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How far does Phil Mickelson drive the ball?

Phil Mickelson

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Also known as: Lefty Mickelson, Philip Alfred Mickelson
Written by
Adam Augustyn
Adam Augustyn is Managing Editor, Reference Content at Encyclopædia Britannica.
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Last Updated: Apr 21, 2023 • Article History
Table of Contents

Phil Mickelson

Phil Mickelson

Recent News

Apr. 21, 2023, 4:48 AM ET (AP)

Talor Gooch upstaged the more-fancied names on the LIV Golf tour by shooting a 10-under 62 to take a four-stroke lead after the first round of the inaugural Australian tournament in Adelaide

Apr. 9, 2023, 7:25 PM ET (AP)

Jon Rahm shot 69 to capture his first Masters championship by four strokes over LIV golfers Brooks Koepka and Phil Mickelson, becoming the fourth player from Spain to win a green jacket

Phil Mickelson, in full Philip Alfred Mickelson, byname Lefty, (born June 16, 1970, San Diego, California, U.S.), American professional golfer who became one of the most dominant players on the Professional Golfers’ Association of America (PGA) Tour in the 1990s and early 2000s.

Early life and career

Mickelson took to golf at an extremely young age, hitting his first golf balls when just 18 months old. He learned the basics of the sport by mirroring his father’s swing, which led the naturally right-handed Phil to adopt the left-handed stroke that would later lead to his nickname, “Lefty.” He won dozens of San Diego-area tournaments as a junior golfer, and he captured an unprecedented three consecutive national Junior Player of the Year awards (1986, 1987, and 1988). His golfing prowess earned him a full scholarship to Arizona State University (ASU), where he established a reputation as one of the greatest American amateur golfers of all time. Mickelson was named first-team All-American in each of his four years at ASU, and he won three National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) individual championships (1989, 1990, and 1992). In 1990 he won the U.S. Amateur Championship, and the following year he won his first PGA Tour event, the Northern Telecom Open, becoming only the fourth amateur to win a PGA tournament.

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PGA Tour

Phil Mickelson

Mickelson joined the PGA Tour in 1992. His first professional win came in 1993 at Torrey Pines Golf Course in San Diego, where he had played golf matches in high school. Mickelson won at least one tournament in each of the following three years, and he finished the 1996 PGA season with his first top-10 world ranking (seventh). He rose to second in the rankings in 2001, finishing behind Tiger Woods. The two golfers developed a rivalry that came to dominate the sport throughout the decade as the outgoing Mickelson and the more-reserved Woods divided golf fans with their disparate personalities and approaches to the game. Despite his great success on the Tour, Mickelson gained a reputation as the best player in the world to have never won a major tournament (the Masters, the U.S. Open, the British Open [Open Championship], or the PGA Championship), a distinction made more burdensome by his finishing second or third in six majors between 1999 and 2003.

Phil Mickelson at the 2009 U.S. Open

He finally broke through with a major victory in 2004 when he won the Masters by one stroke over Ernie Els. His hot play continued through the rest of the season, and he finished in the top six in the remainder of the 2004 majors. Mickelson waited just one year for a second major win, the 2005 PGA Championship, which he followed with a victory in the very next major, the 2006 Masters. In April 2010 Mickelson won his third green jacket as Masters champion, placing himself into a tie with four others for the third highest career total in the tournament’s history.

Mickelson fell off slightly after his third Masters victory, winning just one tournament each year from 2010 to 2012. In 2013 he made up a five-shot deficit on the final day of the British Open to capture his first victory in that tournament. He subsequently struggled and did not win another PGA Tour event until 2018. The following year he claimed his 45th career PGA title with his victory at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am. During this time he also competed in the Ryder Cup and was on the winning team in 1999, 2008, and 2016. In 2021 he won his sixth career major title, capturing the PGA Championship in his first tour victory in over two years. In so doing, he became, at age 50, the oldest winner of a major tournament in PGA history.

LIV tour and lawsuit

In early 2022 Mickelson caused controversy with his support of the Saudi-backed company LIV Golf Investments, which was launching a tour that offered multimillion-dollar paydays to PGA players. Some claimed that LIV was an attempt by the Saudi government to “sportswash” its human rights violations. Mickelson told a reporter that, although he thought the Saudis were “scary” and guilty of human rights abuses, he believed that the new tour would lead to changes at the PGA, which he accused of “obnoxious greed.” In the ensuing uproar, Mickelson apologized for his “reckless” comments and withdrew from a series of PGA events, including the PGA Championship. In the meantime, the PGA warned players that, if they joined LIV, it would bar them from PGA Tour-sanctioned events. In March 2022 it banned Mickelson for two months after he allegedly recruited players for the new venture; the suspension was extended in the ensuing months. In June he officially signed a deal with LIV, and later that month he competed in the tour’s inaugural event. Shortly before it began, the PGA barred the players, including Mickelson, from its tournaments. In August 2022 Mickelson and other suspended golfers filed an antitrust lawsuit against the PGA. However, after LIV joined the suit, Mickelson withdrew his name, saying his participation was no longer necessary.

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What Is a Scratch Golfer?

What Is a Scratch Golfer?

What Is a Scratch Golfer?

For most golfers, becoming as well paid as the top earner Phil Mickelson would be a tremendous achievement. But before Phil became one of the best players in history, he was just another scratch golfer.

Scratch golfers are on top of their game. They don’t have any excuses for why they can’t perform better.

If you take Dayton golf lessons and practice diligently, you can become a scratch golfer in no time.

For a beginner, the phrase scratch golfer may sound unfamiliar. Read on to learn more about what it means and how you can achieve this prestigious status.

What Is a Scratch Golfer?

A scratch golfer is a golfer who shoots par or better on a regular basis.

These golfers have a handicap of zero. They can usually shoot in the 70s or better.

Handicap Meaning

A golfer’s handicap is a numerical measure of that player’s potential. A higher handicap means you play golf worse than average. Lower handicaps indicate better performance.

The goal of being a scratch player is to have a zero handicap.

Scratch Golfer vs Pro

A scratch golfer is a golfer who shoots the same score as the course rating or better. A pro plays in tournaments and receives prize money for doing so.

Pros are better than scratch golfers because they’re more efficient. A pro three-putts less often than a scratch golfer. This is because pros can hit longer putts more accurately with less effort.

How Far Does the Average Scratch Golfer Hit a Driver?

A scratch golfer can drive a golf ball about 250 yards.

The average golfer hits their drives about 215 yards. That’s better than the average beginner, who hits a driver around 176 yards. A typical pro will hit their drives up to 290 yards and beyond.

Can Anyone Be a Scratch Golfer?

The short answer is yes. You can take golf lessons and learn to play scratch. It takes time, practice, and patience, but you can get there.

If you have a passion for the game, then it’s worth it to put in the effort.

How Long Does It Take To Become a Scratch Golfer?

If you’re wondering how long it will take to get better at golf, the answer is a little fuzzy. Even if you have a solid foundation for how to play and an understanding of the fundamentals, it’s hard to predict how fast or slow your improvement will be.

Some people say that most amateur golfers take about 1-3 years to reach a handicap of 0. You must practice for up to 8 hours per day for several years before achieving this standard.

What Percentage of Golfers Shoot Scratch?

Most sources say that under 1% of golfers are scratch golfers. Others say that the true number is closer to 0.5%.

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The exact percentage is hard to verify since there are no official records of the number of golfers who shoot scratch.

Tips for Becoming a Scratch Golfer

The first step in becoming a scratch golfer is to set a goal. You should write down exactly what you want to achieve. It can be as simple as playing at least five rounds of golf per month or shooting under 80 for 18 holes.

Once you set your goal, follow these tips to help you achieve it.

Track Your Game

A good way to track your game is by using a scorecard. It also helps to take notes on your phone during your practice. You will need to keep track of the following information:

  • Your scores
  • The weather conditions
  • What club you used for each hole
  • Where you hit from
  • Where you struck the ball

A smartwatch with GPS can help with this task. You’ll be able to see how far away you were from hitting a hole-in-one, plus get information about distances between clubs and greens.

Reduce Your Bad Holes

If you have a hole that’s been giving you trouble, it’s time for some course management.

Analyze why your last stroke was unsuccessful. Consider whether your stance was too open. Think about your grip and how it relates to the club you used.

Was there a wind gust? If so, which direction did it come from and how did that affect your shot?

Once you’ve figured out what went wrong, try again using the same club and your new knowledge.

The point of playing golf is to have fun. Try not to get too upset if your first few attempts don’t pan out.

Know the Rules

Before you can be a scratch golfer, you need to know the rules of golf. You also need a good understanding of how the game works, which means knowing what all those little numbers on your scorecard mean.


During a round of golf, you may carry as many clubs in your bag as it can comfortably accommodate. However, make sure that the clubs are all legal before teeing off. Carrying more than 14 clubs will earn you penalty points.


The goal is to get the ball into the hole in as few shots as possible.

The first shot of any hole is the tee shot. Most golfers hit their first shot with their longest club, which is usually a driver.

Ideally, the ball will land in the fairway. Here, you have an opportunity to get your ball closer to the green with a shorter club.

Practice Becoming a Scratch Golfer With Dayton Golf Lessons

The average score for a scratch golfer is 70 or better. That’s a pretty good benchmark to keep in mind when you go golfing. If you practice your putting with regularity, it will pay off when it comes time for tournaments.

If you want to improve your golf game, the best place for you is in Dayton golf lessons. A seasoned golfer will teach you how to approach the green and how to putt. They’ll also help you improve your swing for more accurate shots.

Contact PipeStone Golf Club to get started on your journey to becoming a scratch golfer.

How Far Do Pro Golfers Hit Each Club? A 2022 Guide

When you watch the PGA Tour or any major championship on TV it is hard not to notice how far pro golfers hit the ball. Their drives seem to always go miles and I don’t know about you but I’m always checking myself to think whether I indeed heard the commentator correctly that they are actually hitting that high an iron for that 200+ yard approach shot. So just to confirm what we are indeed up against we took a detailed look at just how far the top pros are hitting their clubs. On average pros drive the ball a total of 296.6 yards (yds) according to official PGA Shotlink data. They hit a 3-wood an average carry distance of 249 yds, a 5-wood 235 yds and 3-hybrids 230 yds. 3-irons average 217 yds, 4-irons 208 yds, 5-irons 199 yds, 6-irons 188 yds, 7-irons 177 yds, 8-irons 164 yds and 9-irons 153 yds. These high-level numbers of course don’t always tell the whole story as the pros like us are faced with an infinite variety of golf shots which don’t always mean they are hitting each club as far as they possibly can for every shot. But if you take the averages over a season you are going to get more than a good idea of how far the pros are hitting each club. What is fascinating also though as you dig more into the figures is the distance control options the best players in the world have with almost every club in their bag!

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Bryson DeChambeau hitting a wood

How Far Do Pros Hit Their Driver and Woods?

When it comes to talking about distance in golf the easiest and most obvious place to start is of course always with the longest club in the golf bag – the driver. And as it is highly unlikely even the best pros in the world never want to hit their driver as far as they can so it is clearly the club we are going to get the best idea of the maximum distance they hit the ball. So how far do pros drive? PGA Tour players hit their driver a ‘total’ of 296.6 yards on average with a ‘carry’ distance of 284.3 yards according to official 2022 Shotlink data. The longest player hits it 320 yards on average and the longest recorded drive in 2022 is 460 yards. On the LPGA Tour the top pros hit their driver an average of 257.7 yards.

Rory McIlroy completed swing with an iron

For example for a 170 yard shot into the green a quick glance at his iron yardages shows he could decide to play either a three-quarter 8-iron or try to hit a 9-iron as far as he can – his ‘max’ distance for that club. When you account for factors such as wind, elevation, ground conditions and also the context in which the shot is being played Koepka, like all the pros, has a number of options for each iron shot which makes the question of how far he hits each iron a bit more complex than at first you may think. However the pros have what is called a ‘stock’ yardage for their irons, which equates essentially to the average distance they will hit a full shot with each iron swinging normally. When we compare these ‘stock yardages’ for irons between the pros we get a consistent view of yardage which we can accurately compare across the players. On average PGA pros hit a 3-iron a ‘carry’ distance – the distance from strike to point of ground impact – of 217 yards. They hit 4-irons 208 yards and 5-irons 199 yards on average. For 6-irons the average is 188 yards, for 7-irons it is 177 yards and 8-irons, 9-irons and pitching wedges go 164, 153 and 141 yards respectively.

  • How Do Pros Hit the Ball So Far? It’s Not About the Equipment
  • How Often Do Pros Hit Driver? Not As Much As You Think!
  • What Driver is Most Used On the PGA Tour? Top 100 Player Analysis
  • The Fairway Woods Used by the Top 100 PGA Tour Pros
  • What Irons Do the Pros Use? Top 100 PGA Tour Player Guide
  • What Wedges Do the Pros Use? Top 100 PGA Tour Player Analysis
  • Most Popular Driver on LPGA Tour? Top 50 Player Guide
  • What Clubs Do LPGA players use? Top 50 Player Breakdown
  • What Irons Do LPGA Players Use? Top 50 Pros Analysis
  • How Far Should You Hit a Driver? FULL GUIDE By Age, Handicap etc.
  • How Far Does a 3 Wood vs 5 Wood Go? Tee and Approach Shots!
  • How Far Should I Hit My Hybrids? 2 vs 3 vs 4 Hybrid Distances
  • How Far Should I Hit My Irons? By Handicap, Age & Swingspeed
  • Should Your Driver Match Your Woods? Don’t Waste Your Money
  • Are Driving Range Distances Accurate? Golf Balls are a Problem
  • What Determines Driver Distance? Skill Triumphs Over All!
  • Do All Golf Balls Go the Same Distance? Physics First
  • Ideal Spin Rate and Launch Angle for Driver? That’s Personal!
  • How Far Should Your Ball Speed Go? 100mph All the Way to 210mph!
  • How Much Does Driver Loft Affect Distance? Loft is Dynamic Too!
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