How Far Does Your 9I Go?
Do you know how far each of your clubs goes? A reader asked for a tip to address this question, so I’ve come up with three different ways that you can find your distances. The options are listed from the easiest, least expensive, and least accurate to the most expensive and accurate. Try one, two, or all three of these methods to learn more about your game and shoot lower scores.
Method One: The Range
Most people learn their club’s distances on the range, and this is a perfectly fine way to get a ball park idea of how far each club goes. Every golfer has access to a driving range, and they’re inepensive.
The number one problem with finding your distaces at the range is that you’re going to be using range balls. Range balls are built to be durable; they are not built to perform like a Pro V1 or whatever ball you pay on the course. As such, you could see significant distance differences when using a range ball vs. your gamer.
The other major problem is that you can’t see exactly where your golf ball lands or ends up. The range is great for zeroing in certain distances, but anything in between the flags is nothing more than a rough estimate.
Here are two things you can do to make the range a more accurate reflection of your actual distances.
1) Use a laser. Yes, I know that the range has distances listed to each flag where are they measured from? A laser rangefinder can give you the precise distance from where you’re standing to the flag.
2) Use your “gamer” balls. Obviously this can get expensive in a hurry, especially if you play a tour-caliber ball, but it’s a guaranteed way to know how far your ball will fly on the course. If you’re a stickler for playing only perfect, unscuffed balls on the course, keep the balls that you’ve cut with your wedges for this purpose.
Method Two: On the Course
If you can get out on the course and hit multiple shots into the green from various distances, you can get a very accurate gauge of how far each club goes. Not only will you be hitting to a specific target, you’ll also be using your gamer ball.
While it can be accurate, there are a number of problems with this method.
First, you need to be able to get on the course when it’s relatively empty. If people are stacked up on the tee box, they’re not going to be thrilled with you hitting ten 7 irons into the green.
Second, you need a laser rangefinder or a good GPS, or else you’ll be limited to using the 150 marker and pacing off other distances.
Third, you’ll need to retrieve all your balls. This may not be a problem for the accomplished golfer, but high handicappers may want to go out with a buddy to help round up all their ammo.
Have a friend stand near the green to give you measurements on where each shot lands and where it ends up. This is important information: carry and total distances can be very different things!
Method Three: Launch Monitors
The most accurate way to determine how far each club goes is to use a high quality launch monitor. Radar-based units like FlightScope and Trackman measure the ball until it hits the ground, providing detailed information about its flight. Camera-based units like Foresight are great alternatives for indoor facilities with limited ball flight.
Cost and access. Not every course, range, or teaching professional has a high quality launch monitor. They are growing in prevalence every year, but they are not yet commonplace, so some golfers may have a tough time tracking one down. The other issue is cost. With these machines costing $10,000 and up, you should not expect to get on one for free. Even in retail stores, there can be a fee for using the machines if you’re not being fit for clubs.
Use the golf ball that you will use on the course.
No matter which method you choose, it’s important to keep accurate notes on your shots and their distances (if you’re using a launch monitor, you should be able to get a printout of each shot you hit).
A Final Piece of Advice
The average distance that you hit a club is NOT the same as the longest possible distance you have ever hit that club. Thinking that they are the same only hurts you ability to manage the course and score well.
I hope this helps. Please feel free to post any questions or comments below.
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