LPGA Tour players have embraced new equipment technology and become physically stronger, allowing them to carry greater distances and hit longer shots with each club in the bag.
Back in the 1990s, power hitters like Dame Laura Davies stood out from the crowd and in 1992 when the LPGA first started collecting driving distance stats, Davies’ 258.87 yards was 20 yards longer than the next longest hitter, Juli Inkster.
To put this into context, in today’s modern era, Germany’s Polly Mack leads the 2023 LPGA average driving distance at 281.75 yards, and players such as Lexi Thompson, Nelly Korda and Emily Pedersen have the ability to consistently bomb their drives around 280 yards. Of course, there have been so many advancements in technology, but Davies’ driving distance in her heyday would now rank 65th on the list.
Over the last 5-10 years, most LPGA Tour players have seen their distances creep up. For example, in 2013 Spain’s Carlota Ciganda was driving the ball an average distance of 255 yards, but fast forward to 2023 and she’s gained over 10 yards with an average of 267 yards.
Six-time LPGA winner Celine Boutier is not one of the longest hitters but compared to when she joined the LPGA Tour in 2017 and drove the ball on average 235 yards, she’s upped that distance to 252 yards.
The latest Trackman data shows that LPGA Tour players carry their drives 218 yards with a clubhead speed of 94 mph, which encourages a ball speed of 140 mph and a maximum height of 25 yards off the ground.
By comparison, PGA Tour players carry the ball 275 yards off the tee with a clubhead speed of around 113 mph, a ball speed of 167 mph, which flies to a height of 32 yards.
As for female amateur golfers, and according to the latest Arccos data, on average they drive the ball 177 yards, which almost equates to the same carry distance of a female tour player’s 7-wood, which is 174 yards.
A 4-iron is Charley Hull's favourite club, but this is unusual in the women's game and it's interesting that the Trackman data does not include hybrids, which is nowadays a popular alternative to a long iron.
There is minimal difference in the carry distance between a 7-wood at 174 yards and 4-iron at 169 yards, but then the data shows consistent gapping of around 10 yards from a 5-iron at 161 yards down through the rest of the set to a PW, which these women carry around 107 yards.
HOW FAR LPGA TOUR PLAYERS HIT EVERY CLUB IN THE BAG
Data: Trackman, 2022