What’s the Average Distance for Your Irons?Published on 06/16/2023 · 7 min readGolf Expert Jorge Arteta goes over what the average iron distance is for men and women, how age effects these distances, and how to calculate your iron distances.
Photo courtesy of Callaway Golf
Imagine being at a charity golf event. You're part of a 4-person team playing best ball. This is your first tournament. You get to the first ball. Your drive did not get chosen. Tim, who has the lowest handicap in the group, takes out his rangefinder—something you have never used. He says to everyone, "we have 146 yards total distance to the flag, and we have a carry distance of 137 to get over a bunker." Everyone drops their ball by the marker. Then they all get their clubs for the approach shot into the green.
"I'm going to use my 7-iron for that yardage," says Billy.
"That's a 9-iron or 8-iron for me," states Theo.
"Oh perfect, that's a pitching wedge for me," mentions Tim.
You look around and wonder what to do. Your friends have always told you what to use, so you have no idea what club goes 146 yards. You've never played with these guys before, and you haven't told them that you're a beginner. Then Tim says, "be careful, guys…it's about a two-club wind."
What does he mean by that? You ask yourself: should I use a hybrid, a 6-iron, a 5-iron, a 4-iron, or a 3-iron? You look in your bag at these numbered irons. You've used your 7-iron before in this part of the fairway, so you decide to use it. Then everyone gets close to the green, but no one is on the green.
You get nervous over the ball because you're thinking about how you didn't even know which club to choose. You feel like such an amateur golfer and think, I'm not even an average golfer; my skill level is nowhere near these other male golfers. You swing and it looks okay, but the ball falls 55 yards short. Now the embarrassment sets in your mind for the rest of the tournament…
Average Distances for Irons
It is essential to know the average distances of your irons. This article will focus on the iron averages in the golf industry. The average iron distance is very different for each golfer. Golf club distance charts are nice to review, but there are many variables when you're on the golf course. Lofts, smash factor, weather, club speed, ball speeds, and mental state can affect short hitters or long hitters. It doesn't matter if you're on the LPGA tour, PGA tour, or a charity event; all those things will impact your average iron distance and maximum distance. Also, female golfer numbers are different than men's numbers.
Many golfers want to increase their average driving distance and clubhead speed. You also hear golfers wishing to improve their iron averages.
So let's take a look at average iron distances for men and women:
|Club||Men's Average Distance||Women's Average Distance|
|2-Iron||190 yards||170 yards|
|3-Iron||180 yards||160 yards|
|4-Iron||170 yards||150 yards|
|5-Iron||160 yards||140 yards|
|6-Iron||150 yards||130 yards|
|7-Iron||140 yards||120 yards|
|8-Iron||130 yards||110 yards|
|9-Iron||120 yards||100 yards|
Data courtesy of GolfSpan
If you notice, the yardage gap between each club is about 10 yards on the chart, give or take a few yards. To choose the correct club, you will want to understand the gaps between each club in your golf bag. In addition, understanding your average yards for each iron will make a difference in your game. This also is the same for woods, drivers, and wedges.
Various things can affect iron yardages such as wind, rain, temperature, the golf ball, how you’re physically feeling that day, and distractions (work, home, school, or others). As a golf professional and teacher, I encourage my students to have one golf ball they like to use. Something as simple as using different golf balls can change your yardage. Just because the Titleist Pro V1 is the best-selling golf ball, doesn’t mean it will be the best ball for you.
One of my students bought new golf balls because he heard they were the best. When I saw that they were the expensive Pro V1, I told him that these were not the best for his game. I offered him a different ball, and he hasn’t changed it in 7 months. We all have other swings and different needs regarding equipment, golf balls, irons, shoes, and even what snacks we like to eat while golfing.
Does Age Affect Iron Yardages?
Yes, it does. But how much it affects your golf game is up to you.
Here’s a chart that shows the various yards by the age of the 7-iron. This iron is the favorite among golfers. The reason is that it’s not too long of a club and not too short. It’s right in the middle of a golf set, in general, and fits a golfer's stance nicely and efficiently.
Average 7 Iron Distances by Age
|Age Range||Average 7 Iron Distance|
|All Golfers||145 yards|
Data courtesy of OutofBoundsGolf
It’s reasonable to suggest that golfers lose about five yards every few years. I have access to golf equipment and have still lost yardage over the years. Yes, there are many things you can do to increase yardage, and here are a few:
- Work out with weights
- Increase flexibility
- Use SuperSpeed Training Aids
- Improve your swing and hit the ball in the sweet spot more often
How To Calculate Average Yards with Irons?
One of the ways to be a better golfer and avoid the situation that our golfer had during the introduction of this article is to know your iron averages. So how do you calculate them?
I take a student to the golf course and have them hit their irons from various distances with their golf balls. Remember, I said I encourage using only one golf ball. Here’s how it goes.
Go to a par four golf hole. The hole will be straight, with no dog legs, no water, and no elevated green.
Begin by hitting five golf balls (the student’s golf ball) with a 7-iron and record yardages using a rangefinder. Remember not to use driving range balls, as they don’t perform as well as your ball.
Once you find the yardage that is most common and closest to the flag, hit three more with the club that is closest to the flag. If they’re within a reasonable area of the flag, then I set that as the 7-iron yardage.
From there, the student puts the yardages down in increments of 10-12 yards between each club. For example, if a student goes 140 yards on average with a 7-iron, I can set an 8-iron yardage at about 128 yards, and so forth.
The following would be entered into their cell phone and voila, they have a guide:
- 5-iron = 160 yards
- 6-iron = 150 yards
- 7-iron = 140 yards
- 8-iron = 130 yards
- 9-iron = 120 yards
- PW = 110 yards
Identify miscellaneous conditions such as wind, temperature, condition of grass, and distractions.
At least the student has an idea of the iron yardages and hopefully, they won’t choose a 3-wood to go 25 yards.
Average yardages for irons can vary between golfers.
Things like golf balls, weather, temperature, grass conditions, and wind can affect the shot. But all golfers will want to know what their personal averages are and use that information to become better golfers.
Average iron distances will decrease as you get older and there are ways to minimize that if you stay disciplined. Chat with me or one of my fellow Golf Experts here on Curated for free, personalized recommendations on the best gear for your game to help your overall average be long and straight for years to come. Smile, and have a nice round!