Have You Picked The Right Club?
By Aaron Jacobson
The pros know how far each club goes, down to the YARD! If you are guessing how far each club in your bag goes, you are at a big disadvantage on the golf course.
I ask my students to figure out how far each one of their clubs will travel, within a 5 yard range. For instance, a PW travels between 110-115 yards, the 9 iron travels 120-125 yards, and so on until you have a yardage for all of the golf clubs in your bag.
One way to work on this is at the driving range with a yardage laser, but sometimes the golf balls aren’t perfect as they have been hit hundreds, if not thousands of times. If your practice facility has restricted flight balls, this process will be difficult as well. In that case, I would recommend the second option, which is the use of a golf simulator or launch monitor. These machines will give you a distance after every shot, allowing you to see an average yardage range for each club. Make sure you are only using solid contacted shots and write your club distances down on piece of paper or make notes on your phone. If you do not have access to a simulator or launch monitor, the last option would be to go on the golf course with three golf balls and a Sharpie.
Label the golf balls with a number 1 through 3. Start out at 100 yards and hit the golf club you feel will produce a 100 yard shot and hit all three shots with that club. Then head up to the green and take an average of the all three shots, pending you hit all of them well. If you didn’t strike one well, exclude it and use the other two shots.
Continue this process until you have learned the distances of all of your clubs. If you are hitting shots on the course, do this in the late evening when play is slow and make sure to take care of the course by replacing or sanding all of your divots. No matter which method you use to determine your club distances, make sure you write them down and have access to them when you are on the course.
Example Distance Log
Lob Wedge 90-95 yards
Sand Wedge 105-110 yards
Gap Wedge 120-125 yards
Pitching Wedge 135-140 yards
9 Iron 145-150 yards
8 Iron 155-160 yards
7 Iron 165-170 yards
6 Iron 175-180 yards
5 Iron 185-190 yards
4 Iron 195-200 yards
3 Hybrid 210-215 yards
3 Wood 230-235 yards
Driver 275-280 yards
For wedge play, I would recommend the above process along with a few additional steps. Once you have established your full swing distance for each of your wedges, work on a shoulder high, chest high and hip high swing for your gap, lob and sand wedges. If you figure out how far these three swings will go with all three wedges, you will have 9 shots you can play within 100 yards of the green, making your options greater when playing on the course.
Finding your distances is an ongoing process. Things may change as you improve your swing and you must make adjustments accordingly. Just knowing how far the ball will travel on a solid strike will help you hit more greens in regulation and score lower without making any swing changes!