If you’re just getting started in golf it’s easy to get confused with all the different irons and wedges in a bag.
So, what’s a 9-iron golf club? What is a 9-iron used for?
These are good questions that we’ll cover today among others like how long is a 9-iron, what loft is a 9-iron, and how to tell the difference between a 9-iron vs. 6-iron.
Plus, help you learn how to hit it more consistently so you can start shooting lower scores quickly.
Understanding a 9 Iron in Golf
So, what does a 9-iron look like?
It’s a smaller club that is the most lofted iron and very similar to a wedge in terms of design, length, and lie.
An 8 or 9-iron are commonly known as short irons and are predominantly used for mid-distance shots.
Most golfers have better control over their short irons and are able to swing them on a more consistent vs. long irons.
9-Iron Standard Length
A 9-iron is typically about 36 inches – slightly longer than an average putter length.
Length can change based on the make/model and sometimes differs based on graphite or steel shaft.
Women’s irons are typically 1–2 inches shorter.
Since it’s one of the shortest clubs in the bag it’s easier to control than mid or long irons.
They’re nearly the same length as a gap or pitching wedge.
9-Iron Loft and Lie Angle
So, what loft is a 9-iron?
A typical 9 iron has between 40 and 43 degrees of loft. This makes it easy to hit the ball high, create spin, and land softly on the greens.
Beginner golf clubs tend to have stronger lofts which help with distance. While more advanced iron sets like blades have more loft and made for more consistent golfers.
Most 9-irons have a lie angle of 63 or 63.25 degrees. If you get a custom fitting a club fitter can also change the loft or lie settings based on your specific swing.
Some golfers might need their 9-iron angle (and all irons) either bent flat or more upright to hit the ball straighter.
Since a 9-iron has a lot of loft it’s not meant to hit very far compared to mid or long irons.
The average male golfer typically hits them between 100 and 140 yards, depending on weather, swing speed, and other factors. Ladies will hit their 9 iron an average of 55 to 95 yards.
Professional golfers hit their 9 iron between 140–170 yards. However, it is important to remember that these players have years of experience and are among the best golfers in the world.
Distance with the standard 9 iron can be improved through proper custom fitting too
If you need more distance out of your 9-iron (or any iron) one option is to replace it with a lighter shaft. This makes it easier to increase your clubhead speed and result in more distance.
Lightweight graphite shafts from Aldila, Mitsubishi, and Fujikura range from 45-65g, compared to 110-130g for steel. A lighter shaft allows easier clubhead speed for distance which is great for the everyday golfer.
However, it is important to find the right balance between weight and swing speed, as too light of a shaft can negatively affect your accuracy.
Here is an overview of the specification of a standard 9-iron:
|Men’s 9 Iron
|Women’s 9 Iron
|120 – 140 yards
|55 – 95 yards
|Steel or graphite
|Steel or graphite
|Approach Shots from 100 to 140 yards
|Approach Shots from 55 to 95 yards
When to Use a 9-Iron Golf Club
The main use for 9 iron is for medium distance approach shots on all types of holes. It’s common to use them on short par 3s, par 4s, and sometimes par 5s.
Thanks to the high loft and shorter shaft, it’s easy to hit this club from the fairway, rough, fairway bunker, and even around the green.
It’s also a great club to use if you need to hit an approach shot over trees to reach the green.
Related Article: Golf Clubs for Beginners: What do I need in My Golf Bag
9 Iron vs Pitching Wedge
The main difference between a 9 iron and a pitching wedge is the loft. A 9 iron has a loft of between 41 and 43 degrees, while a pitching wedge has a loft of 44 to 48 degrees.
Pitching wedges are designed for shorter shots, around 100 yards or less for amateur golfers. They have more loft than 9 irons, so they will result in a higher trajectory and softer landing.
Pitching wedges are also usually slightly shorter than a 9 iron shaft length, which makes them easier to control. However, this comes at the expense of distance.
There are times when a pitching wedge can replace a 9 iron, such as when you are hitting a bump and run shot. If you need more loft and want the ball to not roll out as much, opt for a pitching wedge (PW).
But if you’re on the fringe, it’s always a good idea to try and putt as your first option. Read the full guide on 9-iron vs. pitching wedge here.
How to Hit a 9 Iron
A 9-iron is one of the easier clubs to hit thanks to the loft and shorter shaft. Here’s how to set yourself up for success on mid-range shots.
Ball Position and Stance
Start by getting the ball in the middle of your stance with your feet slightly less than shoulder width apart.
A slightly narrower stance can help proper weight distribution and weight transfer during the swing.
If you need to hit it higher, you can move the ball up slightly in your stance but the loft should already make this a high-launching shot.
When hitting a short iron or wedge you want slightly more weight on your front foot — roughly 60/40. This makes it easier to hit down on the shot and transfer your weight properly.
Get the Right Tempo
When hitting any club in the bag, tempo is key.
With shorter irons you don’t need a hard or faster than normal swing. Focus on a simple tempo with a smooth backswing for maximum control on your downswing.
Finish with a full follow-through and balanced finish position. Smooth tempo and a moderate 90% backswing optimizes control to hopefully give yourself a birdie putt.
If you’re hitting a punch shot, try to finish with a punch-like motion with your hands below your shoulders to keep the trajectory down.
What loft is a 9-iron?
A 9 iron has a loft between 41 and 43 degrees. This loft creates the ideal launch angle for short-mid distance shots.
Do I really need a 9-iron?
Absolutely yes, the 9 iron is an essential club to have in your bag and comes with all iron sets.
It is perfect for those medium distance approach shots and short par 3 holes. It is also useful for getting out of the rough or hitting a bump and run shot.
What is a 9-iron used for?
A 9 iron is commonly used for approach shots ranging from 100 to 140 yards from the green in the rough, fairway, tee shots, or fairway bunkers.
Some golfers also like to use this club around the greens for a basic chip shot too.
How long is a 9-iron?
The standard length for a 9 iron is 35–36 inches depending on the make and model of the iron set.
How can you tell the difference between a 6 and 9-iron?
The 9 iron vs. 6 iron debate is nearly as old as golf – there’s nothing worse than accidentally hitting the wrong club for your approach shot.
Here’s how to tell the difference… a 9 iron has a smaller clubhead than a 6 iron, more loft, and is a few inches shorter.
Make sure to organize your golf bag accordingly so you don’t make this mistake on the course and end up way short or long of your target.
A 9-iron is a great club to use for approach shots, escaping from trouble, and sometimes around the greens. It’s one of the easier clubs to hit consistently well even if you don’t have tons of time to practice.
Make sure to get the fundamentals right like ball position and weight transfer to hit this shot more consistently.
Do you like using a 9-iron for chip shots around the green?