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What Is Carry Distance In Golf? – Explained!

what is carry distance in golf
what is carry distance in golf

Golf is known to be a technical sport full of expressions and technical terms that you may not know the meaning of. One of those terms often thrown out in conversation and television broadcasts is the term “Carry Distance”.

If you are reading this article, you may wonder: What exactly does “Carry Distance” mean in golf?

In this article, we will explain to you exactly what Carry Distance is in golf, along with some examples to solidify your comprehension.

What Is Carry Distance In Golf?

In golf, Carry Distance is the total distance a golf ball travels in the air after you strike it. Carry Distance is defined as the straight-line distance between the golf ball’s starting point until the point where it first lands. Carry distance does not include the distance the ball rolls after first landing.

In the great game of golf, the term “Carry Distance” is an expression that is extremely common to hear. Almost every golfer has heard of the term “Carry Distance” before, as Carry Distances are used in almost every golf shot.

When you hear the word “Carry Distance”, it will almost always be around a place where golf shots are being taken, such as on a golf course or a driving range. You will especially hear of carry distance if there is a launch monitor installed in the vicinity, which is a device that can accurately measure carry distance.

In golf, carry distance is the straight-line distance a golf ball travels in the air after being struck by a golf club. Carry distance is defined as the straight-line distance between a golf ball’s starting point, and the point where it first lands.

Carry distance in golf does not include the distance the ball travels after first hitting the ground. The distance the ball travels after landing is called Roll Distance. Summed up together, Carry Distance and Roll Distance are equal to Total Distance.

You can see about a real-world example of the notion of Carry Distance, down below.


David is an avid golfer. He lines his driver up with the ball on the Tee box of a golf hole.

Next to him, a launch monitor that measures carry distance is installed.

David strikes the golf ball hard, and it travels 270 yards in the air before landing, and rolls 15 yards.

“270 yards of carry distance! A personal best!” David exclaims himself.

As you have read in the example above, the carry distance only includes the distance the ball travelled in the air, excluding the distance it travelled after landing.

A common mistake a lot of newer golfers make is to include the roll distance in the carry distance.

Carry distance can be measured a few ways, with varying levels of accuracy. One option to measure carry distance is to use a launch monitor, a device that derives many characteristics from your shots such as trajectory, distances, spin, and more. A very well-known launch monitor brand is Trackman.

If you go to a golf simulator, which uses a launch monitor, you can also get good measurements of your carry distance for each of your golf clubs.

A less accurate way to measure carry distance would be to measure the total distance between the starting point of your golf ball and its resting point, before subtracting a guessed approximation of the roll distance your ball travelled after landing. This will get you a rough approximation of carry distance.

Knowing how far you can hit each of your clubs, meaning the carry distance for each of your clubs, is incredibly useful for your effective golf course management skills. Knowing the carry distances for each of your clubs will enable you to pick the correct club for your ball’s distance to the flag pole on each hole.

For example, if your golf ball is sitting around 80 yards away from the hole cup, picking a golf club that you usually hit with 130 yards of carry distance is usually a mistake. With such a club, your ball will likely end up far beyond the golf hole, and potentially into the rough.

The term Carry Distance’s origin is fairly simple. In general, when you hit the ball in the air, you can imagine it being “carried” by the force of the impact and the upward force of the wind’s lift. The ball is sort of carried by the wind, which is why the distance travelled in the air is called “Carry Distance”.

If you would like to lower your golf score and increase your average Carry Distances, you can read our guide: How To Improve Your Golf Score? – 9 Pro Tips.


There you go! After reading this article, you have learned exactly what the term “Carry Distance” means in golf. You also got to read about some real-world examples to further improve your understanding of the meaning of Carry Distance.

Do you have any other words you wish to know more about? What is your average carry distance for your driver? Let us know in the comments down below!

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