Club Distances: Why Golfers Need to Know Accurate Yardages for Each Club in the Bag
Golf has become a distance game with PGA Tour courses stretching out beyond 7,000 yards and club manufacturers designing the latest technology to increase how far you hit the golf ball.
And for most golfers, the exciting part of the game is trying to figure out how far the pro’s hit the golf ball. Then attempting to match that so you can feel some sort of accomplishment knowing you pipe shots as far as the professional golfers.
It’s easy to get wrapped up into the discussion of “how far should you hit the golf ball with each club” and comparing yourself to others to see where you stance with club distances.
But what I believe is more important is knowing exactly how far you hit each club.
There are two reasons why knowing your golf clubs distances is most important:
- You can improve your golf scores quicker
- You’ll know how much work you have to do to increase your club distances
Resource: Best Golf Training Program to Follow
Accurate Club Distances is Most Important in Golf
First and foremost before worrying how you stack up against other golfers, you need to realize that there is no correct distance to hit the golf ball.
You can still achieve low golf scores whether you hit your 7 iron 180 yards or you hit it 135 yards.
Golf Apps and Golf Systems can collect data from millions of golf rounds worldwide to share averages with us, but your personal averages are most important.
Having accurate data on hand can help you make better club selection choices when standing over your golf shots.
In fact, Trackman did a study and found out that by adding an extra 10 yards onto all shots an average mid-handicapper increased the number of greens in regulation hit.
Trackman data showed that “the percentage of shots that would hit the green increases from 38.5% to 44.0% and the average distance from the target decreases from 71.8 feet to 60.6 feet.”
This demonstrates most golfers could lower their scores, with no changes to their golfing technique, or skill level. They just require a better understanding of their golf club distances.
And it’s true. Think of how many golf shots you mishit and end up short as a result. If you get in the habit of taking more club and hitting a 6 iron instead of a 7 iron, you’ll find yourself on more greens more frequently.
Taking extra club, to give you those extra 10 yards, will help you swing smoother and thus hit the ball more pure compared to the golfer trying to swing 110% with the wrong club to get it to go further.
I love taking extra club and swinging smoother with more control. My golf shots are more accurate and the ball travels the right distance, leaving more shots pin high.
Additionally, we often over-estimate how far we hit each club. You may think you can hit your 7 iron 150 yards but if you tested it on a simulator like Trackman you may discover that your “average” shot only flies 140 yards, leaving you 10 yards short frequently.
So instead of having a 30+ foot putt, you may find yourself with more birdie chances from 10-15 feet by learning your true club distances and adjusting your club selection as a result.
How to Find Your Golf Club Distances
Finding your golf club’s average distances is quite simple. You hit golf shots and you measure how far they go. You can either track club distances manually or using technology to help speed things up.
Here are 3 methods we recommend to find out how far you hit the golf ball on average.
- Complete the Trackman Skills Test
- Buy Game Golf or Arccos Club Distance Technology
- Manual Distance Tracking
TrackMan Club Distance Test
The best way to calculate your average club distances for all your golf clubs is using a Trackman. This piece of technology isn’t cheap however. It can run upwards of $25,000 to $50,000 to build out a simulator room in your house.
Instead, find local golf shops that own this technology and pay to rent it for the day. Most golf shops have it today so they can help golfers with club fitting and for private swing lessons.
Once you get on the Trackman, there is the Test Center mode where you can choose the club you are swinging and it will track all kinds of data including distance. You can hit 10 shots with each club and rotate through all the golf clubs in your bag.
At the end, send the report to your email and review it to see your golf shot dispersion chart as well as data like average club distance.
Trackman also has a skills test mode where you’ll hit 3 shots with every club, twice, but it breaks it up so you don’t hit all 6 shots in a row.
The goal of the skills test is to test your accuracy, rather than your max distance. Trackman will flash a distance on the screen and you’ll try to hit the ball exactly that distance while also hitting it as straight as possible. You’ll get scored 0-100 on each shot.
Overall, Trackman is a fast and easy way to hit a high volume of golf shots with your clubs to gather data on how far you hit them as well as swing speed, ball speed, launch angle, and other relevant data.
Then compare your average club distances to other golfers by looking at the data Trackman has compiled in their system.
Game Golf & Arccos Golf Systems
These are sensor systems that get plugged into the butt end of your golf club and connect to an app on your smart phone via bluetooth connection.
Every golf shot you hit out on the golf course is tracked via these sensors and logged in the app so you can track your golf club distances.
You’ll be able to learn your tendencies with each of your clubs, seeing how far you thought you were hitting vs how far you actually do hit them.
Manual Club Distance Tracking
The final method and old school method for finding your club distance averages is tracking data manually out on the golf course.
You’ll need about 10 golf balls and some open area where you can freely hit your balls and go find them to measure distances.
This could be an open field nearby your home, or maybe your golf course has open space somewhere you can use to set up this system.
Next, you’ll hit 10 balls with your club.
Mark where you hit from by setting down your golf bag on the spot. Grab a laser range finder and walk out to your golf balls with a pen and notepad.
Fire the rangefinder back at the golf bag so you have an object to hit with the laser and write down these distances.
If you don’t have a range finder to track your club distances, then use “strides” with each “stride” being about 1 yard. Count how many strides you take walking out to the golf ball.
Download our golf worksheet we created to write down your club distances and calculate your averages!
Average Golf Club Distances
Now that we’ve covered how to find your average distances and why it’s important to know your averages if you want to score better, let’s get into the national data.
Here is where you can finally achieve your goal of comparing yourself to other golfers worldwide and feel pity for yourself for not being able to hit as far as others.
But on the bright side, you’ll now have your data and their data so you can see the distance gap between the two and know how much work you have to do to catch up!
Then you’ll be able to game plan how to increase your club distances, which likely starts with increasing your clubhead swing speed. That’s another topic for another day!
Average Club Distances for Male Golfers
- Driver – 220 yards
- 3 Wood – 200 yards
- 3 Hybrid – 180 yards
- 4 iron – 170 yards
- 5 iron – 160 yards
- 6 iron – 150 yards
- 7 iron – 140 yards
- 8 iron – 130 yards
- 9 iron – 120 yards
- P Wedge – 110 yards
- G Wedge – 100 yards
- A Wedge – 90 yards
- 56 Degree – 80 yards
- 58 Degree – 70 yards
- 60 Degree – 60 yards
Average Club Distances for Female Golfers
- Driver – 170 yards
- 3 Wood – 150 yards
- 3 Hybrid – 130 yards
- 4 iron – 120 yards
- 5 iron – 110 yards
- 6 iron – 100 yards
- 7 iron – 90 yards
- 8 iron – 80 yards
- 9 iron – 70 yards
- P Wedge – 60 yards
- G Wedge – 50 yards
- A Wedge – 40 yards
- 56 Degree – 30 to 40 yards
- 58 Degree – 25 to 35 yards
- 60 Degree – 20 to 30 yards
Loft Angle and Club Distance
The biggest factor affecting how far the golf ball will go is the Loft Angle. Clubs with low loft angles like the driver will go much further compared to high loft clubs like your wedges.
The USGA doesn’t have official loft angles for each club so they can differ from manufacturers. For example, the loft on a 4 iron from Titleist might different from the 4 iron by TaylorMade.
Low lofted golf clubs hit the ball with lower ball flight and less backspin which helps them achieve farther distances but you give up control.
High lofted golf clubs like the wedges are designed to lift the golf ball high into the air and land softer on greens. They also have much more backspin to help you control the ball more.
By understanding loft angles, you can make smarter club selections when deciding which golf clubs you want in your bag to cover distance gaps.
Standard iron sets run 4 iron through pitching wedge and then you get to choose how many wedges, hybrids, and woods you want to add to the bag to complete the 14 golf club maximum allowance.
Factors that Determine You Golf Clubs Distances
If you’re trying to hit the golf ball further, you’ll need to understand how multiple things work together to achieve the outcome you see on the golf course.
Here’s a quick list:
- Golf Swing Speed
- Golf Ball Speed
- Launch Trajectory
- Backspin Rate
- Course Conditions
- Golf Ball Design
- Golf Club Design
Golf Swing Speed:
Pro golfers swing in excess of 100 mph, and often closer to 120 mph with the driver. Average golfers swing 70-90 mph with the driver. This results in a huge difference in distance potential.
Golf Ball Speed:
This data piece is known as “Smash Factor” and it’s how pure you hit the golf ball. The more pure you hit the ball on the face, the more energy the club will transfer to the ball and the faster it will rocket off the club face, known as ball speed.
Every golf club has a different loft angle which produces different launch angles and ball flight trajectories. One reason you may not be hitting the ball as far is if your launch angle isn’t high enough. This can result in the ball not flying as far through the air before hitting the ground, costing you lost distance potential.
On the flip side of launch is back spin. Lower ball flight shots tend to have less back spin allowing them to roll more upon landing, getting you additional distance. Higher ball flight shots like irons and wedges have much more backspin to help them stop sooner so they hold greens and don’t roll off. Driver shots should achieve a great mix of ball launch trajectory and backspin rate to hit the ball further.
Is it a windy day? Is the course wet and damp or dry and hard? Certain golf course conditions can influence how the golf ball reacts and impacts your club distances.
Golf Ball Design:
Golf balls have layers and consist of a core, cover, and in between layers. Different cover designs and dimple patterns can affect spin rates while different core designs can impact energy transfer from the club face to the golf ball.
Golf Club Design:
Club manufacturers work endlessly to enhance drivers, woods, hybrids, irons, wedges, and putters to make them perform better for us on the golf course. New technology can help increase your swing speed and energy transfer, control spin rates, and enhance launch angles for better ball flight trajectories.
Now Go Increase Your Club Distances
Overall, you now have a solid understanding of Golf Club Distances.
We’ve covered the importance of finding your yardages to help you hit more accurate shots that travel the right distances. We covered the average distances of golfers worldwide.
And we covered the factors that impact your golf club distances so you can create a plan to increase how far you hit the golf ball, if that’s your goal.
So all that’s left is to go put in the work. Go make it happen my friend. And as you work to increase your golf club distances, you should equally work on your short game practice. See my step by step training plan here.
Golf Practice Plan to Follow to Improve Golf Scores
Before you go, make sure to check out these golf practice plans! Each has proven drills to help you improving your scoring and build a strong short game!
- The Short Game Practice Plan with 10 Levels
- How to Break 70 Golf Training Plan
- How to Break 80 Golf Training Plan
- How to Break 90 Golf Training Plan
- The Bundle: Access to All 3 Training Plans
- 21 Day Indoor Golf Training Plan
- How to Coach High School Golf eBook
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