How do you figure out who the longest hitters on the PGA Tour are? Here’s one method: Look at the driving distance stats for the past five years. Note how many times a player appears in the top 10. The golfers with the most top 10s? Well, they’re the biggest bombers on the pro circuit.
Another method, obviously, is to merely look at the leaders in driving distance for the season. However, as players could be injured or mired in swing changes during any given season, this doesn’t tell the whole story.
The longest driving average during the last five years belonged to J.B. Holmes in 2011. That year, the Kentucky native averaged a ludicrous 318.4 yards per drive. 99.9 percent of golfers won’t ever hit one drive that’s 318 yards. Holmes hit half of his drives in 2011 farther than that number. That’s just silly.
Of course, Holmes and the rest of the big hitters on the PGA Tour, tend to dial it back a bit from their college/Web.com Tour days, as there’s more of a premium on shot shaping and (relative) accuracy. Thus, the longest hitters on tour may not actually be those capable of truly hitting it the farthest and those capable of hitting it the farthest aren’t swinging at 100 percent on every drive.
Here’s a breakdown of who the longest hitters on the PGA Tour have been across the last five seasons, along with the number of times they’ve finished inside the top 10 in driving distance on tour in the first column.
10. Jhonny Vegas — Average Driving Distance: 302.075 Yards
Playing out of the Woodlands CC in Texas, Jhonny Vegas has been a bomber since his first season on the PGA Tour in 2011. And during his stint on the Web.com Tour, Vegas knew how to boom the ball as well, averaging 312.9 yards off the tee (3rd on tour in 2010). His longest driving season on the PGA Tour was 2011 when he averaged 304.9 yards off the tee.
9. Scott Piercy — Average Driving Distance: 302.38 Yards
Las Vegas native and resident Scott Piercy averaged 116 mph in club head speed last year. This year, Piercy is averaging an impressive 307 yards off the tee, however it hasn’t translated to better scoring. Piercy’s scoring average has fallen from 71.2 to 71.8. Looks like the San Diego State University alum needs to work on his approaches to the green, as he’s presently 182nd in greens in regulation.
8. Jason Kokrak — Average Driving Distance: 304 Yards
Canadian Jason Kokrak has averaged 304 yards off the tee over the past five seasons. Averaging 304.8 yards this year, Kokrak is having his best season from a driving distance standpoint. Kokrak’s club head speed often tops 120 mph. His average this year is an impressive 120.6 mph, thus making him part of the elite fraternity of golfers who can swing the club more than 120.
7. Gary Woodland — Average Driving Distance: 304.48 Yards
Looking at University of Kentucky grad Gary Woodland’s driving distance from the past five season reveals he’s averaged 304.48 yards with his driver during the time frame. Woodland averaged a nasty 310.5 yards off the tee in 2011, which is his longest annual metric in his PGA Tour career.
6. Rory McIlroy — Average Driving Distance: 304.88 Yards
Young Ulsterman Rory McIlroy sometimes flies under the radar as a long driver of the golf ball. However, from 2010 to present, McIlroy is averaging an impressive 304.88 yards off the tee. McIlroy’s biggest hitting season was 2012 when he averaged better than 310 yards per drive. In 2012, McIlroy ranked 10th in average club head speed on tour at 120.21 mph.
5. J.B. Holmes — Average Driving Distance: 308.02 Yards
J.B. Holmes, with his short swing and ridiculous club head speed, is widely regarded as one of the longest hitters on tour. Since 2010, his average driving distance is 308.02 yards. Holmes was an incredible 10 yards better than his average in 2011, averaging 318.4 yards per drive. During that season, Holmes’ average club head speed was an absolutely-freakin’-ridiculous 125 mph.
4. Robert Garrigus — Average Driving Distance: 308.96 Yards
Known for his short putter (literally) and his long driver (figuratively), Robert Garrigus’ average driving distance for the past five years on tour is 308.96. In 2010, Garrigus averaged 315.5 yards per drive. Garrigus routinely gets his club head going nearly 120 mph (he’s averaging 119 mph) this year, which helps him obliterate the ball.
3. Dustin Johnson — Average Driving Distance: 309.56 Yards
Dustin Johnson, with his trademarked bowed wrist at the top of his high back swing, is a bomber, to be sure. Since 2010 his average drive travels nearly 310 (309.56) yards. Johnson’s longest driving campaign came in 2011 when he averaged 314.2 yards per drive.
2. Nicolas Colsaerts — Average Driving Distance: 309.65 Yards
The Belgian Bomber, as he’s know, Nicolas Colsaerts has been hitting the ball a very long way since playing regularly on the tour in 2011. His average tee shot has travelled 309.65 yards during that time. In 2012, Colsaerts made his strongest statement about his ability to hit the golf ball ridiculous distances, averaging 315.2 per drive.
1. Bubba Watson — Average Driving Distance: 311.86 Yards
There are long drivers on tour, and then there is Bubba Watson. No golfer so defines the big hitter today more than Bubba Watson. Not only that, but no golfer on tour works the ball more than the two-time Masters champ.
In short, there’s no golfer who can hit the ball farther than Watson, who’s averaging an ludicrous 311.86 yards per tee shot over the past five seasons. Bubba is actually hitting the ball as far as ever in 2014, averaging more than 315 per poke with his signature pink-headed Ping driver.