When Should You Use Each Golf Iron?

Golf Irons

Types of Golf Irons and Shafts

There are typically nine types of irons in a set. They are numbered 2-9, with the 2-iron providing the least loft and most distance, while the 9-iron has the highest loft and least distance out of the set. Irons come in different styles, which all have differences in the clubhead. The most popular styles of modern irons are forged, cavity back, and blades. Cavity backs are the most forgiving and are preferred by beginners and high-handicappers. Blades and forged irons are more difficult to play with and thus are typically used by more experienced golfers. Even though they are difficult to master, they provide ease in shot-shaping and feel.

Along with the different styles, there are also multiple types of shafts. The most common being steel for irons. There are also graphite shafts that are lightweight and flexible. However, graphite shafts are more difficult to find and not as common as steel. Lastly, there are the multi-material shafts that are the least common shafts. It combines both steel and graphite into one for multi-material.

Iron Club Numbers

Golf irons are number two through nine. The lower the number of the golf club or iron means that the ball will travel at a lower height for a further distance. The higher the number means the ball will travel higher but for a shorter distance.

When to Use Each Iron

Irons are used based on the distance that you are trying to hit the ball. The numbered iron you select is determined by the average distance you expect your ball to go when hit. Below is a table that breaks down each iron’s average distance for both men and women.

IronMale Average DistanceFemale Average DistancePGA Tour Average Distance
2-iron200 yds140 yds-
3-iron180 yds125 yds212-265 yds
4-iron170 yds120 yds203-254 yds
5-iron160 yds110 yds194-243 yds
6-iron150 yds100 yds183-229 yds
7-iron140 yds90 yds172-215 yds
8-iron130 yds80 yds160-200 yds
9-iron115 yds70 yds148-185 yds

Instead of the bigger numbered iron being the furthest distance, the furthest distance you will get from an iron is the 2-iron.

About Irons

Irons are typically used when you are about 200 yards or less away from the green. As mentioned earlier, the closer you are to the green, the higher the number of iron you will use. The distance between a male hitting using a club versus a female hitting using the iron is small but can make a difference in the distance covered using a certain iron. There is about a thirty-yard difference in distance between a male and female hitting in golf. Even with this, you still pick your iron based on the measurements above to determine how far you need your ball to travel to reach the green.