Approach shots: average proximity to the hole

Approach shots: average proximity to the hole

24 August 2020

Are golfers really best off getting as close to the green as possible?

Analysing average distance to pin for approach shots. Could mid-irons could be better options for some players compared to short-irons/wedges?

Shot Scope have analysed their database of golfers to find out just how close golfers hit the ball from varying approach shots.

From short approach shots (60-100 yards) the average proximity is shown below from 3 different lie types: fairway, rough and bunker.

approach shot proximity 60-100 yards from fairway rough and bunker

It is evident that the longer grass and sand impacts the golfer’s ability to hit the ball close. This could be due to a poorer strike than from the fairway or lack of distance control including understanding how each type of lie affects how far the ball will run.

Hitting this shot from the fairway, gives the golfer the best chance to hit it close. Average proximity from the fairway is 40ft.

If this shot was to be hit from the rough, proximity would increase to 46ft and from the bunker increase even more to 56ft, on average.

The image above provides a breakdown of performance by handicap. This allows conclusions to be drawn on the fact that lower handicap golfers hit approach shots closer across all lie types, and subsequently take less shots to finish.

To play these shots well, the focus should be on the landing area, not necessarily the pin itself. Different lie types, have different roll out from the shot. It is important to learn and understand how far the ball will roll out from different lie types. Understanding this, will allow the focus to be on the landing area.

For example, the general rule is, if the ball is in the rough, it will run out further than a shot hit from the fairway.

Iron Play Approach Shots Statistics

GIR, average proximity, distance

The images below highlight the varying greens in regulation statistics by club and handicap. These types of statistics provide golfer’s with a quick and easy method to analyse their approach shots.

approach shot average distance by club and handicap

Pulling all of these statistics together, shows that on average, a golfer hits their shot closer to the pin, the closer they are to the green for their approach shot. The image below highlights this nicely. It is clear that as the club becomes more lofted (and subsequent distance to the pin decreases), the approach shots are hit closer.

approach shots average proximity all on one image


The statistics revealed in this blog, highlight that approach shots are hit closer to the pin, the closer to the green a golfer is. This means that when selecting what club to hit for the previous shot (tee shot or par 5 lay up), the aim should be to get as close to the hole as possible. The lie type of the approach shot should be considered too, as it is evident that rough and bunkers impact the shot.

About Shot Scope V3

The Shot Scope V3 is a stylish and lightweight GPS watch available in 4 colours. The V3 can be used on the course as an advanced GPS watch or simply use in watch mode for your daily life off the course. The Shot Scope V3 comes preloaded with the Shot Scope’s in-house course database of 36,000 worldwide courses, allowing changes to a course to be instantly uploaded within as little as 48 hours. The V3 automatically tracks each shot hit on the course, without interfering with your game.

Post round, more than 100 different statistics can be reviewed via the Shot Scope V3 mobile app or Shot Scope’s online dashboard on different clubs, tee shots, approaches, short game and putting to help improve on course strategy and lower scores.

Check out this review on Shot Scope V3.

V3 is available to buy at, Dicks Sporting Goods – USA, PGA Superstore – USA, American Golf – UK and Golfbox Australia.


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