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What Is Roll Distance In Golf? – Explained!

what is roll distance in golf
what is roll distance in golf

Golf is known to be a technical sport full of expressions and technical terms that you may not know the meaning of. One of those terms often thrown out in conversation and television broadcasts is the term “Roll Distance”.

If you are reading this article, you may wonder: What exactly does “Roll Distance” mean in golf?

In this article, we will explain to you exactly what Roll Distance is in golf, along with some examples to solidify your comprehension.

What Is Roll Distance In Golf?

In golf, Roll Distance is the total distance a golf ball travels after it first lands on the ground due to you striking it. Roll Distance is defined as the straight-line distance between the golf ball’s first landing point until the point where it stops moving. Roll distance includes the bounces and rolls of the golf ball.

In the great game of golf, the term “Roll Distance” is an expression that is extremely common to hear. Almost every golfer has heard of the term “Roll Distance” before, as Roll Distances can be used in almost every golf shot.

When you hear the word “Roll Distance”, it will almost always be around a place where golf shots are being taken, such as on a golf course or a driving range.

In golf, Roll Distance is the distance a golf ball travels after it first lands on the ground due to a golfer hitting it with a club. Roll Distance is defined as the straight-line distance between a golf ball’s first landing point, and the point where it stops moving.

Roll Distance in golf does not include the distance the ball travels in the air before first landing. The distance the ball travels before landing is called Carry Distance. Summed up together, Carry Distance and Roll Distance are equal to Total Distance.

The roll distance you obtain after swinging your clubs will not be the same across all rounds of golf you play. Roll distance depends on many factors, and can be impacted by the topography of the hole you are playing on, the firmness of the turf, the temperature, how hard you hit the ball, and so much more.

A new instance of Roll Distance is calculated for every single shot or stroke in golf.

You can see about a real-world example of the notion of Roll Distance, down below.


George is a decent golfer. He lines his driver up with the ball on the Tee box of a golf hole.

Next to him, a launch monitor that measures Roll Distance is installed.

George strikes the golf ball hard; travels 260 yards in the air before first landing, and rolls 40 yards.

“40 yards of Roll Distance! That was lucky!” George exclaims himself.

As you have read in the example above, the Roll Distance only includes the distance the ball travelled after first landing.

Roll Distance can be measured a few ways, with varying levels of accuracy. One option to measure Roll Distance is to use a launch monitor, a device that derives many characteristics from your shots such as trajectory, distances, spin, and more. A very well-known launch monitor brand is Trackman.

An important note to make is that launch monitors assume the ball lands on a flat surface to calculate the roll distance. However, in reality, your ball may land on a slope, which could give you a lot extra roll distance. Your ball could also land on some thick grass, greatly reducing your roll distance.

If you go to a golf simulator, which uses a launch monitor, you can also get good measurements of your Roll Distance. However, roll distance will vary widely depending on the outside temperature, the type of turf used, the slope on which your ball first lands, and more.

A less accurate way to measure Roll Distance would be to measure the total distance between the final resting point of your ball and where you remember it first landing. This is not very accurate, but it will get you a rough approximation of Roll Distance.

The term Roll Distance’s origin is fairly simple. In general, when you hit the ball and it eventually lands, it starts to bounce and roll until it inevitably comes to a stop. The ball literally rolls along the ground, which is why the distance travelled by the ball after first landing is called “Roll Distance”.


There you go! After reading this article, you have learned exactly what the term “Roll Distance” means in golf. You also got to read a real-world example to further improve your understanding of the meaning of Roll Distance.

Do you have any other words you wish to know more about? What is your highest ever roll distance? Let us know in the comments down below!

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