The 6 iron is a club that amateur golfers either love or hate. Some players love the lower ball flight and long distance of their 6 iron, and others find it difficult to launch and inconsistent. I love my 6 iron, but it took a little work to get there.
I’ll show you how to hit a 6 iron, the average distance that the ball travels, and how you can use this club in your golf game for better on-course performance.
How to hit a 6 iron
Hitting a 6 iron does not need to be difficult. However, I see many average golfers make some mistakes in their setup that make it difficult to hit great shots.
Setup and posture
Hitting a great 6 iron shot takes a bit of swing speed. In order to get the highest swing speed and ball speed, you need to be in a position that allows the golf club to travel fast and on the right plane.
Setup with your feet about shoulder-width apart, with your weight evenly distributed between your feet and a good golf posture. Ensure your weight is in the center of your foot so you don’t lose your balance.
The ball position should be slightly forward of center, for this mid-iron. Many golfers can play 6 iron approach shots with the ball directly in the center of their stance, and that is fine.
If you want to put the golf ball about half a ball forward of center, that is acceptable.
It’s best to have a slightly shallower swing plane with the 6 iron. Where you will want a more upright swing with the sand wedges or lob wedges, the 6 iron is a distance club, so it’s important to keep your swing plane just a little shallower.
Take the club back low and slow (along the ground), and that will help improve extension and increase the chance of this type of shot flying straight.
Transition and follow through
Golfers that swing using a combination of their body and arms get much better results with their 6 iron. Ensure that when you get to the top of your swing, you turn down with your hips and let your arms fall into place.
Not only will this help to improve the speed of the club head, but it’s also going to square the face. Hitting straight golf shots is much easier with a square clubface.
When you impact the golf ball with a 6 iron golf club in your hand, you will hit the ball first and take a divot after. The ball is hit as part of the downswing, not part of the upswing.
Taking a divot with your 6 iron is a good thing, and lower-handicap golfers will tell you they get a better launch angle when swinging down and through a shot like this.
As with any golf shot, ensure you are finishing fully balanced on your follow through with the club held high and directly facing your target.
How far should a 6 iron go?
A 6 iron should fly about 150 yards for an average recreational golfer with average clubhead speed. However, there are quite a few factors that will impact the distance that you can hit a 6 iron. These include the degree of loft on the clubhead, swing speed, accuracy, and even the course conditions and angle of attack.
Most high handicappers struggle to make solid contact with mid and long irons, making it a bit hard to maximize distance on the 6 iron. The one benefit that higher handicap golfers have going for them is the game improvement irons.
A game improvement 6 iron has the loft of a player’s 5 iron (so you can hit it further), but it has a low center of gravity that helps to improve overall ball flight and forgiveness.
Most high handicappers will get around 145 to 155 yards with their 6 iron. But If you have a faster swing speed expect to see 160 or more.
Mid handicappers with high swing speed tend to hit 6 iron shots about 160 yards; the slower swing speed players are closer to 145-150.
Compared to high handicappers, the great thing about mid handicappers is the ability to hit consistent distance with their iron sets. The more you learn about the game, the more you realize how valuable it is to hit a club the same distance each time.
Professional golfers regularly hit a 6 iron more than 200 yards. Even lower handicap golfers expect to get 170 yards or more from their 6 iron. The two big factors at play here are the club speed as well as the accuracy of the strike.
When you hit the center of the clubface, the ball goes further.
The only thing that keeps some professional players and low handicappers from maximizing distance is the degrees of loft in their 6 iron. These players’ style irons have lower loft angles making it easier to control ball flight, but it can cost you a few yards.
Senior golfers playing with a graphite shaft and average swing speed should have no trouble getting 150-160 yards out of their 6 iron. However, if you start to notice your 6 iron travels the same distance as your 7 iron, it may be time to replace the 6 iron with a 6 hybrid.
You can see our Best hybrids for seniors here.
Many women decide to put a 6 hybrid in their bag as opposed to the 6 iron. Getting extra yards for women golfers can be tough with a lower lofted iron; expect to see about 125 to 140 yards depending on the accuracy of the strike.
Many women players find that by switching to a hybrid club, they can get much more distance and a higher overall ball flight.
You can see our selection of our favorite hybrid golf clubs for women here.
How far does a 6 iron go?
A 6 iron will travel between 125 and 200 yards depending on the swing speed of the golfer and the accuracy of the golf swing. The average 6 iron flies about 160 yards for male golfers and 130 yards for female golfers.
If you find that you are not getting as much distance as you should with your 6 iron, check to make sure that the clubface is square to the ball at impact. In addition, check the shaft that you have in your iron club; sometimes, switching to a graphite shaft can increase launch and increase total distance.
What degree is a 6 iron?
The 6 iron will have a loft of around 28 degrees, but the loft changes based on the manufacturer. The game improvement golf clubs will have lower lofts, closer to 26, and the clubs built for the lower handicap players have lofts closer to 30 degrees.
The wide range of lofts is relatively new to the golf world, so you have to pay close attention to golf club lofts when analyzing your distance and performance on the course.
You can see our entire list of golf club lofts here.
Where to use a 6 iron on the course?
If you head to the driving range to work on your 6 iron, you may as well learn some versatility as well. The 6 iron can work for everything from tee shots to punch shots to get you out of trouble. Here are a few ways I use my 6 iron on the golf course.
- Full swing approach shot: on an average distance par 4, if you hit a good drive down the middle, chances are you will have a 7 or 6 iron approach shot to the green. The 6 iron keeps the ball slightly lower and has a more penetrating ball flight.
- Low-flighted shot in windy conditions: if you take a slightly narrow golf stance and hold your finish a bit, you can play the 6 iron even in rough weather conditions. The ball flight will stay lower, and you get plenty of run and distance despite the wind.
- Tee shots: get to know the distance that you hit each of your golf clubs; when you are playing a par 3, the 6 iron could be the perfect iron distance for putting the ball close to the hole.
- Bump and run: it doesn’t happen too often that you need a 6 iron for a bump and run, simply because the loft is low and the ball will roll a long time. However, if you have a straight shot to the pin and want to hit a low lofted shot that rolls right up, you can learn to play a bump and run shot with your 6 iron.
The 6 iron is one of the more versatile clubs in your bag because of the way you can control ball flight. If you spend time working with your 6 iron, it will become one of your favorite golf clubs. Make sure that you have a good setup to start and that you are playing with a 6 iron that has the specifications you need to succeed on the golf course.
For those that struggle with the 6 iron, take a look at hybrid golf clubs as they are a great replacement.