How Do Pro Golfers Know the Distance?

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Given their constant and systematic training, the golf swing of pro golfers is better and consistent than that of amateurs. Due to this, they have more regularity in the ball’s impact, almost always making the same distance with each club. Professional players also use the published hole yardage and rangefinders to see distances. 

Distance control is undoubtedly one of the most determining factors in golf, a skill majority pro golfers possess. Let’s discuss this further, talking about the methods and techniques pro golfers adopt to control the distance with each club.

How Do Pro Golfers Know the Distance?


In the tournaments and practice rounds, they have a notebook with the drawing of each hole, which shows the measurements from various reference points such as the starting tee, bunkers, trees, and the exact measurement of the green and its surroundings.

At the level of professional and amateur golfers with a low handicap, accurately measuring distances is essential. Aside from the satisfaction of a well-hit ball, it is of little use if a mistake happens in calculating the distance to the green.

golf course distance

Have you ever thought about why PGA Tour pros have incredible distance control?

One of the most determining factors in golf is distance control, a skill they possess besides making powerful drivers, incredible shots, or very long putts. They don’t tend to miss too much with their shots to the green (they are the most regular golfers on the planet).

The big mistake amateurs make is that they calculate the distances haphazardly, round the meters or “shoot to the green.” You must be precise in your objective. One of the main reasons pros are so exact is because they carry caddies who detail all the information related to the blow with maximum precision. If you don’t know the distance exactly, you won’t be able to be precise.

Regardless of their level, golfers should go out and play the course without being aware of the golf swing mechanics since the right place to practice swing fundamentals is the driving range.

On the field of play, a player should only be focused on selecting the right club for the next shot, properly positioning himself on the ball and hitting the ball towards the target with the utmost confidence, letting the best version of his swing flow.

When making a full golf swing, each club in the bag provides the player with a different distance, so the player must know the distance that separates the ball from the flag or the area of the course where they want to send the ball.

How to Measure the Distance at the Amateur Level?

 Within the amateur field, there is an extensive range of skills. From players who have been playing for a short time and their selection of clubs is limited to those clubs that give them confidence, through players of intermediate categories, to players with very low handicaps who compete in international tournaments.

For all of them, at their level, it is essential to select the right club. However, the better the player’s level, the more important it becomes to precisely know the target’s distance when selecting the club to play. Below are some of the tips that amateurs can adopt to control their distance:

Hit the Ball Regularly

Before measuring distances accurately, the player has to have regularity in his impact, that is, have a high percentage of good hits, making all the balls the same or similar distance. If not, it is not a priority to know the distances exactly but improve your swing technique to achieve a consistent type of ball.

yardage in golf

Keep in mind that a good impact with a specific club does not mean achieving the maximum distance. A player makes a good impact when they make a good swing and rarely do it when they force maximum distance.

 Know Which Club to Use

A player can tell how far each club hits by hitting balls on the driving range, usually 50, 75, 100, 125, 150, 175 and 200-meter distance marks. If it is a flat driving range, the measurement will be more accurate.

Use the Course Information

Players usually use the field card to find out the measurements of each hole from different tees to the beginning of the green and other information such as the hole’s par, the hole’s handicap, etc.

Also, in the web spaces of the golf courses, there are usually hole-by-hole plans of the course, with marked distances from various reference points.

 Stakes on the Course

During the course, normally bordering the fairways on the par-four and par-five holes, there are usually stakes placed by the club that indicate the distance of 200 meters, 150 meters and 100 meters from these stakes to the beginning of the green.

In many courses, it is possible to find these distance references in the form of round marks or dots placed on the fairways of the holes. In some championships, players are given notes with the distances from the green to the flag’s position.

Calculate the Distance of the Shot

When a pro has their ball next to a stake away during the game, they only have to count the meters of the ball to the nearest stake and add or subtract them as indicated.

These meters are usually measured by counting the steps, considering that a step (rather long) is approximately 1 meter.

Once you do this simple calculation, you only have to add to this distance from the beginning of the green to the flag. To do this, you can calculate it visually, but if this is not possible due to the distance to the green or the situation, you can add 15 meters, which is the approximate distance if the flag were in the center of the green.

Once the calculation of the total distance is done, the suitable club is chosen. This would be a basic calculation of the distance we have to the flag, but it does not consider the wind that may exist during the development of the game, nor the unevenness that usually exists in many holes. These factors significantly affect the total distance the ball travels.

Amateur players also can use electronic devices to measure distances. However, employing the tips discussed above, they can start controlling the distance by practicing.

We hope this information answers the question, ‘how do pro golfers know the distance’?. Now that you know the techniques, do not hesitate to follow them to control your distance and play like a pro!

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