December 12, 2021
Lou Stagner / Twitter
The golf mini-offseason is just around the corner, meaning it’s time to dive into the burning questions of the game – and its random details too. Enter the Arccos Golf data team that decided to come up with the numbers of which state has the golfers with the longest drive.
Some of the numbers may surprise you. Some make a lot of sense. Either way, check them out and see if you live in the midst of some long bombers, short hitters, or somewhere in between.
For the study, Arccos looked at low handicap golfers – those who played between 0 and 5. And they only looked at the summer drives – the rounds played between May 15th and September 15th.
The study was done on a whim by Lou Stagner, Arccos’ data insights lead, who handled data requests from readers and received multiple requests for a breakdown by state. He added that he didn’t control age or other factors.
That is fun!! 😀
Average tee shot distance with driver by state.
This is for 0-5 handicaps.
I had no control over things like age. These are simply all players in that handicap range.
Thanks for the question @Blurbzzzzzz
** Data from @ArccosGolf pic.twitter.com/KvhU36SGLc
– Lou Stagner (Golf Stat Pro) (@LouStagner) December 11, 2021
The Shortest Hitters
You will find that the group of states here is largely concentrated on the east coast, where the states are lower on average and have a higher average age. This is how the shortest 10 are broken down:
242 meters – Florida
245 meters – South Carolina
245 meters – New Hampshire
245 meters – Hawaii
246 meters – Vermont
246 meters – Maine
247 meters – Delaware
247 meters – Virginia
247 meters – Iowa
247 meters – North Carolina
The longest drivers
The Wild West lives up to its reputation as the place of life for great and torrential drivers; the states are clustered at high altitude and west of the Mississippi. Here are the top 10:
267 meters – Utah
264 meters – Colorado
263 meters – Nevada
262 meters – Wyoming
262 meters – Montana
260 meters – Kentucky
259 meters – Arizona
259 meters – North Dakota
258 meters – Oklahoma
257 meters – Minnesota
257 meters – Nebraska
What do we do with these numbers? Here are a few related numbers:
1. Height helps
After looking at the top 10 list above, check out the list of states by average height. The top three states by average altitude – Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah – are in the top four for average driving distance. We have looked at the effects of altitude on the distance traveled in the past. Here is more evidence that if your plan is to hit the long haul, you’d better get high first.
2. Sea level hurts
The reverse is also true: Basically, all of Florida is at sea level, other low-lying states such as Delaware and South Carolina are on the list. There are also some relatively mountainous states like Hawaii or New Hampshire whose golf courses are closer to sea level. You’re doing yourself a disservice when it comes to distance.
3. Young bombers
Another interesting relationship is between distance and age. Take a look at the average youngest states: Utah is the youngest and also the longest at 31.3 years old. North Dakota, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Colorado also rank in the top 10 for both the youngest people and the longest low-handicapped people.
4. Old, crafty vets
Maine is the oldest state in the United States, with a median age of 45.0 years. Even players with a low handicap seem to make it a little less distance from the tee – perhaps signs of a mature game. That goes for other short-hitting states like New Hampshire (median age 43.1), Vermont (43.0), Florida (42.5), and Delaware (41.1), each of which makes the top 10 oldest residents and shortest hitter cracks.
5. The outliers
What’s wrong with Kentucky and Iowa? Both states would make sense as a middle class in the distance; they are relatively average in age, altitude and climate. But Kentucky is way above average at 260 yards per pop, the sixth longest, while Iowa is way below average at 150 yards. As it turns out, JB Holmes and Zach Johnson represent their respective states quite well.
Perhaps the biggest lesson here is that every participant involved has a handicap between 0 and 5; Think of this as another reminder that there are many ways to get the ball into the hole. And in the end, distance is relative.
Dylan Dethier is a senior writer for GOLF Magazine / GOLF.com. A native of Williamstown, Massachusetts, joined GOLF in 2017 after fiddling around on the mini tours for two years. A graduate of Williams College in 2014 where he majored in English, Dethier is the author of 18 in America describing the year he lived off his car when he was 18 and in each state played a round of golf.