The 9 iron is a golf club that golfers have to use quite often. If your pitching wedge is not enough to get you to a green, the 9 iron is the perfect replacement.
I like my 9 iron as it comes up as an approach for me on some longer par fives and a common par three golf club. The 9 iron has a really high ball flight and can stop rather quickly on a green.
If you’re wondering whether or not your 9 iron distances are comparable with other golfers in the game, we’ll fill you in here.
How Long Should You Hit a 9 Iron?
The distance you hit your 9 iron will depend greatly on your clubhead speed and the quality of the contact you have with the ball. As your golf game changes, you will notice that distances are also impacted.
Beginner golfers are the most inconsistent, and therefore distance is not something you can calculate quite as easily. Some beginners have very high clubhead speeds, while others are slow.
However, most beginners can get about 115 yards of distance from their 9 iron. You may start slow with this club and notice only about 100 yards, which is entirely acceptable.
Once you start making contact with the center of the clubface, you can expect to reach 115 yards more consistently from each of your swings with a 9 iron.
Higher handicap golfers have some of the same issues that beginners have. They may hit a 9 iron shot that travels 120 yards and then another that travels 110. Most average swing speed high handicappers will try to get the 9 iron to fly between 115 and 120 yards.
The key for golfers in this handicap range is to ensure that they are getting more consistent distance and slightly higher clubhead speed.
Mid-handicap players will consider the 9 iron to be a 125-yard club. Some mid-handicappers start to develop a lot of clubhead speed, and you could end up seeing a 130-yard shot from this group.
However, the mid handicappers will still want to ensure they are getting a higher trajectory, plenty of spin, and control with the total distance of the 9 iron.
Mid-handicappers often start to pay more attention to things like carry distance and total distance. Although your total distance for your 9 iron may be 125 yards, the carry distance may only be 120 yards. Keep that in mind when going over a hazard.
Low handicap players often get about 130-140 yards of distance from the 9 iron. Most lower handicap golfers have more consistency in their swing, and they can get the ball to make contact with the center of the clubface quite often.
Low handicap players with higher speeds can see distances up to 150 yards with their 9 iron.
It’s important to remember that lower handicappers playing with power lofted clubs will see more distance than lower handicappers playing with blade style golf irons. The golf club you are playing with certainly comes into play when determining total distances.
How Far PGA Players Hit a 9 Iron
PGA Players have tremendously high clubhead speeds. Although it’s not a requirement to be a professional, it’s nearly impossible to compete on the PGA Tour unless you have high clubhead speed.
The PGA Tour Players will hit a 9 iron anywhere from 150 to 190 yards. A golfer like Bryson DeChambeau can get up to 190 yards of distance with his 9 iron because of his incredibly high clubhead speeds.
At some point, I think that PGA Tour players are more concerned with their accuracy than their total distance. If you think about it, when your 9 iron can travel nearly 200 yards, what will be your 100-yard club?
The point is only a certain amount of distance is beneficial. At some point, it makes sense just to have control and spin and a distance you can trust.
Tips for Hitting Your 9 Iron Further
If you feel like you’re not currently maxing out on distance with your 9 iron, there are a few ways that you may be able to increase it.
Recently, I had trouble with distance and determined that it was actually the golf ball I was using that was causing the problems for me. So let’s start there…
Check Your Golf Ball
Some golf balls are distance golf balls, and others are built for spin and control. If your swing speed is not entirely high and you are using a four or five-piece golf ball, you may not be maximizing your distance potential.
I encourage you to have a good idea of your swing speed and the compression of the golf ball you are playing with. For slower swing speed golfers, the lower compression golf ball is a better fit.
Ensure Full Rotation
The 9 iron is a shorter club than your long irons or driver. Sometimes when golfers have this shorter club in their bag, they rotate a little less and struggle to get that full turn in their swing.
I like to think about my left shoulder turning underneath my chin. If my left shoulder makes it to that position, the club will be in the right place at the top. This full rotation gets your club to parallel and allows for a bit more extension and speed.
Work on Accuracy
Speed is often the ultimate factor in increasing distance in your golf shots. Speed is essential, but so is the accuracy of the strike.
In fact, if you have a ton of speed and you apply it to the clubhead and miss the sweet spot, don’t expect impressive results.
The closer you strike the ball to the center of the clubface, the easier it is to get the distance. It’s as simple as that.
Clubhead sweet spots have gotten bigger, but the golfer still has to do quite a bit of the work.
Practice Smart Strength and Conditioning
Golfers that spend some time in the gym almost always have higher clubhead speeds than those that don’t. When you work out and spend time increasing your speeds, you will see more distance from your 9 iron.
I highly recommend sticking with golf-specific exercises. If you take things too far with muscle building, it can result in a lack of mobility. Speaking with a trainer and letting them know you want to gain distance in your game is also a smart idea.
Proper Ball Position
I like to play the ball in the middle of my stance. When I do that with the 9 iron, I seem to have the best chance for solid turf interaction, a good divot, and improved total distance.
When the ball is too far forward, the shots are thinner and don’t have as much total distance. Hitting the ball from too far back in the stance can cause issues with the clubface angle.
Hit Down and Through
We need the 9 iron to go up high when we hit shots, but to get this ball flight. It is essential to hit down and through the golf ball. For golfers that are still trying to lift the ball up in the air, long distance becomes an issue.
If you need some help learning how to hit down and through and compress a ball, simply lean a little on your left side and take some half swing shots. This should give you the feeling of compressing the ball to get a higher and longer final result.
Hitting down and through the ball is a challenging concept at first, but all great players will need to learn it.