What Does Flat Carry Mean In Golf?

If you’ve played golf for any length of time then you will have heard other golfers talking about their carry distances. What you may not have heard is the term flat carry.

But what exactly does flat carry mean in golf? In this post, I’ll take you through what fit is and what relevance it has to your game.

What Does Flat Carry Mean In Golf
Photo Geoffrey Baker – 16th tee well above green


Flat carry is just a more specific variation of the term carry.

It is the distance the ball flies through the air between where your ball lay and where it lands assuming there are no elevation changes between the golfer and their target.

Knowing your yardages is important for your game. If you have a good idea of what your club is capable of in terms of carry on the flat, then you’ll be better prepared for each shot you take on the course when you need to avoid obstacles or hazards.

Difference Between Carry And Flat Carry

Most golfers using the term carry are really referring to their carry on the flat. Unless you tend to measure your club yardages on a range with a large elevation change!

Playing up a slope or down one will have an effect on how far the ball will fly so you may need to adjust your club selection

How Do I Measure My Distances?

The easiest method is to use a launch monitor like TrackMan, Flightscope Mevo or the Garmin R10. If you haven’t got a launch monitor available but there is a practice area at your club then you could hit 20 shots with each club and pace out to the middle of each group of golf balls. That should give you a good idea of your yardages in total. You will need to deduct 5% or so for the roll that you get.

One final way to check is to make a note of the club selections you use on par-3s. You should be to see the pitch mark you made so you can get an excellent idea of your yardage with different clubs.

Your carry distance will be determined by your launch conditions including spin rate, ball speed and launch angle. LPGA Tour players are great a optimizing their numbers to get the greatest distance from the swing speed.

Importance Of Knowing Your Golf Club Distances

Knowing your carry and total distances with each club will allow you to make better decisions on the course which should lead to lower scores.

If you know how far it is to clear a hazard around the green then you can pick the appropriate club to make the shot. If you are playing to a green above or below you then you can adjust your club accordingly.

How Much Effect Does Playing Uphill Have On Carry Distance

If you usually play on a pretty flat course then you won’t be faced with too many elevation changes so you won’t need to factor them in.

Most of us though are faced with downhill shots or greens set above the fairway several times per round.

If the green is above you then a good rule of thumb is to add one more club for every 15 feet of elevation. So if you normally hit a 7 iron to a green 150 yards away but the green is 30 feet above you then you will need a 5 iron.

It will also change the landing angle which means you might expect some more roll out.

If you tend to hit the ball on a flat trajectory you might have difficulty making the carry at all if the green is quite a way above you. 

How Much Effect Does Playing Downhill Have On Carry Distance

The same rules apply if you are going downhill but in reverse. For every 15 feet, the target is below you allow for one less club. So if you normally hit a 150-yard 7-iron then take a 9-iron if the green is 30 feet below.

Again the landing angle will change but in this case, you are likely to see less rollout. 

If you play a course regularly you will quickly get a feel for the right clubs for certain shots.

What Does Flat Carry Mean In Golf: Conclusion

In conclusion, flat carry is an important concept to understand when playing golf.

It’s essential to know your golf club distances so that you can pick the right club for the shot ahead of you.

Playing uphill or downhill has a noticeable effect on carry distance and should be taken into consideration when selecting your club.

Would you like to fix your slice with a driver?

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