Do you know your yardage gaps?

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There is a very interesting thread over on GolfWRX about Ryan Moore’s set.  He doesn’t have his irons stamped with the traditional iron numbers.  Instead he has them stamped with the loft of the club.

What we’ve been told is that this gives him a very consistent yardage between clubs.  He is a real feel player and this helps to visualize the type of shot he wants to hit to get it close to the pin.

I would like to know my yardage gaps better but I don’t.  For the amateur golfer it is not as easy to get them.  Here’s why.

  1. We don’t often accurately know how far we hit each club.
  2. We’re not as consistent striking the ball as the pros, there is a greater difference in distance between our poor and solid strikes.
  3. We’re typically forced to hit poor driving range balls instead of the usual balls that we play with.
  4. Little access to a good launch monitor.
  5. If we play public courses, we can’t just go out and hit shots and measure them because we’ll hold up play.

Without accurate knowledge of our yardage gaps how are we supposed to plan our set makeup and of course how are we supposed to plan our shots to the greens?   I think this is one of the reasons that I’ve heard pros say over and over that amateurs under club.  Knowing your yardage gaps and your distances with each club enables you to plan your shots and factor slope, wind and temperature with confidence.

There’s a psychological benefit to knowing this information as well.  If you know the information, and you know that the club you selected is the right one, then you can more confidently setup and strike a good shot.  However, if you’re uncertain that you have the right club because you might have too much or too little club, that uncertainty will be expressed in your swing.  You may compensate for under clubbing by swinging harder, or you may decelerate if you feel you have taken too much club.

What are the solutions to getting your yardage gaps checked?

  1. Rent some time on a launch monitor.
  2. If you belong to a private club, then go when it is empty, bring a laser range finder, or a gps with a shot marking feature, and hit shots with each club.  Measure both your solid and your mediocre shots and see what the difference is.
  3. Write down the information that you get and understand it.  Are your yardage gaps consistent?  Do they make sense for your game?
  4. Seek out a teaching pro and get confirmation that your distances and yardage gaps make sense.  The pro can make some recommendations for you to get some of your clubs bent, or may recommend adding hybrids or wedges, depending on how your numbers came out.

Get to know this information and it will help you on the golf course.  If you have a forced carry, then you need to know what club will get your ball safely to the next shot.  If there is trouble behind the green, you need to know which club will get you on the green, but take the back of the green out of play.  Get to know your yardages and your gaps and you can make smarter decisions on the golf course.

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