When a pro tees off, knowing he averages 290, it would be safe to say "I bet he is going to hit this drive about 290yds." Now, a 20hcp'er, who hits 3/10 balls solid, and those 3 balls average 290yds while the other 7 balls average 200yds, gets on the tee box. Would you bet this amateur is going to hit the ball 290? Or would you bet more around the 225yd mark?
I'm not saying it's right or wrong to report on only solid shots, but, I think it helps put into perspective just how good the pros are.
When a pro hits any club, I would expect it is going to be pretty repeatable. 290 yards is still 20 yards more than the average carry distance of a pro. I suspect that most pros can drive the balls that far, just not accurately enough to compete.
I can't imagine a 20 handicap hitting 290 yards, unless there were some freakish circumstances. If someone were to ask me what I can drive, I would say roughly 240 yards, even though my range could be anywhere from 150 yard worm burners to 290 yard dry fairway rollers.
My guess is that most 16-22 handicappers usually carry between 220 and 250 yards. Here's my reasoning. The average bogey par 4 is around 370 yards, so take 360 - 235= 125 or between a PW and a 9i for a bogey golfer. GIR is possible give or take an iron or two. If the drives are only 200 yards as everyone on this site seems to be stating, your approaches go anywhere from an 8i to a 4i. If someone drives only 200 yards, their 5i is going to be something like 140 yards. So you need to make the long approaches with 4i. Irons are so much harder to hit well that I can't imagine hitting greens with any kind of consistency from 150 yards or more for a bogey golfer.