Club Distances: Dispelling the Myths, and Why You Need Accurate Info

Dan Gold
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There is no Such Thing as the Right Distance

The first myth to dispel is probably the most obvious: there is no one distance that is right for a particular golfer.

While a golfer like Jason Day might hit the same driver every time, any other factor can and does affect each golfer’s club selection.

We’re all aware that most golf clubs were designed to be used at a range of just two clubs, for example ‡ 5 and 8 irons. These were considered the middle two clubs in the long-iron sets that were used to combat the lengthy courses of the day.

What is often forgotten today, however, is that those same clubs came with clubs as long as 1-iron, 2-iron and even 3-iron! Some of these clubs, including the 3-iron, would be fitted with modern-style grips, which makes them much easier to control and significantly increases their versatility.

That also explains why golfers had overlapping clubs back in the day and why so many clubs are referred to as the 5 or 6 iron, for example.

So there really are no set distances in golf. The key is to give you an idea of the distances you should be hitting certain clubs and then minimize or maximize those distances as required.

You can do this for yourself by simply recording your drives with a handheld GPS device such as a Garmin Watch.

Knowledge is Power

The Other Method

The two most common methods to determine the distance from ball to pin are visual estimation and laser technology.

Visual estimation or when you use the tape measure and simply point to the pin. For regular recreational golfers, this is often the preferred method of yardage determination.

According to a study conducted by ballistics research experts at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the maximum and probable errors of these visual estimates are in a range of +/- 1-2 yards.

Some golfers also use the oft-reviled, frowned upon and even banned laser range finders. These come in a variety of shapes and sizes.

Don’t get me wrong: laser rangefinders are now the most commonly used tool for determining pin distances on the golf course. They have become easier to use, they are small, and they are the most accurate tool for measuring course distances.

However, there are still some golfers who favor the tape measure and some who favor the laser. We’ll discuss this in a moment.

Which is the fastest way of measuring distance from ball to pin? Well, it’s not quite a fair fight since the laser has a distinct advantage in speed. A laser measures pin distance in just a few seconds whereas a tape measure can take slightly longer.

How to Increase Your Distance

The best way to increase your distance is to master your technique. Take your time and learn to do it right. That way nobody cares how short your backstroke is, because the way you do it makes it irrelevant. Here are some tips to increase your distance, including what to do to increase your endurance.

Gauge your stroke. Start slowly, and measure your stroke by counting, per lap, how many times your fist goes through the water. You should take about 60 strokes to do one lap. Don’t let your arms swing as you swim. Instead, keep your arms still at your side and your shoulders in front of your hands. That will keep the wind resistance down and allow you to go farther.

Practice constant weight shifting. Shifting your weight lets you continue moving forward, even if your elbow stops for a second. Try to practice swimming while lifting your ankle, and check your strokes every two or three nights.

Do two two-minute sprints a day. Simply sprint for two minutes. Work up to 30 seconds sprints, two times a day – even on the days you don’t go swimming.

Golf Club Distances – Wrapping it Up

No matter your experience level or skill set, it is important for every golfer to learn about club distances on the course. It is also important to understand the basic components that contribute toward those club distances.

You will find yourself on the course in a range of conditions and factors that contribute to club distances will vary accordingly.

The next time you walk onto a golf course or a driving range, it will be in your best interest to take note of the golf clubs available to you in your golf bag.

You can also add the details of the side, the loft and the length of your golf clubs to your knowledge and use that as a rough reference tool for when you are face to face with specific golf situations.

It is up to you to test your clubs under particular weather and environmental conditions to gain an accurate understanding of their performance and behavior which you can apply to the golf course.

So whether you are a beginner, medium-tournament golfer, or a professional at the top of their game and your next tournament prize money depends on it… you have all the tools and resources at your disposal to make the right choice and pick the right club for your next golf swing.