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Why Understanding Your Carry Distances in Golf is so Important

How far do you carry each club in the bag? Carry distance is the more important figure to understand instead of total distance as you can’t guarantee how far the...

How far do you carry each club in the bag?

Carry distance is the more important figure to understand instead of total distance as you can’t guarantee how far the ball might roll when it hits the ground.

You could hit your driver off the edge of a runway and carry it 200 yards with the ball rolling down the tarmac for another 300 yards but it would be inaccurate to say that your driver goes 500 yards!

Professionals certainly know how far they carry each club, some of them even go as far as to have the figures written on the back of their clubs as a reminder.

The argument is easy at the elite level.

Players are playing for their livelihoods and big money each week, they need every piece of intel available to them to succeed.

But in the amateur game, it’s safe to say that knowing your distances can still be guesswork.

Things are certainly improving though.

More players are using range finders or some form of wearable tech to help them get accurate distances out on the course.

But how many can then relate that info to selecting the right club because they know their carry yardages?

So in this article, we’ll help you understand why knowing your carry distances is important plus how and where you can go about charting your yardages.

Golf clubs

The on-course problem

Hitting the wrong club on a hole can be one of many reasons why golfers can have potentially good scores ruined.

Mis-clubbing can cost you shots by:

  • Not being able to carry that cavernous bunker in the middle of the fairway off the tee
  • Dropping your approach shot short into the treacherous bunker that protects the pin location at the front of the green
  • Re-loading when your ball ends up in a watery grave because it didn’t have the legs to carry the hazard

All these misjudged shots and more can come from a common problem.

Most amateur golfers think they hit the ball further than they actually do.

Of course, an 18-handicapper can hit a 300-yard drive but the ball might of only carried 180 yards in the air before hitting a big downslope allowing the ball to run the rest of the way.

So if golfers are costing themselves shots and good scores by not taking the time to understand how far they carry each club in the bag how can they rectify this?

Golf clubs

How to go about getting your yardages

The good news is that there are lots of options to explore if you want to chart your carry distances with each club.

These fall into 3 main categories:

  • The driving range
  • The driving range with TopTracer
  • TrackMan session

The driving range

This is the most basic option out of the 3.

Most driving ranges that you’ll visit will have some form of yardage boards out in the field that will offer distances from 50 yards up to 250 yards normally.

You can start to chart how far each club goes but there are limitations that might not make these calculations entirely accurate such as:

  • Are the yardage boards in the field accurately measured?
  • The condition of the range balls you’re hitting
  • How do you gauge the accurate yardage if your selected club doesn’t hit it close to one of the yardage boards?

Weather conditions can play their role in skewing the figures, you could be hitting into a strong wind or it could be a cold day where the ball travels less.

Either way, it's not conducive to giving you accurate data to work with.

The driving range with TopTracer

TopTracer technology offers a much more accurate way to record your yardages.

More ranges are starting to employ TopTracer technology so finding one near you could be easier than you might imagine.

TopTracer works in a similar way to a launch monitor.

The system captures imagery and data from the ball being hit and relays this information onto a screen at the back of the bay.

You can tell the system which club you are hitting so you can start to work through your bag with all the data recorded from the session.

Along with distances, TopTracer can also display data such as:

  • Ball speed
  • Launch angle
  • Trajectory and curve

The data from your session can also be stored on your smartphone through the TopTracer app which is available on IOS or Android.

If there is a downside to TopTracer it is most likely to come in the shape of poor-quality range balls which won’t fly as well as your game ball.

Weather can also play its part in throwing the figures out.



TrackMan represents the pinnacle of current launch monitor technology and will give you the most accurate data.

With TrackMan you can set up a range session and work through your bag to accurately record the distances for each club.

TrackMan will also give you data on:

  • Launch angles
  • Smash factor
  • Side spin
  • Shot dispersion

To aid accuracy further a special golf ball has been developed by Titleist to work in unison with TrackMan so the quality of the golf ball won’t be in doubt.

TrackMan will also offer the opportunity to download and store your data so you can start to build an accurate matrix of how far you hit each club.

TrackMan can be used effectively indoors and outdoors with options to normalise the data recorded if being used outside in less-than-ideal weather conditions.

Whilst TrackMan is one of the more expensive systems out there making it more exclusive compared to TopTracer it’s still worth checking the TrackMan website to see if there is a facility available close to your location.

TopTracer and TrackMan offer any golfer the ability to chart out yardages for each club in the bag.

Both systems also offer games and challenges to test your distance control and accuracy.

Being able to store data from each session can also help chart any improvements you are making in your game.

As you improve, you may find you are consistently starting to hit the ball further which you can track via TopTracer or TrackMan.

Once you have found a location that’s within easy reach give yourself at least 90 minutes to work your way through your bag.

And hitting a couple of shots with each club won’t give you an accurate average.

You’ll need to hit at least 10 balls with each club before you can start to draw an accurate picture of how far you carry each club.

When you book yourself in for a custom-fitting session at Nine by Nine Golf we will establish benchmark carry distance figures from your existing clubs through TrackMan.

We can then use those figures to gauge performance improvements from the fitting recommendations we make.

Feel free to get in contact with us to organise a session and see how custom-fitted equipment can improve your game.

Golf bag

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