"The average greens hit in regulation for a golfer ranked 75 on the PGA Tour is around 11.8 greens per round in case you didn’t know. This means they’re missing about 6 greens per round and the amazing thing is that the difference between the highest ranked golfer in greens hit in regulation and the golfer ranked 75 is just 6 percent!"
Greens hit in regulation (G.I.R) and fairways hit are often-quoted statistics that describe how good someone is at hitting their tee-shots into the fairway and approach shots onto the green.
It describes how effective their full swing technique is but what’s interesting about these statistics is that most of the elite golfers we've asked believe that you have to hit nearly every green in regulation and nearly every fairway from the tee to become a top level tour golfer.
This is far from the truth and in today’s article I’m going to share the facts about how good you have to be with your approach shots into the green to compete on a pro tour, and this knowledge should guide the work you and your golf swing instructor do on your full-swing technique.
If I asked you how many greens in regulation the average tour player hits on the PGA Tour, would you know? I’d bet that your answer is likely to be somewhere between 10 and 16 greens and probably closer towards 16 than 10 right?
The average greens hit in regulation for a golfer ranked 75 on the PGA Tour is around 11.8 greens per round in case you didn’t know. This means they’re missing about 6 greens per round and the amazing thing is that the difference between the highest ranked golfer in greens hit in regulation and the golfer ranked 75 is just 6 percent!
That’s right, the best on tour in 2013 was Henrik Stenson with very close to 13 greens hit in regulation per round. So you can see that the difference between the 75th ranked golfer (11.8) and the best on tour was just over 1 green per round.
That’s not a lot of difference is it?
Have a look at the tables below to get an idea of the small difference between the top tour golfers and I’m sure that you will be quite surprised at the amount of greens they actually hit on average. Then have a look at the statistics from the 1985 season (28 years ago) and you’ll notice that the numbers are very similar.
Henrik Stenson hit it 290.9 yards from the tee to achieve his G.I.R average in 2013 and in 1985 John Mahaffey hit it 264.0 yards to achieve virtually the same amount of greens hit in regulation. Stenson’s scoring average (actual) was 69.94 (ranked 3rd) and Mahaffey’s was 70.44 (about .5 of a shot difference per round) which would rank him around 28th on the 2013 tour.
Yes it can be argued that golf courses are longer today, but so is the ball and the driver. The simple fact remains that greens hit in regulation is a statistic that hasn't changed much in a long time, and in-fact 12 greens per round average has been the pro standard for at least 50 years and probably much longer.
How many greens are you hitting on average? Do you know? If you want to improve the way you play then you need to get your green's hit average to this number to become competitive in golf tournaments.
You should know that this is the only reason that you work on your full-swing technique. You improve your golf swing alignments to achieve the pro standard in fairways hit and greens hit.
And the truth is that you really don't have to hit more greens than this because ultimately you will have to use your short-game to translate your performance into low scores.
Some of the tour golfers with less than average G.I.R stat's are very competitive scorers because of a super short-game.
Hitting between 12 and 14 greens is the starting point, and then as you move closer to the green your proximity to the hole should be improving which will have a positive effect on your putting ability.
The Kings of Greens Hit in Regulation on the PGA Tour
In the chart below I have compiled the greens in regulation results for the best ranked golfer on tour from 2013 to 1983. It is clear from this illustration that the best on tour in the G.I.R stats are super ball strikers who hit from 13 to 13.5 greens per round.
When you look through the list you'll see golfers who have won the G.I.R trophy more than once which is a supreme effort given the quality of the golfers competing on tour each week. It is clear from the evidence that you don't have to try to hit every green to become a top golfer on a professional golf tour.
What you have to do is achieve an average of 10 to 14 greens in regulation every time you tee it up. This is the reason you work on your long game, and it is the only reason. Be careful not to change your golf swing just because you want to look like one of these golfers.
What you should do is learn how to control the three most important elements that will help you to become a sound and consistent ball-striker.
Work with your golf instructor to achieve these G.I.R goals with your golf swing and we might be adding you to the list of great ball strikers sometime soon.
Lawrie Montague and David Milne - Pro Tour Golf College
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