Golf Data Chat: COVID-19, the distance debate, and more
Coaching, Podcast

Golf Data Chat: COVID-19, the distance debate, and more

Arccos Golf has collected over 200 million golf shots and has 300,000 active users logging their rounds. We chat with their CEO and co-founder, Sal Syed about what they’re seeing during the COVID-19 pandemic and talk about driver distance over the last 3 years.

Syed talks about the current COVID-19 pandemic and how it has affected golf rounds, and surprisingly, it hasn’t deterred rounds much at all.

Syed says that in February the average number of rounds from Arccos users was actually up, and with golf being one of the more attractive offerings while “social distancing” it can be fairly attractive to the public going forward.

Average driving distance

Arccos Golf has recorded over 200 million shots with the system, so it is interesting to see what they have found in regards to the ongoing distance debate. Is the ball going too far? Is technology ruining the game? Well, it depends what type of player you are looking at.

According to Arccos, the average driving distance has actually gone DOWN since 2017, from 224 in 2017 to 222 in 2019. What does this mean?

Well if you are a fan of bifurcation, this could be an argument on your side. The greatest players in the world are annihilating golf courses, consistently driving the ball over 315 yards.

So for the average golfer, technology has not made much of a difference in driving distance, while for the best players in the world it gives the players an optimal setup to hit it further.

One of the reason’s this could be the case is that hitting the ball a long way is a constant skill.

For example, Jordan Spieth is one of the best putters in the world, but when Spieth has on off day on the greens, it drastically affects his scores.

Dustin Johnson however, is one of the longer players on tour and that skill doesn’t go away. If DJ is long on a Monday he will also be long on a Friday, anywhere in the world.

This makes it much easier to be consistent throughout the rest of your game knowing that you will always be closer to the hole than you used to be.

How much does distance change by handicap?

You probably have guessed it but… there’s no doubt better players hit it farther. And hit it quite a bit farther.

There’s a whopping 13 yard difference between a 0-5 handicap and 6-10. For a lot of us if we want to improve and lower our handicaps gaining more distance is key.

And if you’re in the 20-29 age range… lucky you! You’re hitting the ball on average farther than any other age group.

For more interesting insights from all of the data Arccos has been collecting listen into the podcast and make sure to listen and subscribe on APPLE PODCASTS or SPOTIFY

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Founder and chief curator of the Golf Science Lab. Documenting what's going on in the world of research and beyond that can help you play your best golf on the golf course (when it counts). Join the movement of researched based coaching over trusting beliefs and what worked for one person a few decades ago. Follow on Twitter