I was watching two volleyball games at the local college. The Canadore Panthers, men and women, played against Le Cité college for a regularly scheduled match. The women hit the floor first and then the men. As I watched these young athletes play, I could not help but notice the similarities between of the volleyball matches and golf.
As you can imagine, the women’s match was mostly finesse with some power and the men’s match was mostly power with a bit of finesse. Without dissecting all the possible finer points, I would suggest that the LPGA and the PGA Tours follow the same style of play.
The LPGA tour does have some power players, however most amateurs can relate to their club distances. The average for the longest hitter on the LPGA tour in 2016 was Joanna Klatten at 281 yards. Arguably the best golf in the world, Lydia Ko only averaged 246 yards of the tee. Yet Ko had a scoring average of 69.596 per round. I could continue to quote stat after stat, but it is easy to conclude that the LPGA players have an amazing finesse game!
The PGA Tour is quite the opposite. The longest men’s driving average was by JB Holmes at 314.5 yards. The lowest scoring average is by Dustin Johnson at 69.48 (whose number 2 in driving distance at 313.6 yards). It is not difficult to see that the men definitely crush the ball further, but do not seem to have the soft scoring touch to go with their power.
Right now, all the pundits are saying that the men play a much longer course and you cannot compare just these averages. I agree that there are many other factors to consider, so I will add one more. The stat I believe is the most important – Greens in Regulation. The top LPGA player, Anna Nordqvist, is a full 7% higher than the leading PGA Tour player Lucas Glover. 7% is a huge gap!
All things being equal, I would suggest that given the power of the men, their GIR and scoring average should be much lower than the women. Moving forward, if you want to watch professionals that will improve your game, watch the LPGA. If you want to see pure power and distance, then the PGA Tour is for your.
If you are like me, I watch both! Why limit myself. I try to learn from both Tours and even if I don’t learn anything, it sure is entertaining!
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!