Are you hitting enough Fairways? Improve your Golf Handicap

Maybe the biggest priority of every golfer is his/her Driver. Rightly so or not, but it is. So we wanted to share with you some insights we got when looking at the aggregated data that we have from all of our golfers.

Keep in mind that the data we capture is Fairway Accuracy. Which means that the golfers might have hit the driver or any other club in their bag.

So here it goes:

Fairways Hit (teeshots) percentage by handicap range. Driving Accuracy.

You can see in the graphs that scratch golfers hit 63% of fairways (~9 fairways) while beginners hit around 48% (~7 fairways). Most people would expect a bigger difference. However, the reality is that the real difference comes in how bad those misses are. Plus the distance that the low handicappers get is considerably longer off the tee.

After that comment you might be thinking that the data shared is not of much use. But of course it is of great use. Here is how you should think about it.

The most important thing about your teeshot is to put it on the fairway (or close to it). And now you know how many teeshots should land on the fairway based on your handicap. So if you see that your data is showing that you are below your handicap range you should practice your accuracy with your driver and irons. The rest will come with it.

You should also use the graphs available at TheGrint to understand your accuracy better. For example, the Fairway Accuracy / Grints % graphs:

Fairway Accuracy by handicap range

How does missing the fairway affect your chances of achieving your desired score?

For a Scratch golfer, when he misses the fairway he reduces his chances of making par from 80% to 65%. For a Bogey golfer (high handicap) when he misses the fairway he reduces his chances of a Bogey from 60% to 30%. Which mean that when he misses he misses badly. And is the other way around for the scratch golfer.

These are the kind of analyses you can perform at TheGrint using all the tools that we have available for you. Make sure to compare your statistics with the ones of friends who have the handicap that you are aiming to get. And set your targets that way.

Enjoy your golf!


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  1. Blake

    While I agree hitting the fairway more often should improve anyone’s game, but it goes deeper than just hitting more fairways. Course management plays a bigger factor. I am a +2.4 currently and hit about 45% of fairways. However that’s playing a lot of rounds logged on a course that is demanding off the tee. I think a stat everyone should look at is when they miss the fairway, is that drive playable to the point of still having a good chance of hitting the green in regulation and giving yourself a fair chance at birdie. I used to cringe at my 40-50% fairways in reg stat, however once I started to look deeper into it, my Driver really wasn’t getting me in trouble as much as the numbers would indicate. I’m long off the tee and if I can put it out there 320 on a 420 yard par 4 and just miss the fairway, having knock down gap or full SW in from the rough, chances are very high I make par and that I will give myself a very good opportunity at birdie.

    For me it’s about consistency and managing your misses. My older brother and a friend of mine are both 4 and 5 handicaps and are actually both around 45% FIR as well. The difference is at least 1 or 2 times a round, they spray a drive so bad it ends up costing them several strokes each hole. While I think a more accomplished player will miss and may cost them 1 stroke at the very worst.

    • This is excellent insight Blake. All graphs need to be interpreted in the right way. In this case we always recommend to combine your observations on FIR% with a graph we call “Fairway Accuracy GIR%”. That graph tells you 1) when you are on the fairway, what percent of the times you hit the green, and 2) when you are not in the fairway, what percent of the times you hit the green.

      That graph should be able to give you more insight into how bad you are missing the ball when you miss it. The further apart those 2 numbers are, the worse you are missing the fairway.

      Hope that helps!

  2. John

    I hit 12 fairways the last time I played. Probably have only done this 2 other times in my entire life. Still only shot a 87. Not sure fairways hit really mean that much. I would probably use GIR instead.

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  4. tobias

    I’m looking for stats on all PGA Golfers….I want to know as you put it, the percentage they hit the fairways, and also the percentage of up and downs…After the drive, how many hit the green or right at it…things like that…Where can I find these stats?

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