When a golfer gets inside of 150 yards the game transitions from a power game to more of a precision game.
Whether you are hitting a 7, 8, or 9 iron and maybe even a pitching wedge from 130 yards, the key is to hit it the distance you need vs the longest distance you possibly can.
When a golfer is hitting a driver or 3 wood off the tee, they are more than likely trying to find the perfect combination between accuracy and total distance.
Compared to when a golfer is hitting a short iron or wedge, they are more focused on the combination of accuracy and precision in carry distance.
You will find that many golfers turn to less than 100% swings with their short irons and their wedges.
How Far Should You Hit A Pitching Wedge?
To play golf at an elite level you will want to be able to hit your pitching wedge at least 115 yards. However, the real key when hitting a pitching wedge is to be consistent in your carry distance. You don’t want to hit a shot 115 yards one time and then 135 the next. This extra distance only leads to poor scores.
With the accuracy of your carry distance being the most important element, we want to break down the different key variables that impact accuracy in your carry distance. We then provide a system you can create to help you build different shots with each club in the bag, but especially with the short irons and the wedges.
Key Variables For Accuracy in Carry Distance
- Speed of Swing
- Length of Swing
- Quality of Contact
- Launch Angle
- Spin Rate
- Related Post: How far should you hit a 3 wood?
- Related Post: How far should you hit a 5 iron?
- Related Post: How far should you hit a 7 iron?
Speed of Swing
With the driver if one time the golfer swings 110 miles per hour and then 115 miles per hour the next time they might celebrate from the extra distance they just received. However, with a pitching wedge, if the golfer hits one shot with 75 miles per hour swing speed and then the next hits one with 80 miles per hour, the extra distance might mean flying the green and finding yourself in a bad situation and staring at an automatic bogey or worse.
The golfer should work to dial in the swing speed that is consistent from one swing to the next. There are different ways to control the swing speed such as length of swing and tempo of swing. The quicker the tempo and the longer the swing typically results in extra swing speed.
Length of Swing
Many golfers will create multiple shots they can hit with every club in the bag. For example they might develop a 100% distance, a 90% distance, an 80% distance and even a 70% distance. Some golfers are known to create a distance chart for each club at each of these percentages.
These percentages can be how far back the golfer takes the swing or the speed/tempo with each percentage. Using the clock system is yet another way to control length of swing.
Quality of Contact
The best golfers are able to strike the ball solid 99% of the time. The worst golfers might only successfully strike the ball solid 50% of the time. The quality of the strike will impact the distance you carry the ball.
If you are faced with a 120 yard shot over water and your perfect pitching wedge flies 125 yards, but this time you catch it a bit heavy and it only flies 115 yards, you might just have ruined a good round! One of the key fundamentals in the game of golf is striking the ball solid through controlling the low point.
Here is an excellent drill to add to your normal routine.
The Low Point Control Drill
- Take some yard paint and paint a 1-2 yard long line.
- Setup with 55% of your weight on your front side.
- Try to hit the target side of the line and see how many times out of 10 you can do this successfully!
- Repeat this drill every day for a month, tracking your progress and your ability to do this successfully in trials of ten.
- You may need to start with half swing and progress to full swings.
If you are struggling, put more weight forward and work on keeping your head still to help control the low point in the swing.
Did you know that the best golfers often hit their long irons high and their short irons low? This helps the golfer control the distance and spin rate with the short irons and wedges. They prefer to flight their wedges and control the spin. This helps reduce the significance of the wind and the distance control is easier to manage.
I would recommend working on different flighted shots especially with the wedges.
The best golfers control their launch angle by reducing the amount of loft presented to the ball by keeping the hands forward and compressing the ball.
The easiest way to calculate what your spin rate should be is to take your iron and multiply it by 1000. For example:
- 7 Iron = 7000 RPM
- 8 Iron = 8000 RPM
- 9 Iron = 9000 RPM
- Pitching Wedge = 10,000 RPM
Have you ever hit a shot from a flier lie and it seems to fly forever. This is often a byproduct of a lower spin rate. Many of the best golfers will control their distances through spin rate as well as the length and speed of the swing. Spin rate has a significant impact on the total distance a ball will fly in the air.
KEY TIP: Creating A Distance Chart
I would highly recommend each golfer create a distance chart like the sample below:
|Club||Carry Distance (100%)||90%||80%|
|2 Utility Iron||210|
Note that for all the wedges we have created an 80%, 90% and 100% distance. This provides multiple options on the golf course from that 130 yards and in range.
This might be the most important information you can use to help you play quality golf. I have heard so many stories and have seen it first hand where golfers completely over estimate how far they hit each iron.
They hit one 7 iron 165 yards one time and think this is their carry distance. So they step up to a 165 yard shot, hit the 7 iron and end up in a bunker. They blade it out of the bunker and are looking at a double bogey as their reality. Instead, if they had the right club and hit the 6 iron, their chance of hitting the middle of the green would increase greatly!
How can you create your own chart?
BEST OPTION: I would highly recommend a launch monitor!
These portable devices can be used at the driving range, golf course or set up in your home net or golf simulator. These devices are game changers not only on being able to map your bag and know your distances, but they also provide quality feedback after on every shot and provide the following information:
- Carry Distance
- Spin Rate
- Launch Angle
- Spin Axis
- Total Distance
- Ball Speed
This information will help you map your bag, decide on which clubs are best for your game, develop a stock shot and much more. I love using my SkyTrak 365 days a year in my golf simulator setup.
The process for mapping your bag can looking something like this:
- Hit 5 shots with each club in your bag.
- Log the carry distance and total distance for each shot.
- Eliminate any outlier numbers (poor hits or low spin rates).
- Take the average and create a map of your bag.
If you visit any PGA Tour event you will see plenty of golfers utilizing their launch monitors. While most can’t afford a Trackman, there are some very affordable options in the 500-2000 dollar range. I own the SkyTrak and think the world of it.
Here are the top 3 options to check out:
Final Thoughts: Have Fun!
Keep in mind that golf is supposed to be fun! Enjoy the journey. Creating a shot chart with your Skytrak will not only help you play better golf, but it should be fun to measure your progress over time. See if you can add some distance through speed training or work on developing a stock shot. Keep it fun, keep it challenging and embrace the journey!
Wish you hit the ball further? Here are two great resources:
My Secret To Golf Improvement
Let’s face it, in order to get really good at golf, we must practice frequently. About four years ago, I made the leap and invested in a golf simulator build for my garage. I went with a SkyTrak Launch Monitor and the TGC software and can now play over 100,000 courses including Augusta, Pebble Beach, Bethpage Black, Whistling Straits. St. Andrews and many other of the top 100 courses in the world.
This golf simulator setup, which is more affordable that you might imagine, has been a game changer. I can now play golf everyday of the year regardless of rain, snow, cold weather or time of day. I can practice or play rounds of golf. I can stand in the 11th fairway at Augusta and with the auto-rewind feature I am able to practice my approach shots from various differences.
It is worth checking out through Rain or Shine Golf as they offer some incredible packages along with financing offers that are difficult to beat.
Some direct links to Rain or Shine Golf for pricing and financing:
Take Action – What You Can Do Today to Get Better
What does this mean for you? I believe in the following recipe to get better:
1 – Improve your motion in the golf swing by identifying a golf instructor. Here are some options:
Here is a list of golf instructors that we have reviewed:
2 – Train to swing faster and improve your swing speed. Here are some options:
Looking to gain more Speed and Distance in your swing. Two Options:
3 – Understand course strategy and work to break through your next barrier. Here is a series on breaking through:
We have provided guides on how to break 100, 90, 80 and 70. Check out more below, if interested.
4 – Practice Frequently
Did you know that I build a golf simulator in my garage and have played over 500 rounds of golf on my SkyTrak system? It has been a game changer and one worth checking out. Here are some of my other posts on golf simulators frequently asked questions:
- Is a Golf Simulator Worth It?
- How to Build a Golf Simulator?
- What is the Best Golf Simulator?
- Golf Simulator Accessories?
- How to Build a Golf Simulator for under $7000
- Top 11 Reasons to Buy a SkyTrak
- How to Build a Golf Simulator for Under $1000
- Why Build A Golf Simulator?
- What Space is Needed?
- Can A Golf Simulator Improve My Game?
- How Much Does A Golf Simulator Cost?
- Don’t Forget to Check out our 15 best golf swings of all time.