How Far Should You Hit Your Golf Clubs

One of the nice things about having all this new fancy technological equipment like Trackman, Flightscope, ShotLink, etc., at various PGA Tour events is that distance data can be gathered for each of the players.

In case you haven’t come across it already, here are the approximate Trackman carry distance averages for men at the professional level.

Average PGA Tour Carry Distances (yards)

Club Carry
Driver (Total) 289
Driver (Carry) 269
3-Wood 243
5-Wood 230
Hybrid 225
3-Iron 212
4-Iron 203
5-Iron 194
6-Iron 183
7-Iron 172
8-Iron 160
9-Iron 148
PW 136

 

Pretty cool info. Perhaps they hit it farther than you might have thought…or maybe they hit less than you may have been lead to believe based on what you’ve seen on TV, read on the internet, etc.

Since I deal a lot with swing speed training and helping people in general hit the ball farther, a relatively common question I get is how far should I hit my clubs for my swing speed?

Well, since we also know that the average driver swing speed on Tour typically runs around 112 to 113 mph, using a bit of algebra and the above distances we can approximate a guide for how far you could expect to hit the ball (assuming fairly consistent and solid contact) given your personal driver swing speed.

Here are those carry distances.

Approximate Carry Distances by Driver Swing Speed (mph)

 Approximate Carry Distances by Driver Swing Speed (mph)

I took the ranges down to 60 and 70 mph because those are swing speeds I’ll encounter when working with some amateur women and seniors. I also went up to 140 mph because numerous long drivers I’ve trained can get their drivers up that high (RE/MAX World Long Drive Champions like Joe Miller, Jamie Sadlowski and Ryan Winther can actually reach over 150 mph).

Aside from using the chart as a general reference point, here are a few other things that I think are worth pointing out:

First, these numbers are based off how the average Tour player strikes the ball. Although Tour players are overall good ball strikers with all their clubs, most of them are actually not as efficient (the Tour average is about 2.58 yards/mph of swing speed) as they can be when it comes to distance with their drivers because on average they hit drives that launch too low and with too much spin.

LGPA Tour players (2.65 yards/mph of swing speed) and Professional Long Drivers are actually more distance efficient with their drivers…but that’s a topic for another article.  The good news for you is that greater carry and total-driving distances can be achieved at all the range of swing speeds shown above if you are a more efficient driver than the average male tour player at 2.58 yards/mph of swing speed.

With a 2-degree change in driver loft and some minor adjustments made to his swing path, angle of attack, etc, one of my amateur students went from being an already above-average efficient driver at 2.61 yards/mph to an extremely efficient one at 2.75 yards/mph.  So with no change to his 102 mph swing speed, he increased his driving distance average from 266 to 280.  Then after some swing speed training, he got up to 112 mph and can now hit drives around 307 yards with that same efficiency of 2.75 yards/mph.  That’s 41 more yards!

Second, the club distances are based on the driver swing speeds that you would get from a system like FlightScope and Trackman. So if at all possible, get yourself checked on one of those.  Otherwise, if you measure with something like a Speed Stik (which measure higher in my experience), you could get a false sense of how far you might expect to hit the ball.

As another example, Sports Sensors Swing Speed Radars (SSR) also read faster. It should be pointed out that SSRs are still a great personal training aid, and because of their accuracy and relative affordability and portability, they are actually the radar I recommend in my swing speed training programs.

However, the Doppler radar in an SSR measures the fastest moving part of the club head (typically the toe) versus a Trackman or FlightScope, which each have proprietary algorithms to calculate the speed at the center of the club face. For this reason, SSRs will read about 5 to 12 percent faster, depending on how you as an individual move the driver through impact. If you have an SSR, just hit 5 to 10 balls with it and a Trackman or FlightScope at the same time and you’ll find out your personal difference for sake of comparison.

Third, the above numbers can be useful for a good general reference, but like I mentioned in my article about understand distance variance, recognize that carry distances can vary a lot depending on conditions. Slopes, wind, temperature, altitude, etc., are all things that can affect how far the ball flies, so remember to factor that in.

Fourth, keep in mind potential loft differences between your clubs and the ones here. As a general rule of thumb, club manufacturers have made their club lofts (especially in the irons) continually stronger over the years as a way of marketing and selling consumers the new clubs.

Many top Tour players are being paid to play the latest clubs, which could mean they might also be playing irons with stronger lofts than the set you are playing. This isn’t always the case, however, but it’s another thing to be aware of.

Last, once you start approaching less than 80 mph with the driver, notice how the distances start bunching up between clubs.  At this point, you start getting to an area where you really don’t need a full set of 14 clubs.  If this is you, perhaps you might also find that you hit a 3-wood or 5-wood further than a normal driver.

My wife is very strong and athletic, however, as a beginner who doesn’t play or practice very much, she hasn’t developed much swing speed. For that reason, we got her fitted for a 9-club set of Wishon 730CLs, a set that is designed specifically for men and women with less than 80 mph of club head speed.

The shafts are very light, the driver is 16 degrees and only 42 inches, the fairway woods are 20 and 26 degrees (versus the commonly used 15- and 19-degree fairway woods), and the remaining hybrids/irons are gapped out in 6-degree loft increments (compared to the normal 3- or 4-degree). Also, since many beginners, lesser skilled players and those with slower swing speeds can struggle with really high lofted wedges, the highest lofted wedge in the set is 54 degrees.

All of these things combine to provide a driver that can actually be hit in the air for distance, clubs that have substantial distance gapping, plus it’s just less clubs in general to lug around and choose from.

Your Reaction?
  • 46
  • LEGIT10
  • WOW15
  • LOL2
  • IDHT3
  • FLOP4
  • OB3
  • SHANK7
Previous articleThe Swing in Pictures: The Set-Up (Part 1)
Next article2013 Cobra AMP Cell Pro Irons
Jaacob Bowden is a professional golfer, swing speed trainer, and the original founder of Swing Man Golf.

Formerly an average-length hitting 14-handicap computer engineer, Jaacob quit his job, took his savings and moved from Kansas to California to pursue a golf career at age 27.

He has since won the Pinnacle Distance Challenge with a televised 381-yard drive, won multiple qualifiers for the RE/MAX World Long Drive Championships including a 421-yard grid record drive, made cuts in numerous tournaments around the world with rounds in the 60s and 70s, and finished fifth at the Speed Golf World Championships at Bandon Dunes. Jaacob also holds the championship record for golf score with a 72 in 55 minutes and 42 seconds using only 6 clubs.

His Swing Man Golf website has more than 5,500 members and focuses primarily on swing speed training. Typically, Jaacob’s website members and amateur and tour player clients will pick up 12-16 mph of driver swing speed in the first 30 days of basic speed training.

You can learn more about Jaacob and Swing Man Golf here:

Websites – JaacobBowden.com & SwingManGolf.com
Twitter - @JaacobBowden & @SwingManGolf.
Facebook – Facebook.com/JaacobBowdenGolf & Facebook.com/SwingManGolf
Instagram - Instagram.com/JaacobBowden
YouTube – YouTube.com/SwingManGolf – More than 2.8 million video views

79 COMMENTS

  1. I would be interested to see what the yardages were on the shorter clubs: Gap, 56, and 60. Other than the driver I have about the same distances as those listed yet my 60deg is about 65 yards and my 56deg is about 95 yards. I could have sworn I hear on TV pros using 60deg from 100 yards out. I wonder why my distance falls off so much more…?

  2. Hey guys

    just curiosity.
    As soon as the SLDR came out i bought it and i was driving it 280-85 total.
    67 gram stiff shaft 9.5
    Today im playing with the Cobra bio cell + and im driving it 290-300 when very solid. Stiff 9.5 65 gram

    Is it suppose to change so much distance ?
    Sorry if any miss spelling haha im not american

    Thank you

  3. My swing speed is 95-98 mph and I drive the ball 225-250 yards. I hit my 7 iron 145 ish. My father has a swing speed of 70 mph but he hits a club further than me. Is this just all in my timing or is he an exeprion?

  4. I realize this is old, but distances are not linear to swing speed because the ball is not hit in a vacuum.

    A 150mph ball speed is going to go more than twice as far as a ball with a 75mph ball speed.

  5. […] How Far Should You Hit Your Golf Clubs? – GolfWRX – Home > Opinion & Analysis > How Far Should You Hit Your Golf Clubs? How Far Should You Hit Your Golf Clubs? by Jaacob Bowden (Senior Writer I) | January 15, 2013 One of the nice things … (the Tour average is about 2.58 yards/mph of swing speed) … […]

  6. My ball speed is about 142 with driver and 2000 spin. How far should my drive carry at 11 degree launch

    • Depends on your smash factor, how close to the center of the face you hit it and on what path, with that low spin your distance will be quite a bit more than just your carry

  7. Jaacob,

    I’m 47, and can hit 7 iron about 155-160 consistently. My driver is a Ping 8.5 loft. My distance with it is not good at all, in fact it’s about on par with my 3wood distance. Do you think a shorter driver shaft and higher loft would help? The trajectory looks decent, not excessively low or high, but the distance isn’t there. Also, any ball recommendation? harder or softer for best distance?

    • Yea . I suggest lofting up and trying a light weight shaft, with a high kick point for low spin, which wouldn’t the height because of the new loft you would be trying out. But it could mean you have a steep swing, rember to hit up on the ball
      And yes I’m not a pro but have lots of experience.

    • I’d recommend you check out a lower spin driver. Get your back spin down to 2200 rpm with the driver and see how that works for you. Don’t concern yourself with loft or shaft length. The Ping I series should have less spin than the G series but don’t be afraid to try other manufacturers. Personally, I tried a lot of drivers and shafts and lofts until I fooled around with some low spin drivers in a launch monitor. My driving distance has gone way up. A 10.5° loft low spin driver goes lower and further for me compared to a 9° higher spin driver which goes higher and shorter.

  8. The driver/wood/hybrid numbers appear to be about right, but I must be insanely efficient with my irons. At 78 mph, my Titleist AP2 6 iron carries 150 according to GC2 hitting indoors off a mat(actually 155 on the course). The remaining irons are approx. 10 yards apart. All are stock loft/length/lie. I also strike the ball very well which may be the difference.

  9. Hi. There is a really useful piece of technology that exists that can help you understand how your stock carry numbers change with different playing conditions. It definitely compliments launch monitor technology and its outputs.

    FlagHi app calculates the effects of the playing conditions on the carry number for each of your clubs.

    You guys (and ladies) have known forever that the ball goes farther when it’s hotter. Or that when playing at higher elevation it goes farther. Or when it’s dry, less far. But did you know the effect? To the number?

    With FlagHi you dial in all your carry numbers then before you play you just enter the weather forecast for your round and the elevation above sea-level of the course. Take the app with you in a recreational round and swipe to see all your clubs’ updated numbers. Or just write down the adjusted numbers if it’s a tournament and you can’t bring your phone. That’s what our touring pros do.

    The FlagHi PRO app does the club-centric calculations but it also does something even cooler. If you enter the distances of a shot, it tells you the distance that the shot “actually plays”. Meaning if I’m from San Diego playing in Denver and I’ve got a 189 yard shot – FlagHi can tell me that the shot “actually plays” 170. Meaning I hit my 7 iron, which is my San Diego 170 club. Because of Denver’s thinner air the ball will sail an additional 19 yards and land – you guessed it – FlagHi.

    Without FlagHi telling me this I would be totally guessing when I play in Denver. Hence why college teams and pros are dialing in their numbers with the app.

    It’s on the apple app store and android is coming shortly. We normally price it for $4.99 but we like to play with the #’s and even right now FlagHi is only $0.99.

    Our users tell us they love the app. There are no ads and it’s super easy to use. Used by touring pros, college teams, amateurs.

    Hope this helps – thanks. And we’re golfers first (and last) and just a couple of guys who came up with this app idea so pardon the “commercial” tone here but honestly and humbly we think you all might find value in knowing how conditions affect how you flight the ball.

    Thanks,

    – The FlagHi Guys

  10. My driver SS dropped from 115 in my mid-to-late 30’s to 80 in at age 42. The weird thing is that I am in far better shape now than I was then. My core is stronger and I’m more flexible. I’ve gained a bit of it back, but my best swings are no more than 90-95 if I really go after it now. I’m still looking for the answer. I hit the ball straight and high and I have a good short game, so I still play well, but lack of distance sometimes gets me. I am a sweeper.

    • That is strange why you would have lost 35 mph of club head speed makes no sense to me. I’m 44 and in about the worse shape of my life but still swing just as fast and hit the ball just as far as my early 30s. Did you quit playing for several years then recently pick the game back up? If not I might consult with a doctor.

    • Being stronger or fit doesn’t mean you will be fast.

      For example, when I competed in the RE/MAX World Long Drive Championships and was doing more explosive swing speed training exercises, I maxed my SSR out at 155 mph, which is probably around 139-143 mph on a Trackman.

      However, when I started doing little to no swing speed training and more endurance running, which was required to finish 5th at the Speedgolf World Championships, my SSR speeds dropped down to 118 on the SSR (110’ish on a Trackman). Arguably I was more “fit”, but I wasn’t near as fast.

      So it’s conceivable that something like this could have happened to you.

      Have a look at the swing speed training programs at Swing Man Golf. With a bit of swing speed training, there’s no reason you couldn’t get your speed back up again.

    • Hey Ronney you could just be loading the club to fast causing over hip rotation just like in the commercial. Just take up smooth then create power with your legs coming done and crush it.

  11. thanks. well written article, very helpful.

    my swing speed is just about a 100 and the numbers are perfectly accurate on your chart for me. i play on a course with practically no roll and a 250 drive for me is good.

    the one thing that puzzles me is that i hit my wedges really far. my 60 degree is my 100 yard club, my PW is about 135. these aren’t exaggerated. these are carries on the course. sometimes i think i just have so much more confidence with the wedges that it frees me up. i hit them really high too, which is weird given the distances.

    any thoughts as why that would be the case? who carries his driver 240 but hits hits his gap wedge 125?

    • Hi Joseph,

      It’s difficult to tell without seeing you in person, but a scenario like this where short irons go longer…and longer irons, hybrids, and drivers go shorter…is possible if your clubs are de-lofted quite a bit or you perhaps have an excessively downward angle of attack.

      With the driver in particular, catching it on the upswing could in all likelihood net you some more carry and total distance more along the lines of what you might expect.

LEAVE A REPLY