Which Golf Club To Use and When? (Complete Overview)

If you are new to the game of golf and have many questions about your golf clubs and when to use them, you have come to the right place!

We love to help people start the game and stick with the game for a long time.  There is nothing better than a nice round of golf on a beautiful day while spending time with family and friends.

Join us on a golf journey and enjoy the game, the outdoors, get some exercise and spend quality time.

But first, we want to ensure you are ready for those first so many rounds, when many questions arise.

Golf can seem overwhelming, but we are here to help.  Today’s topic includes when to use certain golf clubs on the course.

Which Golf Club To Use and When?

There are a number of situations that you are going to face on a golf club.  Below, we will break down each situation and give you a general club you should use.  We will follow that up with how to create a chart for how far you hit each club on average to create a chart for your use on the golf course!

Here are the questions we will answer below:

  1. Which golf club to use on the tee box
  2. Which golf club to use from 250 yards
  3. Which golf club to use from 200 yards
  4. Which golf club to use from 150 yards
  5. Which golf club to use from 100 yards
  6. Which golf club to use from the fairway
  7. Which golf club to use from the rough
  8. Which golf club to use from the bunker
  9. Which golf club to use when chipping
  10. Which golf club to use when putting
Have all the clubs you need, but no idea when to use them! We help you out below!

Which golf club to use on the tee box?

For the majority of tee shots you will use a driver, sometimes marked with a 1 on it.  This club is the longest club in the back and has loft somewhere between 8 and 12 degrees.  The club is designed to hit the ball long.  While it can be a difficult club to hit straight, it it worth practicing and getting better at.

Tip: Make sure you use a tee and have the ball halfway above the driver when it is set up to the ball.  This will help you hit the ball on the way up and launch the ball at a good angle.

You will use something less of a club on the par 3s.  On these holes, from the tee box, you will want to more than likely consider and iron, fairway wood or hybrid.  Most par 3s are shorter than what most people hit a driver.

Helpful Post: When to use a driver in golf!

Which golf club to use from 250 yards?

Unless you are a really long hitter, I would recommend learning to hit your 3 wood from shots of 250 yards or more from the fairway or rough.  As you begin the game, there might be plenty of holes where you still have a lot of yardage left to the green.  Learning to hit your 3 wood will be a major key in quickly lowering your score.

Tip: You want to hit the ball just slightly on the upswing.  You will want to play the ball just side of your left heel and try to launch the ball. Too much a descending blow with the 3 wood will take away any hopes of distance with this club.

Helpful Post: How to increase driver swing speed

Which golf club to use from 200 yards?

If you are a longer hitter, you might be able to hit a hybrid club or a long iron.  For the majority of beginner golfers, you will more than likely be hitting a 3 or 5 fairway wood.  These clubs are designed to get the ball in the air and to hit the ball a solid distance.  They are two of the longer golf clubs in your golf bag behind your driver.  You can hit these clubs from the fairway or rough on just about any hole.

Which golf club to use from 150 yards?

For the golfer with an average swing speed, they can expect to hit somewhere between a 5 iron and an 8 iron from 150 yards.  The golf will want to play the ball just forward of his or her stance and hit the ball right before the club bottoms out and strikes the ground, taking a quality divot.  Whether you are in the fairway or the rough, a 5 iron to 8 iron should get the job done.  

If you are someone blessed with plenty of speed, you might hit something smaller than an 8 iron like a 9 iron or pitchinge wedge.

Helpful Post: How to hit your irons consistently (5 Keys)

Which golf club to use from 100 yards?

For the golfer with an average swing they speed, they can expect to hit somewhere between an 8 iron and a sand wedge (56 degree).  The golfer should learn to hit this shot and control his or her distances to be able to hit the green a high percentage of the time from 100 yards.  This is a key yardage to practice at the driving range and really focus in and master this shot.

Full Post: What club to use from 100 yards

Did you know: the average proximity to the pin from 100 yards on the PGA Tour is 18 feet?

Make sure you keep realistic expectations from this distance.  When you are first starting out, anything on the green from around 100 yards is a quality shot.  As your improve, you can expect to hit the ball within 30 feet of the pin.

A rangefinder is a great addition to your game. It can give the exact yardage on every approach shot!

Which golf club to use from the fairway?

You will want to have a general idea of how far you hit each club.  See section below on creating a shot chart.  You simply want to match up the distance with the golf club that flies this far on average.  From the fairway, you can expect to hit the ball your normal distance with each club.  

Other factors to consider are whether the shot is uphill or downhill, whether the wind is in your face or to your back, and the location of the pin on the green (front, middle or back).

Make sure you strike the ball first before hitting the ground and consider checking out the low point control drill below:

The Drill: The Low Point Control Dril

  • Take some yard paint and patina 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 to 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.

Which golf club to use from the rough?

From the rough, you might want to consider taking an extra club than it normally takes to hit it the distance you are from the hole.  The rough can cause the ball to not fly as far as normal due to the interference the longer grass can cause.

If you are playing in extreme rough, you might always want to hit a higher numbered iron, to simply advance the ball down the fairway if the rough is going to be a major barrier.  The longer irons and fairway woods can be difficult to hit from really long rough.  Over time, you will learn what this longer rough is like and when to simply try to advance the ball down the fairway.

Full Post: What golf club to use in the rough

Which golf club to use from the bunker?

If it is a greenside bunker, you will want to use a wedge between 54 degrees (sand wedge) and 60 degree (lob wedge).  For the shorter greenside bunker shot, go with a 60 degree if you have one in the bag.  For the 15-25 yard bunker shot, consider taking the 54 degree sand wedge or a 50-52 degree gap wedge.

If you are in a fairway bunker, you will want to take one additional club and make sure you catch the ball clean.  You will likely lose some distance from the fairway bunker, so it is important to take an extra golf club.

Helpful Post: Do I need a sand wedge?

Which golf club to use when chipping?

I would highly recommend learning to hit a variety of shots with a 60 degree lob wedge.  This club is the most versatile club in the bag and can be used from a really difficult, short chip shot all the way up to an 80 yard full swing.

If you don’t have a sand wedge or lob wedge, you should highly consider adding a wedge between 54 and 60 degrees.

Helpful Post: Top 5 Tips for Chipping!

Which golf club to use when putting?

You will want to use a putter anytime you are on the green or even on the fringe.  When in doubt, from around the green, use the putter and take the safer route.  This is especially true for the beginner golfer.

Helpful Post: 4 Situations When You Should Use A Putter

If you want to get better at this game fast! Spend plenty of time chipping and putting!

Highly Recommended: Create A Distance Chart for Each Club In Your Bag!

I would highly recommend each golfer create a distance chart like the sample below:

ClubCarry Distance (100%)90%80%
2 Utility Iron210
4 iron190
5 iron181
6 iron171
7 iron163
8 iron153
9 iron143
P Club130123115
Pitching Wedge118110102
SW Club1059791
LW Club908274

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?

Option 1: 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 a SkyTrak and think the world of it.  

Here are the top 3 options to check out:

Option 2: Use a Driving Range or Open Field

If you can’t afford a launch monitor at this time, here is another option.

  • Find an open driving range or open field
  • Take 10 balls of the type of golf ball you play
  • Pick a target and either walk it off or use a rangefinder.
  • Hit 10 shots with each club in your bag and take an average.
  • Your rangefinder can help you get a specific distance.

Go ahead and create a chart of each club and their carry distance like the one above.

If you can improve your ball striking, have great information on how far you have to hit a shot and then have an accurate distance chart, you will be on your way to more enjoyable golf and lower golf scores!

Take the time to practice and get better, get the right technology tools and understand your distances.  Commit to the process and watch your game improve!  


My all time favorite drill to develop your game is the Stock Shot Drill.  It can help you develop a reliable, consistent golf swing and become the golfer you dream of being.  The key to golf is being able to control your start line and the curve of the ball.  If you get this still down, you are on your way to playing some quality golf.

  • At the driving range, set up an alignment stick about 6-8 yards in front of you, straight down your target line.
  • If you have a second alignment stick, set the stick 3-4 feet right of the first stick (for a draw) or left of the first stick (for a fade).
  • Complete your initial assessment see how many times out of 10 you can start the ball to the right or left of your target.  Pick one side and measure your game at this point.
  • The goal is to eventually get 7 out of 10 shots to start to the correct side and draw back towards the target.

Here is the drill being explained by Kyle Morris:

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:

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