How far does the average pro golfer walk each year?

By
Daniel Wilco
PGA.com

Series: Golf Buzz

Published: Monday, June 19, 2017 | 10:45 p.m.

If you watched the U.S. Open last week you probably heard broadcasters mention the 9-mile walk players and caddies faced at Erin Hills. That made us wonder: Exactly how far does the average PGA Tour pro walk in a year? And how does that compare to participants in other sports?

The short answer: a long way. More than any other professional athlete.

The average course length on the PGA Tour is approximately 7,200 yards. That’s 4.09 miles. And the average PGA Tour pro plays 78 rounds per year. Combine those two stats and you get 319 miles traveled by the average pro every season.

Of course, this can vary depending on the player. Danny Lee played 120 PGA Tour rounds in 2015. That averages out to about 491 miles. On the other end of the spectrum, Louis Oosthuizen played just 46 rounds on the PGA Tour that year — a measly 188 miles.

But 319 miles is what we're going with, though this does not take into account any majors or rounds played on other tours.

So how does that compare to professional athletes in other sports? Good question.

Before we go any further, yes, we realize there is a difference between walking a mile in golf and sprinting it in football or soccer. Our aim is to compare the distance traveled, not the difficulty of that travel.

For some sports, that distance was straightforward to calculate.

According to Gizmodo, motion-tracking studies have recorded how far an average athlete moves during play in a handful of sports, such as soccer, tennis, basketball, football, and baseball. Some were easier to track than others (the study on baseball only counted baserunning, as fielding distance was minimal and difficult to track), and the data is not all-encompassing, but it does give us a good idea:

 

Golf (benefited by a year-long season) leads the pack by quite a lot. But let's put that into perspective.

How far exactly is 319 miles? Well that’s the same as…

  • 12 marathons (with one and a half 5Ks left over)
  • 10,268 laps of an Olympic pool (so, a brisk warm-up for Michael Phelps)
  • 17,918 lengths of an NBA court (also known as the never-ending "ladder" drill)
  • 5,614 lengths of an NFL field (a much more manageable 4,679 lengths if you include the end zones)
  • 7.8 times as many yards as Peyton Manning threw in his career for the NFL record (he could eat a lot of Papa Johns in that time)
  • 14.7 percent of the Tour de France (just keep pedaling!)
  • The distance between Monterey, California, and Los Angeles (just 64 miles short of LA to San Francisco)
  • 6.7 lengths of Rhode Island, from North to South (8.6 from East to West)
  • 0.13 percent of the way from the Earth to the Moon (hey, that’s just 749 seasons of walking, one giant leap after giant leap)
  • 1,907 lengths of the Titanic (if you need a break, we heard there's still water in the oceanliner's swimming pool)
  • 47 times the depth of the Mariana Trench, the deepest part of the ocean (bring a flashlight)
  • 43 times the cruising altitude of a passenger jet (this is not a recommended altitude for golf, or existing)

So yeah… that’s kind of far. Hope they have comfy shoes.

Sources: Gizmodo; GolfPredictor; RunnersWorld; LowRound