I believe that most golfers sell themselves short by not knowing their club distances. It is hard to determine which club to select for various golf shots if you are not certain how far your ball will travel 7 times out of 10. You will notice that I did not say every time because we rarely hit the ball to maximum distances on every shot. Hence, know how far we hit a ball 75% of the time is a very good thing.
If you are wondering how you determine this important tidbit of knowledge, well there is really only one place to go:
Learning how to hit to distance 7 out of 10 times is best accomplished at the range. This practice time is probably one of the most important skill you can develop as a beginner. Of course it does not hurt for seasoned players to hone this skill, but the playing abilities (and lower golf scores) beginners will grow exponentially if they know the distance they can hit a golf ball with the different clubs they carry.
I learned the distances I could hit each club about 25 years ago. This was my first step to playing better golf. As my game improved, I would reestablish my club yardage. Over the past 5 years, I have pretty much plateaued, but I still remain cognizant that yardages could change. It is the nature of my golf journey.
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!
6 thoughts on “PSA: Know Your Club Distances”
It is extremely important to know how far you can reliably hit each club, no matter what level of player you are. I would also add knowing your carry distance is just as important.
I agree with Kevin that developing feel and partial shots is vitally important. Being able to hit a three quarter swing, etc. makes it easier to return to proper tempo when things go a little off the rails. It also gives you greater shot selections and creativity.
Too many people try to hit with a full swing all the time. That can become problematic when for an example fatigue sets in later in the round or you are stiff.
Bottom line is knowing your reliable distances is vital to playing your best.
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You are right about knowing partial distances. It is very important to be able switch back and forth.
It’s not just the distance you hit with a full swing either. You should learn distances with every club in the bag from multiple swing lengths. The clock method. Whether you want a technical swing or a feel swing, it’s the most useful information you can have when you’re out on the course deciding on your next shot. Feel works so much better when you have the knowledge that this club at this swing length goes this far and so does that club at that swing length. You’ve got choices. And your feel can take over from there and do the fine tuning. It’s a huge confidence booster too.
Here’s a good one for you. I got a video taken of my swing the other day. It captured an absolutely atrocious looking swing that just happened to somehow work out well enough to give me the shortest approach shot. I hit that ball though with only one foot touching the ground. I was trying to force a draw and taking too much swing and got badly out of whack. Had only the lead foot on the ground at impact. The trail foot was in the process of stepping back. I ended up hitting a little low pull knuckleball and ended up past the turn of the fairway but in a nice easy lie in the rough with a PW to get home. I was closest to the pin with that terrible swing. Of course the guys got to see it first hand and ribbed me over it a bit even though they were behind me so I made a little animated gif from a few frames in the video that show me swinging and stepping back and then reversing the swing and stepping forward. I texted it to the guys I played with that day with the caption: So who says I can’t dance?
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You are right the learning more that just a full swing distance is a good idea. But, that is after a baseline is established. As far as your dancing swing, we have all been there. It is great that it worked out for you and I am sure you received a few eye rolls from your friends after being closest to the pin on your second shot. It is swings like that, that make us laugh and enjoy golf even more. Keep on dancing!
If someone is going to take the time to get one distance, why not do them all? It’s a no brainer kind of thing that actually is fun practice time. I don’t think this is something that should be put off. It’s not second level stuff. It’s essential basics. If you can hit the ball, you’re ready for it. Too many rely on osmosis to acquire the information and that takes a life time.
And another thing about it that should be included comes to me from a memory of my past. My friends and I often complained about our performance with “off-speed swings”. This little exercise will teach you that it’s not swing speed you need to change, but swing length. You put in the same effort, you keep your tempo, you simply adjust the length of the swing. I really wish I’d have been told that a lot sooner.
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All great points. I have found that if I swing less aggressively, I can hit the just as far. It is a matter of synchronizing the moving parts of my swing.