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Carry vs total yardage for an average weekend golfer?


Gerr
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I know that everyone says carry is king, but is it really the best for your average weekend golfer?  Knowing your per club carry introduces an additional set of numbers to know/memorize, that being average roll per club.  So after you make your calculations to how far your next shot will carry based on several factors, you then have to make a second set of calculations based on where your ball will likely land and how far the likely roll out is.  Yes, that is excellent info for a tour professional, but golf is supposed to be fun for us weekend golfers and working out all those calculations each and every shot takes away from that fun.  I would just like to know my AVERAGE total distance per club, which for an 18-handicap, will vary widely to begin with.  I think it's beyond most weekend golfers to preform two sets of distance calculations for each shot.

 

Yes, I know what most people will say, you need to know your carry distance so you can carry a hazard.  I think most weekend golfers could take an educated guess the few times they need that.  Plus if you gapped purely on carry, I hit my 7W and 4i the same total distance, but their carry is a good 10+ yards apart, so proper gapping says I should carry both when I really only need one of them.

 

I am not saying you shouldn't gap based off carry.  Instead I think that should be reserved for mid-handicappers or better who are looking to really dial in their distances.  For an average weekend golfer, I believe average carry is best.  Thoughts/opinions?

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Carry distance is a known outside of strike and wind, which you will be taking into consideration anyway when choosing club and shot to hit.  You need to know these distances to get better and play consistently, period.

 

Roll out can be 100% dependant on strike, wind, spin, decent angle, landing spot (down slope vs up).  Unless these 'average weekend golfers' can see small contours that they are shooting to with their known carry distances in order to best judge roll out...

 

I'm also curious as what you consider an 'average weekend golfer'.  Are you more asking to try and give a number for bad golfers to boast about?  Don't 'average weekend golfers' already do that most times in not having a clue how far they actually hit the ball, carry or 'roll out'...

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I know my carry yardage for each club and that’s it. for example it’s no good knowing it’s 160 past the bunker/stream if i don’t know my carry distance. If I only knew total yardage then I’d be hoping it carried far enough.
 

In this example I know my 7 iron carries an average of 164 so I’d hit 7 if I wanted to carry with minimal roll out or take a bit off the 6 iron and accept its rolling further.

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I mostly agree for the average golfers out there.  I go for the middle/back of greens anyway, so there aren't many situations where I'd really need to know an exact iron carry number.  I do like to know carry with my pitch shots because I'll get pretty aggressive with those, even towards front pins.  Knowing carry can be useful off of the tee though, when dealing with bunkers, hazards, etc.

 

 

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10 minutes ago, PEI_Golfer said:

 

I actually think the 'average weekend golfer' likely thinks they shoot in the mid 90s while actually shooting 105+.  While making sure they are 6 under with beers consumed. 

True, but I was more targeting the lower end of an average weekend golfer as for the higher end, it wouldn't make a difference.

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56 minutes ago, Gerr said:

  For an average weekend golfer, I believe average carry is best.  Thoughts/opinions?

 

Carry is the only number that really matters.

 

How far to carry a bunker, hazard, etc.  If you can't carry whatever the trouble is then it doesn't matter. Anything that happens after the ball lands is gravy.

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@Gerr said I believe average carry is best.  Thoughts/opinions?

 

The problem I see most when playing with weekend average Joe golfers, they have no idea how far they carry the ball, but often have an overly positive idea of how far they hit the ball; only most of the time its 20-50yds short of where they think.  If knowing two different numbers is too much mental work, the best number to know is carry yardage of each club. 

 

My buddy thinks he knows how far he hits the ball and grabs clubs accordingly.  But when I ask him carry yardages, he hasn't a clue.  That is the reason he finds all sorts of hazards, ponds, and bunkers, which cost him lots of strokes.  It's as if he plays stupid and says to himself, that's OK...

 

There's a dog-leg 320yrd Par 4 we face with lots of trouble on the inside of the leg, including dramatic slopes feeding into a sizable pond, between the tee and green.  He likes to hit a wood or driver and most of the time either hits it OB long, or ends up with the ball well below his feet, forcing him to hit a shot he doesn't have, into a two tier green.  Hit the green in the wrong spot, the ball runs over the green and down a hill, maybe finds the abyss, he takes a 5-7.  I hit 4i over ugly to reach a flat spot in the fairway, and wedge at the pin for birdie/par.

 

Guessing how far you hit the ball and taking costly extra strokes cause you were wrong, doesn't make a person feel good as he walks off 18.  Golf is a sport, and it doesn't care how often a person plays.  Knowing carry yardages, and shave just a few strokes off that days game, ya feel good as you walk off 18. 

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To me total yardage is irrelevant except off the tee, and even then carry distance is more important.  Playing conditions, pin placements, and other factors affect so much more shots into the greens.  Pros will be much more likely to "flight" a ball and use trajectory to affect total distance than to play a set shot for a specific "roll out".  Weekend golfers cant do this.  Best option for a higher handicap is be honest about carry.  Forget roll out, and CARRY irons to the line between the first and second thirds in the center of every green.  

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Carry distance is king simply because it's an absolute/set number.  Roll out is bonus.  That's the way I see it.  However, it is always good to know your average or approximate roll out.  The more data you have can obtain about your overall game, the better off you are no matter if you're the weekend hacker or a tour pro. 

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I don't pay any attention to carry versus total distance, because there are so many other variables in play, including wind, elevation, wet or dry fairways and greens, turf conditions, bunkers, water hazards and whatever else. I know my average total distance for each club and I know when to use more club or less club to account for those variables.

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3 minutes ago, Billfitz said:

I don't pay any attention to carry versus total distance, because there are so many other variables in play, including wind, elevation, wet or dry fairways and greens, turf conditions, bunkers, water hazards and whatever else. I know my average total distance for each club and I know when to use more club or less club to account for those variables.

So you're saying you don't use carry distance as a thing but are able to basically guess it, thus knowing an average of what the shot is going to carry given those certain specifics you mentioned...

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6 minutes ago, PEI_Golfer said:

So you're saying you don't use carry distance as a thing but are able to basically guess it, thus knowing an average of what the shot is going to carry given those certain specifics you mentioned...

That's right. Of course it also varies with the club. I get a lot more roll out with my five iron than I do with a wedge, so I have to put more thought into club selection at 180 yards than I do at 120 or less, especially where hazards are concerned and it's better to be long than short. I deal more with turf conditions than anything else. My course waters every morning, and not at all sparingly, so the same shot can play two clubs different in the morning versus the afternoon. Really. In the morning I get out early on the back nine, and the greens keepers are in front of me on the course, turning the sprinklers off when I get to a tee, then back on again when I get off the green.

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Golf is about landing zones, and then predicted roll out from there. When you are chipping, you dont scope the flag from 13 yards out and hit your 13 yard wedge shot. That could go 8 yards or 26 yards depending on the green. You determine a launch and height that fits the shot, predict the roll out, and then find where you want your wedge to land, and your job is to land it there. No different from 150 out. Where is the pin? Distance to the back of the green? Distance to carry the front bunker? What is the wind doing? Do you need to aim left or right of the flag because of hazards? Ok. Pick your landing zone. And what is the carry to the middle of that zone. 

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3 hours ago, Billfitz said:

I don't pay any attention to carry versus total distance, because there are so many other variables in play, including wind, elevation, wet or dry fairways and greens, turf conditions, bunkers, water hazards and whatever else. I know my average total distance for each club and I know when to use more club or less club to account for those variables.

Self proclaimed "below average duffer" here. I basically do the same. That said, I do have a scrap of paper I refer to multiple times per round with my realistic carry distances on it. This grounds me in reality when a playing partner whips out an 8 iron, but I know I am better off with a 6 nice and easy for the best result for me. Not trying to be a hero or match what others do. Agree that it becomes more irrelevant as you go up in the bag, but that isn't where us hacks are going to trim strokes anyways if you are playing smart golf.

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The only numbers I know are carry numbers. everything else is a variable depending on the situation. 

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5 hours ago, Gerr said:

I was thinking around an 18-20 handicap, ie average score between upper 80's and mid-90's.

I think an 18-20 is more likely to shot mid 90's to mid 100's.

In the last 18 months, I've gone from a 12 to a 16, and have only broken 90 a handful of times.

 

Where you play, and how far you hit the ball play a role here. Here in Michigan, the green's are usually pretty soft, and anyone that can swing a driver 100mph will not have a lot of rollout with their approach shots. I'll rarely see more than 2-3 yards of rollout, even with a 4 iron.

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1 hour ago, pitchnputt said:

 I do have a scrap of paper I refer to multiple times per round with my realistic carry distances on it.

I'd probably do that as well if I didn't play five days a week on the same course. Half the time I don't even need to read my yardage to the pin. I know what I need because I've been there so many times before.

Quote

This grounds me in reality when a playing partner whips out an 8 iron, but I know I am better off with a 6 nice and easy for the best result for me.

I never pay attention to what anyone else is hitting, other than when I notice someone hitting an iron off a tee where I use driver. When I see that I don't think 'Wow, he's a really long hitter', I think 'Too bad he can't keep driver in the fairway'. 😏

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15 hours ago, Gerr said:

I know that everyone says carry is king, but is it really the best for your average weekend golfer?  Knowing your per club carry introduces an additional set of numbers to know/memorize, that being average roll per club.  So after you make your calculations to how far your next shot will carry based on several factors, you then have to make a second set of calculations based on where your ball will likely land and how far the likely roll out is.  Yes, that is excellent info for a tour professional, but golf is supposed to be fun for us weekend golfers and working out all those calculations each and every shot takes away from that fun.  I would just like to know my AVERAGE total distance per club, which for an 18-handicap, will vary widely to begin with.  I think it's beyond most weekend golfers to preform two sets of distance calculations for each shot.

 

Yes, I know what most people will say, you need to know your carry distance so you can carry a hazard.  I think most weekend golfers could take an educated guess the few times they need that.  Plus if you gapped purely on carry, I hit my 7W and 4i the same total distance, but their carry is a good 10+ yards apart, so proper gapping says I should carry both when I really only need one of them.

 

I am not saying you shouldn't gap based off carry.  Instead I think that should be reserved for mid-handicappers or better who are looking to really dial in their distances.  For an average weekend golfer, I believe average carry is best.  Thoughts/opinions?

 

 

Carry is far more important.  If there is a pond or bunker in front of the green, that is sitting at 150 yards and the green at 160, which do you think is more important?  The club I pick that rolls out to 160 yards on occasion, that is completely dependent on strike and ground conditions, or the club I know reasonably well that if I hit it somewhere near the middle is going to fly about 160 and land somewhere in the heart of the green and on occasion has been known to roll out to 170?  I think I know which club I am picking and I think I know what club 100% of all tour pros are picking as well.

 

 

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20 hours ago, Gerr said:

I know that everyone says carry is king, but is it really the best for your average weekend golfer?  Knowing your per club carry introduces an additional set of numbers to know/memorize, that being average roll per club.  So after you make your calculations to how far your next shot will carry based on several factors, you then have to make a second set of calculations based on where your ball will likely land and how far the likely roll out is. ...   I think it's beyond most weekend golfers to preform two sets of distance calculations for each shot.

 

For an average weekend golfer, I believe average carry is best.  Thoughts/opinions?

 

 

I would suggest we focus the discussion better. First, you talk about average weekend golfer. The average is... averages of several subgroups with quite different characteristics. Is the individual weekend golfer someone who once played 50 rounds a year, but is down to 16 or so because of family and job responsibilities, or is the person a casual golfer who happens to play mostly on weekends for fun with friends and family? Different subgroups involved.

 

Let's focus on level of engagement with golf, how much the person is into golf, how much they devote to developing and improving their game. More engaged golfers can make more complex decisions automatically without creating a slow play situation. They used yardage cards to gauge their distance decisions, data on long, average and short shots with each club. Probably more golfers have limited-scope cards for determining Pelz-style partial wedge matrix.

image.png.906e941c7c2ccd1a235479cbd775796d.png

Then, they apply their yardstick on a given shot. And, on a given shot, what is the penalty for a short miss... or a long miss? Carry is the best guide for carrying hazards. As far as runout, lots of different factors at play here:

  • Ball contact and swing path. How clean is impact on clubface. Does player square up on the shot.
  • Course conditions. Putting green turf, is it summer thick or winter thin, to cushion ball and lesson bounce. Soil under turf... soft or hard? Moisture: Also influences how hard or soft the greens are. Green slope: on older courses, several holes may drain from front to back... aggressive shots may run over.

 

Note: I have a more detailed discussion in a separate thread, Distance Carry Variance: Are "average" golfers just guessing?

 

Edited by ChipNRun
Split off some paragraphs to extra thread.
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As others have pointed out, including roll out in your distances has too much variance depending on when and where you're playing.  For example, there's a long par 4 on a course I used to play regularly.  When the course was on the softer side I'd sometimes hit driver and 4i into the green.  As the course dried out and the fairway firmed, the ball could catch a good bounce and roll out a lot... under those conditions I'd hit 3w and 9i.  

 

My point is that I think trying to include roll out in avg distance would actually be harder to calculate correctly since roll out is very dependent on the conditions.  Plus, if you don't know your carry numbers, how do you know how much to adjust your roll for wet/dry fairways and greens?  

 

I think it is much easier to know your carry numbers and then have a general idea of roll.  For example, if a player knows they hit a 6i 150 in the air, they can have a general rule that they add 0 yds on a soft day, 5 yds on a normal day, and 10 yds if it's dry, for their total distance.  Of course this won't be perfect, but I've been playing golf for over 30 years and I've never played a round where I didn't have a least a few shots where the ball either rolled out when I didn't expect it or landed soft when I expected some roll.  Guessing is  just part of the game.

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I think there may be some regional differences here too. Playing 95% of my rounds in Michigan, total yardage doesn’t really do a whole lot of good with anything other than my 2 iron. Even my driver off the tee doesn’t get much roll, making carry distance king.

 

That said, I’ve got myself in trouble several times bringing this mentality to Texas golf courses.

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1 hour ago, AyeAre10 said:

I think there may be some regional differences here too. Playing 95% of my rounds in Michigan, total yardage doesn’t really do a whole lot of good with anything other than my 2 iron. Even my driver off the tee doesn’t get much roll, making carry distance king.

 

That said, I’ve got myself in trouble several times bringing this mentality to Texas golf courses.

Good point.

 

Just got back from Bandon and the extra 20-30 yards of roll with driver was very nice.

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It depends on your SS and trajectory. If you swing medium to fast, and have good launch, then carry will be king. If you swing slow and launch low, your always going to get a lot of rollout(many seniors and women apply here). Depends on your ability. 

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it all starts with a decent fitting, so the equipment we play is within reason of what it should be. Next is something most weekend warriors dont even think of, a Gap and dispersion tweak of their irons and wedges.

No matter play style (links or target golf), it does not help much if we judge distance right, weather and wind conditions and elevation right, and do everything decent in our swing, even make a good impact, if loft and lie angles in your set is all over the place.

A gap and dispersion tweak might be the best investment you ever did for your game. This map was made to illustrate one of my customers and the set of irons he played. In Europe we use meters, and the typical weekend warrior has (should have) 10 meters gaps in carry (about 11 yards), so the GREEN middle is target for carry on each club, the position and rulers tells how much off target due to LOFT & LIE angle only.

The ONLY club in the set ho had the right CARRY was hos #5 iron, but even the club would leave him with a put of 7.5 feets, so he would have to "miss it" to make a hole on one.

In general ALL clubs he played had  LIE angle too flat, so they all needed a lie angle tweak, only the #5 was left alone on loft.

Whats status for your set? when was the last time you had a loft and dispersion tweak?

1718367433_IRONGapanddispersiontweak.JPG.7bf33e94ee701e1571f48c35aad26d26.JPG
 

Edited by Howard_Jones
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Howard, that graph offers a great representation of distance and dispersion variance.  👍

 

Can we assume the client's ball flight was hitting fades, vs merely an alignment / targeting issue, as most all irons well right of target ?

 

 

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      Xander Schauffele - WITB - 2022 Farmers Insurance Open
      Trey Mullinax - WITB - 2022 Farmers Insurance Open
      Daniel Berger - WITB - 2022 Farmers Insurance Open
      James Hahn - WITB - 2022 Farmers Insurance Open
      Phil Mickelson - WITB - 2022 Farmers Insurance Open
      Aaron Wise - WITB - 2022 Farmers Insurance Open
      Justin Thomas - WITB - 2022 Farmers Insurance Open
      Lee Hodges - WITB - 2022 Farmers Insurance Open
      Jordan Spieth - WITB - 2022 Farmers Insurance Open
      Cameron Champ - WITB - 2022 Farmers Insurance Open
      Kyle Stanley - WITB - 2022 Farmers Insurance Open
       
       
      Pullout Albums - 
       
      New Super Stroke grip - 2022 Farmers Insurance Open
      Tour Aim alignment aids - 2022 Farmers Insurance Open
      Swag Golf: Hideki's caddie bowing at Augusta, signed headcovers – 2022 Farmers Insurance Open
      Dylan Frittelli's Callaway Apex TCB Sand Wedge (1-of-1 proto) – 2022 Farmers Insurance Open
      Bryson DeChambeau's Cobra King LTDx 5-degree driver – 2022 Farmers Insurance Open
      NeuroPeak Pro NTel Belt - 2022 Farmers Insurance Open
      JumboMax JMX Zen Lite grips – 2022 Farmers Insurance Open
       
      Cameron Champ WITB has the new Ping i525

       
      Bryson's WITB has the new Cobra LTDx Driver 

       
      Phils new Rogue Driver

       
      Bryson's LAGolf Shaft in the driver

       
      Xander has the triple diamond "S" driver

       
      New SuperStroke grips for 2022

       
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      • 8 replies
    • 2022 The American Express WITB Photos (Spotted: New gear for 2022) - Discussion & Links
      Please put and comments or questions here
       
       
      Scotty Cameron putters - 2022 American Express
      New Taylor-Made putters - 2022 American Express
      New Odyssey putters - 2022 American Express
      New Axis 1 model putter - - 2022 American Express
      Patrick Cantlay - WITB - 2022 American Express
      Mitsubishi MMT putter shaft - 2022 American Express
      Ping putter - 2022 American Express
      Abraham Ancer - WITB - 2022 American Express
      Jason Dufner - WITB - 2022 American Express
      Will Zalatoris - WITB - 2022 American Express
      The Surgeon 6109 wedge - 2022 American Express
      LA Golf "DJ Series" shafts (2022 American Express)
       
       
       
      2022 American Express - Monday #1
       
       
       
       
      • 40 replies
    • Sony Open Pics from January 11, 2022 Part 1
      I was able to get out to the Sony Open today to take a few pics.  I guess due to Covid precautions they kept the spectators pretty far from the players.  Also due to camera restrictions they've put in place, I wasn't able to bring the big lens like I normally do. Hopefully they'll ease up on the ropes and I'll be able to get more pics tomorrow!
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      • 22 replies
    • 2022 Callaway Rogue ST drivers (in-hand photos)
      2022 Callaway Rogue ST Max driver
       

       
      2022 Callaway Rogue ST Max D driver
       
      2021 Callaway Rogue ST Max 
       
      2022 Callaway Rogue ST Max LS driver

       
      2022 Callaway Rogue ST Triple Diamond LS

       
      Rogue ST exploded views
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      • 221 replies
    • Titleist Vokey SM9 Link on Wedge Works Coming Soon- UPDATED Pics Added Pg 4
      Looks like there is a link on Titleist Wedge Works for the new Vokey SM9, but doesn't show any photos yet.
       
      https://www.vokey.com/product/WM137.html#start=4
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      • 237 replies

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