Hey golfers!

I want to talk about something that 99% of golfers strive for more of – distance! We all want to hit the ball a mile! Furthermore, according to the manufacturer’s marketing claims we should indeed be hitting the ball about 600 yards by now  (yea right). However when compared to Jack and Arny’s era, the increase in driving distance is arguably the most-changed aspect of golf.

Look at it this way – Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus each had average driving distance of about 275 yards! I know a lot of us would kill to have an average driving distance of that distance, but today’s pros have drastically surpassed that number.

Rory averages around 305, Spieth averages roughly 290, and DJ rounds out the top of driving averages at around 316 yards! So clearly, something has changed significantly in the game.

What has this change led to? Most notably longer courses – remember when Tigers dominance led to Augusta “Tiger Proofing” their course – setting up bunkers and narrowing fairways right where his average drives would land. Another example, I recently played Bethpage Black from the tips and was hitting driver 6/5/4 irons or even woods into greens. Granted “The Black” is known for being a long course and comes with a warning label but still, that was a very tough mental and physical challenge.

It also had led to governing bodies of the PGA’s R&A committee to regulate driver technology – C.O.R limit (Coefficient of Restitution) on face flex, driver head size, etc. Prior to 2003 it was a free-for-all on technology with banned drivers being sold on black markets and eBay. However, now technology has essentially been “maxed out” in terms of distance capabilities. You are now seeing more and more forgiving drivers with less spin, lighter shafts, etc. all in the pursuit of distance. As a result, the average distance on tour is hovering around 280 yards with a few outliers (Bubba, Dj, Jason Day).

People think that distance has gotten “out of control” and is “killing the game.” I disagree with this – I believe it is helping make the game easier and more fun for people.  Golf courses have evolved, clothing styles have changed, and head technology has rapidly improved. Now it might make the game harder for a person with a 30 year old persimmon driver since the courses have been lengthens hundreds of yards, but for the rest of us it is making it easier!

At the end of the day, nothing fuels a person’s ego more than booming a drive down the fairway; it is what keeps us coming back.

What are your thoughts?

Is distance what you look for in every club? What impact do you believe it is having on golf?