Everyone thinks they know exactly how far they hit their clubs, but I guarantee you they’d be wrong. Knowing how far you hit each club is, well, as obviously important as it sounds. If you think you hit your 7-iron 150 yds but it’s really more like 140 yds, you’ll be hard-pressed to choose the right club when you’re hitting into a sloped green 152 yds away, uphill, with a left-to-right wind, in the wet, all while hoping to win the hole against your golf buddy. Knowing your basic distances is key to dosing out a proper shot.
“But I know how far I hit them on the range.”
Hitting range balls is all well and good but it is not an accurate way of judging distances. Hitting balls on the range is like a guy having a wank to a poster of Kim Kardashian – easy when it’s not the real thing. Put the real-life Kim in front of him and all semblance of calm, coordination, and, well, cockyness goes out the window.
Same thing happens when you try to recreate that mood on the first tee (calmness, not wanking). In addition to the mental aspects of hitting on the practice, range balls don’t behave like normal balls, they fly approximately 10-15% less distance than a ‘real ball’. They’re terrible basically, and the loud cracking sound and hard twang on your clubhead that rings up your arms is testament to that.
“Fine, how do I find out?”
The best option is to get a session on a Trackman with a pro — that will tell you more info than a drunk uncle on Christmas, but unlike your relatives the information is less “did I ever tell you about the time me and your dad went to a strip club and **MEMORY MISSING**” and more an insanely accurate tracking of every one of your shots, of which you can draw an average distance. It can also account for the distance lost if you’re using range balls. Handy! All that being said, a Trackman session or two can be pretty expensive.
“So WTF do I do then?”
Easy now! You can download an app that can track distances such as GolfShot and spend a few rounds tracking your well-hit shots (and some mediocre shots – don’t worry, there will be lots of those!) and take an average.
Taking these readings from the course is the best time to work out your average cause you’re actually on the course, with pressure (remember Kim?), real balls (remember Kim?) and your real course swing – whether it’s calm and focused or fast and hectic, it’ll be genuine – though it might not impress Kim.