In 1997, John Daly became the first golfer on the PGA Tour to average more than 300 yards per drive. That year, he was more than 30 yards longer than the average Tour player.
Now, 21 years later, the entire PGA Tour averages 295.3 yards off the tee — the longest average ever. By the way that stat has been increasing over the past five years, don’t be surprised to see the Tour’s average break the 300 mark by 2024.
In 1980 (the first year that the PGA Tour’s driving distance stats are available), Dan Pohl led the field while averaging 274.3 yards per drive. The Tour average was a meek 256.89 yards.
Since then, the average driving distance has steadily increased, rocketing upwards in the ‘90s and early 2000s. For 13 years — from 1994 until 2006 — the average increased every year, which is the longest such string since 1980. During that stretch, Daly led the Tour off the tee eight years in a row.
While the progress has cooled off some since the mid-2000s, the average driving distance has increased every year since 2013 and is currently at its all-time high.
MORE: You might not be able to crush driver like Dustin Johnson, but you absolutely can get more distance off the tee. Here's how.
For reference, this is what the PGA Tour says about its method for recording this stat: "The average number of yards per measured drive. These drives are measured on two holes per round. Care is taken to select two holes which face in opposite directions to counteract the effect of wind. Drives are measured to the point at which they come to rest regardless of whether they are in the fairway or not."
Here’s the average driving distance and overall leader for every year since 1980:
|Year||Average Distance||Leader||Leader's average|
|1994||261.84||Davis Love III||283.8|
|1986||261.58||Davis Love III||285.7|