Golf Club Distances - How to Calculate Each Club

Understanding golf club distances is an essential tool to improving your golf game. When golfing you will be put in situations where choosing the correct club could positively impact your score and lower your handicap. A few questions frequently asked by amateur golfers are:

“What club should I be using?” 

“How far can I hit each of my clubs?”

“Does it matter which club I use?” 

Throughout this article, we will be answering these questions, among other things, so that you gain a better understanding of golf club distances.

It’s important to keep in mind that you shouldn’t compare yourself with professional golfers when trying to figure out your average distance for each club. Several factors come into play when determining golf club distances, including age, gender, experience, equipment, weather and course conditions, swing speed, as well as physical abilities.

Table of Contents

Variation in Golf Club Distances

golfer swinging club

What to Consider When Choosing a Club

Every golf club is built differently and is designed for a specific purpose; however, it is up to each individual golfer to evaluate the situation and determine which club will result in the best shot. 

Some clubs, such as Drivers and Fairway Woods, are designed to achieve maximum yardage, whereas other clubs, including Pitching Wedges and Sand Wedges, are designed to be used on approach shots where the goal is to reach the green.  The club you choose is primarily dependent on the situation and your ability to connect with each club. 

Remember, each golfer has their own unique style of play which will also factor into determining which golf club to use. Finding out about your average golf club distance is essential if you’re looking to improve your overall golf game and lower your handicap.  Also, keep in mind that achieving greater golf club distances does not necessarily mean that you will have a lower score.

Here are some questions we recommend asking yourself when determining which club to use:

How far is it to your desired spot? (Generally you should aim for your ball to end up by the flag; however, there are holes where you may need to decide to lay up or play it safe versus aiming straight for the flag)

Am I comfortable hitting with a specific club (Ex. Can I hit a driver off the tee without slicing out of bounds?  If not, we recommend choosing a club that you can hit accurately without losing too much distance)

Are there obstacles to consider? (Ex. Lake, bunker, etc.)

Are there weather conditions that may affect your shot?

Calculating Distance For Each Club

Figuring out your average distance for each golf club will require time and effort on your behalf.  You may also notice your average distances increase over time as your skills improve. As you become increasing more familiar with your clubs and can manage to consistently hit good strokes, it will become easier for you to find your average golf club distance.

We recommend heading over to your local driving range and experimenting with each club.  Make sure to bring a pen and pad so that you can document the club type and distance of each stroke.

Start off with the smallest club first (excluding putter) and work your way up to your driver.  Ideally you would like to take 50 strokes with each club, while keeping track of the distance of each shot.  Once you’ve completed your strokes with a given club, it’s time to calculate your average golf club distance for that particular club. Your average golf club distance can be calculated by using the formula below:

Average Golf Club Distance = Sum of All Strokes / Total Number of Strokes

Repeat this process for each of your clubs, excluding the putter.

This will give you an accurate representative of the average golf club distance you can expect with each club.

You’re more than welcome to do this on the golf course as well; however, it will take much longer and may not be as accurate because courses do not have as many distance markers as a typical range would.

To find your average golf club distance, ideally you would like to use a combination of the course and range to track your progress with each club.

Arccos Caddie Smart Sensors

Another great option for calculating distance with your clubs and improving your game is Arccos Golf’s first ever A,I. powered GPS Rangefinder. 

  • Completely hands free tracking 
  • Smart Distance Club tracking giving you average yardage for all your clubs as well providing you with optimal strategy while playing
  • Four time winner of Golf Digests Editors Choice Awards for “Best Game Analyzer” 
  • A.I. powered GPS Rangefinder capabilities that account for wind, temperature, elevation, humidity, and altitude providing you with the most accurate yardage.
  • Tracks your strengths and weaknesses to hone in on how to improve your game

Important Factors that Determine Golf Club Distances

golfers at driving range practicing distance

There are many factor that play a significant role in determining your average golf club distances.  Here are some factors to consider:

Golf Club Loft

Each golf club has a different loft angle, so it can often be difficult to determine how much loft you can expect. An excellent way to judge this is by looking at the clubface angle – The sharper the angle, the more loft you should expect from the club. This is exactly why drivers designed for amateur golfers tend to have a higher angle of loft, which makes it ideal for golfers who are looking to increase their yardage.

Swing Speed

In addition to the clubface angle, the speed in which a golfer swings their golf club will factor into how far the ball will travel on the course. Typically, golfers with higher swing speeds achieve greater golf club distances as they strike the ball with more power and velocity; however, swing speed is somewhat overrated if you’re unable to hit the ball straight.

According to Golf Digest the average male amateur golfer has a swing speed of 93.4 mph which is comparable to LPGA Tour Golfers.  

Weather Conditions

The type of weather conditions that you’re playing in may also impact your golf club distances. If you’re golfing on a particularly windy day or when it’s raining, your golf club distances might not be as high as they would be if you were playing on a perfectly sunny. Also, if you’re hitting into the wind, you should expect your distances to be lower.

Course Conditions

The condition of the course can tremendously impact your expected golf club distances, especially if you’re relying on your averages from the range.  When golfing on a course, hitting off a tee is most similar to hitting at the range. However, when hitting from the fairway, fringe, or rough, you should evaluate the lie (area in which you’re hitting from) and adjust accordingly. For example, if you’re 90 yards from the flag and hitting from the rough, you will probably choose to use a different club than you would if you were 90 yards from the flag and hitting from a freshly mowed fairway.

How to Determine the Distance You Need?

It can be challenging for amateur golfers to identify precisely which golf club to use in certain situations on the golf course. This is something that can’t necessarily be taught, rather it comes with instinct and practice.  The more you work on your swing and consistently hit better shots, the easier it will be to determine which club will give you the desired distance. 

Even if you have a rough estimate as to how far you hit each club, that is only half the battle.  The other important piece is knowing how far from the flag you actually are.  Nowadays there are rangefinders that will tell you exactly (or at least within a few yards) how far you are from the flag.  Rangefinders offer accurate readings and take away any guesswork that you may have.  This allows you to focus on making consistent swings; however, rangefinders are not necessarily within everyone’s budget.

Fortunately, the majority of courses have scorecards and tee box signs with yardage information, which will tell you approximately how far the flag is from the tee box. There are also color coded yardage markers placed on each hole to help golfers determine how far they are from the flag at any given point – each color representing a different distance from the flag.

Red = 100 yards from the flag

White = 150 yards from the flag

Blue = 200 yards from the flag

Once you have an idea of how far you are able to hit each club, and with the information you’ve learned about yardage markers, you should be able to make a well informed decision as to which club to use.  Remember to keep in mind the factors we’ve discussed, including weather and course conditions.

distance markers on golf course

Final Thoughts

Finding your average golf club distances on the golf course can be extremely difficult, especially since it varies from one golfer to another. However, you will get a fairly good idea about your average golf club distances as you continue to play more golf. Ultimately, if you’re interested in improving your golf game, you need to find out how far you can hit each club and use that information wisely to make well informed decisions to lower your score.

Golf is a game that requires strategy. When you know your golf club distances, you will begin to notice a drastic improvement to your overall game. This will not only be reflected in lower scores, but will also help in avoiding potential hazards on the course as you’ll have the ability to plan your shots with greater ease.

We hope that we have shared enough information here to help you out with your golf club distances. So, head over to the driving range and practice shots with your clubs with the intent of determining your average golf club distances. Don’t just bring out the big boy and hit the ball as hard as you can.  Instead, practice with purpose.

As Juan Antonio “Chi-Chi” Rodríguez once said, “Golf is a thinking man’s game. You can have all the shots in the bag, but if you don’t know what to do with them, you’ve got troubles.”.

If you’re interested in learning more about golf, checkout our ultimate guide on golf terminology.

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