A new joint report released by the USGA and R&A, charting driving distances on various tours since 2003, has shown that distance gains over this period is more marginal than originally thought.
The review, which included data from the female tours for the first time, examines driving distances from seven of the major professional golf tours, based on approximately 285,000 drives per year.
The report offers an interesting take on the well-held view that many traditional golf courses are now too short for the modern-day golfer, with drives only increasing on average by .2 yards per year.
The statistics suggest that in this period the average driving distance on the PGA Tour went from 285.9 yards to 290 yards, a surprisingly small 1.5 percent increase. Whilst the number of players launching it over 300 yards has shot up dramatically, the report went on to explain that the average launch conditions on the PGA Tour - clubhead speed, launch angle, ball, spin rates, etc. - have been "relatively stable since 2007.”
Whilst it’s difficult to attest that the longest players aren’t getting longer, the report suggests that calls to place restrictions on equipment manufacturers before players' length make a mockery of the game may be exaggerated.
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