New study reveals exactly how much 10 more yards would help your game

How much would adding — or losing — 10 yards help your game? A new study breaks it down, and you might be surprised by the results.

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Welcome to Play Smart, a game improvement column and podcast from editor Luke Kerr-Dineen to help you play smarter, better golf.

You may have found yourself wondering at some point over the past few years why so many pros are so intent on trying to squeeze some extra distance out of their games. It’s funneled down to the amateur ranks, too. I’m constantly trying to wring a few extra yards out of my swing. You’re probably the same. Equipment companies are doing it on the club side, too. And so, we return to the question:

Why is golf so obsessed with adding a few extra yards to drives?

The answer, quite simply, is because it really helps.

Lou Stagner, the data lead over at Arccos Golf, recently conducted a study to see exactly how much it helped. Stagner and his team at Arccos analyzed all the golfers in their database who, in the space of one offseason, gained (or lost) 10 yards or more with their driver (golfers needed to have recorded at least 25 rounds to qualify).

Whether it was via swing changes, a new equipment upgrade, a more focused workout plan or something else didn’t matter. They simply wanted to see how golfers fared after gaining 10 yards in one offseason. They also, crucially, analyzed players who lost 10 yards in the space of one season, to see how they fared.

The data proved quite revealing.

Of the players who gained 10 yards…

  • 65 percent of golfers dropped at least one stroke from their average score.
  • 81 percent improved their overall stroke average.
  • The group of distance-gainers saw their average score drop 1.8 strokes overall.

And on the the flip side, of those golfers who lost 10 or more yards…

  • About 65 percent of golfers saw their scoring average go up.
  • 45 percent averaged at least one more shot per round.
  • The distance-losers added 0.79 strokes per round to their average score.

In all, Stagner went on to say, adding 10 yards to your game equates to about a one stroke lower scoring average.

You can watch the full segment, which originally aired on Golf Channel, below. And if you need me in the meantime, I’ll be busy speed training.

You can listen to the full 10-minute episode below, and subscribe to the Play Smart podcast on Apple here, or on Spotify right here.

Luke Kerr-Dineen Contributor

Luke Kerr-Dineen is the Game Improvement Editor at GOLF Magazine and In his role he oversees the brand’s game improvement content spanning instruction, equipment, health and fitness, across all of GOLF’s multimedia platforms.

An alumni of the International Junior Golf Academy and the University of South Carolina–Beaufort golf team, where he helped them to No. 1 in the national NAIA rankings, Luke moved to New York in 2012 to pursue his Masters degree in Journalism from Columbia University. His work has also appeared in USA Today, Golf Digest, Newsweek and The Daily Beast.