bit of algebra and the above distances we can approximate a guide for how far you could expect to hit the ball (assuming fairly consistent and solid contact) given your personal driver swing speed.

Here are those carry distances.

Approximate Carry Distances by Driver Swing Speed (mph)

 Approximate Carry Distances by Driver Swing Speed (mph)

I took the ranges down to 60 and 70 mph because those are swing speeds I’ll encounter when working with some amateur women and seniors. I also went up to 140 mph because numerous long drivers I’ve trained can get their drivers up that high (RE/MAX World Long Drive champions like Joe Miller, Jamie Sadlowski and Ryan Winther can actually reach over 150 mph).

Aside from using the chart as a general reference point, here are a few other things that I think are worth pointing out:

First, these numbers are based off how the average Tour player strikes the ball. Although Tour players are overall good ball strikers with all their clubs, most of them are actually not as efficient (the Tour average is about 2.58 yards/mph of swing speed) as they can be when it comes to distance with their drivers because on average they hit drives that launch too low and with too much spin.

LGPA Tour players (2.65 yards/mph of swing speed) and Professional Long Drivers are actually more distance efficient with their drivers…but that’s a topic for another article. The good news for you is that greater carry and total-driving distances can be achieved at all the range of swing speeds shown above if you are a more efficient driver than the average male tour player at 2.58 yards/mph of swing speed.

With a 2-degree change in driver loft and some minor adjustments made to his swing path, angle of attack, etc, one of my amateur students went from being an already above-average efficient driver at 2.61 yards/mph to an extremely efficient one at 2.75 yards/mph. So with no change to his 102 mph swing speed, he increased his driving distance average from 266 to 280. Then after some swing speed training, he got up to 112 mph and can now hit drives around 307 yards with that same efficiency of 2.75 yards/mph. That’s 41 more yards!

Second, the club distances are based on the driver swing speeds that you would get from a system like FlightScope and Trackman. So if at all possible, get yourself checked on one of those. Otherwise, if you measure with something like a Speed Stik (which measure higher in my experience), you could get a false sense of how far you might expect to hit the ball.

As another example, Sports Sensors Swing Speed Radars (SSR) also read faster. It should be pointed out that SSRs are still a great personal training aid, and because of their accuracy and relative affordability and portability, they are actually the radar I recommend in my swing speed training programs.

However, the Doppler radar in an SSR measures the fastest moving part of the club head (typically the toe) versus a Trackman or FlightScope, which each have proprietary algorithms to calculate the speed at the center of the club face. For this reason, SSRs will read about 5 to 12 percent faster, depending on how you as an individual move the driver through impact. If you have an SSR, just hit 5 to 10 balls with it and a Trackman or FlightScope at the same time and you’ll find out your personal difference for sake of comparison.

Third, the above numbers can be useful for a good general reference, but like I mentioned in my article about understand distance variance, recognize that carry distances can vary a lot depending on conditions. Slopes, wind, temperature, altitude, etc., are all things that can affect how far the ball flies, so remember to factor that in.

Fourth, keep in mind potential loft differences between your clubs and the ones here. As a general rule of thumb, club manufacturers have made their club lofts (especially in the irons) continually stronger over the years as a way of marketing and selling consumers the new clubs.

Many top Tour players are being paid to play the latest clubs, which could mean they might also be playing irons with stronger lofts than the set you are playing. This isn’t always the case, however, but it’s another thing to be aware of.

Last, once you start approaching less than 80 mph with the driver, notice how the distances start bunching up between clubs.  At this point, you start getting to an area where you really don’t need a full set of 14 clubs. If this is you, perhaps you might also find that you hit a 3-wood or 5-wood further than a normal driver.

My wife is very strong and athletic, however, as a beginner who doesn’t play or practice very much, she hasn’t developed much swing speed. For that reason, we got her fitted for a 9-club set of Wishon 730CLs, a set that is designed specifically for men and women with less than 80 mph of club head speed.

The shafts are very light, the driver is 16 degrees and only 42 inches, the fairway woods are 20 and 26 degrees (versus the commonly used 15- and 19-degree fairway woods), and the remaining hybrids/irons are gapped out in 6-degree loft increments (compared to the normal 3- or 4-degree). Also, since many beginners, lesser skilled players and those with slower swing speeds can struggle with really high lofted wedges, the highest lofted wedge in the set is 54 degrees.

All of these things combine to provide a driver that can actually be hit in the air for distance, clubs that have substantial distance gapping, plus it’s just less clubs in general to lug around and choose from.

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Opinion & Analysis

Barney Adams: Why we play golf

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I played golf the other day with friends. COVID-19 restrictions, but we got out. They will attest that I stunk, but that isn’t news or the basis for this piece.

Normally that kind of golfing experience has me in borderline depression searching for a swing change that I know will allow me to play at my fantasy level. What was remarkably different was the pleasure. Being outside, sunshine, fresh air, joking with friends, enduring the glares from my partner. It was four hours that were singular in their positivity made more so by the daily media barrage of doom and being essentially quarantined for all other activities.

To start, one of the great things about golf is when you play, it requires total concentration—world events, personal issues are put on hold. You see, golf isn’t fun, it’s hard and that element is what brings us joy no matter how small our victories.

I’ve played the game for some 70 years and studied it for 40, working in the industry. One of my favorite exercises over the years has been to ask someone who played recently to describe their best shot of their previous round. Immediate answers flow accompanied by a smile or whimsical expression. Whether it’s a tee shot, a chip, putt, it’s a moment of slaying the dragon. And this is golf. Not an 18 or even 9-hole score—one shot, immediate recall and the reason to play again.

We find ourselves today bordering on panic—daily feeds from the media, warning us, frightening us. For those who play the game, it is a needed respite. There have been some articles, and I’m sure more coming, about what will happen in the distant morning. Massive unemployment, lost wages, and crashing investment portfolios, a small sample. Sadly, the media is going to have bad news to emphasize for months to come and there is no question that some of the collateral damage will be human lives and financial well-being.

It’s easy to sit and critique humans making decisions. But when asked the question about affecting lives now or in the future, it’s way more complex. Political expediency focuses on the now knowing there will be a pivot down the road.

What does all this have to do with golf? The game provides an instant middle ground. People can have four hours in the sun and fresh air and the difficulty involved forces them to temporarily shelve daily tribulations. Even with reduced course services as a precaution, just the chance to go to bed at night knowing the weather looks great and you can escape to the course for a few hours…it’s something that brightens one’s outlook.

So, I’m championing the playing of golf, while accepting various related restrictions. I’m championing a few hours where we can forget the drama, the panic, and get our butts kicked by a little white ball. And when done, we’ll make arrangements to play again.

Oh yes, now that the internet is overflowing with tips from golf teaching experts, I really need to play, because I have this new move that is guaranteed, guaranteed, to produce 12 more yards off the tee. You see, it all has to do with the position of the shaft vs. the left knee and…

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Opinion & Analysis

Everyone sucks at golf sometimes

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“Golf is a game whose aim is to hit a very small ball into an even smaller hole, with tools singularly ill-designed for the purpose.”

This quote dates back over 100 years, and has been credited to a number of people through history including Winston Churchill and U.S. President Woodrow Wilson. Although the game and the tools have changed a lot in 100 years, this quote remains timeless because golf is inherently difficult, and is impossible to master, which is exactly what also makes it so endearing to those that play it.

No matter how hard we practice, or how much time we spend trying to improve there will inevitably be times when we will suck at golf. Just like with other aspects of the game the idea of “sucking” will vary based on your skillset, but a PGA Tour player can hit a hosel rocket shank just as well as a 25 handicap. As Tom Brady proved this past weekend, any golfer can have a bad day, but even during a poor round of golf there are glimmers of hope—like a holed-out wedge, even if it is followed by having your pants rip out on live TV.

I distinctly remember one time during a broadcast when Chris DiMarco hit a poor iron shot on a par 3 and the microphone caught hit exclaim “Come on Chris, you’re hitting it like a 4 handicap out here today” – the shot just barely caught the right side of the green and I imagine a lot of higher handicap golfers said to themselves ” I’d love to hit it like a 4 handicap!”. This is just one example of the expectations we put on ourselves even when most golfers will admit to playing their best when expectations are thrown out the window.

– Gary Larson

Dr. Bob Rotella says golf is not a game of perfect, and that’s totally ok. The game is about the constant pursuit of improvement, not perfection and with that in mind there are going to be days when no matter what we just suck.

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