Golf Ball Driving Distance; the New Normal

8/16/2015: The new normal on the PGA tour for average driving distance is 289.8 yards

After the third round at the PGA Championship the leaders driving distancess in yards were as follows.

Day: 306
Spieth: 287
Grace: 297
Rose: 304
Kaymer: 290
Finau: 305
Jones: 309

Day is 15 under par. Furyk is 5 under par, playing really well with driving average of 277 yards. He is about 25 yards shorter than the leaders. He is hitting 2 or more clubs than these guys on par 4’s. He is taking 3 shots to the par 5’s to get on the green where Day sometimes hits the par 5s green with a 5 iron after a 370 yard drive in the middle of the fairway. Go figure!

Before the “rabbit” ball in golf a drive of 250 yards was really special with a ballata constructed golf ball. For reference the rules of golf used to establish par related to length of the hole. A par 3 was anything up to 260 yards. A par 4 was 260 to 450 yards. Par 5 was above 460 yards. The length of the golf course would be 6500 yards.

Today on PGA tour we see 505 yard par 4’s and 600 plus par 5’s. Courses now are designed to be 8000 yards total.

I think the players are more physically fit, perfected technique, plus the spring effect of the golf club face helped and finally got controlled, but the culprit is the modern golf ball.

ANCIENT HISTORY: For the record, on July 5, 1955 (just 60 years ago) I made a hole in one at the 8th hole at Burroughs Farms Golf Club in Brighton, Michigan. It was a 265 yard par 4. I hit the ballata ball in with a 3 wood and the 3 wood head was wood and not metal.