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Golf Monthly
Golf Monthly
Mike Hall

How Far PGA Tour Players Carry Their Drives

Rory McIlroy during the Tour Championship at East Lake.

The driving distance debate is one that stubbornly refuses to go away… although that’s something governing bodies the USGA and The R&A are probably hoping will change within a few years.

That’s because they have confirmed golf ball rollback plans that will see driving distances reduced at every level of the game, starting in 2028 in the professional game and from 2030 elsewhere. But how far do PGA Tour players currently carry their drives, and how will the changes affect the numbers?

Carry distance is an important stat to know, but why? Well, it’s one thing to know how far your drives have travelled after the ball has come to a stop, but if you’re weighing up potential problems ahead from the tee box, such as water, bunkers or rough, carry distance is the priority.

According to figures released by Trackman, which also show how far PGA Tour players hit every club in the bag, players on the circuit carry their drives an average 275 yards. 

That's over nine yards more than in 2007, when the PGA Tour began keeping carry distance records. Back then, the average carry distance was 265.7 yards. As with driving distances on the PGA Tour, that has increased over the years, but it won't stay on that trajectory indefinitely, because of the changes coming in 2028. 

That will see the game’s longest hitters lose between 13 and 15 yards of their total driving distance. However, the average elite male player will not be as affected and can expect a reduction of between nine and 11 yards. Naturally, this will have an effect on carry distance, too. 

Of course, the very longest hitters and average elite players are all part of the overall Trackman average, but it’s probably safe to assume that the average carry distance after the rollback will be around 10 yards shorter, or approximately 265 yards - in other words, somewhere close to the 2007 level.

But what about the biggest hitter? After all, the further a player drives the ball, the more distance he will lose after the rollback. According to the PGA Tour website, Rory McIlroy, a key figure who supports the change, is at the top of the list for the 2022/23 season with an average driving distance of 326.3 yards.

Rory McIlroy supports the golf ball rollback plan (Image credit: Getty Images)

Let’s say that average comes down by the top figure given by the governing bodies once the change comes in – 15 yards. That will reduce his average driving distance to 311.3 yards, or a 4.5% hit.

McIlroy’s average carry distance for the same season is 307.4 yards and 4.5% of that is 13.8 yards. That means his carry distance could come down to around 293.6 yards after the rollback.

How Far PGA Tour Players Carry Their Driver

  • Club speed (mph): 113
  • Attack angle (deg): -1.3
  • Ball speed (mph): 167
  • Smash factor: 1.48
  • Launch angle (deg): 10.9
  • Spin rate (rpm): 2686
  • Max height (yards): 32
  • Land angle (deg): 38
  • Carry (yards): 275

Numbers: Trackman

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