Golfers in general typically think that we ‘normally’ hit our clubs exactly as far as we do when we test them on the range, perhaps with a launch monitor. This is a great way to get some baseline values for how far your clubs go. What Anova measures is how you actually perform on the course.
The ‘Driving Distance’ stat should measure how you actually perform on the course.
On the course, the conditions are variable: windy, wet, soft, firm, long, short, narrow, wide, run outs, out of bounds, hazards etc. Sometimes you hit it further, shorter due to conditions; sometimes you hit it further or shorter due to strategic decision. The game off the tee then becomes a test of “how aggressive can you be and still be in play?”, which is a very different thing than hitting driver a specific distance on the range.
The main question when playing a course is: “How aggressive can I be off the tee and still be in play?”
Your ‘true’ driving distance is actually how for you really hit it off the tee. When it’s soft you end up hitting it shorter; when it’s firm you end up hitting it further. If you’re less aggressive you hit it shorter, and if you’re more aggressive you hit it further.
Every single shot you hit off the tee on a par4 and par5 is included in your ‘true’ driving distance. The longer and more accurately you can hit your shots given the specific constraints on a golf course (such as forced run outs, narrow fairways etc) the better it is. If you decide to hit more irons that drivers off the tee you become ‘less efficient’ off the tee and vice versa, but the number in the ‘driving distance’ stat represents the ‘true’ length you hit the ball during the round. You can look at the ‘longest 2 drives’ stat if you want to see your driving distance potential.
The ‘Driving Distance’ stat in Anova represents the ‘true’ length you hit the ball during the round.
The really interesting thing here is to compare your players to to each other on any given day. They all have to navigate themselves around the same course in the same weather conditions, but you can easily run a ranking to tell exactly who was the most aggressive/defensive in doing so? If your really long hitter hits it the shortest in ‘true driving distance’, that is incredibly interesting (what caused her to be so defensive?) and therefore it says way more than just the ‘normal’ driving distance number.