How far is 'average'?

Published 13/07/2008 09:38:25

A lot of golfers get bogged down in the numbers game, analysing their every shot, loft, number of spikes in their shoes, buttons on their trousers etc etc. It all makes us feel better when we hit another errant shot. But a lot of poeple would like to know just what average is, so let's crunch some of the numbers.


What is the average handicap?


According to this extract from the Daily Mail , the average for men and women is 15.2. However the average score is well over 100. Why such a disparity? Well, the majority of scores posted are by keen golfers; i.e. those who play often enough to get their handicap lower. Plus you're less likely to post that 115 in the rain...

Are people honest about their handicap?


Golf digest states almost 90% of handicaps are truthful. What about the other 10%? These fall into the following categories:

  • Sandbaggers: these post artificially high scores so they have more of an advantage in net competitions. They may post very few scorecards, or even simply cheat to make their scores worse. They make up around 2% of golfers.
  • Vanity handicappers: the opposite of sandbaggers, these golfers post only their very best scores, or embellish them to appear better. It is estimated these make up around 10% of golfers.


Scratch that, where are the driving distances?


A study from demonstrated that the average drive for a 90-95 scoring male golfer is just 192 yards. For women scoring 95-100, the figure is 145 yards.

These figures taken from average golfer represent a lower handicap player:

  • Average driver distance, men: 200-260 yards.
  • Average driver distance, women: 150-200 yards.
  • Average 6 iron, men: 130-160 yards.
  • Average 6-iron, women: 70-130 yards.
  • Average pitching wedge, men: 80-120 yards.
  • Average pitching wedge, women: 50-80 yards.
Golfers overestimate their drivers by anything up to 20-30+ yards. However lower handicap players tend to be more accurate in their assessment.

How long should a round of golf take?


A round of golf is commonly quoted as lasting around 4-5 hours. However this increases or decreases depending on your handicap. A study showed that 60% of use take 4-5 hours, however 40% of 0-9 handicappers get a round done in under 4 hours. 10% of 30+ handicappers take 5-6 hours to finish a round. Looking for their lost balls presumably.


Sources - research done in 2004 inviting a wide selection of golfers to offer suggestions and opinions.
Average golfer


1.  This site says high handicap golfers take 5-6 hours. At least they finish. I often quit because I am out of ammo

comment by mark adams - 18/01/2014 13:44

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