If you’re like most amateurs, you probably have a rough idea of how far you hit each of your clubs – but you don’t know exactly how far each one goes. You might base your average distance on one great shot you hit with each club – but that doesn’t mean you’ll hit it that far each and every time. This causes inconsistency in your golf game, which leads to second guessing yourself (and we all know that second-guessing is the last thing you want to do before hitting a golf ball).
Tour players are truly great at knowing how far each club in their bag goes. They know it down to the exact yard. So why is this important for you? There are a host of reasons – the main one being that your score will dramatically improve if you do! The better you know your distances, the more accurate you can plot your way around a golf course, and the better you will score. Avoiding water, bunkers, and out-of-bounds is how you’ll stop making those big numbers which can ruin a round.
Once you know how far you hit each club you’ll have a much better chance of hitting more greens per round. Being short or long on your approach to a green is often more detrimental than being the correct distance, but either left or right.
Another reason for knowing how far each club goes is to make sure the distance gaps between each club are correct. If your seven iron only goes about 5 yards further than your 8 iron – it’s time to take your clubs in to get fitted. Having gaps like this is especially common when it comes to long irons, hybrids, and fairway woods. Most amateurs keep replacing these clubs and when switching between different manufacturers, it’s tough to determine the actual distance gaps between them.
When it comes to knowing your distances, your short game (from within 130 yards) will benefit the most. Sticking it close to the flag from this distance is certainly the key to better scores.
So how do you know how far each club goes? There are a variety of ways to do this. By far, the best way to do it is through the help of technology. There are terrific launch monitors like Trackman and FlightScope that can tell you exactly how far you hit each shot. These usually require the help of a golf professional.
The more low-tech method is to get out to the driving range and hit every club in your bag enough times to get a solid average distance for each one.
However you do it, make sure to be honest with yourself and don’t let your pride get in the way. The better you know your game, the better you can score and the more fun you will have.