USGA Distance Myths, Vol. 8

USGA Distance Myth #7:

The average distance for 5-irons on Tour is more than 200 yards.

False.  The PGA Tour Shotlink system, which records virtually all shots throughout the season, shows that the average 5-iron shot from fairway to green is approximately 185 yards.  From the tee on par threes, the average 5-iron distance is about 197 yards.

As with all of the USGA distance myths, I'm not sure I've ever heard one person cite this particular example. But let's say it is a prevailing myth that needs to be refuted, author Dick Rugge isn't exactly dispelling this purported myth.

The 5-iron is not a 200-yard club on average, yet it is a 197-yard club on par-3 tees? So yes, it is a myth, but not one that's very far off!

And if I'm not mistaken, if 197 is an average, then that means a whole bunch of 5-irons are being used from more than 200 yards?

A more interesting myth for Rugge to address would have been "Vanishing Loft Disease," as outlined by Tom Wishon in his book, The Search For the Perfect Club

However, pointing out changes in standard lofts to show that distance isn't an issue might have led to grumbling from manufacturers, but so what? As the kids like to say, it is what it is.