The importance of knowing your distance with all of your clubs seems self explanatory, or is it? As a teaching professional over the last 20 years I am still surprised with the number of students who only vaguely know how far they hit their clubs.
It seems simple doesn’t it? If you hit your 7 iron 165 yards and you’ve got a shot that is close to that same distance then use your 7 iron, problem solved……..But not really.
What is the weather like, is it damp and cool or is it hot and humid? Are you playing golf early in the morning when it’s cold and the ball feels hard like a rock or are you playing late in the afternoon where both the golf course and the ball will perform very differently? This doesn’t even include things like wind direction, or hitting a solid shot that goes your predicted distance. Now, that 7-iron 165 yard shot doesn’t seem so simple.
One of the best ways to get a good idea on your own distance is to put your stats on a piece of paper. I do this for a lot of my students, where we write down their yardages, miniaturize it and then laminate it. I then
have the students put it in their golf bag and refer to it every hole.
The reason I do this is because it’s important to have those figures in front of you when you’re making decisions on the golf course. When you come up to a par three that’s 185 yards you may know that you hit your six iron 180 yards so mentally you’re thinking you need to swing harder which has the tendency to mess up good swing dynamics. The better option is to pull out your distance sheet, look at it to confirm what you already know and then make a decision as to how you’re playing that day. If you’re hitting really consistent shots then maybe hit the six iron with a nice smooth swing but if you haven’t been hitting it very well that day the better option would be to grab a five iron, don’t swing quite as hard and let the club do the work.
Having your distance sheet in your golf bag and readily available is a great way to confirm what you may already know. But by confirming what you already know you are allowing your mind to process the environmental factors going on at that moment and then make a judgement call on what club to hit.
There are a lot of good ways to get your distance dialed in in today’s golfing world. Golf simulators are now accurate enough that if you have one or know someone
who does, you can get your yardages dialed in that way. Another great way is to simply go to the range with a laser rangefinder. If you don’t have either one of these options, you can borrow a rangefinder from a friend or ask your PGA pro to help you.
Last but certainly not least, If you don’t hit all your clubs consistently at this point in your golfing life you can never go wrong by focusing on your short iron distances. Learn how far you hit each wedge and your 8 and 9 irons. Just knowing these distances will lower your score almost immediately.