Golf Club Distances: How Far?

The rules of golf allow you to carry up to 14 clubs in your bag.  As such, logic reasons that each club goes a different distance. 

As simple as that might sound, everybody hits each of their clubs a different distance.  It depends on a number of factors including your equipment, swing speed, and a host of others. 

If you’re going to play your best golf, knowing exactly how far you hit each of your clubs is imperative. 

The Role of Loft

As a general rule, the shorter a club is in length, the more loft it has.  The more loft a club has, the higher it will go.  And the higher it goes, the less distance it travels. 

There are exceptions to this rule, but the idea serves as a great place to begin understanding how far golf clubs go. 


Understanding Your Golf Club Distances

The first part of the equation in determining your distances is to gain an understanding of your capabilities. 

A great place to start is the driving range.  All you need to do is hit a number of balls with each of your clubs and measure their average distance. 

This simple exercise will give you a baseline.


After you’ve gained a rough idea of how far you hit each of your clubs it’s time to really dial it in. 

This is best done out on the golf course in game-like conditions. 

As an example, let’s say you’ve determined you hit your seven-iron 150 yards on the driving range.  Now, you should take it to the course, where you’re using real golf balls.  Drop a handful of balls at 150 yards, hit some shots, and see where they end up.  Do you fly 150 yards like you originally thought? 

Here again, you should look at the average of all your shots to come up with a final number.

Understanding Distance Needed

Now that you have a better grasp of how far you hit each of your clubs, it’s time to understand the idea of distance needed on every shot out on the course. 

Let’s use our 150-yard seven-iron example again.  Picture yourself in the middle of the fairway with 154 yards to the pin.  You know that an average seven-iron should leave you four yards short. 

But consider the idea that the pin is tucked in the front of the green only five yards over a lake.  That means you need to carry the shot at least 149 yards. 

While a seven-iron seems like a logical choice, what happens if you mishit hit it slightly and come up short in the lake?  Now you’re looking at a lost ball, penalty strokes, and a high score. 

Maybe a better choice would be your six-iron which goes 160 yards.  Even though this club might leave your ball a few feet beyond the pin, you know that even if you don’t strike it perfectly, you’re still going to clear the lake. 

So, just because you have a shot with a yardage that fits a particular club, doesn’t always mean that’s the club you should hit.

Other Factors to Consider in the Distance Equation

Very rarely will you find a shot that plays the exact yardage you measure.

Other factors you need to consider include wind, elevation change, temperature, your lie, and the firmness of the ground where you’re trying to land the ball to name a few. 

What makes golf such a great game is that these factors are always changing.  You never hit the same shot twice in a row. 

The more you play, the more adept you’ll become at calculating yardages and taking everything into consideration. 

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If you’re going to play your best golf, you need to know exactly how far you hit each of your clubs.  For a lot of beginners, this might seem tricky.  But if you follow the simple steps above, you’ll have your yardages dialed in no time at all. 

And once you learn how to factor in the various dynamics necessary to determine how far each shot is playing, the sky’s the limit. 

Paul Liberatore
Paul Liberatore

As the Founder of Golfers Authority Paul Liberatore Esq. has spent the last 7+ years writing about the best golf equipment or instruction from the top golf instructors in the world. He has been a contributing writer for Sports Illustrated Golf and GolfWRX. After graduating with honors from Purdue University, he realized that he had a passion for the golf business and the law. When he's not practicing law, or creating golf content on YouTube, he can be found on his syndicated Behind the Golf Brand podcast both on Apple and Spotify talking with the most prolific leaders in the golf industry. 

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