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Do I need more distance?


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Looking for some advice  - this is my first post on here, but I've read a lot over the years and it's be really helpful.

I hit all of my irons quite short (reference: strong 7 iron will go 130-135), but I hit them to that distance extremely consistently and always straight. It's probably not an issue of strength as I am 6'3, 25 y/o and pretty athletic. From reading on this site I'm sure I'm probably flipping or opening the club-face, or any other sort of tendencies that could cause this. My question is: should I care? I've been constantly improving my handicap each year and I hope to get it to 7 by the end of the year. Honestly, the biggest weakness in my game is putting, where I lose several strokes each round on missed 6-10 footers.

If I had to guess I'd say my iron distance loses me about 2 strokes a round on average. For example, a 150 pin for me is an easy 5 iron or a strong 6 depending on lie and conditions. I can get on the green, but I can see the advantage of being able to attack the pin more with the loft of an 8i - I'd say that situation may save me a couple over a round.

Anyways, is it really worth going through the pain of a swing change to get more iron distance? Or should I just stick with whats working for me. Will it be worth it for me in the long run? My ultimate goal is to play scratch golf, and if it means getting there I'm open to a swing change, but I've tried it before and it wrecked my game for a whole year.

Appreciate any input.

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Nice description. Good handicap shows you can play. A little more info like clubs your playing, shafts, ball, do have a picture or video? Some can provide positive feedback with the additional data.
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I play Callaway X16 pro irons with uniflex shafts. Truth be told, I don't always play the same ball type. I know I should, but I play what's on sale usually. Last few months its been Callaway Warbird plus balls. As for a pic or video - I don't have any but I can try to get one next time I'm at the range.

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Honestly, the biggest weakness in my game is putting, where I lose several strokes each round on missed 6-10 footers.

Might not be as bad as you think.

http://www.pgatour.com/stats/stat.404.2014.html

My question is: should I care?

Depends on what your goals are. If your goal is to just play and have fun, then you don't need to care. If you want to improve, hit the ball farther, then you're going to have to change something and put some work in.

My ultimate goal is to play scratch golf, and if it means getting there I'm open to a swing change, but I've tried it before and it wrecked my game for a whole year.

I don't see you playing scratch golf if you only hit your 7 iron 130-135.

Anyways, is it really worth going through the pain of a swing change to get more iron distance? Or should I just stick with whats working for me. Will it be worth it for me in the long run? I'm open to a swing change, but I've tried it before and it wrecked my game for a whole year.

This is a misconception with a lot of golfers (if I'm reading this post right). The thinking that improving your swing means changing your entire swing or starting from scratch. Go to a good instructor, figure out your priority piece and make that better. No need for a swing "overhaul". You should still be able to play well while you work on your swing.

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You probably don't take a big swing. Search here Flighted there are videos showing partial shots. You are probably accurate. The warbird is a good two piece distance ball dimple design but not as sensitive / controllable around the greens. Bet you 2 strokes, if you use the same ball to be named later you'd perform a little better around the greens and roll the ball off the putter truer.
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Are your clubs lengthened at all? At 6' 2" I added 1" to my (off the shelf) club lengths and it made quite a difference IMO. I now play my 7-iron mostly at about 175 yards but it is at 31° which for some sets may be the equivalent of the loft on a 6-iron. My previous set my 7-iron I played at 155 yards.

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Are your clubs lengthened at all? At 6' 2" I added 1" to my (off the shelf) club lengths and it made quite a difference IMO. I now play my 7-iron mostly at about 175 yards but it is at 31° which for some sets may be the equivalent of the loft on a 6-iron. My previous set my 7-iron I played at 155 yards.

Hmm that's interesting. No I've never lengthened or even had them fitted. Unfortunately, my golf budget isn't what I'd like it to be..maybe I'll look into that. At least then I'll know my true distances.

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Hmm that's interesting. No I've never lengthened or even had them fitted. Unfortunately, my golf budget isn't what I'd like it to be..maybe I'll look into that. At least then I'll know my true distances.

If you have any decent golf store in your area they should be able to tell you if you can add length without any cost or the need to buy clubs. Just tell them you are thinking of buying new clubs in the near future and wonder if you could add some length. They should have some way to measure you for how much you can add. Then when you need to get the clubs re-gripped in the future you can have them add the length on then.

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I don't see you playing scratch golf if you only hit your 7 iron 130-135.

Could you elaborate a bit more on this point?  Just curious because I don't typically feel all that disadvantaged when on the course given my distance, is it just based on the ability to attack pins? At 130 yds my playing buddies might pull a PW and send it 15 yards right/left of the green, while my 7i gets me usually 10-20 ft from the hole. I'd love to be able to hit those within 10ft, so if using a wedge can do that than that's a huge advantage, but I'm not really sure loft is the biggest factor in being THAT accurate.. What are your thoughts?

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Sometimes its not a loft issue. Sometimes its old tech For example my old pings were a 7i for 115 yards. I bought new taylormades. Now i hit a 7 at 155 yards Easy to stick the green Used to have to hit a 4i at 150 and it would come in too hot to stick the green
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Sometimes its not a loft issue. Sometimes its old tech

For example my old pings were a 7i for 115 yards.

I bought new taylormades. Now i hit a 7 at 155 yards Easy to stick the green

Used to have to hit a 4i at 150 and it would come in too hot to stick the green

40 yards just from a new set? That's nuts...

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Just to get an idea on how we may assist as requested, pull out a recent scorecard and look at the average hole distance your playing on 4 pars. What's your typical drive distance you estimate?
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Just to get an idea on how we may assist as requested, pull out a recent scorecard and look at the average hole distance your playing on 4 pars. What's your typical drive distance you estimate?

Last course I played had an average par 4 distance of 367.5 yards. I'd say my average drive distance is 225-240 , but it's not my strongest club, so I emphasize keeping it center fairway over bombing it. My long iron play (3 and 4 irons) is probably what I'm best at so I feel comfortable not trying to crush it off the tee.

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Looks to me your distances fit for the clubs you've addressed at the course you just mentioned, you seem to have control, so what steps are you willing to take to get longer perhaps to meet your goals. You know longer is better...I'd take a 53 yard chip over a 142 yarder any day. Pick one. I can't help you but others can, I have only a small margin to improve left at my age and limitations. But your on the right track by asking question :-)
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Looks to me your distances fit for the clubs you've addressed at the course you just mentioned, you seem to have control, so what steps are you willing to take to get longer perhaps to meet your goals. You know longer is better...I'd take a 53 yard chip over a 142 yarder any day. Pick one.

I can't help you but others can, I have only a small margin to improve left at my age and limitations. But your on the right track by asking question

Thanks for your input. I know everyone is right,  longer is better.. Was kinda hoping people would share some 'swing change' horror stories that persuaded me to not tinker with something that's working. More I think about it, hitting 9i and PWs into greens is going to make my birdie/par putts easier than hitting 7 and 6 irons. Next step is finding out how to get there with the least amount of change...

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Thanks for your input. I know everyone is right,  longer is better.. Was kinda hoping people would share some 'swing change' horror stories that persuaded me to not tinker with something that's working. More I think about it, hitting 9i and PWs into greens is going to make my birdie/par putts easier than hitting 7 and 6 irons. Next step is finding out how to get there with the least amount of change...

Well then, let me share a little. I actually play pretty well. Injuries have taken a toll on me so I must play smart and strategic golf. I hit to spots fairly accurately and have worked hard on the 400+ par 4s and long par 5s also that are reachable. I like 200 yard par 3's too. But the fun of the game is flagging the short irons and wedges inside 140 yards for a shot at birdie. To do so, thousands of balls, lessons, round after round, shaft changes, adjustments, mis hits, changes, wedge shaft changes, driver shaft changes. Just a constant ongoing process including putter fit to my new leg height. But I hit farther now...and straighter.

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Could you elaborate a bit more on this point?  Just curious because I don't typically feel all that disadvantaged when on the course given my distance, is it just based on the ability to attack pins? At 130 yds my playing buddies might pull a PW and send it 15 yards right/left of the green, while my 7i gets me usually 10-20 ft from the hole. I'd love to be able to hit those within 10ft, so if using a wedge can do that than that's a huge advantage, but I'm not really sure loft is the biggest factor in being THAT accurate.. What are your thoughts?

If you can hit your average 130yd shot 10-20 feet from the hole, you'd be leading the PGA Tour in that category ! To compare - Henrik Stenson is ranked top 10 in the OWGR and he's tied for 10th in that stat at an average of 19'10" from 125-150 yards. I think you're not being totally realistic with your accuracy. Maybe I'm wrong.

To get to scratch, you will need more distance. A 420 yard Par 4 at your length would take a perfect drive and 3 wood at max distance if you drive it 230-240. Longer par 4s leave you no room for error. If you start playing the back tees, they might become 3-shot holes before you get on the green. You can never go for Par 5's in 2 at your distance, and longer ones would be need 3 excellent shots.

It would be interesting to see your swing to make a suggestion. I would gander that you make smart 3/4 swings and have a very good, relaxed tempo. Those are great qualities. Some simple improvements if you are athletic enough will add an easy 20 yards to your irons and 30 yards to your drives.

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If you can hit your average 130yd shot 10-20 feet from the hole, you'd be leading the PGA Tour in that category! To compare - Henrik Stenson is ranked top 10 in the OWGR and he's tied for 10th in that stat at an average of 19'10" from 125-150 yards. I think you're not being totally realistic with your accuracy. Maybe I'm wrong.

To get to scratch, you will need more distance. A 420 yard Par 4 at your length would take a perfect drive and 3 wood at max distance if you drive it 230-240. Longer par 4s leave you no room for error. If you start playing the back tees, they might become 3-shot holes before you get on the green. You can never go for Par 5's in 2 at your distance, and longer ones would be need 3 excellent shots.

It would be interesting to see your swing to make a suggestion. I would gander that you make smart 3/4 swings and have a very good, relaxed tempo. Those are great qualities. Some simple improvements if you are athletic enough will add an easy 20 yards to your irons and 30 yards to your drives.

Well, yeah my comment is assuming good lie and good conditions. At 130 yards, assuming both of those, I think I can land it within 20ft maybe 60-70% of the time. But I don't keep track of those stats so I could way off. Maybe I just have a selective memory :P

But anyways, yes you're right 400+ yard par 4s are par/bogey holes for me as I do not typically land on the green in 2 (usually fringe or a short pitch away). A good pitch will save par, a bad one will drop a shot, which is okay for me. I score well on par 5s actually, but never, ever get there in 2. But how many 9 handicappers are reaching greens in 2 on par 5s? Is that common?

Next time I'm at the range I'll snap a video to post. I have a 3/4 backswing, but I'd say from there I'm swinging 85% power.

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