When you’re first starting out in golf, distance is nowhere near as important as accuracy. While it’s a great feeling to watch your ball fly 200 yards through the air, it’s not what a beginner should focus on.
Instead, you should work on improving your technique, stance and shot accuracy before you worry about how far your ball travels.
How Far Should You Hit Your Golf Clubs
An answer most golfers want to know early on in their golfing journey is, “how far should I hit my golf clubs”
As much as I’d like to give a clear cut answer, the answer truly depends on the individual.
You should hit your golf clubs within 20 yards of the average for that particular club type. This means you should hit a driver at least 200 yards to be considered a good golf player. Furthermore, a 7 Iron shot should send the ball flying at least 120 yards.
Enjoy this complete chart and cheat sheet that helps you understand what distances you should aim for with your golf swings.
Golf Club Distance Chart
The chart below displays the average distances for male, female and children golfers.
Remember these figures are only averages and will depend on the skill and experience level of each player.
Driver 200 150 8 – 13 Degrees
Driver (Hybrid) 205 155 10 – 14 Degrees
2-Wood 185 135 11 – 15 Degrees
3-Wood 180 130 12 – 18 Degrees
4-Wood 175 125 15 – 19 Degrees
5-Wood 170 120 20 – 23 Degrees
6-Wood 165 119 22 – 25 Degrees
7-Wood 160 118 26 – 29 Degrees
8-Wood 155 117 29 – 32 Degrees
9-Wood 150 115 30 – 34 Degrees
2-Iron 190 147 19 – 21 Degrees
3-Iron 180 140 22 – 24 Degrees
4-Iron 170 130 24 – 28 Degrees
5-Iron 160 115 29 – 33 Degrees
6-Iron 150 110 33 – 36 Degrees
7-Iron 140 105 37 – 41 Degrees
8-Iron 130 95 41 – 45 Degrees
9-Iron 120 85 45 – 49 Degrees
PW 90 75 47 – 53 Degrees
SW 75 65 54 – 59 Degrees
LW 65 60 59 – 63 Degrees
How To Measure Your Golf Distance
The best way to measure your golf distance is to use a GPS measuring device, smart watch GPS or a laser rangefinder. These devices will show a golfer how many yards their ball has travelled as well as the distance an object is from their current location on the course.
Golfers have seen a dramatic shift in the way shot distance is measured on a golf course. It wasn’t too long ago when as a golfer; your only option was to manually take note of yardage markers laid out across the course.
Nowadays technology has improved to the point where measuring your golf distance is much easier. You can find all levels of golfers using handheld GPS units, laser rangefinders, smart watches and GPS phone apps on a course to measure their personal distance.
Each measurement device can work effectively, however they do have their differences which I’ll explain.
A GPS can show you the following:
- how to measure golf hole distance
- how to measure golf shot distance
- how to measure golf driving distance
Best Golf GPS To Measure Your Distance
There are 3 main electronic devices to choose from to measure distance while playing golf.
Handheld Golf GPS Tracking:
GPS units are perhaps the most common device golfer’s use to measure how far away an exact location on the course is.
These units come preloaded with thousands of golf course maps and coordinates from around the world. While there’s a high chance the course you play on will be loaded onto a GPS, this is not always the case.
If you do visit a golf course that has not chosen to share their course map data, then you won’t be able to use your GPS on that particular course.
A GPS golf device is currently the most popular tracking device as they’re very easy to use. The GPS communicates with nearby satellites to display the distance between your and a location selected on the screen. Usually the target location will be set to the centre of the green, but you can change this if you wish to.
As there really isn’t anything you need to do, a GPS unit is definitely ideal for most golfers, especially beginners.
Another advantage of using a GPS is that more data is displayed thanks to the larger screen they have. Course objects like water hazards, bunkers and even the flag stick will be displayed on the screen, which I find very helpful.
While all this data is certainly helpful to measure golf distance, handheld GPS units do have one disadvantage over laser rangefinders.
GPS devices are not the most accurate measurement device to use on a golf course. There will be times where the device loses its tracking position. Buying a quality device will reduce this issue somewhat, but you can expect it to happen occasionally.
If a course changes its layout, or moves bunker to a different location, the change may not show up on your GPS. You’re playing hostage in a way and at the mercy of the companies who update the course maps.
These units use the same technology that you’ll find in the GPS used in cars. We both know they are not 100% accurate, but they work well enough to get the job done.
I personally don’t feel losing your position from time to time is a reason not to buy these devices. For all the benefits that they offer, a little inaccuracy isn’t going to affect the average golfers performance and enjoyment while playing.
If you require pinpoint accuracy, you’ll instead want to choose a laser rangefinder device.
Laser Rangefinder Tracking:
A far more accurate device to measure distance while playing golf is laser rangefinders. These devices work very different to a GPS unit. A rangefinder uses laser beam technology to accurately predict the distance from one object to another.
The unit uses a method called “Time of Flight” where the device sends invisible light pulses from one location to another. As the speed of light is ultra quick, the machine records this time, and can then give you a distance reading in a matter of seconds!
A laser rangefinder works by holding the device (while looking through the lenses) and pointing it at a target ahead of you. For example, point it at the flag pole and the device will create a tracking point from where you’re standing to the flag pole. The device will then display a reading of the distance between these two points.
It can be difficult at first to get the hang of locking onto a target, but after a few successful attempts, it becomes second nature.
Much like how a binoculars function, a rangefinder requires you to look through a pair of lenses to view your target.
One thing to remember is that the device requires you to lock on to a physical item in the distance. Whether it is a flag stick or a tree, the device cannot lock onto thin air.
If you were to use the rangefinder to work out the distance from a tee shot to the middle of the fairway, this would be difficult as the fairway is sparse of such objects.
While on the other hand, you could easily measure the distance from the fairway to the green as you can easily choose the flag pole as your target to lock on to.
Golf GPS Watches:
If you’re after a more convenient way of measuring your golf ball distance, a GPS smart watch is the perfect option. Some golfers don’t wish to carry around heavier GPS equipment which makes a watch an ideal alternative.
A GPS watch can do a whole lot more than just tell you the time. Like the handheld GPS devices, watches display much of the same data. Some high end watches will also be able to display graphics of the course you’re playing on. The flag stick location, bunkers and water hazards are all displayed if you choose the right watch.
You’ll find many of the companies that develop vehicle GPS’s also have their own golf GPS watches for sale. Brands such as Garmin and TomTom are in this space, along with dedicated sport companies like GolfBuddy and Bushnell.
I recommend you take a look at the following golf GPS watches as they’re all great choices:
- Garmin Approach S60
- GolfBuddy WTX Smart Golf Watch
- TomTom Golfer GPS Watch
I find it a lot more convenient to just flick my wrist and look at a watch, instead of carrying around a handheld or rangefinder.
The small form factor is why I recommend using a GPS watch to track your shot distance and to calculate how far a hole is to your current position on a course.
How Length of a Golf Club Affects Distance
The length of a golf club does affect the speed and distance a golf ball travels. A one inch reduction in a clubs length can decrease distance by 3 yards.
In the golfing world, the 7 iron has become the standard club that all golf measurements adhere to. When we compare distance, loft and speed, we use the 7 iron as the base measurement.
Generally speaking you can enjoy greater speed the longer the club is. If we take an 8 iron at a standard size of 36.5”and reduce its length to 36”, we can expect the ball to travel 2.6 to 3.5 inches shorter.
During a swing, the clubhead will travel faster while using a longer shaft compared to when using a shorter shaft. This greater speed on impact, results in the ball travelling a further distance.
This is why most golfers choose a standard set of clubs which contains clubs in variable lengths.
While single-length irons are another option, this means each club will be the exact same length. Single-length irons do offer more consistent performance which makes your improvements easier to notice.
If you prefer shorter shaft lengths and consistent dimensions, single-length irons are worth taking a look at.
Aside from distance, speed of the ball is also affected. If your golf club is half an inch shorter, the speed will be reduced by 1.5 to 2 MPH.
Having said this, I don’t think you should be overly worried about maximizing your speed and distance. Focusing on swing accuracy will always produce the best results!
Average Golf Drive Distance
The average distances an amateur golfer drives a ball is 200 yards. A pro golfer on the PGA tour hits the ball further, with an average distance of 270 yards off the tee.
It’s no surprise that golfers can be a very competitive bunch of people. Many golfers like to see who can hit the ball the furthest. This is a basic but simple enough measurement to use for competing.
With drivers being built more advanced than ever before, it’s no surprise golfers are hitting longer drives than ever before.
300 yards has become the new measurement stick where golfers test their skills to hit a golf ball 300 yards. This distance use to be a rare sight only seen by a handful of golfers. It’s such a new goal that we rarely saw this feat achieved even back in 2015.
In 2019, a few more golfers have achieved the 300 yard mark, but it’s still well below the average shot hit in the LPGA or PGA.
How Far is a Good Driving Distance
While I cannot tell you how far you should be hitting your golf balls, we can use some averages to see if you’re behind or ahead of the average for your skill level.
What shot distance is considered a good golf drive? Driving a golf ball 220 yards or more is a good distance which places you in the top 25% of players. A ball travelling 220 yards is further than the average of 195 to 205 yards that an average recreational player will hit a golf ball.
When it comes to professional golfers, the 280+ yard mark falls in the “good range”.
To get an accurate distance, female golfers can deduct 50 yards from the measurements discussed.
On average males drive the ball 27.2% further than females. This means a good distance for women golfers is 180 to 200 yards.
How to Increase Golf Drive Distance
No doubt increasing the yards of your golf drive is an objective every golfer has. It’s a simple yet fun metric to use to feel like you’re becoming a better player.
While I always stress that accuracy is more is more important than distance, there is a caveat.
Starting a hole with long drive is important as it makes approach shots easier. You certainly want to drive the ball at least 200 yards in order to avoid hazards later on in the hole.
Bunkers, trees and lakes are placed around the ½ to ¾’s points on any given hole. Driving the ball a reasonable distance will mean your 2nd and 3rd shots are much more likely to avoid said hazards.
I have tried many different methods over my golfing career to improve on my own distance.
These are the best methods and tips I can share with you to help you drive the ball further.
- Ball Height In Line With Driver
A fundamental to achieving a long golf driver is ensuring the top of your driver lined up to the centre of the ball.
When teeing off, the bottom of your drive will be held to the ground. While lining up the driver behind the ball, look to see that the top edge of the driver is lined up to the half way height of the ball.
Striking the ball at this position will create strong contact with the driver and send the ball in a long upwards trajectory.
- Hit The Ball Up
A mistake many beginner golfers make is not doing everything in their power to launch the ball upwards. If you swing at the ball at the wrong angle, your ball will fly lower than it should.
A simple shift in your driving angle will ensure you strike the ball in an upwards motion which will increase your distance. Follow your shoulders all the way through to smack that ball high!
- Use a Wider Stance
Using a wider stance when driving is a good tip to drive the ball longer and more accurately. The driver being the longest club in your set means this is the fastest shot you will be taking.
I see far too many golfers driving with their feet too close together. This is an incorrect stance for driving as your balance will be out of whack.
A better way to stand is by having your feet a good 2-3 inches wider than your shoulders.
Average Golf Drive for Beginners
Players who are just beginning in golf will of course drive the ball at a much lower distance. I always tell new players to aim for (110 yards for females) and (160 yards for males).
On average, an amateur golfer with some experience should drive the ball at least 190 yards long. However, a beginner should aim for a distance of at least 110 to 160 yards when starting out in golf.
Average Driving Distance on the LPGA Tour
The average driving distance for players playing the LPGA tour is 10 to 20% less than PGA players.
The table below outlines not only average driving distance but also the distance for all clubs used on the LPGA tour.
Average LPGA Driving Distances
|Club Type||Average Distance (Yards)|
|3 Wood||206 yards|
|4 Wood||200 yards|
|5 Wood||195 yards|
|4 Iron||176 yards|
|5 Iron||167 yards|
|6 Iron||158 yards|
|7 Iron||148 yards|
|8 Iron||137 yards|
|9 Iron||126 yards|
|Pitching Wedge||114 yards|
What is a Good Driving Distance for Women
Although in my experience I have witnessed some women outperform male competitors, on average females simply are unable to strike the ball as far as men.
In fact, on average males will hit the golf ball 27.2% further than females. This is the reason why the sexes are segregated in tournament play.
Interestingly enough, we are seeing the distance for female golfers edging closer to the men.
Average Female Golf Shot Distances
|Club Type||Average Distance (Yards)|
|2 Wood||175 yards|
|3 Wood||190 yards|
|4 Wood||160 yards|
|5 Wood||150 yards|
|1 Iron||165 yards|
|2 Iron||150 yards|
|3 Iron||150 yards|
|4 Iron||135 yards|
|5 Iron||125 yards|
|6 Iron||115 yards|
|7 Iron||105 yards|
|8 Iron||95 yards|
|9 Iron||85 yards|
|Pitching Wedge (PW)||70 yards|
|Sand Wedge (SW)||55 yards|
|Lob Wedge (LW)||48 yards|
How Far Should You Hit Your Irons
Using the standard 7 iron as a baseline, we see the average distance you should hit an iron is 135 yards.
Remember to adjust the figures shown to take into account your skill level.
Average Iron Distance
- 1 Iron: 210 yards
- 2 Iron: 190 yards
- 3 Iron: 175 yards
- 4 Iron: 165 yards
- 5 Iron: 155 yards
- 6 Iron: 145 yards
- 7 Iron: 135 yards
- 8 Iron: 125 yards
- 9 Iron: 113 yards
How to Increase Golf Iron Distance
A simple way of increasing distance when swinging a golf iron is to change to a lower numbered club.
For example you can get more distance for a 7 Iron than you can with an 8 Iron. A 7 Iron has a lower loft value which results in extra distance.
Loft is a measurement used that refers to the amount of angle a club is designed to have.
You’ll notice the shape of a driver is straight up and down which mean it has almost no loft at all. This is what allows a driver to produce such long distances off the tee.
On the other hand, an iron is used for chipping and not so much distance. The greater the angle on the club face, the more distance can be produced.
A 7 iron has a loft angle between 36 – 40 Degrees producing an average distance of 140 yards. Compare this to a 5 iron which has only 36 – 40 Degrees of loft, the 5 Iron will produce a lesser distance of 160 yards.
Average Wood Distance
The average distance when using a wood is 220 yards. This figure combines a 3-wood and 5-wood, which are the two most popular woods used in golf. 140 yards is the average distance for a female golfer using a wood.
3 Wood Vs 5 Wood Distance
- 3 Wood
Loft: 12 – 17 Degrees
Distance: 215 yards
- 5 Wood
Loft: 20 – 23 Degrees
Distance: 195 yards
If you have narrow down the correct club for a particular shot to a wood, you’ll be faced with a few choices. As woods are used for shorter distances to the green, accuracy is a far more important factor when using woods.
Both 3 woods and 5 woods are the most common woods used whilst playing golf.
The difference of a 3 wood Vs a 5 wood are not large by any margin. You can expect a 15 yard increase when using a 3 wood thanks to its lower angle of loft.
Everyone has their preferences on which club they prefer.
On a par 5 course you may find yourself reaching for the 5-wood on your 2nd shot.
While some people may replace their driver for a 3-wood if they are having a bad performance with their driver.
3 Wood vs. 3 Hybrid Distance
The difference between a 3 wood and a 3 hybrid is that the hybrid club is an easier club to use. 3 hybrids have a shorter shaft than the 3 wood, making swinging much easier for a beginner.
Being less forgiving than the hybrid and having a longer shaft, you can gain more distance using a wood.
A 3 wood will allow you to carry the ball further and fly at a lower angle than the hybrid.
In terms of distance, a short hitter will hit a 3-wood at 180 yards, while a long hitter can reach 235 yards. The average distance for a 3 wood is around 215 yards.
However when you compare a 3 hybrid to a 3 iron, the hybrid can beat out the same numbered irons distance by about 7 yards.
If distance isn’t the ultimate goal in a particular shot, then you can gain an advantage changing to a hybrid club. I would certainly pick a hybrid for more difficult. Choose a hybrid for shots from the rough, sand and on any uneven ground.
5 Wood vs. 5 Hybrid Distance
Another choice you’ll have to often make is between the 5 wood and 5 hybrid clubs.
The situation is much like the previous section where we discussed 3 woods versus 3 hybrids.
Of course, when talking about 5 wood versus a 5 hybrid, the 20 yard decrease in distance means you’ll be using these clubs for shorter distance shots.
Average Distance for Golf Wedges
While going for distance is not the major reason to use a wedge, knowing expected range of distance is important to know.
I recommend carrying 3 wedges, each one having at least a difference of 4 degrees of loft between then.
The sand wedge and pitching wedge are the clubs you’ll use most often for chipping. Expect a 22.2% decrease in distance between using a sand wedge over a pitching wedge.
More than 50% of your shots will be taken from a short distance to the hole. This makes understanding the differences between the different wedges in your golf bag vital to beating out competitors.
Aside from the 9-Iron, wedges are the clubs designed with the highest loft. 45 to 64 degrees of loft can be found on wedges, making these clubs perfect for producing shots with significant height.
Pitching Wedge Distance
A pitching wedge is the most used wedge in a set of golf clubs.
You can use a PW for long distance chips from the sand rough, as well as chip and run shots onto the green.
You can expect a distance of 100 to 100 yards when using a pitching wedge.
Average Loft (PW): 50 degrees
Average Distance (PW): 100 yards (men), 85 yards (women)
Recommended Use: Chipping
Sand Wedge Distance
As the name suggests, the sand wedge is the club you’ll use when your ball is stuck in a bunker.
Expect a distance of 70 to 80 yards when using this club. The high range of loft these clubs have, make a SW ideal for getting your ball out of the bunker!
Average Loft (SW): 56 degrees
Average Distance (SW): 80 yards (100 yards for professional players)
Recommended Use: Sand bunker shots
Lob Wedge Distance
The lob wedge is club used for only rare occasions. This club is used to hit very high lob shots, primarily over steep upward hills on the course.
The loft is incredible high 58 to 62 degrees, making it the perfect club to navigate over any obstacle in your path.
Average Loft (LW): 62 degrees
Average Distance (LW): 65 yards
Recommended Use: Sand bunker shots
Golf Club Distance by Age
|Golfer Age||Driving Distance (yards)||Average Score (18 holes)|
|7-10 Years Old||150 to 180||144-180|
|10-20 Years Old||180 to 239||89-180|
|20-30 Years Old||239||89-90|
|30-40 Years Old||231||92|
|40-50 Years Old||220||92|
|50-60 Years Old||212||91|
|60-70 Years Old||195||91|
|<70 Years Old||190||93|
As you can see from the table above, the distance between golfers does vary according to their age.
The longest drive is achieved by golfers in the 20 to 30 years old age bracket. What’s also interesting is this is the same age range that has the best golf score after a round of 18 holes.
As expected the jump from children playing golf to the 20 to 30 years old group experienced the largest increase in distance.
When looking at the 7 to 10 years old golfers, this group has the widest amount of variability between distance and scores. This is because a children’s development can vary so much between those ages.
Looking at the data, what’s interesting is that the distance of the typical 20 year old will decrease by 20% once that person becomes a senior (60 to 70 years of age).
Now that we have the most comprehensive guide to golf distance, I need to share something important with you.
Remember the single most important aspect to your golf game is the accuracy of your swing. Nothing lowers your score more during a game than sinking putts and hitting the ball accurately.
While it’s always great fun trying to beat your personal distances, the yards you reach become much more important once you become a highly skilled player.
Next Step to Improve Your Swing Distance
I use to be stuck in my game and disappointed with the short distances I was hitting.
I’m so thankful that I read a book called 21 Yards in 21 Days. Within a few fays I noticed I could not only drive the ball further, but my accuracy improved quickly!
If you need some good advice that explains the fundamentals clearly, then I recommend taking look at my favorite golf products here.