How confident are you about how far each club goes once you get above something like a 6 or 7-iron?
For lots of us, a 5-iron goes “about the same distance” as a 4-iron or hybrid, then there’s a big jump to a 3-wood. That kind of set-up will hurt your game. With the fall weather right around the corner proper gapping will be key to help you come out and play your best during the fall golf months.
We are allowed to carry 14 clubs for a reason – to cover off everything from 50 to 200+ yards with a full swing. If three of those clubs go roughly the same distance – or if they’re so inconsistent you hardly ever use them – you need to fix the gapping at the top of your bag.
We’ve broken the swing down into three common club golfer swing speeds – 105mph, 95mph and 85mph We’ve split each swing speed up depending on whether you prefer to hit – fairway woods, hybrids or long irons – and given some of our favourite options in each category.
The absolute best way of getting your gapping spot on is working with an experienced fitter and using a launch monitor like Foresight Sports’ GC Quad. Establish which is the longest iron you hit with any confidence and how far you hit it. Then hit your driver, make a note of how far it goes, then work on filling the gaps between your longest iron and driver with the clubs that not only fill you with confidence, but also cover off consistent yardage gaps between the pair. Be prepared to hit a decent amount of shots – many fitters will look at your long game like this when you buy a set of irons, just to make sure you get the right set-up for your game.
It’s not always possible to get on a launch monitor and work with an experienced fitter to dial in your long game gapping, particularly if you’re not looking at buying anything new. So, how about instead spending a session on the range specifically to look at your gapping? Knowing how far you hit every club in your bag, and how much you can take off each with a three- quarter swing, is absolutely essential, particularly as golfers rely on GPS or laser yardages like never before.
If your swing is around 80-85mph
Modern fairway woods and wide-body hybrids are designed exactly for you.
When we say 85mph, we mean that’s your club speed with a driver, not a fairway wood, hybrid or iron. It’s frequently referred to as a “moderate” swing speed, and more and more brands make ranges tailored to it.
Once over 60 many golfers lose about 0.5mph every year from their swing speed, and a 2.5mph loss over five years has a huge influence on how you launch shots into the air. Don’t be afraid to go deep into the set with fairways or hybrids.
If your swing is around 90-95mph
A typical 14-15 handicapper has an average driver swing speed of 93mph, so if your club speed is anywhere between 90-95mph you’re pretty much bang on average. This sort of speed equates to an average drive of 214 yards, which doesn’t sound like a lot, but bear in mind that’s an average, which accounts for mishits as well as your Sunday best. The decision about whether to gap your long game with fairway woods, hybrids or long/utility irons (or a combination of them all) is very open at this swing speed and will likely be governed by technique and personal preference.
If your swing is over 100mph
You’re likely a decent golfer who could well get the best from a modern utility iron.
So if you swing the driver at 105mph it’s likely your handicap will be closer to single figures than the teens. And all that speed and velocity, plus a downward attack angle, makes it possible to launch lowerlofted long irons from the deck.