“This is the Year.” It’s time to pick a PGA of Canada golf coach, dedicate yourself to instruction, practice and more play. The USGA online suggests that amateur golfers’ average score (scores reported online handicapping) is 91, and it is estimated that a true average including non-reporting golfers would likely be 100.
When I ask golfers what they think the average score is on the PGA Tour the most common answer is 68. PGA (LPGA) Tour average score in 2021 was 71.3 (71.5). That should tell you how incredible a round of par golf is considering 72 is a quite common par for golf courses.
When setting your expectations for the coming year be optimistic. But when it comes to setting measurable goals, make sure you instill a dose of realism or you will likely end up disappointed. To help you do this I want to share some statistics from pgatour.com and lpgatour.com from the 2021 season. We will look at various aspects of the game which you may consider in your improvement plan. Improve your game in these areas and you will move your average score in the direction you desire.
Driving the ball – Tour players hit the fairway 65% (73%) of the time off the tee. It is critical to put your ball in play off the tee as this is often where many of our penalty shots occur. It sets up the hole for success. But don’t be too hard on yourself when you don’t hit every fairway, the pros are missing one-third of the fairways.
Greens in regulation (GIR) – Tour players hit the green with a chance of birdie 65% (LPGA 70%) of the time. Again, they are missing the green a third of the time. This means they hit 12 of 18 greens in a round of golf. Think about your game and the level you are at. How many greens should you be hitting in a round to help you achieve the improvement you desire?
Scrambling – Shots from in and around the green. PGA tour players average 50% (LPGA 43%) on sand saves. Have you made greenside bunker play part of you practice routine / part of your pre-game warm up?
From inside 30 yards – The PGA tour percentage to get up and down is 28% (LPGA not available). Whenever I am doing a short game school, I encourage my students to challenge themselves with 18 holes scrambling in and around the green. Making your objective two shots on every hole. This gives you a quick barometer of how good you are in and around the green. And is also a fantastic way to practice all these crazy shots.
Putting – When you start to read the stats on pgatour.com, the volume of putting stats will blow your mind. The tour average putts in a game is 31.8 for the PGA and 30.3 for the LPGA. Just under two putts per hole. It’s not unrealistic for all golfers to practice and play with an expectation of no more than two putts per hole. Do better than that and you are as good as the pros!
Setting improvement for your average score can be met only with looking at all aspects of your game. Compare yourself with some of the pros. You might be surprised how good you are at certain things, but also identify the areas you need to work on the most. Don’t beat yourself up – press in an area where you are already at tour level.