Knowing which golf club to use for different distances, the key to the best of the game


In your golf practice sessions, one of the most important areas that you need to polish up is in getting the right distance with the right club. This is most significantly important with your irons and that would form a big chunk of your learning curve.

Things have been changing quite rapidly in golf so, if you still have the 2, 3 and 4 irons, then you would be slightly out of date (especially for women golfers). These irons are not used anymore these days especially with the growing popularity of woods and hybrids which are all fast replacing those irons.

Get your golf swing right! Use your hip power, not your arm.

What you need to determine first is the average distance you hit the ball with every club you have in your bag. This will give you a clear indication of which club to use for a certain shot. From there, you can then decide and pick the right club that allows you to get the distance you want. Finding the average distance is not easy though and takes a lot of effort. In fact, you should hit about 50 balls with every club to get your average. Your average yardage is determined by removing the longest five and shortest five distances. The remaining one in the middle is the one you want.
The swing is important too. Before going for the distance, you must get your swing right. Your grip, posture, start pose and ultimately the swing would make a huge difference in getting the distance you want. Always use your hip to give you that extra power so that your swing becomes more holistic. For instance, with a 7 iron, you should be hitting 140 yards or more. If you are getting lesser than that, then, your swing is possibly wrong and instead of utilizing your hip power, you are only using your arms to get the swing. Then, avoid locking your line of sight on the ball when you are about to hit.


Irons for distance

Make no mistake about it! You use irons to get a specific distance. A typical club like the driver is not meant for this but you could well get some if you try to hit as far as possible. As a golfer, you are responsible to determine which iron to use to get the distance that you want. You will need to know the ‘carry distance’ which refers to the distance the ball would go. This is because most irons, particularly the wedges and the short iron won’t roll much upon landing. Meanwhile, you would need to know the carry distance and the total distance if you use the hybrids or the mid and long irons. This refers to the distance the ball would go plus the roll-out after landing.

Modern technology changes everything

The advancement and introduction of modern technology into the sport has made things so much easier now. You can now very much get a specific distance with certain golf training aids. In other words, you no longer need to make judgments or estimates when you practice. In fact, technology helps you a lot when you are on the range and during your practice rounds which makes life so much easier than having to live with the anomalies of distances each time you hit a ball.
On top of that, you need to know about the ‘yardage gap’ which refers to the distance you get among every iron. For example, if your 8 iron gets you 140 yards and your 9 iron gives you 130 yards, then you have a 10 -yard gap. This is not a confirmed number as this gap varies between everyone but it is about 10 to 15-yard gaps between every club. If you look at your golf set, the yard gaps should be consistent in this manner.

Practice to get your distance

There really is no shortcut for this, so don’t cut corners at all. No one gets it right on the first shot. Don’t expect to get the yardage at the beginning of your game. It doesn’t work this way. Use the data below as your benchmark for the average distance for men and women but don’t be discouraged if you do not get the yardages from the start. As you practice, you will edge nearer to these numbers.

  • Driver – 230-250 yards (Men), 200 yards (Women)
  • 3-wood – 210 yards (Men), 180 yards (Women)
  • 2-iron – 190 yards (Men), not recommended for women but you should use the 4-wood or hybrid which should get you 170 yards average
  • 3-iron – 180 yards (Men), not recommended for women and use a 5-wood or hybrid for 160 yards average
  • 4-iron – 170 yards (Men), not recommended for women but you should get about 150 yards or try a hybrid
  • 5-iron – 160 yards (Men), 140 yards (Women)
  • 6-iron – 150 yards (Men), 130 yards (Women)
  • 7-iron – 140 yards (Men), 120 yards (Women)
  • 8-iron – 130 yards (Men), 110 yards (Women)
  • 9-iron – 120 yards (Men), 100 yards (Women)
  • Pitching wedge – 110 yards (Men), 90 yards (Women)
  • Sand wedge – 90 yards (Men), 80 yards (Women)
  • Lob wedge – 65 yards (Men), 6 yards (Women)

Using the chart above, you can see that the yardage is 10 yards between the 5 and 6 iron and 15 yards between 6 and 7 iron. It is 5 yards between 7 and 8 irons respectively. Based on this, the gap is too small between 7 and 8 and too big for 6 and 7 iron. Since you are looking for consistency, you might not want to change your swing to get there. Instead, you should make adjustments to your clubs. As the 7 iron would not get you a distance too far, you might want to consider adjusting the loft. Make it slightly stronger to go up to 155 yards. As for the 9 iron and the PW, the yardage is too far apart. Your adjustment should be on the 9 iron to make it shorter and the PW to get more distance.

Getting your game of golf right means you don’t only try to get the hit as far as you can when you are playing under normal weather conditions. You need to consider other factors too like how far will it go in a 3/4 shot, hitting towards the oncoming breeze or when your shot is going up or downhill, among other factors. This is where your practice will need to get you towards perfecting every shot.

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