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Golf Club Distances

Beginners FAQ: How Far Should I Hit Each Golf Club?

This is one of the most-asked questions from newbies to golf: How far am I supposed to hit each club? What is the golf club distance for each of my clubs? Unfortunately, the only completely honest answer is: It depends.

It depends on a lot of factors: the clubs you are using, the balls you are using, the conditions under which you play (hard fairway or soft fairway? windy or calm? humid or dry? etc.), your gender and age, your physical fitness, coordination and athleticism, your swing speed, how solidly you are connecting with the ball. You get the idea. It depends.

Wide Variation in Golfers' Distances
It depends, and it varies widely from golfer to golfer. One person's 5-iron distance is another person's 3-iron distance is another person's 7-iron distance. There is no wrong golf club distance, there is only your distance. And knowing your distances (also known as "knowing your yardages") is much more important than knowing how far each club is "supposed" to go.

Here's an interesting fact: While PGA Tour pros hit their drives anywhere from 280 yards to 320 yards on average, and LPGA Tour pros hit their drives from 230 to 270 yards on average, most recreational golfers - according to Golf Digest - average somewhere around 195-205 yards with their drivers.

The moral of that story? Don't compare yourself with the world's best players. Although some recreational players do outhit the pros, they are rare and you probably aren't one of them.

Learning Your Yardages
You'll quickly get an idea of whether you are a "long" hitter or "short" hitter by simply playing golf and comparing yourself to those you play with. There's no shame in being a short hitter, and being a long hitter doesn't guarantee anything, and certainly not a lower score.

And of course, hitting the ball far doesn't matter at all if you can't also hit it straight or then get the ball on the green.

But you didn't click on this topic to read all this, did you? You want those yardages, darn it! OK, we'll give you a distance chart, but consider everything you've read to this point to be caveats on this subject.

Golf Club Distance Chart
The yardages listed in the chart below show a range for average amateurs, both male and female. As you'll see, the ranges are quite large, and represent short hitters, mid hitters and long hitters. (There are, of course, people who hit it longer, just as there are people who hit it shorter.)

Club Men Women
Driver 200-230-260 150-175-200
3-wood 180-215-235 125-150-180
5-wood 170-195-210 105-135-170
2-iron 170-195-210 105-135-170
3-iron 160-180-200 100-125-160
4-iron 150-170-185 90-120-150
5-iron 140-160-170 80-110-140
6-iron 130-150-160 70-100-130
7-iron 120-140-150 65-90-120
8-iron 110-130-140 60-80-110
9-iron 95-115-130 55-70-95
PW 80-105-120 50-60-80
SW 60-80-100 40-50-60

What About Hybrids?
Hybrids are numbered based on the iron they are intended to replace in your bag. A 4-hybrid, for example, is numbered thusly because the manufacturer is saying it replaces a 4-iron. A 5-hybrid is equivalent to a 5-iron, and so on.

Men and Women
There is a greater gap, percentage-wise, between the longer and shorter women than there is between the longer and shorter men because better women players tend to be significantly longer than weaker women players. Especially compared to men. A male player who shoots 110 might be just as long as a guy who shoots 80. That is very unlikely with female golfers, however.

Final Caveat
A final caveat: You can find charts such as this one on other sites around the Web. And if you do, one thing you'll notice is that the numbers rarely, if ever, match up. Because golf club distance depends more on the player than on the clubs.

Related: How do I know which club to hit?

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