Lower Your Scores By Knowing Your Yardages

By Chris Foley






This season my column in Tee Times is going to focus on playing the game of golf and on course strategy and approach to help you score better. 

So many times, I learn more on the lesson tee than I teach my students!  This situation happened over 15 years ago.  I was working with a young lady who was a top 25 junior in the country and was in her first year playing Division 1 college golf at a Top 25 program. 

On the range her ball striking was as good as I had ever seen from her, and her swing looked great!  Unfortunately, her scoring did not match what I was seeing from our range time.  After a lot of investigation and conversation I learned that she was only hitting 3-5 greens in regulations a round.  How was this possible when she was hitting the ball so well?  She didn’t have a realistic understanding of the distance she was hitting her clubs!

Once I realized this we went through her bag and hit all her clubs, measuring the distances with each club.  We tracked the average yardage, the high yardage and the low average of each club.

We discovered a couple of things.

  • She was basing the yardages that she hit her clubs on her best shots not her averages.
  • Her 4, 5, and 6 irons went similar distances.
  • She had too big of gap between her 9 iron, PW, and SW.

Following our range session, we took the 4 iron out of her bag and added a hybrid and decreased the loft on her 5 iron a couple of degrees.  We decreased the loft of her PW and put a 56 degree SW in her bag instead of 58.  Most importantly, she had a much better understanding of the correct distances and gaps in her clubs.

After going through this process, her scoring average dropped five shots!  She didn’t change her swing or her practice sessions, she just had a better understanding of the distances she hit her clubs! 

This is a great lesson for all of us. The number one factor in scoring is the number of greens we hit in regulation.  The more greens we hit, the better we score. 

Today it is very easy to find our yardages with the availability of launch monitors.  Taking the time to learn the range of distances we hit each club and having the confidence that you are hitting the correct club will pay big dividends when it comes to scoring.