Smart Shopping for a 9-Iron

Drive for show and putt for dough. That’s one of the most oft-repeated golf sayings and it has some degree of truth to it. The long drive will get the oohs and ahhs from your playing partners while sinking the putt will often help you win the $5 Nassau, but there’s a lot more to golf than that. Not only does a player have be successful with his driver and putter, he must master the clubs in between. The remaining woods and irons may vary in importance according to a player’s style, ability and comfort level, but a 9-iron is clearly an important club in any golfer’s bag. The 9-iron is a great club to use from 90 to 170 yards (depending on a player’s strength and ability level) when it comes to setting up a putt on the green. A 9-iron is a lofted club that allow a player to send the ball high into the air and then land softly on the green to set up a short putt.

What to Look for

The first thing to look for in a 9-iron is a comfortable grip. A proper grip will have both thumbs aligned down the front of the shaft on the grip strip. Your wrists should be able to go forward and backward with ease. The weight should be evenly distributed throughout the club. A club that has too much weight near the club face may result in a shot that is difficult to control. A club with too much weight near the grip won’t provide the distance that an evenly weighted club will. A 9-iron should have a club face that is angled at 45 to 48 degrees. With a modicum of practice, a golfer will be able to have some degree of success at lofting the ball high in the air and dropping it down on the green within 10 to 20 feet of the spot that was used as a target. Hopefully that spot will be the hole.

Common Pitfalls

Using a 9-iron may be the easiest of the clubs to use. For example, many new golfers start their games on a short par 3 or pitch-and-putt course. The club owner may provide a golf ball, a putter and a 9-iron. Since the 9-iron is familiar to the golfer, he may become overly dependent on it and use it when a 7-iron, 5-iron or perhaps even a 3-iron would be better. A player may not feel as confident with the other clubs, so he will try to avoid embarrassment by using the 9-iron. That may allow the preservation of momentary dignity but it will prevent overall growth.

About this Author

Steve Silverman is an award-winning writer who has been covering sports for 27 years. He is the author of “The Minnesota Vikings: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly” (Triumph Books, Chicago) and two other books on the Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco 49ers.