PGA Tour Scoring Average Has Officially Leveled Off

PGA Tour Scoring Average Has Officially Leveled Off

Charting the Top 10, Top 70, and All PGA Tour Scoring Since 1980

The chart below was created from metrics taken from PGA Tour Statistics ‘Scoring Average’.  From 1980 to 2016, since that is as far back as I was able to access the information.  The gold line represents all players on the PGA Tour (who played the minimum number of rounds which is usually around 60-70 per year).  The red line show the top 70 in scoring (those who would have made the cut in a season long tournament), and the Blue line shows the scoring average for the top 10 scoring average finishers for the year.

PGA Tour Scoring Average has Leveled Off

It show a dramatic decrease in scores from 1980 to around 1990.  One might say, the 80’s was the decade of better equipment, better golf balls, and better athletes…relatively.  This is nothing new, and was expected when I created this.  What I find more interesting is the last ten years of the PGA Tour scoring average.  I really hit it’s low in 2014.  The year 2014 to date had the top 10 at an all time best with a 69.37 scoring average.  The top 70 that year posted a 70.22, and the Tour Average set it’s low as well with a 70.83 scoring average.  That is really incredible when you stop to think about it.  It means if you fired a 71, then you were bringing the tour average down.  That is tough golf competition.

The chart clearly shows a leveling off as well since around 2012.  With 2015 and 2016 actually seeing an increase in scoring average.  And for the first time since 2010, the PGA Tour average went back above 71 in 2016.

Reasons for the leveling off?  My guess is it probably has to do with a number of variables.

  1.  Tiger Woods is no longer setting records.
  2.  Which causes the course Superintendents to stop making their golf course play more difficult.
  3.  The limit set at 460cc for a driver.
  4.  Golf Ball Technology was a huge factor in the 80’s and 90’s and doesn’t come with the large relative advances as it once did.

Why I predict it will go lower once again.  While tech may have already had it’s biggest advances, graphene and other newer materials and manufacturing methods are still making their way to the golf industry.  Dustin Johnson is now the Course Superintendents worst nightmare, setting new driving distance records.  And with new information and better training, the athletes seem to be becoming more athletic.  What will happen over the next decade?  My guess is a slow and slightly lowering of scoring averages if the courses stay at the current level of difficulty.

YearTop 10Cut (Top 70)Tour Average


I’ve included the charts I used for the PGA Tour Scoring Average Since 1980.  You can see that I only used every 5 years up until 2010.  Let me know what you think in the comments.  And I’ll go ahead and set the over/under for the 2017 PGA Tour Scoring Average at 70.94.

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