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What Is the Loft Angle of Irons?

by Sharon Penn
    Each iron has a different loft, shorter shafted clubs have greater lofts and vice versa.

    Each iron has a different loft, shorter shafted clubs have greater lofts and vice versa.

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    Irons are designed for use on the fairway when golfers get closer to the green. The 4-iron, the longest iron used by many golfers, has a long shaft and a low loft of approximately 25 degrees. A typical man will hit a 4-iron 170 yards. Women’s clubs may have slightly more loft, and women will typically hit the ball shorter for each club. The important thing for accuracy on the golf course is to find out how long you can hit each iron. Players usually use the driver off the tee, and fairway woods or hybrids for longer fairway shots.

    No Official Lofts

    There is no official loft angle assigned to each iron. Loft angles of specific clubs vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. To complicate matters, in recent years some golf club companies have changed the loft of their irons, so that the 7-iron, for example, may have had somewhere around 38 degrees of loft in years past, but now features a 34-degree loft. Since loft affects distance, the manufacturer can now claim that the 7-iron hits longer than ever.

    Long Irons

    The 2-, 3-, and 4-iron traditionally ranged from 20 degrees to 27 degrees. Today’s irons range from around 20 degrees for the 3-iron, and 25 degrees for the 4-iron. A typical man can hit the 4-iron 170 yards, and the typical woman can hit it 120 yards. Because the 2-iron has such a low loft at below 20 degrees, it is seldom used. Many golfers from beginners to the pros are starting to replace long irons with hybrids, which are easier to hit and are designed for distance and accuracy.

    Middle Irons

    A typical loft angle for the 5-iron is 28 degrees, while the 6-iron is 31 degrees and the 7-iron weighs in at 34 degrees. These irons achieve distances of 160, 150 and 140 yards respectively for typical men, and 110, 100 and 90 yards for women, making them useful clubs on the fairway. Some players who are having trouble hitting the 5-iron are doing away with it in favor of a hybrid.

    Short Irons

    The short irons are high lofted clubs for use when you get closer to the green. The 8-iron will get around 130 yards, 80 for women, and is usually lofted at around 37 degrees. The shorter 9-iron will achieve 120 yards, 70 for women, and it typically has a loft of 41 degrees. These clubs can also be used for pitch shots and chip shots such as the “bump and run.”

    Wedges

    Wedges are specialized irons for use close to the green. A pitching wedge is usually included in a set of irons. With a loft of around 45 to 50 degrees, it is used when the golfer is around 105 yards from the pin or less for women. A sand wedge is also usually included in an iron set, and it can be lofted around 55 to 58 degrees. The sand wedge is used to get out of sand traps or bunkers around the green. The gap wedge is purchased separately, and is lofted at 50 degrees or more. The key is to purchase a gap wedge that has a loft in between that of the pitching wedge and the sand wedge. Advanced players sometimes carry a lob wedge, which may have a very high loft of around 60 degrees for a short, controlled shot that stops on the green quickly. Most players favor a 4-degree loft gap between wedges.

    About the Author

    Sharon Penn is a writer based in South Florida. A professional writer since 1981, she has created numerous materials for a Princeton advertising agency. Her articles have appeared in "Golf Journal" and on industry blogs. Penn has traveled extensively, is an avid golfer and is eager to share her interests with her readers. She holds a Master of Science in Education.

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