What’s The Difference Between A Pro And A Scratch Golfer?

Have you ever wondered how close you are to being able to play professionally? Peter Sanders, a golf statistician and consultant to the best players in the world, took data from his strokes gained website, ShotByShot.com, and came up with the tangible difference between scratch golfers and touring pros, extrapolating the data for a post on GolfWRX.com

The results are fascinating as Sanders breaks down which parts of the pros’ games separate themselves from the best players at your home course.

Here are some of the article’s highlights

My experience tells me that there is no such thing as an average game, no matter the handicap level. We’re all snowflakes and find our own unique way to shoot our number. With that said, ShotByShot.com’s 260,000+ round database enables us to create a composite sketch of the average golfer at each level. One of the beauties of our averages is that they are smooth across all five major facets so that every individual golfer’s strengths and weaknesses — and we all have them — stand out clearly by comparison.


The chart above shows us that the biggest piece of the 5.5-shot pie falls into the Driving category, or Distance, which makes sense to me. To play the game for a living, one must be able to hit it straight and far. Even Zach Johnson, with whom I have had the great pleasure of working with for five years, is often considered a short hitter. I contend that he is simply more intelligent and recognizes the true value of accuracy. Zach is averaging 281 yards this year, only seven off of the Tour average. Short? Not by my standards.

The chart below indicates that the driving distance gap between the Tour and Mr. Scratch is 33 yards. The average approach shot distance on the PGA Tour is 175 yards. Adding the 33 yards to all 14 driving holes puts Mr. Scratch’s average approach distance at just over 205 yards. The Strokes Gained value of this added distance is 2.52 strokes (0.18 per attempt x 14 driving holes = 2.52).

The whole article is interesting as Sanders breaks down each aspect of the game and where pros make their difference. And depending on your level of confidence, this will either crush your dreams or give them more fuel.



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