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What Is Total Distance In Golf? – Explained!

what is total distance in golf
what is total 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 “Total Distance”.

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

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

What Is Total Distance In Golf?

In golf, Total Distance is the straight line distance between your golf ball’s starting point and the point where it comes to a rest. Total Distance in golf is defined as the sum of Carry Distance and Roll Distance. Total Distance includes the distance the ball travels in the air, and along the ground.

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

When you hear the word “Total 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.

You will especially hear of Total Distance if there is a launch monitor installed in the vicinity, which is a device that can measure Total Distance.

In golf, Total Distance is the straight-line distance a golf ball travels from its starting point to the point where it comes to rest. Total Distance is defined alternatively defined as follows:

Total Distance = Carry Distance + Roll Distance

Total Distance in golf includes all the distance the golf ball travels both in the air and along the ground, whether it bounces or rolls on the ground.

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

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


Joe is an good 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 distances is installed.

Joe strikes the golf ball hard, and it travels 280 yards in the air before landing, and rolls 25 yards.

“A Total Distance of 305 yards! A personal best!” Joe exclaims himself.

As you have read in the example above, the Total Distance is the sum of the carry distance and the roll distance (280 + 25 = 305 yards).

Total Distance can be measured a few ways, with varying levels of accuracy.

One option to measure Total 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.

However, launch monitors do not always measure the Roll Distance component of Total Distance because they often assume the ball lands on a flat surface.

In reality, the surface type (slope angle, turf height, etc.) has a huge influence on the amount of roll distance, and hence the Total Distance. For example, if the ball lands on a downward slope, it will roll a lot more distance than if it landed on a flat surface.

If you go to a golf simulator, which uses a launch monitor, you can also get good measurements of your Total Distance for each of your golf clubs.

A less accurate way to measure Total Distance would be to measure the total distance between the starting point of your golf ball and its resting point, although this is rarely practical to execute. This will however get you a rough approximation of Total Distance.

Alternatively, you can use a high-accuracy GPS app or tracker and use that to measure the distance between the starting points of each of your shots. This will give you a pretty good estimation of the Total Distances of your shots.

The term Total Distance’s origin is fairly simple. Total Distance is simply…the total distance your golf ball has travelled after one of your swings.

If you would like to lower your golf score and increase your average Total Distances, you can read our guide: How To Improve Your Golf Score? – 9 Pro Tips.


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

Do you have any other words you wish to know more about? What is your average Total Distance for your driver? Let us know in the comments down below!

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