Best Golf Instruction Series: Know Yardages with Each Golf Club

by JL Lewis on February 11, 2010

Golf Exercise – Learning Distance Control

Best Golf Instruction Series 3:
Golf Course Conditions, Adrenaline, and Energy Level

To become a better golfer it is essential to consistently strike shots that travel exact distances.  There are several variables involved in this process including: golf equipment, golf swing techniques, different playing conditions, adrenaline under pressure, and knowing your capabilities on each day.

It’s important to first be fitted with the proper golf equipment, and then to develop a consistent golf swing.  To learn more about these steps for knowing yardages with each golf club, read the first and second articles in this series, Be Fitted with the Proper Golf Equipment, and Swing Tips – Producing a Consistent Golf Swing.

J.L. Lewis Golf Exercise - Learn Distance ControlKnowing Golf Course Conditions

Once you have the correct equipment and proper swing techniques the next step to distance control and good shot making is knowing how different conditions will affect how far the golf ball travels.  For example: at sea level with no wind my 8 iron flies 154 yards when the temperature is above 75 degrees. If the temperature is lower than 75 degrees, the ball flies proportionally shorter.  At sea level, in 40 degree temperature the ball will fly 145 yards with no wind. The only way to really learn this invaluable information is to practice in all conditions and elevations. Distance the ball travels is effected by wind, altitude, temperature, humidity, and the condition of the golf ball. Experience is the best teacher and writing down how far each shot flies in practice and during rounds will expedite this learning process.


Another important factor in distance control is understanding how adrenaline increases under pressure will increase strength and club head speed. During my career I have been in contention to win on several occasions and I know that nerves and adrenaline increase club head speed and cause the ball to travel farther than normal. I allow for five to ten yards more carry on short to mid iron shots and 10 to 20 yards more carry on long iron and tee shots. Know this tendency, and realize this is a good thing because the farther the ball can fly the shorter the course will play. The more you can experience this state of heightened awareness when in contention the more comfortable and effective you will be. This nervous feeling is the reason for playing in competition and should be welcomed because it means you are playing well and getting closer to reaching your potential.  Performing well when you are pressured is essential for any competitive golfer to be their best.

Physical Condition

Finally, the  factor that is different each day is how you are feeling. Some days the strength level is 100%, and other days it may be 50% depending on what you ate, if you are feeling ill, how you slept the night before, or what is going on mentally that could affect your energy level. On the range prior to the round is the time to determine all of these variables that could affect your ability to swing the club consistently. I know on full strength days there is no doubt that I will make full swings as much as possible, but on days when my energy is less than normal I will take more club and swing easier to produce the needed yardage. Again, experience will teach you all of this important on course knowledge that if used properly will improve scoring ability in all conditions.

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Know Yardages with Each Golf Club | JL Lewis' Best Golf Tips
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