A Guide to Golf Club Distance - Average Distances

Published on 01/29/2024 · 6 min readStruggling to figure out how far your hits should be going with each one of your clubs? Golf Expert Michael C. breaks it down.
Michael C, Golf Expert
By Golf Expert Michael C

"How far is each golf club supposed to go?"

This question is asked by golfers of all experience levels. While it may seem like an easy question to answer, there are a tremendous amount of things to consider. To begin, you should probably put yourself into a special category of golfer. For example, amateur men golfers will not hit it the same distance as a PGA tour player. Or, if you are looking at LPGA tour player's statistics and are an average woman golfer, the numbers will probably deceive you. However, it all really comes down to a few things.

Without getting too much into the data, a few things will tell you exactly how far the ball will go. These things are swing speed or club speed (how fast you swing the club), ball speed, (how fast the ball moves after being hit), smash factor, (which you can get by dividing the ball speed by), and clubhead speed (this is how efficient the shot was). Even if you swing 120mph but hit the ball way out on the toe of the club, it will go shorter than a 110mph swing straight off the center of the face. This is because the smash factor will be higher on the second swing.

Example: If you swing at 100mph and the ball travels at 140mph, the smash factor is 1.4. (Maximum smash factor or efficiency is generally 1.5.)

With all of the existing variables, it is generally impossible to pinpoint the exact distance each club is supposed to hit the ball. However, there are some general expectations for each club.

Club Type

The big key with distance for each club is the type of club you're hitting. Beyond the driver, woods, hybrids, irons, and wedges, different styles can impact your distance with each one. The majority of these differences are apparent in irons, but the other clubs have some level of variance as well.

Players Style Clubs

These clubs are designed for the more advanced scratch golfer with a high skill level and consistent ball striking who wants the utmost spin control from the irons. The playability will allow for more shot-shaping and consistent distance, but any mishits on the toe or heel will result in offline shots. In drivers, you will see less focus on forgiveness and driver distance and more on precision and driving distance control.

Game Improvement Clubs

These clubs have the largest amount of technology to help improve forgiveness and distance. The drivers tend to have a larger head and profile to help improve forgiveness and promote a longer average drive distance. The larger iron heads, higher lofts, and lighter shafts on these club designs promote more distance. These clubs are built to assist many golfers, from beginners to amateur golfers with average skill levels, to play their best.

Players Distance Clubs

These particular clubs bridge the gap between the players club style and the game improvement clubs. They have the forgiveness and distance technology the game improvement clubs have but also deliver a more traditional look and feel.

Average Distance by Club Type

Below is a golf club average distance chart we've designed to show how far each club goes!

While there is no specific golf club distances chart, there are averages depending on your handicap, swing speed, and clubhead speed. The average golf club distance can be a starting point for you, but most golfers want to know whether they are long or short hitters. While that does not necessarily help amateurs improve, learning your personal average golf club distance can help your scores drop. Tour players to everyday men and women golfers have more ways than ever to learn their distances, but the most effective ones are those that can be used on the golf course.

Knowing how you hit each club on the golf course rather than a hitting bay at a store or driving range is important. The disadvantage of a store's hitting bay with launch monitors, like Trackman gauging factors like driver swing speed, spin rate, and smash factor, is that the rollout and other specs can be adjusted to show better total distance than you'll see in play. But in my experience, local shops tend to keep it shorter, so you're surprised on the course.

The other issue is that you're hitting off a mat that does not reflect a real lie in the grass, so instead of a poor impact too far behind the golf ball causing poor outcomes, you end up bouncing through the shot and making decent contact. The same can be applied to a driving range if you're hitting off the mat there. The driving range and hitting bay give you a false sense of how well you strike the ball.

I strongly recommend tracking your shots on the course for every club. You can do this with a golf GPS, golf watch, or even sensors on your clubs. These will allow you to measure the distance you hit on each club—from drivers and fairway woods to hybrids, irons, and even wedges. We're ready to offer advice and guidance if you need assistance finding the best way to track your shots.

I really like the Arccos Caddie system that Cobra has on their grips (you can also purchase the sensors separately). The system uses your phone's GPS to identify where on the course you are, and the sensor logs which club you hit. It will generate your average distance, average range, and the number of shots with each club and can tell you if you miss left, right, long, or short with that club. The key factor in the system is that it uses analytics to determine a smart distance and range, which means that it shows you the distance you will be more likely to hit the ball. This type of information can change how you select a club and improve any recreational golfer's game.

With modern clubs, I always recommend finding clubs that can meet the general distances outlined below:

  • Driver: 230-260 yards
  • 3-Wood: 215-235 yards
  • 4-Iron: 170-185 yards
  • 5-Iron: 160-170 yards
  • 6-Iron: 150 -160 yards
  • 7-Iron: 140-150 yards
  • 8-Iron: 130-140 yards
  • 9-Iron: 115-130 yards
  • Pitching Wedge: 105-120 yards
  • Sand Wedge: 80-100 yards

If you hit the clubs longer than this, great! If you are shorter than this, don't panic. Many factors lead to distance, but the key will be knowing your distance and choosing the right club so you can hit all those golf club distances perfectly. The more you select the right club, the lower the score you will get.

Find the Right Club for Your Game

If you have any questions about finding the right gear for you and your game, please reach out to me or a fellow Golf Expert here at Curated. We're happy to be a source of free advice and recommendations.

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