Golf for Everyone: Pros vs. Amateurs

What are the biggest differences between pros and amateurs?


By Brendan Busky

There are many differences between pro and amateur golfers. However, some areas have more significant gaps than others. Some gaps might be shocking, and some might make sense. There are also popular opinions that might not be as true as they seem.

The most significant difference overall is with the driver. It is known that amateurs like to swing and hit drivers all day and that they should not be doing that. This is not necessarily true, though. For example, the average PGA Tour pro hits their driver between 280 and 320 yards, while the average amateur only hits their driver 215 yards. On top of it, a PGA Tour pro hits the fairway 70% of the time, while an amateur only hits it 40% of the time. Pros also play harder courses with more challenging conditions, which makes great significance. Being a good golf ball driver also lets you hit more wedges and have more scoring opportunities for lower scores.

The next most prominent difference would be wedges. The distance is apparent because almost any time players watch any pro with a wedge, they will put it within 20 feet. The average distance from the hole for a pro is 18 feet 5 inches, while amateurs will miss the green with a wedge. When having a wedge in your hand, pros usually think they will get a birdie, while amateurs are just trying to hit the green.

Another significant difference would be irons. Pros can hit their irons farther, and they are more accurate. The average pro 4 iron goes 205 to 254 yards, while the average amateur 4 iron distance is 154 yards. Pros also hit their long irons a lot higher, bringing them at a higher angle of descent, meaning they can stop their irons faster. There is a huge difference in distance there which can equal lower scores. 

The last factor of all parts of golf is putting. Watching golf on TV, players might think about how good the pros are at putting and wishing they could be that good. The pros are definitely better putters than everyone else. The average putts per round on the PGA Tour is 29.21, while the average putts per round of an amateur are 34 putts. There is definitely more significance in their putting, but the rest of the categories have more considerable differences. 

Even though there are small details to help players distinguish professionals’ level of performance, there are several contrasting differences for pros and amateurs. Specific differences are more evident than others.