Golf Hacks, Knowing Your Yardage
Do you know how far you hit the clubs in your bag? No, not just a guess, how far do you hit your 6 iron in the air? How about your driver? Notice I said in the air, not how far did your furthest ever roll when you were playing on that dried out course in the winter 5 years ago. How far do you hit it in the air on a better than 7 times out of 10 basis? See this picture linked below? This is how you are going to figure that out.
Plan on spending at least an hour if you want to get this done accurately. Remember if you have been keeping your stats you know how many times you have been hitting a shot long or short, how many GRIs are you getting? If you hit the drive in the fairway you need to be getting that second shot either on the green or just off.
So how do you do it? Well if at all possible, stand right next to this marker. If your range has a big sign with distances marked ask the shop guy where those measurements are from. Of course if you have a laser range finder you can shoot the flags from wherever, but I don't so I use the markers. Now make sure you are warmed up (do your stretches) and hit about a dozen balls with your favorite club so that you are feeling your swing.
***Note if your range uses crummy old balls that are dirty and cut up, go to a nice range, even if you have to drive a hour away, go to the nicest range in town (they have the best balls) and get the biggest bucket they sell***
Now start with the lowest know yardage and try to land the ball right on the stick. Start with the club you "think" is the one you need. Hit 10 shots with it and see how close you get. Now adjust your selection, if you were long go higher loft, if you were short, go lower in loft. Now hit that club 10 times, how'd you do? Still off? Grab another. If you hit 7 of the 10 right on it, you've got it. If it turns out to be between clubs, that's important to know too. Also, you may have to adjust for wind if it is more than a few mph. But, you get the idea. Write down what club hits that yardage.
Now go to the next yardage you know and repeat. Pretty soon you should have 4 - 5 known clubs all through the bag. This is your base line. If you don't do anything else you at least know those clubs and a simple math estimate can usually fill in the rest. In general there will be about 10 to 15 yards between each club so if you know your 3w, 4 iron, 8 iron, and PW you can probably plot out where the other clubs fall in there.
Now take those yardages and make a yardage card that you keep in your pocket when you go play. Every shot, check your card. Next time you go to the range test those estimates out. I don't hit more than 4 different clubs for a 45 minute range session. I usually will pick out the irons that will hit 2 known targets to make sure my yardages are right, then I will also hit one of my fairway woods, and finish with my driver. Why only a few? Well the iron shots are all the same and if you remember my stats 3 - 9 irons only make up 14% of my shots on the course. The woods make up 16% so I balance those with equal time.
Next time you play, you'll be shocked at the difference. You won't fear carrying the trap or the smaller greens and you'll be a better golfer. Good luck! Thanks for reading! Now go hack it!