Oftentimes, PGA Tour professionals show their true potential by hitting bombs of drives that carry 300+ yards, draining 25+ foot putts, or putting approach shots really close to, or even in the hole to make spectacular birdies, eagles, and the occasional ace. These jaw-dropping moments are a crucial part of keeping the excitement and interest in watching golf on TV, however is this truly an accurate representation of the average Tour player?
Now, there is certainly a wide range of ability throughout the PGA Tour, but they can’t all be at the level of players like Jon Rahm, Dustin Johnson, or Justin Thomas. Despite this wide range of players and their abilities on the course, many golfers and fans seem to assume that the average pro on the Tour is better than they actually may be. Many are left with a slightly skewed view of what an average pro looks like during a round – or even an above average pro on an average day – and that’s mostly due to what we see on TV.
Televised golf is essentially a long, live highlight reel, showing the best shots as well as the key misses of the day. This is mainly to keep fans’ interest while watching because, let’s be honest, none of us have time to watch every shot of every player’s round. Doing this also allows for more excitement with less time on air for TV channels.
Although this allows us to focus on exclusively the important shots, it gives us an unrealistic view on how good any given Tour player really is. But believe it or not, understanding the truth about what it means to be as good as a PGA pro can actually take some pressure off the recreational golfer as they start to realize how close they might be to the average pro’s statistics.
Let’s take a look at some of the average statistics of the PGA Tour from this year so far.
To start, the average greens in regulation percentage on Tour this year so far is 67.62%. That might seem like a big number at first, but when you break it down and do some simple math, that means that in the average 18 hole round, the average Tour player hits 12 greens in regulation which is very possible for a low to mid handicap golfer.
Secondly, the average proximity to the hole on an approach shot from the fairway on the PGA Tour is 36 feet and 9 inches. That means that when a Tour pro hits an approach shot from the fairway, it will stop on average a little more than 36 feet from the hole. That seems like a big difference from the super tight approach shots we’re used to seeing on TV that land within 5 or 10 feet and then check up really fast. This is a statistic that is very achievable by the average golfer, professional or not. Next time you hit an approach shot from the fairway to 30 feet and get mad about leaving yourself with a long putt, think again because you just beat the average Tour shot.
Feeling better about your game already? Wait until you hear this final statistic…
The average percentage of made putts greater than 10 feet long on the PGA Tour is only 15.37%. This means that only about 15% of the time a Tour player has a putt from anywhere past 10 feet from the hole, they make it. It also means that 85% of the time they have a putt like that, they miss it. Now think back to your last round and how many times you had a putt outside of 10 feet. Then think about how upset you most likely were that you missed that putt because it cost you par or birdie. Still mad about it? Next time, think about how on average, even a PGA Tour professional misses a putt like that 85% of the time.
The statistics we’ve discussed here are just one set of measurements of a PGA professional’s overall game. The true difference between a PGA professional and even the highest skilled amateurs is consistency. Any player can achieve occasional greatness, but doing it four times a week, week in and week out is what distinguishes a professional from an average low handicap golfer.
But next time you’re on the course and having a really great round, remember these statistics and think about how easily you can match some of them.