After the conclusion of the Race to Dubai last month, europeantour.com breaks down the average statistical metrics of all European Tour golfers across the 2017 season.
Every Tour player hits their driver 300 yards, finds every Green in Regulation and gets up and down from the sand every time, right? Wrong.
Much like us amateurs, all professional golfers have their strengths and weaknesses so we decided to look at how the average European Tour pro stacks up across the various stats departments.
Forget all the other statistics. When it comes to professional golf, the only one that essentially matters is the big number at the bottom of your scorecard. Simply put, a good Stroke Average is a sign that your overall game is working well. In 2017, the average score among European Tour players was 71.56. Masters Champion and Hilton European Tour Golfer of the Year Sergio Garcia led the way on 69.30, joining Rory McIlroy, Tommy Fleetwood, Justin Rose, Tyrrell Hatton and Julian Suri as the only players to average under 70 in the 2017 season. In total, 168 players averaged less than 72.
Perhaps the most talked about statistic in professional golf. Every player, young or old, amateur or professional, is continually in a search for more distance off the tee and Tour players are no different. In 2017, the average European Tour player hit the ball 290.8 yards while no fewer than 35 players averaged more than 300 yards from tee – the most in European Tour history. Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy led the way in Driving Distance this year with a mammoth average knock of 319.5 yards. The shortest was SSP Chawrasia, who averaged just 262.5 yards. Despite that, Chawrasia secured his fourth European Tour title at his native Hero Indian Open.
The average cost of missing a fairway on a hole is somewhere in the region of 0.3 to 0.4 shots. Add that up over 72 holes and you begin to realise just how important finding the short grass can be in overall performance. Sometimes that can be easier said than done, however, with the average player hitting just 58.1 per cent of fairways in 2017, equating to around eight per round. Of players to have completed more than 30 rounds last season, Henrik Stenson led the way with 74.3 per cent (just over ten per round), while Race to Dubai winner Tommy Fleetwood also hit more than 70 per cent on average.
To score well you need to make birdies. To make birdies you need to be on the green (most of the time). In 2017, European Tour pros found an average of 67.17 per cent of Greens in Regulation, equating to 12 per round. This year’s European Number One Tommy Fleetwood led the Tour in Greens, finding the putting surface 77.4 per cent of the time, equating to around 14 Greens in Regulation per round. Only Fleetwood and Thomas Aiken (the leader in this category in two of the previous three years) averaged more than 75 per cent of GiR but the high-powered trio of Sergio Garcia (74.5 per cent), Justin Rose (73.8 per cent) and Henrik Stenson (73.8 per cent) weren’t far behind.
They don’t miss that often, but when Tour players do fail to find a Green in Regulation then the key obviously becomes getting down in two blows. Scrambling is defined as the rate at which a player makes par or better on holes where they missed the Green in Regulation. In 2017, players saved par a little more than half of the time (55.1 per cent). As a perfect example of just how important scrambling can be, the 2017 Golfer of the Year Sergio Garcia led the way in this category, saving par or better 125 times from 188 total missed greens for a scrambling percentage of 66.5 per cent. Only 26 players averaged more than 60 per cent.
The other area where Tour pros have to excel in order to preserve a good score is escaping from the greenside bunkers, something they did on average 54.8 per cent of the time. For the second year running, Spain’s Alejandro Cañizares led this category (of any player with more than 30 stat rounds), getting down from the sand in two or less shots 51 times from a total of 51 bunkers (73.9 per cent).
The old saying goes, ‘Drive for show, putt for dough’ and nowhere is that more evident than in the world of professional golf, where you will very rarely find an event winner ranking outside the top ten in either Putts per Green in Regulation or Putts per Round. The averages for those metrics on Tour in 2017 were 1.783 and 29.6 respectively, with Marcus Fraser topping the former (1.721) and double winner Jon Rahm (28.1) leading the latter.
So there you have it: the average European Tour player’s statistics. Tune into to our Twitter and Instagram feeds each Monday following an event to seeing a player’s Winning Formula, providing a breakdown of these exact metrics and the statistical story behind their victory.