Choosing a new set of irons as a beginner can quickly become overwhelming, especially if you don’t already know what type of golf club you’re looking for. Generally speaking, golf iron sets are divided into three categories – you have your long irons (2,3,4), mid-irons (5,6,7), and short irons (8,9, and the pitching wedge). The 6 iron is a mid-iron that strives to achieve a fine balance between distance and launch angle. However, golfers seem to struggle when it comes to this type of club…
A 6-iron golf club is used to hit mid-to-long shots, which equate to 150 yards (137 meters) for mid-handicappers and 180 yards (165 meters) for low handicappers. The loft angle on these clubs hovers around 30 degrees, while their standard length is 37.5 inches (0.95 meters).
Many golfers tend to shy away from 6-irons, as they’re not very forgiving and need to be hit just right in order to produce the results they want. However, when handled right, the 6s achieve a height-and-distance balance that’s near-impossible to achieve using any other type of iron.
So, if you’re on the hunt for the best golf irons and have yet to be introduced to these fascinating clubs, make sure to keep reading until the end to learn more about their nature, distance, length, loft, and how they compare to similar irons.
What Is a 6 Iron?
Before diving into the distance, length, and loft you can expect from a standard 6 iron, let’s first go over the basics – what even is a 6 iron?
A 6 iron is a mid-length golf club that’s often used to get players out of challenging positions. It has a 28-30° loft, perfect for approach shots. The distance you can reach through these irons ranges anywhere between 150 and 180 yards (137 and 165 meters), depending on your handicap level.
One of the biggest drawbacks of 6 irons, as I’ll also explain below, is that it’s one of the least forgiving clubs out there. To achieve the shot you’re aiming for, you have to be extremely precise and steady-handed in your swing.
With that said, if you’re looking to get the ball away from a fairway bunker or tree, no iron is going to serve you better than the 6. That’s why, as you advance your knowledge and skill set, you have to practice playing with this mid-iron, as it can prove to be invaluable to your overall performance.
While it can be challenging to hit the ball just right with a 6, if you do, the level of accuracy and distance you achieve in your shot is nothing short of impressive. As you can see, there are quite a lot of advantages and drawbacks to keep in mind before learning how to use one of these irons. Read on below to see them organized in separate lists:
Advantages of Using a 6 Iron
- Unparalleled accuracy
- Great for approach shots
- Steady ball flight
- Excellent sound and feel
- Great for getting out of difficult situations
- Impressive distance
- Easier to work with compared to a 5 iron
Disadvantages of Using a 6 Iron
- Harder to work with compared to a 7 iron
- Not very forgiving
- Difficult to control
- You’ll be more prone to slices, hooks, and mishits in general
The good news is that you can reap the benefits while avoiding the downfalls by practicing good form. As long as you keep a few tips in mind when playing with a 6-iron, you’ll be able to make the most out of it and lower your overall score. Here’s what you’ll want to remember:
- Keep your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Make sure that the club is in front of the ball at impact.
- Depending on whether you want to make a longer or shorter shot, place the ball slightly to your left or right, respectively.
- Your arms should be fully extended but avoid locking them in – your weight should be able to naturally shift from one foot to the other.
- Wrists, on the other hand, should be fully locked.
- Your swing should be confident, and you should apply consistent force, but you should do your best to avoid hitting the ball too hard.
Now that you know a bit more about what this type of iron is, its advantages and drawbacks, as well as some tips to keep in mind while practicing it, it’s time to learn a bit more about its unique characteristics, namely, its distance, length, and loft.
6 Iron Distance
As I’ve already mentioned, the distances you reach with a 6-iron are quite impressive; however, they will ultimately vary depending on your swing speed and handicap level. A male mid-handicap level can comfortably reach 150 yards (137 meters) with a 6 iron. That is, of course, after the club has been mastered, so don’t feel defeated if you don’t reach great distances on your first try.
Low-handicappers and pros can reach 180-yard (165 meters) distances or even more, depending on their strength and technique. Tour players can easily surpass the 200-yard (183 meters) mark. With that said, the majority of recreational male golfers can expect to fall within the 150-180 range.
Female golfers can reach great distances with a 6 iron, too, provided the specific club they use is suited to their build and playing style. Women who are mid-to-low handicappers can comfortably reach 140 yards (128 meters) with this mid-iron.
Again, low-handicapper players and pros can easily surpass this benchmark, reaching distances greater than 170 yards (155 meters). That’s because the right technique can make a world of difference in the distance you’ll be able to reach.
While strength does factor into the final result, you’ll also have to account for swing speed, the specific loft angle of your club, and the angle of the clubface at the moment of impact. So, anything you might be lacking in muscle mass, you can make up for in technique.
Another element that can affect the distance you’ll be able to reach with your 6 iron includes the overall weather conditions. Wet grass makes it harder for the ball to slide through, limiting its trajectory. Dry summer grass, on the other hand, creates the perfect playing conditions.
Moreover, the shape and quality of the specific 6 iron you’re playing with will also affect your performance. When it comes to golf clubs, you usually get what you pay for, which is why investing in a premium-quality set, such as the best iron sets, can help you improve your overall performance more than you’d think.
Last but not least, the type of club you’re using matters as well. More forgiving, cavity-backed irons don’t allow the ball to go too far, even if your swing speed is fantastic. On the other hand, bladed irons used by pros and low-handicappers can reach unparalleled distances when they’re hit right.
Standard 6 Iron Length
Any experienced golf player knows that finding the right length iron for the type of shot you’re looking to make is the key to a great performance. The length of your club affects both the distance and trajectory of your shot, so don’t make the mistake of overlooking it as a feature.
Your standard 6 iron will measure around 37.5 inches (95.25 cm) long. 6 irons made for touring will usually be about half an inch shorter, measuring 38 inches (96.5 cm). In contrast, women’s 6 irons usually stand around 36.5 inches tall (92.7 cm) to better suit their smaller frames.
Finding the right iron length for you can take some trial and error, but it shouldn’t be too difficult of a process, as you’ll want to correlate the length of the gear you’re using with your own height. So, if you’re taller, going half an inch (1.27 cm) above the industry standard might actually do you a favor, and vice versa; if you’re shorter, choose a 36.5 or 37-inch (94-cm) long iron.
If you’re still unsure about which size to choose, you can always go to your local golfing gear store and try a few 6s in different lengths. Make sure, however, that they’re all the same brand and model so that your decision isn’t colored by differences in quality or shape.
6 Iron Loft
The reduced loft angle is what sets most 6s apart from other mid-irons. Most of these clubs can vary in loft angles from 26.5 to 31°; however, most hover around the 30-degree mark.
If you’re new to the sport, the loft refers to the angle that’s created between an iron’s shaft and its clubface. Though seemingly a simple design choice, this angle actually affects the trajectory of your ball, ultimately being the deciding factor on how high or low your ball will travel.
The lower the loft angle, the lower your ball’s trajectory, and the lower your ball will travel. Beware that while these types of launch angles can allow the ball to go a bit further, they’re still a double-edged sword, as they can lead to excessive rolling, making the ball run entirely off the green.
6 Iron vs. 7 Iron vs. 9 Iron
If you’re looking to invest in a new type of iron in an effort to advance your skillset, 6s, 7s, and 9s are all excellent options. However, there are a few key differences between them that you should keep in mind before making a decision.
First, I want to note that, due to their structure and size, mid-irons always reach greater distances than their short counterparts, so if yardage is what you’re after, I suggest you stick to a 6-iron. The average golf player can expect to get 140 yards (128 meters) out of a 7 iron and 120 yards (110 meters) out of a 9, compared to 6s 150 yards (137 meters).
On the other hand, the loft angle increases as you go from a 6 to a 9. With a 6 iron, you can expect a loft angle of around 18-30°; with a 7 iron, the average loft angle is 34-36°, while in 9s, the loft angle can reach degrees as high as 41-43.
The takeaway from this is that as you go from a 6 iron to a 7 and then to a 9, the shafts get shorter, and you lose distance in favor of a higher trajectory. While the differences in length between these three irons might not seem significant at first (think 0.5-1 inch or 1.27-2.54 cm between each of them), their overall size and shape differ more than you’d expect, affecting your game and technique.
Generally speaking, golfers usually prefer a 7 iron, as the loft angle provides more forgiveness while still allowing them to reach impressive distances, which is more than what can be said for both 6s and 9s. 7s are that sweet spot between mid and short irons, helping golfers experience the best of both worlds.
So, while 6 and 9 irons are better used by pros and low-handicappers who rarely mishit, 7s should be part of every golfer’s arsenal, as they’re far more forgiving and versatile. Some of them even come with a cavity back, which makes them perfect for high or mid-handicappers looking to improve their game.
While all three irons boast varying features and serve different purposes, they still share one similarity – the impressive accuracy they offer once hit right. Moreover, all of them feel great so long as you get a decent-quality model that fits your stature and playing style.
With that said, I still stand behind the fact that 6s, 7s, and 9s boast different advantages and drawbacks that make each better suited for specific positions and situations, which is why all three should have their designated spot in your golfing bag.
Final Thoughts: Complete Guide to Golf 6 Irons
A 6 iron can be one of the most powerful tools in your golfer’s arsenal, always provided you handle them right. However, starting out with some more forgiving (i.e., higher loft) clubs first and then graduating to these mid-irons is usually recommended.
They’re the perfect choice for approach shots and can often get you out of tricky situations when other irons can’t, so reading through the above guide is the first essential step to learning how to master your 6s. The clean, precise shots you’ll get as a result will be worth the effort.