Knowing how far your clubs carry may sound trivial, but it could make a difference in your game!
Have you ever watched a tournament on TV and heard the Caddy and the Player going over the distances for the next shot? It probably went like this... 151 front, 157 middle, 172 back. We need to hit a carry of 153 with the wind. How do the player and caddy know what club to hit?
Every year the player goes through a process known as gapping. They know exactly how far each club carries and what most likely will be the roll-out of the ball as well, depending on the type of shot they hit. This process takes a lot of doubt out of the game for them...
Below is an example of my gapping chart. While not as extensive as a pro's chart, it does give me insight into how far the ball will carry for me on a set of known conditions. It allows me to adjust to conditions such as temperature, wind, and rain. I know that when I'm playing into the wind or downwind what my perfect carry is based on known factors and how to adjust.
Knowing your distances can save a lot of strokes in any round. The process of gapping does not take up a great deal of time. A couple of practice sessions at the driving range or on an indoor monitor is all it takes. But here's the deal, you have to be honest with the numbers to get true benefit out of the process.
If you notice in my chart, I have recorded three different categories - Normal, Weak, and Strong. I am not looking for the best number that I can hit the ball for each club. For example, I know for a fact that on a perfect day and with a perfect swing I can carry (actually fly minus rollout) a driver 285 yards. But how many perfect days and perfect swings do I have in the bag?
What I want to know is my true distances on average. This helps me decide what club to pull when there is a bunker or a creek setting out there! I also want to base it on how I feel and how I'm swinging on any given day as well. This is called decision making and course management!
I can honestly say that since I started being true with myself on how far I can hit a ball on average, I pull the correct club more often, I swing the club better, and my scores have decreased. I would highly recommend that everyone go through the process.
If you want more information on the process, drop me a note in the comments section. I'll be happy to send you a bit more detail.