Understanding your club distances is critical to hitting high-quality golf shots. A perfect shot with the wrong club can quickly lead to a double bogey or worse. We recommend you write down your stock yardage for each club. It may even help for you to reference it on the golf course. It can help you make the right decision between an “easy” 8-iron or a “full” 9-iron.
Are you a short player or a long golfer? We aren’t talking about your height. How far do you hit your different clubs and how does that compare to PGA Tour professionals? We explore this topic below in detail. Do you ever wonder if you hit your clubs the “correct” distance? No reason to wonder ever again, we have the answers!
Average Distances Of Different Club Types
We did say “ultimate guide”, so let’s work our way through your entire golf bag, starting with your longest clubs.
Average Woods Club Distance
Most golfers carry between 2-4 woods in their bag. Everyone has a driver and at least one fairway wood. 3-wood is most popular, but some players also use a 5-wood and/or a 7-wood. These clubs travel the farthest of any in your set.
Average Driver Distance
Let’s start by looking a the average distance for the “big dog!” This is the club you use to tee off on most par 4s and par 5s. Tee it high and let it fly!
- Driver Distance for PGA Tour Players: 300 yards
- Driver Distance for Male Golfers: 230 yards
- Driver Distance for Female Golfers: 170 yards
- Driver Distance for Senior Golfers: 195 yards
Average Fairway Wood Distance
A fairway wood is the longest club in your bag that you use off the ground (you tee up your driver). Many players will also use a fairway wood off the tee on a tight and/or short par 4. For these distances, we’re focused on the most common fairway wood (3-wood):
- Fairway Wood Distance for PGA Tour Players: 265 yards
- Fairway Wood Distance for Male Golfers: 220 yards
- Fairway Wood Driver Distance for Female Golfers: 150 yards
- Fairway Wood Distance for Senior Golfers: 175 yards
Average Hybrid Distance
The hybrid golf club is its own category. You could probably guess by the name that it’s a combination of a fairway wood and an iron. If you have a 3-hybrid it’s designed to go the same distance as a 3-iron. It’d replace your 3-iron (you wouldn’t carry both).
- Hybrid Distance for PGA Tour Players: 225 yards
- Hybrid Distance for Male Golfers: 190 yards
- Hybrid Distance for Female Golfers: 130 yards
- Hybrid Distance for Senior Golfers: 150 yards
Average Iron Distance
Your irons are the clubs that require the most precision. You need to pick the correct iron if you want to hit greens in regulation and make birdies. Below are the average iron distances for men. Ideally, you want a 10-15 yard difference between your clubs. Too large of a gap is a bad thing.
- Average 3 Iron Distance: 185 yards
- Average 4 Iron Distance: 175 yards
- Average 5 Iron Distance: 165 yards
- Average 6 Iron Distance: 155 yards
- Average 7 Iron Distance: 145 yards
- Average 8 Iron Distance: 135 yards
- Average 9 Iron Distance: 125 yards
Average Wedge Club Distance
Most golfers carry 3-4 wedges in their set. Wedges are defined by their loft and more wedges gives you more options once you’re close to the green. We recommend you use a pitching wedge, gap wedge, sand wedge, and lob wedge.
This is your longest wedge and is typically ~48 degrees of loft. Ideally, it should go slightly shorter than your 9-irons.
- Pitching Wedge Distance for PGA Tour Players: 140 yards
- Pitching Wedge Distance for Male Golfers: 115 yards
- Pitching Wedge Distance for Female Golfers: 100 yards
- Pitching Wedge Distance for Senior Golfers: 110 yards
It is called the “gap” wedge because it’s designed to fit the gap between your pitching wedge and your sand wedge. The loft is typically 52 degrees.
- Gap Wedge Distance for PGA Tour Players: 125 yards
- Gap Wedge Distance for Male Golfers: 100 yards
- Gap Wedge Distance for Female Golfers: 90 yards
- Gap Wedge Distance for Senior Golfers: 95 yards
The sand wedge was originally invented to escape from bunkers, but most players also hit it “full” from the fairway once they’re close to the green. The loft of a sand wedge is typically 56 degrees.
- Sand Wedge Distance for PGA Tour Players: 110 yards
- Sand Wedge Distance for Male Golfers: 90 yards
- Sand Wedge Distance for Female Golfers: 75 yards
- Sand Wedge Distance for Senior Golfers: 80 yards
Your lob wedge is the shortest club in your bag (not counting your putter). It used to hit various chip shots around the green, but can also be used from the fairway. The loft of a lob wedge is typically 60 degrees or more (you can get one with 64 degrees of loft).
- Lob Wedge Distance for PGA Tour Players: 95 yards
- Lob Wedge Distance for Male Golfers: 75 yards
- Lob Wedge Distance for Female Golfers: 55 yards
- Lob Wedge Distance for Senior Golfers: 65 yards
Factors Affecting Golf Club Distance
There are several factors that affect golf club distance. Here are the top four.
The most important factor is the loft of the club. Your driver only has 10 degrees of loft, but your lob wedge has 60+ degrees. This is why you can hit your driver 250+ yards, but your lob wedge will only travel 75 yards. Golf clubs are designed with different lofts to give you options on the course. The goal is to pick the correct club (loft) for the shot you need to play.
2. Swing Speed
Your golf swing doesn’t change the loft of the club, but how fast you swing the club definitely impacts how far your ball will travel. Swing speed is the primary reason that a PGA professional can hit a driver 300 yards and you can only hit the same club 240 yards. Consistent, solid contact is also part of this equation, but swing speed is a major factor.
Golf isn’t played in a dome and the average distance of your clubs can be significantly impacted by the elements. The wind is a major factor that can increase or decrease golf club distance. Rain will decrease your distance as well. The final weather factor you need to consider is the temperature. Your shots will travel farther when it’s warm versus cold.
Where you’re playing will impact your average golf club distances. The golf ball travels much further if you’re in the Colorado mountains versus playing a golf course at sea level. Golf can get complicated quickly and it’s important you consider all of these factors when selecting a club.
6 Tips To Know Your Club Distances
To play great golf you must understand your game. It’s important to know your strengths and your weaknesses. It’s absolutely critical that you understand how far each club in your bag will travel. Here are 6 tips to help you learn:
1. Test Your Clubs On The Driving Range
The best place to learn your club distances is the driving range. It’s the safest way to do your research. Pick a target on the range (flag, etc.), determine the yardage to the target, and hit shots to this target until you determine the perfect club. Find a new target and repeat this process. Before you know it, you’ll have a good idea of your club distances.
2. Write Down Your Stock Numbers
This is something you can learn from PGA tour professionals. They write down their stock numbers and reference them while playing on the course. Think of it as a “cheat sheet.” It’s always a good idea to check “your numbers” prior to an important shot.
3. Do Your Numbers Change From The Range To The Course?
For many golfers, their swing changes slightly when they play on the course. This could be due to nerves or adrenaline. It’s possible this changes your average club distances. Play a round by yourself and do some testing. Do you notice a difference between your on course numbers and the ones you tracked during your driving range session?
4. Learn To “Adjust” Your Club Distances When Needed
How do you handle a “bad yardage” on the golf course? Let’s say you hit your 8-iron 140 yards and your 7-iron 155 yards, but you have a 148- yard shot. The best solution is to hit the longer club (7-iron), but take a little off of it. You can achieve this result in several different ways. Some players like to choke down on the club a bit, while others will hit a small fade to reduce the club distance. You should practice these shots so you’re prepared when you encounter them during your round.
5. Use Your Average Club Distance, Not Your Best
When you are writing down your stock yardages don’t capture the perfect shot. The one time you crushed a 7-iron 165 yards. Instead, focus on the average distance. It’s rare to hit a perfect shot in golf, so you don’t want to assume it’ll happen.
6. Periodically, Re-Visit Your Numbers
Your golf swing changes over time. You might get stronger and gain some swing speed or improve your swing with a lesson. We’d recommend that you double-check (re-confirm) your stock yardages every three months or so. You always want to be working off accurate numbers.
Does Your Average Club Distances Matter?
Yes, it helps if you can hit your driver 300 yards, but does it really matter if your 7-iron goes 180 yards or 130 yards? The answer is “not really.” Far too many golfers think the best way to improve is to swing harder and add distance, but long & wrong just causes more shots to fly out of bounds. The key to playing great golf is consistency, not distance.
If you’re playing a match and you and your opponent have an approach shot from 150 yards out - does it matter which club you hit or who hits it closer to the hole? If your opponent hits 8-iron into a sand trap and you hit a 6-iron to five feet from the pin, you’re going to win the hole.
Is it important that you understand your club distances? Yes! Do you have to add distance to get better? No! Improve the consistency of your ball-striking and watch your scores start to drop. Good luck and play well!