Lou Stagner's Newsletter #30

How Far is a "Good" Drive?

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How Far is a Good Drive?

The best way to measure your performance is using strokes gained. Hopefully you are using something like Arccos Golf to track your stats (Use code DATALOU15 to save 15%).

When it comes to strokes gained, what is a “good” shot?

Anytime you hit a tee shot that does not lose strokes, you have hit a VERY SOLID shot. You should celebrate these!

How far do you need to hit your tee shot so the strokes gained on that shot is 0.00 or better (e.g., you don’t lose strokes)?

The first table below shows how far you need to hit your tee shot to gain 0.00 strokes if you hit the fairway. The length of the hole is down the left side, and the handicap index is across the top.

For example, on a 300 yard hole, a 0 index player needs to hit their tee shot 205 yards into the fairway to gain 0.00 strokes. Anything longer than 205 yards will gain strokes. Anything shorter will lose strokes.

The second table is the same thing, but it’s for shots that finish in the rough.

My Thoughts

Please notice that as the hole gets longer, the difference between being in the fairway and being in the rough basically disappears.

If you have a 5 index or higher, on any hole 450 yards or longer, there is essentially no difference between being in the rough and being in the fairway.

The shorter the hole, the bigger the difference. For example, If a 10 index is playing a 325 yard hole, if they hit the fairway, they need to hit their tee shot 174 yards to gain 0.00 strokes. If they hit the rough, they need to hit their tee shot 196 yards to gain 0.00 strokes. That is a difference of 22 yards.

If that same 10 index is playing a 500 yard hole, if they hit the fairway the tee shot needs to travel 210 yards to gain 0.00 strokes and only 211 yards if they hit the rough. That is a difference of only 1 yard!

Just because there is a bigger yardage difference between fairway and rough on shorter holes does NOT mean your default should be laying up on these holes!

You should always hit the ball as far as you can, as often as you can, making sure to take into account penalty strokes and other hazards.

You can use the benchmarks above to help you better understand what a solid tee shot looks like.


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    Have a great week!

Lou Stagner