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Your driver swing speed says a lot about your game.
Your swing speed measures the velocity of a golf club's head at the point of impact. All else being equal, the faster you swing your club, the farther the ball will travel. But your swing speed isn't the same with each club because golf clubs come in different lengths and weights. Measuring the swing speed of clubs as different as your driver and 5-iron paints a good overall picture of how quickly you swing your clubs.
Driver and 5-Iron Characteristics
Aside from an occasional extra-long putter, the driver is the longest club in your bag. A typical driver is 44 to 46 inches long, with a head made from titanium or a similar light metal that weighs roughly 198 grams. A 5-iron is about 37 to 38 inches long. Although the iron's clubhead is smaller, it's made from steel and weighs in at about 257 grams. As you'd expect, moving a heavier weight with a shorter club shaft results in a slower swing speed with the 5-iron.
Professional Swing Speeds
Pro golfers swing their clubs faster than typical golfers, of course. But they also provide a large group of players who have their swing speeds measured accurately. For men on the PGA Tour, the average driver swing speed is 112 mph, while the average 5-iron swing speed is 94 mph. The average driver swing speed for women on the LPGA Tour is 94 mph, while the average 5-iron swing speed is 79 mph. In both cases, the 5-iron swing speed is 84 percent of the driver swing speed. It is, therefore, reasonable to assume that an average player's 5-iron swing speed will be about 84 percent of the golfer's driver swing speed.
Using Driver and 5-Iron Swing Speeds
If you obtain your clubs from a professional clubfitter, the chances are good that the fitter will measure your swing speed with a driver, a 5-iron or both. Indeed, you can estimate your swing speeds by measuring how far your driver or 5-iron shots typically carry in the air. If you drive the ball 180 yards in the air, for example, your driver swing speed is about 70 mph. If your drives fly 225 yards, you're swinging at about 90 mph. Golfers who average 120 and 160 yards with their 5-irons also have driver swing speeds of about 70 and 90 mph, respectively. The two hypothetical players will have 5-iron swing speeds of roughly 59 and 76 mph.
Using Your 5-Iron and Driver
Hit your driver exclusively off the tee. You should know the typical distance that you drive the ball, either through play or practice at a driving range. Check the distance of each hole to determine whether it's too short for your driver. Remember also that, other than the putter, the driver is the least-lofted club and is therefore the least accurate. Depending on a hole's length and layout, it's sometimes safer to hit a 3- or 5-wood off the tee. Likewise, you should determine the typical length of your 5-iron shots. Use the club off the tee on some shorter par-3 holes or from the fairway or rough, when the distance is right.