Power or Finesse in Golf



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!


13 thoughts on “Power or Finesse in Golf

  1. Pingback: What Tour Do You Watch to Improve Your Golf Game? | The Grateful Golfer

  2. I know 4.5 hours is a hike, but you will find it worth it. I’ve got the Valspar Championship at Copperhead an hour away and over the years I’ve gone many times to watch the guys play. I’ve also played the course a couple dozen times and even volunteered one year. Seeing how those guys can tear up a course that ate you for dinner will really give some perspective to their talent.

    I’ve missed going for the past 3 years and plan to let nothing stop me this year. It used to be a family thing. The company dad’s wife worked for were minor sponsors and volunteers. Dad always got 6 tickets every year for us to go play so he and my brother and I played it twice a year. I’m the last one left here now. The rest moved away and dad was last to go and I managed to get all of the last 6 coupons for me as he left.

    The last 2 tickets I had were special and I planned that outing 6 weeks in advance. Unfortunately I forgot to tell the weather and we ended up playing with a hurricane going by out in the Gulf of Mexico. No rain, but enough wind to make you think it might carry you away. Hitting downwind that day once or twice I felt like a pro myself. It’s amazing how far a ball will go with a wall of wind pushing it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Jim,

    I also try to watch both. The guys on the PGA are a thrill to watch because their talent level is from another planet, and the LPGA is also very impressive but it’s easier to relate to their games – even though they’d still kick out butts! Lol


    Liked by 1 person

  4. Jim, the differences of the men’s and ladies’ professional tours is so pronounced, I don’t know if a statistical comparison is meaningful. The only similarities are that the game is played over 18 holes with 14 clubs in the bag. I have never been to a ladies professional event but watch a little on TV, and I definitely agree that the amateur player would be better served to mimic the professional ladies tempo and technique rather than the men.

    When I go to a PGA event, I like to set myself up on the range behind a player that has great tempo but doesn’t bomb it. Back in the 80s and 90s, Larry Mize comes to mind. Just get there and soak up all that smooth tempo and hope it made its way into my game. But when I was out on the course I was following John Daly, Fred Couples, and Tiger purely for the entertainment value.

    Thanks; great thought provoking post!



  5. Nicely argued. I too enjoy watching both tours and agree with you that it is easier for an amateur to relate to the game played on the LPGA tour. Plus I enjoy the fact that the spectators on that tour are less intrusive on the experience! Cheers, Rob.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I just love watching the women play. I generally play about the same distances they are and it is a great way to refine my course management. And I plan in the next year or two taking a lesson with Anika. My dads parents immigrated from Sweden so that just has to be on the bucket list since her facility is only 2 hours away.

    Liked by 1 person

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