The distance a golfer hits the various clubs will differ from player to player. The quality, weighting, loft, and other club factors will also play an important part.
One has to become intimate with each club and understand their potential and effectiveness based on your style and swing. This will take some time and effort. Other factors such as the ball used, the course condition and the weather, particularly the dreaded wind, will also have an impact on distance.
Read more: If you’re looking to get more distance from your irons, check out our full review of the best players distance irons.
How To Understand Your Golf Club Distances
The first step is to understand the basics of each club’s potential and then apply that knowledge to your own strength, style, and swing speed as well as the clubs you use.
This video will give you some insight into the value of understanding your average distance for each club in your bag.
On average, men hit further than women so we do make a distinction. There are obviously exceptions and men are often outdriven by skilled lady golfers.
The averages vary according to which report or study you look at but this is the approximate average for each club. It is important to note that these average distances relate to golfers with some experience so beginners are not likely to achieve these averages.
Golf Club Distances Table
|CLUB||MEN'S AVERAGE DISTANCE||WOMEN'S AVERAGE DISTANCE|
|Driver||230 yards||200 yards|
|3-wood||210 yards||180 yards|
|5-wood||195 yards||160 yards|
|2-iron||190 yards||170 yards|
|3-iron||180 yards||160 yards|
|4-iron||170 yards||150 yards|
|5-iron||160 yards||140 yards|
|6-iron||150 yards||130 yards|
|7-iron||140 yards||120 yards|
|8-iron||130 yards||110 yards|
|9-iron||120 yards||100 yards|
|Pitching wedge||110 yards||90 yards|
|Sand wedge||90 yards||80 yards|
|Lob wedge||65 yards||60 yards|
Putters have obviously been excluded as they are not used for distance.
These days, very few golfers, including many of the pros, do not use the longer irons. Many use a hybrid in place of the 2, 3 and 4 irons. The average distance should be similar but you should have more confidence at address, greater consistency, and better accuracy.
As a result, your average shot with a hybrid is likely to be longer than with an iron. Hybrids tend to come in a slightly wider range of lofts and this will obviously impact the distance so take this into account when making distance calculations.
How Do I Work Out My Average Distance?
As we said above, this all-important understanding takes time and effort. Over time you will naturally become more familiar with your distance capabilities and average but in the early years, you will have to do a bit of homework.
The fastest way to do this is at the driving range. You will need to experiment with each club and keep track of the results. If you hit around 50 shots with a particular club and eliminate the 5 worst and 5 best, that will give you a fairly accurate idea of your average with that club.
This will need to be done with each club if you really want to be sure but initially, you can check your driver, woods, and 2 or 3 irons to get a faster idea.
The same can be done on the course but will not be as accurate and will take a lot longer. The best approach is to use both the range and the course and keep track of your averages as well as your progress.
So, as much as the above chart is a useful guideline, the true average varies widely from player to player. It is important to work out your personal average. This should naturally increase over time as your skills and technique improve.
It is valuable to keep track of your distances from practice as well as on the course. This can be done manually however there are mobile phone apps that can also help.
How to Determine the Distance Needed
Over time this will become largely instinctual but all players, the pros included, will benefit from having an accurate idea of the distance to the green, the pin, and any potential hazards. The scorecard and tee box markers will give you the total distance of the hole.
Thereafter one will have to use yardage markers. These can vary from course to course but are generally color-coded markers displaying 200 (normally blue), 150 (normally white), and 100 yards (normally red). One can pace backward or forwards from the nearest marker to determine your distance.
Some courses have yardage diagrams available that will give you more accurate distances for each hole. These can be handy but will slow play down a bit.
Technology can also help in this regards and there are many great rangefinders available. Some have multiple features and many are extremely accurate.
Golf is a highly competitive sport but the manufacturers are equally competitive with each trying to get a larger slice of the market. As distance is something understandably important to most golfers, many manufacturers design new clubs to hit as far as possible.
One of the ways they achieve this is by reducing the loft. All other things being equal, a lower lofted club will hit further than a higher lofted club.
What this means is that a modern set will generally hit further than a comparable set made a few years back. One player’s 6 iron could have a different loft to the next so the potential is different. This is why it is important to learn your averages with your clubs. If you change or upgrade you will most likely have to factor in these changes after getting used to them for some time.
Most game improvement clubs will have a strong loft to help the player achieve an easier launch. This will mean sacrificing some of the distance potentials of a club designed for a better player that has less loft.
This applies to all clubs with the obvious exception of the putter. Drivers, woods, irons, and particularly wedges can vary in the loft from one set to another, sometimes quite dramatically. Some drivers offer an adjustable loft so you will need to determine the best setting for your swing speed and style.
There are a number of things you can do to improve your golf and reduce your score but knowing your clubs and the distances they can hit is one of the most important ones. It will take some time and effort but has the potential to dramatically improve your enjoyment of the game as well as your score.
Tables with averages do not give the full pictures as there are so many other factors to consider so use that simply as a starting point. What it does is illustrate is the relevant differences between the various clubs.
You will have to get to know your own average for your swing and style and with your particular clubs. The saved yards and better lies will still have a positive impact on your results.
Do it, you won’t regret it.
Read more: For a step-by-step approach to getting more distance from your driver, check out our full article.
Nick Lomas is the founder of GolfSpan, an avid golfer, not quite a pro but has over 15-years of experience playing and coaching golfers from all over the world. His mission is to bring the golfing community a better experience then it comes to choosing the right golf gear, and finding the right set up for your game.