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The Distance Debate – How Age and Handicap Have an effect on Distance | MyGolfSpy


The story of distance on the beginner degree is, shock, shock…for all intents and functions unchanged since eternally – or a minimum of since folks began caring about it.

That basic reality is the rallying cry for beginner golfers each time the USGA, R&A, and anybody mentions something a couple of distance rollback.

Amateurs don’t hit the ball too far. They by no means have…and when you’re into demise and taxes type of ensures, you may in all probability add “common golfers obsoleting something longer than a pitch and putt” to the checklist.

The Lack of Distance Drawback

In 2020, the Arccos database common for photographs hit with a driver on par 4s and par 4s was 219 yards. Once we slim it down to simply males it jumps all the best way to 221. Girls averaged 171.

At this level, saying distance isn’t an issue on the beginner degree is little greater than stating the apparent, however that doesn’t imply there aren’t different insights price discussing.

Distance, Handicap, and Age

It ought to come as no specific shock that there are correlations to be discovered between distance, handicap, and age.

Whereas the Arccos information confirms that Father Time is undefeated, it’s maybe notable that Talent (handicap) is twice as impactful as age with regards to gaining, or I suppose sustaining distance.

The dangerous information is that Driving distance invariably declines with age, however the talent of the golfer has a a lot better affect than age. If you happen to’re like me, that final half can also be dangerous information.

As we work our method via the next charts, listed here are a couple of big-picture factors to remember.

1) As famous, talent is 2X as impactful as age with regards to gaining/sustaining distance. What this implies is driving distance modifications with age, however extra expert golfers nonetheless hit it farther. And talent has 2x the impression on distance as in comparison with a change in age.

2) The Highest charge of distance improve occurs in single-digit handicaps. For instance, the % change in driver distance evaluating a 25 HCP to a 20 HCP is 3.8%, however from a ten to a 5 it’s a change of 5.2% and from 5 to 0 is a 5.5%.

3) As we age, all of us begin hitting the ball shorter, however the information suggests ladies lose distance extra quickly than males do.

As you assessment the charts, please word, that males’s information makes use of a predictive mannequin. Knowledge proven is for golfers of the age and handicap present within the chart. It isn’t primarily based on a spread.

Knowledge within the ladies’s chart represents a spread of handicaps and ages. The quantity displayed within the chart represents the decrease finish of the vary. For instance, “15” represents golfers with handicaps of 15.1-20. The place the age is listed as 40, for instance, it consists of feminine golfers from 40-44 years outdated.


Arccos information suggests there’s a robust correlation between distance and handicap. Higher gamers hit it farther throughout all age brackets. The perfect gamers are usually round 60 yards longer than the very best handicap group, and whereas the charges of decline are comparable, higher gamers are most usually longer gamers.

As handicap decreases, distance usually will increase. There isn’t an enormous distinction between 25-year-olds and 35-year-olds of comparable skills, however as we transfer into our 40s the gaps start to widen. Sadly, it’s cheap to foretell additional declines into ours 70s and 80s, however the upside is you may play it ahead and nonetheless have time.

It’s a morbid expression, however it’s not unfaithful that as quickly as we’re born, we’re dying. Whereas distance within reason constant from mid-teens into our late 20s, as we strategy 30, the Arccos information suggests distance begins to dip. By age 70, male golfers usually have misplaced between 15% and 16% of their complete distance.

The quantity is notable for being within the ballpark of what the USGA is claimed to be contemplating for a rollback. Age will price you 15%. Think about shedding one other 15.

Driving Averages by Age

The next sequence of charts present the speed of distance improve throughout handicaps at totally different ages.

At every age, we discover roughly a 30% distinction in driving distance between 30 handicap and scratch male gamers.

Girls’s Driver Distance

Girls’s driver distance information from the Arccos system is much less linear and whereas there are factors of convergence that we don’t see within the males’s information, the fundamental guidelines are the identical.

As ladies enhance past a 15 handicap, we once more discover higher gamers are longer gamers. Amongst scratch golfers, 40-year-old ladies hit it almost so far as their 30-year-old counterparts.

The Arccos information means that by age 60 greatest feminine golfers have are hitting it 22% shorter than their youthful counterparts. Curiously, by 60, distance for 10 and 15 handicaps has evened out.

Whereas higher gamers nonetheless take pleasure in a big distance benefit, 165-yard drives don’t counsel a lot want for a rollback.

Whereas males about 30% longer throughout age brackets, ladies’s driving distance seems to be a bit much less predictable.

At 30 years outdated, the very best feminine gamers are about 45% longer than 20 hcp. At 40 the hole climbs to greater than 56 %, earlier than dipping into the excessive mid-40s and high-30s as ladies transfer into their 50s and 60s.

The Battle of the Sexes

The following sequence of charts compares the speed of decline throughout genders. It could increase some eyebrows, so enable me to remind you that I’m simply the messenger.

With that mentioned, the Arccos information suggests that ladies lose distance extra quickly with age.

Amongst scratch golfers, ladies’s distance trails males by between 27.1 and 48.5% relying on age. The hole is narrowest round 40 years outdated (26.6%), however by age 50 it’s pushing 40%. By age 60, ladies are almost 50% shorter than males.

As handicaps improve, the gaps widen additional. At a ten handicap, ladies are 38% shorter at age 30, and 65% shorter at age 60.

For 20 handicap golfers, the gaps are huge. At 30-years outdated, the very best handicap ladies golfers within the dataset are 53% shorter on common than their male counterparts. By age 60 the distinction is 77% – almost 100 yards.

Disagreeable Truths and Upside

At a minimal, the information confirms what we’ve mentioned all alongside. Distance isn’t an issue for the common golfer, and as we age, there’s an argument to be made that lack of distance is of better concern.

Father time stays undefeated however even with the misplaced distance, golf stays one thing we are able to proceed to take pleasure in (and preserve monitoring with Arccos) into our 70s, 80s, and past.