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How Far Should You Hit Your Golf Clubs?

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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.

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Jaacob Bowden is a Professional Golfer, PGA of America Class A Member, Top 100 Most Popular Teacher, Swing Speed Trainer, the original founder of Swing Man Golf, the co-creator of "Sterling Irons" single length irons, and has caddied on the PGA TOUR and PGA TOUR CHAMPIONS. 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 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. The Swing Man Golf website has more than 8,000 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, Swing Man Golf, and Sterling Irons here: Websites – JaacobBowden.com & SwingManGolf.com & SterlingIrons.com; Twitter - @JaacobBowden & @SwingManGolf & @SterlingIrons; Facebook – Facebook.com/JaacobBowdenGolf & Facebook.com/SwingManGolf & <Facebook.com/SterlingIronsGolf; Instagram - Instagram.com/JaacobBowden YouTube – YouTube.com/SwingManGolf – More than 2.8 million video views

105 Comments

105 Comments

  1. Wileetoyote

    Mar 10, 2018 at 12:25 pm

    Your chart numbers are pretty accurate for me… I’m a 51 yr old with a single digit handicap and an avg (semi-aggressive) swing speed of 105mph. I bounce between your 100-110 number up and down the scale depending on a pure hit vs a toe hit and if I’m looking for a smooth hit at 80% or going after it at 90%. Anything overly aggressive (beyond 90%) would result in a miss hit half the time so I try to avoid that.

  2. Dave

    Feb 14, 2018 at 6:58 am

    I just saw a video of you on you tube using both the swing speed radar and ,i think, a flight scope and the flight scope swing speeds were higher yet in the above blog you stated that the swing speed radar was most likely to read higher.
    Did that you tube video change your mind about that information as perhaps the swing speed radar readings are apt to be LOWER than one of those more expensive swing speed measuring devices

  3. SV

    Jan 5, 2018 at 8:41 am

    I just reread this article. The chart confirms something I noticed years ago, and that is my distances do not conform to the norm. On longer clubs, such as driver, fairways and hybrids I am less efficient. With an average driver swing speed of 95 my longer club averages are closer to a 90 SS or a little lower. My iron distances are closer to the 100 SS averages. I would think a lot of people are similar unless they are a plus handicap.
    Thanks for the information.

    • chris

      Apr 26, 2018 at 7:43 am

      Chart is not perfect and everything is subject to centeredness of contact.

  4. Travis

    Jan 2, 2018 at 6:48 pm

    Interesting article but these numbers are way off. Understanding that the same swing speed can produce a variety of distances based on strike, AOA, etc these numbers still same significantly lower than the expected results. A 90 mph 7 iron is easily getting 170 carry on a quality strike. This chart has it at 138!!! That just does not add up. I think TM or GC2 have charts that provide more accurate information.

    • Golfarn84

      Jan 9, 2018 at 1:12 pm

      Re-read the header of the table, “Approximate Carry Distances by Driver Swing Speed”. You will likely have about a 110 mph driver SS to have a 90 mph 7iron SS. The 110 mph column shows a 169 yard carry for a 7 iron.

    • andy

      May 15, 2018 at 1:33 pm

      90mph swing carrying 170yds, are you on crack????

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  6. Tom

    Apr 23, 2016 at 8:39 am

    I disagree with the second chart. It’s way off. Using traditional loft of a 6 iron I have an average recorded speed of 76mph and an average carry distance of 140 yards. I would consider my trackman recorded data as more accurate vs the equation based chart you use.
    Other than that great read, says a lot about distance and what you should expect. A lot of people over exaggerate what their average is.

  7. terry Langaard

    Apr 19, 2016 at 11:52 pm

    I had to change my swing because i have 2 blown discs in my back. so this year i changed my swing with a draw on it.maybe. maybe 1oomph, how far should my clubs go. driver 3wood 7 wood 4 hybrid 5 6 7 8 9 p 52 56 60. just something to go on. thanks terry l

  8. Other Paul

    Feb 12, 2016 at 9:56 pm

    Hi Jaacob. I spent some time with your exercises. And it helped. I went from 97mph to 107. Then i read Kelvin miyahiras work and swing at 115-120. I found your exercies made me more explosive. I also deloft more now so ball speed is up. Swinging my 7 iron about 97MPH and hitting it 190-210 depending on shot shape. Golf is a different game knowing any hole under 340 is reachable with a good bounce or two.

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  11. Ron

    Apr 22, 2015 at 12:29 pm

    Jaacob – Great article! Lots of information in both the article itself and the detailed responses to questions and comments. A lot to digest here. I’m a 75 year old 4-handicap with a measured driver clubhead speed of 92-94 mph – and your distance chart scales pretty well throughout the bag. Specific distances will vary with lofts, attack angles, conditions, type of shot (draw, cut, knock-down, etc.) and all the rest – but at first blush, when you go to pick a club for a particular shot, that’s a good place to start. (And most of the time, we would be pretty happy with a ±5-10 yard variation in distance to a tight pin!) Nice work.

  12. John Doefield Jr.

    Jan 19, 2015 at 5:39 pm

    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…?

    • chris

      Apr 26, 2018 at 7:46 am

      100 yard 60 degree is definitely in a pros wheelhouse. Probably more like 90-100 yards.

  13. Felipe

    Nov 21, 2014 at 7:25 am

    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

  14. Ryan

    Nov 20, 2014 at 2:29 pm

    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?

    • alex

      Apr 2, 2015 at 10:22 am

      i bet you are casting. and hitting shots off the toe/heel. smash factor is the number everyone need to look at

    • Mark

      May 25, 2018 at 1:20 pm

      Ha! My swing speed was just tested with my new ping G400’s and I hit 9 iron 150 and g25 driver avg 260-280 so what’s wrong with this picture?

  15. larrybud

    Nov 14, 2014 at 2:37 pm

    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.

    • truth

      Jul 17, 2017 at 5:11 pm

      Air resistance actually hinders the faster ball proportionately more… in a vacuum, the 150mph ball would travel much further, proportionately, than the 75mph ball.

      The reason distances are not linear to swing speed, then, is because kinetic energy equals half of mass times velocity _squared_.

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  17. J. T. Parker

    Sep 1, 2014 at 5:53 pm

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

    • Jeff

      Nov 10, 2014 at 3:28 pm

      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

      • larrybud

        Nov 14, 2014 at 2:29 pm

        Jeff, his smash factor and face contact is irrelevant, since JT is going you ball speed, not clubhead speed.

    • MHendon

      Nov 16, 2014 at 6:54 pm

      just a guess J.T. but I’d say your carry should be around 240yds. Roll depends on surface conditions.

  18. mistermann

    Aug 18, 2014 at 11:59 am

    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?

    • GolfWRX2

      Aug 20, 2014 at 6:20 pm

      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.

    • LeoLeo

      Nov 8, 2014 at 10:46 pm

      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.

    • Bob Pegram

      Dec 23, 2015 at 8:17 pm

      Get a driver with more loft. Woods uses a driver with 11.25 degrees of loft and he hits it a lot harder than you (or I) do. The newer balls (not wound) don’t spin as much and so need to be hit higher to start. They start losing trajectory right from the tee – an arcing trajectory, not like the older balls that would go in a straight line or even rise until the apex of the shot.

      • Derek

        Sep 8, 2016 at 6:12 am

        I also was using a driver with around 8 deg as i play links in Scotland and thought that was the ideal for low flying drives but after learning alot from trackman and local pro’s im now up at 11 deg and have learned to hit it low if required, i had huge spin numbers before this change, i suspect you have the same.

  19. tlmck

    Aug 1, 2014 at 3:35 am

    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.

  20. FlagHi

    Jul 14, 2014 at 6:25 pm

    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

  21. Ronney

    May 19, 2014 at 1:31 pm

    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.

    • MHendon

      Jun 26, 2014 at 12:53 am

      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.

    • Jaacob Bowden

      Jun 29, 2014 at 8:09 am

      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.

      • Matt

        Sep 28, 2015 at 1:37 am

        Jaacob,
        I’m a 24 year old, athletically built male who just took up the game 6 months ago. I took a few lessons and have gotten my average scores down to the high 80’s from the 100’s since I began. Based on your chart, my club head speed is somewhere between 100 and 110. My distances are as follows:
        Driver – 270
        3 wood – 255
        5 wood – 240
        4 hybrid – 210
        6 iron -180
        7 iron – 165
        8 iron – 155
        9 iron 145
        PW – 135
        My question is this, much like other posters, I my distances were much lower when I first started out, and as a result I purchased all regular shafted clubs. Should I now be considering stuff shafts for my driver and fairway woods? I’ve never been fitted and don’t know exactly what that entails…is there any cost/obligation to purchase that comes with getting fitted? I’m in the military and play on a pretty tight budget right now but want to be hitting the right clubs…and advice is much appreciated!

        • Sam Carson

          Nov 21, 2015 at 4:39 pm

          I think you are kidding yourself on with those yardages unless you have the worst short game around you would be in the low seventies with those distances.

          • Bob Pegram

            Dec 23, 2015 at 8:24 pm

            Sam – He didn’t say he hit them all straight. He said he hit them that far. Hitting a crooked shot far acually would get him in more trouble, not less.

            • Jack

              Jan 17, 2016 at 4:13 am

              Also there is a difference between an average shot versus a perfect shot. Pointless to list perfect shot distances. That’s a recipe to missing the green every time. Unless as a mid handicapper he is a great ball striker.

    • Jeff

      Aug 12, 2014 at 12:20 am

      How tense is your grip, do you release the clubhead? You must be doing something really inefficient

    • GolfWRX2

      Aug 20, 2014 at 6:23 pm

      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.

  22. joseph

    Apr 24, 2014 at 4:54 pm

    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?

    • Jaacob Bowden

      Jun 29, 2014 at 8:14 am

      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.

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  24. JCorona

    Jan 10, 2014 at 3:01 pm

    would love to watch someone swing a PW 140 mph…. and crack a rib or 4 in the process 😉

    • momo

      Jul 9, 2014 at 9:30 pm

      The 140 swing speed number is driver only. He isn’t swing his PW 140.

      You know that right?

  25. jc

    Jan 2, 2014 at 4:00 pm

    question…if I use teh 80 mph swing speed as my driver guide..the numbers appear to be very close…but if I were to adjust my 10.5 driver to 10.0 or 11.0 or go to a 12.0 driver, same shaft, would I get less or more yardage?
    I have been playing with adjustments on my 10.5 and can’t quite figure which is the most beneficial, initial trajectory or roll, etc.

    • Joel

      Jan 22, 2014 at 1:17 pm

      If your swing speed is 80 MPH, you would most likely get more yardage with more loft.

      • Jaacob Bowden

        Jun 29, 2014 at 8:20 am

        Hi jc, Joel is right. You would more likely get more distance with more loft.

        At 80 mph, for maximum carry I would target you for about an 18 degree launch angle and 2600’ish on your spin.

        For maximum total distance, I would say around 15 and 2000 would be the goal.

        What I would recommend would depend on the type of course(s) you play. For tighter courses, soft fairways, when you have to carry trouble, or where there are doglegs you don’t want to run through…I would say to favor the carry side of things. For more open courses with harder fairways and the like, going for total distance might be better.

  26. Gary Jones

    Dec 21, 2013 at 12:14 am

    How does the Foresight GC2 compare against Trackman and the SSR?

    • Jaacob Bowden

      Jun 29, 2014 at 7:54 am

      I forget off the top of my head about the GC2, however, in my experience an SSR generally reads slightly faster than a Trackman. Both have Dopplar radar but the Trackman has an additional algorithm built in to it to calculate speed at the center of the face whereas an SSR will pick up the fastest moving part of the club head (usually the toe).

      It varies from person to person depending on how that person moves the club through impact. Last I checked, I was around 8% faster on an SSR. Most people I’ve measured are between 5-10% faster. Once you know your personal difference (from hitting with an SSR and a Trackman at the same time), you can get a really accurate idea of your Trackman speeds using an SSR.

      Making sure you have the SSR placed correctly also can make a difference.

  27. RoddyM

    Dec 18, 2013 at 11:06 pm

    Great article Jaacob and thanks for sharing the stats against swing speed and carry distance. I have a swing speed close to 110mph and I can see some very close comparisons to my measured yardage with my MP59’s (which don’t have too strong a loft)and your figures. I believe the C-taper shafts give me a few extra yards due to lowering the ball spin. You mentioned today’s stronger lofts, but do you see much variance in the type of shafts used?
    I have seen some inconsistency in my carry yardage across my short irons.
    Sometimes when using short iron, I have gone up a club thinking I’ll swing it “softer” and it will go a bit shorter, but have over hit my target. I must be swinging at the same speed and still getting the same yardage.
    This also answers part of the question why I hit an occasional drive or 3 wood 20 or 30 yards longer than my standard yardage. I know I get a faster swing speed on my driver and 3 wood, but I always saw it as clean tempo or a centered impact, I wasn’t thinking about swing speed.

  28. Billy

    Dec 17, 2013 at 12:46 am

    Does the extra 20 yards carry due to the course conditions? More roll than a public course.

    • Jaacob Bowden

      Jun 29, 2014 at 7:49 am

      Driving distances vary quite a bit depending on the course conditions.

      For example, the Tour average for the last 10 years generally has ran between 285-290. However, at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, the average driving distance was 268 yards. At the Wachovia Championship, it was 297 yards.

  29. Ronnie

    Dec 16, 2013 at 7:53 pm

    I find my distances are pretty close to the 80mph swing. when i hit it good its usually 280 right down the middle

    • Jack

      Dec 16, 2013 at 10:04 pm

      So you normally hit driver 206 and when you hit it solidly you hit it 280? Or your irons are shorter but driver longer distance?

    • Dave

      Feb 13, 2018 at 7:08 am

      280 right down middle sounds like 100 mph not 80

  30. melrosegod

    Dec 14, 2013 at 4:21 pm

    Great article! Interesting that my short irons play to the pga distances but I start to fall off around the 6i, probably has to do with contact.

    • Jaacob Bowden

      Jun 29, 2014 at 7:45 am

      It’s difficult to tell without seeing you in-person, but it’s possible you could have an excessive amount of shaft lean with your clubs. That scenario could make shorter irons go farther and longer irons, hybrids, and woods, fly less than expected.

      • GZ

        Jul 2, 2014 at 5:19 am

        Great article! So more shaft lean in woods creates less distance?
        Why is that?

        I have been tinkering with my swing and have created quite a bit more shaft lean then I had previously. I have noticed that all my irons have increased in distance by about ten to fifteen yards. but my driver & 3 wood have kind of stayed the same, or in a lot of cases I’ve actually lost distance.

        So should I go back to less shaft lean for driver & 3 wood?
        But keep it for the irons?

        I have noticed more consistency with my irons regarding target lines, but I am struggling more with the woods for that consistency now.

        Appreciate your feedback, and thanks again for the article, very informative.

  31. Geoff

    Apr 25, 2013 at 6:46 pm

    I need to figure out why my irons are consistently matched to the 105mph swing speed i.e. 4i = 190y & 9i = 140y, but my driver carries 220ish. With especially good contact, I have carried to 240, but it’s rare. I think I just have a lot more misses with my driver, maybe ???

    • Geoff

      Apr 25, 2013 at 6:46 pm

      PS Great article.

      • Jaacob Bowden

        Apr 26, 2013 at 4:17 am

        Thanks, Geoff.

        Hmmm, what you mentioned about more misses could certainly be part of the shorter driver carry distances. Get some impact tape and/or foot powder for your driver face so you can make sure you’re hitting it consistently on a good spot on the face.

        Also, by chance do you know your average launch angle and spin rate with your driver?

        It’s possible you could be launching it too low and/or with too much spin to carry it that far.

        At 105 mph, my target for you would be about 13.4 degree launch and 2445 rpm spin.

  32. Paddy

    Mar 15, 2013 at 2:59 pm

    Hey Jaacob,

    Would you mind sharing your math? I want to customize based on my avg iron distances.

    • Jaacob Bowden

      Mar 17, 2013 at 8:46 am

      Sure thing, Paddy.

      The chart is based off the PGA Tour average carry distances that were reported by Trackman (see the first chart in the top of the article), the average total driving distance from the PGATour.com website (about 289 yards), and the average PGA Tour swing speed (about 112 mph).

      Using all that data, I calculated the percent difference from the Tour average swing speed (about 112 mph) to whatever swing speed I wanted. For example, a 90 mph driver swing speed is 80.4% of a 112 mph (90 / 112 = 0.804) driver swing speed.

      Once I knew the percent difference, I went down for each club from the Tour distances and multiplied each one by 0.804 to get the 90 mph distances.

      For example, 80.4% of a 289-yard total drive at 112 mph is 232 yards (0.804 * 289 yards = 232 yards), 80.4% of a 269-yard carry at 112 mph is 216 yards (0.804 * 269 yards = 216 yards), etc.

      Then it was simply a matter of repeating all that for the different swing speeds.

      I made the original chart in Excel and just copied and pasted the formulas to each cell.

      Make sense?

      • Paddy

        Mar 18, 2013 at 12:50 pm

        Yep, using your logic, I could do the same math off of the average distance of my 7 iron vs. the PGA pro 7 iron distance. I’ll try this, thanks!

  33. jason

    Mar 7, 2013 at 11:40 pm

    For swing speed training, what do you suggest/recommend?

    • Jaacob Bowden

      Mar 8, 2013 at 3:54 am

      Hi Jason, have a look at my Swing Man Golf website. If you have any further questions after that, just send me an email through the contact form and I’ll be glad to help however I can.

  34. Kyle

    Feb 14, 2013 at 12:54 pm

    Ryan Wither has been clocked at 167. which is the fastest ever. I know cuz I gave him lessons and watch alot of his swings.

    • Jaacob Bowden

      Feb 17, 2013 at 5:59 am

      Hi Kyle, do you know what type of radar was being used?

      Speeds vary depending on the radar.

      For example, although they are accurate, Sports Sensors swing speed radars usually read 5-12% faster (depends on the person and how they move the club through impact) than a Trackman because they measure the fastest moving part of the club head…which is normally the toe. Conversely, a Trackman or Flightscope X2 have algorithms to calculate the speed at the center of the club face…and thus read slower than an SSR.

      If I remember correctly, the last time I heard from Ryan, the fastest he has posted on a Trackman was at the PGA Show…156 mph. The fastest that was recorded for him on Trackman at the 2012 World Championships was 149.4 mph.

  35. cody

    Feb 5, 2013 at 2:13 pm

    this is a weird article becasue i recently got fitted for irons and they said i swing 72 mph with my irons but i hit my 7 iron like 130 average

    • Jaacob Bowden

      Feb 5, 2013 at 2:37 pm

      Cody, the speeds above are based on driver swing speeds…not iron swing speeds. Do you know what your driver swing speed is?

      • cody

        Feb 8, 2013 at 2:08 pm

        not really sure , i hit a taylormade r7 superquad with a stiff shaft, i dont swing fast at all i think i get like 230 consitent off my drives

  36. Pingback: Golf Swing Speed and Distance

  37. Augustine

    Jan 22, 2013 at 5:51 pm

    Great article and very imformative! I’ve had those PGA and LPGA charts for a while and most recreational golfers (single handicap and above) should be looking at LPGA numbers for each given iron rather than PGA, even if they swing faster than the LPGA averages beacuse most amatures have low smash factors so even if they are able to swing close in swing speed to the PGA averages, the lower smash will result in lower ball speeds and carry distances of the LPGA.

    Basically my numbers are exactly one club more than the PGA pros, given my swing speed and smash factors are not as optimal as theirs.

    I think your chart (estimated potential swing speed and carry distance projected from the PGA average) is also a good indication of what our potentials are. That is, if you swing 100mph driver with 255 carry but the rest of your clubs fall more into the range projected down from the 90mph driver swing speed then you know you work on those clubs and tighten the yardage gaps….

  38. Nick

    Jan 19, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    Jaacob, thanks for posting this; I’ve been looking for a comparison chart with different speeds like the one you posted. My distances appear to match up quite closely with the 100 mph, just slightly less, with my 7 iron going 150, 8 140, 9 130, etc, but I think my irons are a bit strong. However, I hit my 4 iron 180 (as I should if the chart is right), but sometimes use it to hit 190-200 (probably because I never actually swing 100% when hitting my irons because I’m afraid of blading etc) since I do not have a 3 iron. My main concern is that for some reason I only hit my driver about 200. I’m not sure why, I must never be hitting the center of my driver, because I should be 240 carry. Every shot feels good, and when I hit a really good one, it still maybe will reach 220. I’m not sure what to do, any tips?
    Thanks,
    -Nick

    • Jaacob Bowden

      Jan 19, 2013 at 4:14 pm

      Sure thing, Nick.

      To answer your question, can you get on a Trackman or Flightscope X2 and hit a few drives?

      I’m curious to verify your swing speed…and also know your launch angle, spin rate, and smash factor.

  39. Tom Allinder

    Jan 19, 2013 at 11:11 am

    Jaacob, I enjoyed your article and received some significant insight regarding measurement of swing speed given the number of sensors on the market.

    One area I am particularly concerned with is those of us over 50 years of age. Many of my golfing buddies feel that loss of distance is a natural result of aging. I disagree to an extent with that attitude. We seniors can hit the ball plenty long if we work out, stretch, do some yoga etc. I think a good diet is part of it too.

    While it is inevitable that we lose speed with aging, we don’t have to give in completely. A little work, proper fitting and improved technique can get a lot of yards back and get longer than we ever were in our youth!

    Another thing we seniors benefit from in competition is we are now playing competitive rounds on courses at 6400-6600 yards. Wow, golf is fun again because I don’t need to hit driver on many of the par 4s and still have only a wedge left to the pin! The par 5’s are reachable again too!

    Again, great article and I will be a regular reader from now on…

  40. G

    Jan 17, 2013 at 1:02 pm

    Awesome Data stuff, Mr Bowden!

    Would it be possible to expand this article to full size analysis of everything mentioned so far, in much much more detail with proper tables and graphs and charts, just as everybody wants, with all the big tours’ averages and modern club loft standards, etc? Then it would be the perfect bible.

    Awesome, nonetheless, and helps me illustrate my points to students and friends alike who just cannot believe the scientific numbers of averages out there, who all still believe that more than most Tour guys bomb it past 300 with their drivers and hit their 6 irons to 240 yards LOL

  41. Chris Wehring

    Jan 16, 2013 at 9:22 pm

    This article is pretty interesting! I found some things that don’t match up with my swing. It could just be my weird swing. As of last year, my swing speed was around 95 but I carry my 8 iron almost 150 on a good strike. Maybe my course’s markers are just off. I don’t know. Haha maybe my swing is similar to the LPGA swings in being more efficient with my swing speed. I really liked the article though.

  42. Frank

    Jan 16, 2013 at 11:48 am

    Great article, thanks! Would also be great to know LPGA and Champions averages, just for comparison…

    • Jaacob Bowden

      Jan 16, 2013 at 2:41 pm

      Glad you enjoyed it, Frank.

      Here are the LPGA Trackman numbers (in yards). Unfortunately, I don’t have the club lofts…which would be useful. Although, like I mentioned in my comment reply to Andy and David, a rough estimate of those could be calculated similar to how I did it above.

      Driver (total) – 246
      Driver (carry) – 220
      3W – 195
      5W – 185
      7W – 174
      4-Iron – 170
      5-Iron – 161
      6-Iron – 152
      7-Iron – 141
      8-Iron – 130
      9-Iron – 119
      PW – 107

      Let me check on the Champions Tour numbers…

      • Jaacob Bowden

        Jan 16, 2013 at 4:16 pm

        I didn’t find anything for the Champions Tour, but let’s see what we can come up with.

        The mean driving distance on the Champions Tour for the 2012 season was 273.4 yards. Assuming that Champions Tour players have the same driving efficiency as regular PGA Tour players at 2.58 yards per mph of swing speed, that would mean the average swing speed for a Champions Tour player is about 106 mph.

        Using the same algebra that I did in the article, here would be the carry estimates in yards:

        Driver (Total) – 274
        Driver (Carry) – 255
        3-Wood – 230
        5-Wood – 218
        Hybrid – 213
        3-Iron – 201
        4-Iron – 192
        5-Iron – 184
        6-Iron – 173
        7-Iron – 163
        8-Iron – 151
        9-Iron – 140
        PW – 129

        • Paddy

          Mar 12, 2013 at 6:35 pm

          Hey Jacob,

          My numbers are a BIT different. Any chance you’re willing to share your math so I can apply this to my average distances for certain clubs? Thanks!

          Paddy

      • dave

        Mar 4, 2013 at 8:01 am

        Jacob,

        Great article…good to see some hard #s to compare. I personally am coming off double hip replacement surgeries in 2012 and watched a lot of LPGA golf last year during recovery/rehab…I personally found that I now relate more to the yardages the top women players have than the elite men college or pro level. Also, the women have impeccable tempo and always seem to swing “within” themselves.

  43. Brian Cass

    Jan 16, 2013 at 11:35 am

    Important for folks to also realize the PGA Tour and Nationwide follow the sun AKA usually playing in optimal conditions with super tight fairways affording 20 plus yards of roll. Buddy of mine who is a caddy who knows web.com guys said their distances went up immediately upon playing more manicure courses in 70-80 degree weather. Yeah they still hit it great/far/better than us!

  44. Martin Signer

    Jan 16, 2013 at 6:47 am

    Jacoob

    interesting good article.

    Have a nice day,

    Martin

  45. Andy Cook

    Jan 15, 2013 at 10:27 pm

    Instead of listing the club name how about listing the name and the loft? My 9i is 41*. Does that map to the 9i on the chart or one of the other clubs? Thanks. -Andy

    • David McElroy

      Jan 16, 2013 at 9:13 am

      I agree, it would be nice to see loft along with those figures.

      • Jaacob Bowden

        Jan 16, 2013 at 2:24 pm

        You guys are both right. This data is much more useful with the lofts.

        I was actually curious about this as well so I looked up what 30 PGA Tour players “say” they are playing on their websites, from “What’s in the Bag” videos and articles, etc…and then looked up the specs from the company’s websites for each of those club models.

        It’s only a small data sample and perhaps there is a difference from each player’s actual club specs versus what is listed in the places I looked, but here are the averages I came up with:

        Driver – 9.0
        3-Wood – 14.4
        5-Wood/Hybrid/Long Iron – 19.2
        4-Iron – 23.9
        5-Iron – 27.0
        6-Iron – 30.5
        7-Iron – 34.3
        8-Iron – 38.3
        9-Iron – 42.4
        PW – 47.1
        GW/SW – 53.9
        LW – 59.7

        • Jaacob Bowden

          Jan 16, 2013 at 2:31 pm

          Oh, regarding the chart with the PGA Tour Trackman averages…it says 15-18* for hybrid.

        • nik d

          Dec 21, 2013 at 4:49 pm

          its funny how strong lofts are on modern irons. I have a set of circa 1980 titleist tour models, and the stamped loft on the pw is 49 degrees and 9 iron at 45 degrees. I bent them strong to the modern lofts much similar to the loft chart you posted. the only problem? the stronger they are bent, the more offset they are and the higher they seem to fly and the more they hook.

          • jc

            Jan 2, 2014 at 4:01 pm

            in the dave pelz short game bible, what was a pitching wedge of 50 is now a gap wedge on almost all sets..

  46. Troy Vayanos

    Jan 15, 2013 at 5:52 pm

    They are interesting numbers Jacob. I’ve no doubt the touring professionals have these tested to the very inch. At their level getting the right distances are absolutely vital and often the difference between winning and losing.

    I only wish we had this sort of technology available in Australia. Hitting at the golf driving range is fine but it doesn’t really give you exact carry distances as the target is too far away and no way of seeing where the golf ball actually lands.

    Would you know of how the average golfer can work out these numbers?

    • Jaacob Bowden

      Jan 16, 2013 at 2:06 pm

      Troy, I’m not sure what part of Australia you live…but the locator tool on the Trackman website shows there are some Trackmans in basically all the major cities like Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Gold Coast, and Brisbane.

      As for the SSRs, unfortunately Sports Sensors doesn’t presently have a frequency license for the radar in Australia and thus they won’t ship there. However, sometimes you can find someone on eBay that is willing to sell and ship to Oz.

      You might also check your local golf shop or golf course. Often times, they will have a launch monitor of some sorts. If you can find out the name of the launch monitor brand, there are usually articles out and around on Google comparing and contrasting different brands and how they measure swing speed versus.

      As for working out the numbers without a radar or someone to help you see where the ball lands…hmmm, there’s a number of ways to do it. Here’s a couple.

      If you have a range finder, laser the distance to a flag within short iron distance from the fairway. Choose a club that you think will get you close to the flag with a full swing, hit a shot (or a few if you aren’t holding anyone up), and then add or subtract how many paces the pitch marks are relative to the flag from the distance you lasered in the fairway.

      Without a range finder…find an open hole, drop a few balls, and step them off by foot to get a rough average distance. From there you can estimate the other clubs.

      • Jason

        Jan 27, 2013 at 11:15 pm

        Just a quick question, probably not an easy or quick answer… If my yardages are way off of that, say out to 165 for a pitching wedge… Say out to 190 some days with a 7… Only swing speed I know is my driver @ 114-115 consistently… Am I swinging too hard or
        possibly delofting my irons at impact?

        • Jaacob Bowden

          Jan 29, 2013 at 7:48 am

          Hmmm, well distances can vary based on the conditions. That’s one possibility. Check out my other article for more on that aspect -> http://www.golfwrx.com/54875/understanding-distance-variance/

          Delofting, like you mentioned, could be another possibility. More specifically, you may be decreasing your spin loft…which is the difference between your angle of attack and the dynamic loft of the club.

          So say your friend hits down 2 degrees on the ball and the dynamic loft is 30 degrees…then you take the club, swing at the same speed, and hit down 2 degrees but have a dynamic loft that is 26 degrees from having your hands further forward at impact…your ball would probably have less spin, a greater smash factor, and go farther. Depending on the person and other specifics of their game, this scenario could be good or bad.

          As for swinging too hard, that would depend on if you feel like you can control your shots. If you feel under control hitting those distances, I’d say it’s no problem.

          • momo

            Jul 9, 2014 at 9:37 pm

            Love this kind of information. Great article.

            how can i get faster swing speed. I am in the 100 category give.

            Would you advise switching to REGULAR flex?

  47. Kris

    Jan 15, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    Good article. Curiously, where my SS of 98-100 (as measured at GolfTown-who knows if accurate, though their flight numbers are close to what I see on course-don’t trust their roll #s as they have my wedges rolling 10+ lol) seems to fit your long club carry numbers pretty well, it’s not close with my scoring clubs. My irons from 8i down to my 64° get very little roll. My 58° goes at least 100, my PW 140, and 8i 160. even my 8i rarely rolls more than 10 ft from it’s landing spot. And I only hit my mid-irons/wedges with an abbreviated swing, I’m not trying to kill them. As you can see, if a green involves a hazard carry of >170, I lay up.

    My distances are (including roll I play on average, amount of roll given)~:
    D-270(30), 3w-240(25), 5w-215(20), 4i-200(20), 5i-190(15), 6i-180(10), 7i-170(10), 8i-160(<5), 9i-150(<5), PW-140, 52°-120, 58°-100, 64°-80

    • Kccheadpro

      Jan 20, 2013 at 11:37 pm

      I’m a big hitter with a fast swing speed and I also carry a 64* wedge. I used to hit about 85-90 yards max, which gave me something to brag about, but I believe hitting a 64* wedge 80 yards is not ideal. I changed my approach of wedges about two years ago and I lost 25 yards off my 64* wedge, but my accuracy and pinpoint placement has improved. Also I feel that instead of just launching the ball high and having it land with 4′ of check! I can play my 64* with a much better angle of approach.
      Glad to hear you’re swingin’ a 64* though, not too many people carrying them around.

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Podcasts

The 19th Hole: Bernhard Langer on his brilliant career, biggest regret, and Payne Stewart

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Hall of Fame golfer Bernhard Langer, winner of the PGA Tour’s 2018 Payne Stewart Award, joins host Michael Williams on the 19th Hole for an exclusive one-on-one interview. Langer talks about his brilliant career, his friendship with Payne Stewart, and the thing that he regrets about his career. This episode also features Chip Beck, the second player to shoot a 59, on how that special round changed his life forever.

Check out the full podcast on SoundCloud below, or click here to listen on iTunes!

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The 21 best golf podcasts you should be listening to in 2018

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What’s the best golf podcast? Debating that may be as fruitless as the Jack vs. Tiger debate, because there are a bunch of darn good ones out there right now. You don’t have to be an astute observer of the media space to know podcasting has exploded in popularity in recent years. Indeed, it seems like everyone has a podcast these days, including your grandmother’s Scrabble enthusiast pod.

Returning to the original question: this is a subjective list that isn’t meant to be exhaustive. If there’s a podcast you enjoy that finds itself outside the ropes, feel free to mention it in the comments.

So grab your earbuds, Beats by Dre, or wireless headphones if you’re really cool, and take a look at some notable podcasts by category.

GolfWRX Radio

Obviously, I’m strongly biased towards the GolfWRX’s podular offerings, and since this is, you know, GolfWRX, we’ll start with our pods.

19th Hole: Michael Williams talks to luminaries of the game and interesting folks alike in his pod. Heck, Michael’s first guest was Bob Vokey! Williams is well-wired and well-traveled, and oh, he has by far the best radio voice of anyone on this list, so he’s got that going for him. Other guests include Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Greg Norman, Scott Van Pelt, Rees Jones and many other legends.

Gear Dive: I’ll avoid any play on his last name, but Johnny Wunder’s Gear Dive is an inquisitive look into, well, golf gear. Wunder has spoken with everyone from Charles Howell III, to Fred Couples, to the boys at Artisan Golf. If you love golf equipment, or consider yourself a gearhead, this is the podcast is a must.

Two Guys Talking Golf: Editor Andrew Tursky and resident equipment expert Brian Knudson are the golf buddies you wish you had. The pair discuss equipment, club building, happenings on the PGA Tour, and an abundance of random golf-related and tangentially golf-related topics. Most recently, TG2 answered 30+ AMA-style questions from the @tg2wrx Instagram page, and they’ve had guests on such as Billy Horschel, Ping’s Marty Jertson, Scotty Cameron, Bob Vokey, Aaron Dill, GolfWRX Forum members and many others.

Unlocking Your Golfing Potential: This instructional podcast series hosted by coach Will Robins teaches golfers how to improve their games without improving their technique. If you want to lower your scores, and change your outlook on the game of golf in general, I highly recommend this podcast.

Listen to all the GolfWRX podcasts on SoundCloud or iTunes.

DFS golf podcasts

Golf is one of the fastest growing and most popular DFS sports. Accordingly, every DFS site in the world and most major outlets have a fantasy-related podcast. These three are among the longest running and finest in the space, although Matthew Wiley of Golflandia deserves a special nod for his spectacular rambling ridiculousness and high entertainment value.

Pat Mayo: Mayo is an OG of the fantasy sports podcasting game in general and fantasy golf pods in particular. And honesty, he must have cloned himself sometime in the past because his output absolutely mind-boggling. Plus, he’s one of the few podcasts on this list that records video, so if you’re looking for a pod with a visual component, Mayo is your man. Listen here.

Fantasy Golf Degenerates: Brad and Kenny go together like, well, Brad and Kenny. These two have been grinding out a weekly fantasy golf podcast since PGA DFS was in diapers a few years back. Brad is the ownership god and Kenny’s course previews are second to none. Well worth a pre-tournament listen every week. Best enjoyed with Crown Royal. Listen here.

Tour Junkies: PGA DFS podcasting’s other dynamic duo, David and Pat, have similarly been ‘casting since the early days of the…hobby? Come for the weekly entertainment, but stay for their inside knowledge of Augusta National (where David was a caddie). The pair have branched out into interviews–Kevin Kisner, Bob Parsons, John Peterson–which are well worth checking out too. Listen here.

Now, let’s take a look at some of what the the PGA Tours and Golf Channels of the world have under their umbrellas, as well as the rest of the colorful bouquet of golf golf-related podcasts that focus on everything from the intersection of golf and science to the intersection of Barstool Sports and golf.

From longstanding outlets

Talk of the Tour: While Mark Immelman’s “On the Mark” is good, on “Talk of the Tour” John Swantek “visits with a variety of players, writers, broadcasters, industry leaders and insiders from throughout the world of golf,” as the official description indicates. Given the Tour’s access and reach, the results don’t disappoint. Listen here.

Golf Channel Podcast: Is the title creative? No it is not. Is the podcast good? Yes it is. Not only does the whole range of on-air GC talent appear on occasion–Brandel Chamblee’s recent appearance was excellent, as was Tiger Tracker’s. Listen here.

Golf Digest Podcast: The folks at GD get top-notch (to quote Judge Smails) guests and turn out quality takes from a strong team of writers. Listen here.

European Tour’s Race to Dubai: Yes, turning the season-long points race into the title of a podcast is odd, but Robert Lee’s (not the Civil War general) podcast “features exclusive interviews with star names, incisive analysis of the latest action, all the key news and a light-hearted look at life on tour,” per the description. Listen here.

Matty & The Caddie: ESPN’s Matt Barrie and former comedian/current ESPN golf analyst Michael Collins join forces to interview both athletes and celebrities, inside and outside the ropes. Lately, the list of big name guests includes Golden Tate, Nick Faldo, Chris Webber, Joe Theismann, Alfonso Ribiero, Brian Urlacher, Joe Carter, George Lopez, Jack Nicklaus and more. Listen here.

Other ‘casts

No Laying Up: From Twitterers with day jobs to an upstart media outlet, NLU’s podcast was the tool that led to the merch, the features, and Soly, Tron and company’s other efforts. If you’re unfamiliar, start with the most recent episode (Justin Thomas) and work your way backward. You won’t regret it.

The Fried Egg Golf: Andy Johnson has become a force and a voice in the world of golf media in a very short period of time. While he and his guests do good work in discussing the pro game, Andy’s forte is golf course architecture, and he cooks up architecture discussions better than anyone in the podcast universe right now. Listen here.

Fore Play: Honestly, the iTunes description for Barstool’s golf pod is pretty good: “Trent, Riggs and their wide variety of guests talk about everything golf like normal folks sitting at a bar watching coverage, venting about the game’s difficulties, and weighing in on pro gossip. Your classic golf addicts, the “Fore Play” crew brings a young, unique voice to the rapidly-evolving game, discussing freely and openly everything golf.” Pretty much sums it up. Listen here (warning: explicit).

The Clubhouse with Shane Bacon: Mr. Salt-Cured Pork has had something of a come up, hasn’t he? The Fox hosting duties and more are well earned, as Bacon is a strong voice, and his network affiliation ensures a quality roster of guests. Listen here.

ShackHouse: Geoff Shackelford joins forces with “podcast personality” per the iTunes description, Joe House to “break down the biggest golf stories, interview some of the biggest personalities in the game.” Really, this show is all about Shack’s singular perspective. Listen here.

Feherty: I mean, what can you say? If you like David Feherty and his show, you’ll love his podcast (I do), because it is essentially his show. And if you don’t, you won’t. Listen here.

The Erik Lang Show: Ah, the singular Mr. Lang, who, doing things his own way, wrote his show description in the first person: “Hi! I’m Erik Anders Lang. I’ve worn a bunch of hats in this life from waiting tables, photography, doc filmmaking, hosting Adventures In Golf (PGA TOUR / Skratch TV) and now – a PODCAST! The Erik Lang Show is me pontificating on life, golf and travel.” Listen here.

Callaway ShipShow: Far from a content marketing gimmick, Callaway’s content marketing is, well, really good content. Harry Arnett’s “ShipShow” is kind of like the younger, goofier brother of “Callaway Live.” Billed as discussion about “compelling people, culture, narratives, and current events in golf,” the ShipShow is always a swashbuckling good time. Listen here.

Golf Science Lab: Cordie Walker pulls back the curtain and cuts through the hooey of the “mythology” of golf instruction and the game in general. He says he’s “making a difference in the way golf is taught, learned, and practiced,” and honestly, he’s not wrong. If you’re an instruction and improvement enthusiast, this is your ‘cast. Listen here.

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Do you know how to drop in 2019? Are you sure?

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Starting January 1, 2019, golfers will have to get used to the new Rules of Golf. Many changes were made to create the new rules, but one of the most important changes without any doubt are the dropping rules. You might say: “Come on, it’s easy! We just have to drop from knee height, right?” Well, it’s not that simple. There are quite a few other things you need to know, which I will clarify below.

Q1. What is “knee height” exactly?

“Knee height” means the height from the ground to your knee when in a standing position. 

Q2. So I cannot just kneel and thereby place the ball instead of dropping?

Good thinking… but no 🙂

Q3. What part of the knee do I have to drop from?

It’s not (at the moment) clarified which part of the knee is “the knee,” but there cannot be any doubt that you can drop from the whole knee.

—-o0o—-

FACTS: “CORRECT WAY TO DROP”

The 2019 Rules of Golf state that you are dropping the ball correctly if all these requirements are fulfilled:

  1. The player himself must drop the ball
  2. It must be dropped from knee height
  3. The player must not give it any spin, etc.
  4. Before the ball hits the ground, it must not touch any part of the player or the player’s equipment (e.g. his bag)
  5. It must be dropped in the relief area (the relief area is defined in the rule you are taking relief under), i.e. it must first touch the ground inside the relief area when dropped.

If just one of these requirements is not fulfilled, you are not considered to have dropped in a correct way. You must re-drop until you have dropped in a correct way (without any limit as to the number of re-drops).

If you play a ball not dropped in a correct way, you incur a one-stroke penalty — unless you played from outside the relief area, in which case you incur a two-stroke penalty in stroke play or lost hole in match play (see FACTS 2).

—-o0o—-

Q4. What is the penalty for not dropping from knee height?

You can and should correct your error before playing the ball. If you re-drop in a correct way, correcting your error, there is no penalty. If you don’t and make a stroke at the ball, you incur a one-stroke penalty (since you did not drop in a correct way). See “FACTS 1”.

Q5. What if I drop almost from knee height.

Well, as a starting point you have to drop from knee height. If you dont’t, you will have to correct your error by re-dropping correctly (see “FACTS 1″). 

There is a “I-did-my-best-so-please-don’t-penalize-me-rule” saying that when finding a “location,” you are not penalized for finding a wrong location if you made a reasonable judgment. It is for now not certain if this rule also encompasses a situation in which you don’t drop exactly from knee height simply because you cannot see that spot with certainty when looking down.

On one hand, you could argue that this interpretation would be in accordance with the spirit of this rule (don’t penalize a player doing his best). On the other hand, it seems that the knee cannot be that hard to find (!) and that a “location” probably must be interpreted as “a location on the golf course.” My conclusion would be that there is no excuse for not to being able to drop exactly from knee height, and thus this rule did not apply in this situation.

There is also a “naked-eye rule” saying that if the fact (here: the ball was not dropped from knee height) could not reasonable have been seen with the naked eye, the player is not penalized even though video evidence shows something different (i.e. that it in fact was not dropped exactly from knee height). In my opinion, this naked-eye rules is not applicable here, since a player will be said to be able to find the knee with a reasonable effort. 

So… in my opinion there is no excuse not to drop from knee height!

—-o0o—-

FACTS 2: RELIEF AREA.

A relief area is the area in which you have to drop (see “FACTS 1”) and in which your ball must end after a drop. 

Example: If you deem your ball in the rough unplayable, you can for example choose with a one-stroke penalty to drop a ball within two club lengths from — and not nearer the hole than — the spot where the ball lay. This area is called the “relief area.”

If your ball ends outside the relief area in your drop, your required action depends on whether or not you dropped in a correct way (see “FACTS 1”). 

  1. If you did not drop in a correct way: You must re-drop again (without penalty) without any limitations as to the number of re-drops until you have dropped in a correct way. 
  2. If you did drop in a correct way: The player must re-drop (in a correct way!) a ball one time (without penalty). If the ball still ends outside the relief area, the player must then (without penalty) place a ball on the spot where the dropped ball first touched the ground in the re-drop. If he player does that, no penalty is incurred. If he does not but plays a ball from outside the relief area, he plays from a wrong place thereby incurring a two-stroke penalty in stroke play or a loss of hole in match play.

—-o0o—-

Q7. Who should drop the ball?

Only the player can drop the ball. Not the caddie, not other players, not anyone else! See “FACTS 1”.

Q8. What is the penalty if your ball strikes your bag or yourself in the drop?

The answer depends on when it happens (i.e. when it strikes you or your equipment):

  1. If it happens before the ball strikes the ground: There is no penalty presupposing that you re-drop before you play the ball. You have to re-drop no matter how many drops it takes for you not to strike your bag or yourself. If you don’t re-drop and play the ball, you incur a one-stroke penalty.
  2. If it happens after the ball has struck the ground: There is no penalty, and you shall not re-drop.

Q9. Where must I drop?

You must drop in the “relief area,” which is defined in the rule you are dropping under. If you declare your ball unplayable, for example, then one of the options is to drop within two club length – not nearer the hole – than where the ball lay. This area is the “relief area” in which:

  1. Your ball must land in the drop (see “FACTS 1”) and
  2. Must end (See “FACTS 2”)

Q10. What if I drop from shoulder height?

That probably will happen quite a few times in the beginning of 2019. In this case, you are not dropping in a correct way, and you must re-drop without penalty before you make the stroke. See “FACTS 1.”

Q11. When do I have to re-drop?

The re-dropping rules are simplified. Under the current rules, there are a lot of situations where you are required to re-drop, e.g. when the ball rolls closer to the hole than the nearest point of relief, when the ball rolls into a bunker (and stays there), when the ball rolls more than two club lengths from where it first struck the course, etc. These rules are quite difficult.

In 2019, it gets easier. You have to drop in a “relief area,” and the balls needs to end it that area. If you drop outside this area or if the ball rolls and stays outside this area, you are required to re-drop. See “FACTS 1” and “FACTS 2.”

Q12. Do I have to re-drop (as it is today) if the ball rolls more than two club lengths away from the spot that the ball first struck the course in the drop?

First of all, in 2019 there is not such a “two-club-length rule.” The re-dropping rules are explained in “FACTS 1” and in “FACTS 2” above. 

  • If you take relief (e.g. from a path) and must drop within one club length (of the nearest point of point of complete relief), you will always have to re-drop if it rolls more than 2 club lengths (since the relief area is exactly two club-lengths long measured from the two points farthest from each other). 
  • If you drop after a rule requiring you to drop within two club lengths, sometimes you must re-drop if the ball rolls more than two club lenths and sometimes not. The only thing that matters is that the ball must be dropped in the relief area (see “FACTS 1”) and must end in the relief area (see “FACTS 2”). Otherwise, it must be re-dropped.

Q13. I have a bad back and therefore I cannot take my arm down far enough to be able to drop from knee height. What do I do?

I don’t know. My guess would be this: A player who cannot drop from knee-height due to back-problems most likely cannot play golf at all. In other words, a player able to play golf will almost always be able to drop the ball from knee height.

In the extremely rare situations where a player cannot drop from knee height but can play a round of golf, there is a “do-what-is-fair-rule” stating that in situations not covered by the Rules of Golf, you should do what is fair. Maybe that would lead to the conclusion that it was OK for a player to drop from a place higher than knee height (e.g. just from the position the arm is when it is stretched and relaxed alongside the leg).

Q14. Is a taller player going to drop the ball from a higher place than a lower player?

Yes!

Q15. Isn’t that unreasonable?!

Well, that’s for you to decide 🙂 Who said that the 2019-Rules of Golf where easy to understand?

Rules Mentioned in Article

  • 14-3: Dropping the ball
  • 20-2c: “Naked-eye-rule”
  • 1.3b(2): “Reasonable-judgment-rule”
  • 20.3: “Do-what-is-fair-rule (when the situation is not covered by the rules).
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