Scratch players vs pro, differences are huge



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Scratch players vs pro, differences are huge

Officially pardoned for anyone who thought a scratch player (zero handicap or lower) plays like a tour pro. The truth is that there is a real abyss between the two. The comparison between the data of Arccos Golf, collected on over 540 million strokes by scratch players in 11 and a half million rounds around the world, and those of the PGA Tour statistics finally clarified.

The differences are huge. On the other hand the average handicap of PGA Tour players has been estimated to be +5.4 with a frightening set of statistics. Especially when you consider that the PGA Tour professionals play on some of the toughest golf courses in the world, which are kept in excellent condition and specially prepared for tournaments.

Probably the biggest gap between a tour pro and a scratch player is the distance generated with the driver. Arccos found that scratch players average 236m. off the tee. They are around 36m behind the PGA Tour average and over 44m behind driving distance leader Cameron Champ who averaged 293.8m.

during the 2022 season. Unsurprisingly, they're also more accurate off the tee on the PGA Tour.

Scratch golfer, numbers

The scratch golfer takes 51% of the fairways while the tour pro hovers around 60%. Through the 2022 season, Ryan Armor led the league in accuracy with an incredible 73.95% fairways hit on the year.

Cascading from the tee shot, it's easy to expect tour pros to find more greens on regulation shots. Scratch players averaged 56% in this stat, with a Tour average of 65.57%. Masters champion Scottie Scheffler trailed all his peers last season with an incredible 72.29% of greens taken.

Speaking of greens, pros are way ahead of scratch players when it comes to 1-putt, 3-putt and total putts per round. Scratch golfers average 1.3 3-putts per round, versus the PGA Tour's average of 0.54. Talor Gooch averaged just .

27 3 putts per round last season. Zero handicap golfers have 5.2 one-putts per round, again far behind the pros. During the 2022 PGA Tour season, the one-putt average was 7.04 with Aussie Lucas Herbert posting an incredible 8.09 one-putt per round.

Herbert also topped the putts-per-round stat, perhaps unsurprisingly, with an average of just 27.7 – a full three short of the average scratch golfer. When it comes to scoring, tour pros birdie more and bogey less than scratch players, just as you'd expect.

Cameron Smith is averaging an impressive 4.63 birdies per ride this season, which is more than double the scratch player's average (2.2). Perhaps even better Sungjae Im with just two bogeys per lap for the entire season, well under half the average for a scratch player (4.6).

Surprisingly, the par 3, 4 and 5 averages are much closer than one might expect.
The PGA Tour average outscores the scratch player by a fairly small margin (3.07 versus 3.1 at a par 3 for example), but this is where course preparation comes into play.

The amateur scratch players recording their game data aren't playing extremely difficult 20,000-foot courses in tournament conditions, television crews in tow, and millions of dollars at stake.