Friday, December 14, 2012

PGA driving distance and accuracy in the past 10 years

One would think there have been vast improvements in both these areas due to the equipment improvements/advancements we constantly hear on TV or read in Golf Publications. The big 3 golf companies promise us 10 more yards and more fairways hit every year it seems. However, if you look at the graph below, you will see the top ten longest hitting players on the PGA Tour have only gained 3.79 yards compared to the top 10 players from 10 years ago.
Driving accuracy has went the other way. 10 years ago, the top 10 most accurate golfers on the PGA Tour were hitting 4.78% more fairways then the top 10 players in 2012. This certainly doesn't seem right with all the adjustable drivers on the market today which allows for face angle adjustments which should help the golfer keep the ball on the fairway.
So why no big improvements in these areas contrary to what we are constantly promised by the Big 3 Marketing Departments? Because the rule-making bodies intentionally intended to limit golf club performance in these specific areas. The COR limits (how lively the face can be) were implimented 1/1/2003 and the 460cc rule went into effect 1/1/2004. So no driver since these dates can have a COR higher then .830 or be larger then 460cc. In other words, the actual driver heads themselves for 2013 can't possibly hit the ball any farther because the faces on these new driver heads can only be so "hot"....830 COR. But if a golfer does acquire a new driver that out performs their old driver, it has nothing to do with actual technology of the head itself (remember all that can be done has been done). The new driver performs better because it is a better "FIT" compared to their old driver's specs regarding loft, length, face angle, total weight, swing weight/MOI, shaft flex and shaft bend profile for that particular golfer's size, strength, athletic ability, and swing characteristics. So if you are looking to hit the ball longer and straighter, providing your current driver clubhead has the correct loft and face angle for your swing characteristics, a properly fit shaft may be all that is needed. Til next time...