[PHOTO: Mike Stobe]

Question: I see a lot of PGA Tour players using 7-woods. I have one, too, and it’s terrific. Given that, should I look at a 9-wood to replace my 5-iron, which I have trouble hitting consistently?

Answer: My friend, you have come to the right place. One of us recently made that very switch and has been extremely pleased with the results. The 9-wood is easier to hit, goes way higher and powers through the rough. It’s also a club you can use from the tee on at least one par 3. But what makes a 9-wood so much easier to hit?

For starters, a 9-wood imparts more spin than an iron or hybrid. This allows the ball to fly higher and can help you hold a green from longer distances. It performs the same way from the rough, and this is vital because playing out of the rough reduces launch and spin. Golfers with average to slower swing speeds often benefit from more spin to help keep the ball in the air and enhance carry distance. Another benefit of the 9-wood is forgiveness. A 9-wood head is larger than a hybrid and much larger than an iron, making it more forgiving with a moment of inertia (which increases stability and mitigates ball speed loss on mis-hits) that is significantly higher.

Equipment: Seventh heaven

The 9-wood has other technological advantages over a hybrid or a long iron. The larger size not only provides a larger – and likely springier – hitting area, but also provides room for a low and deep centre of gravity that can boost dynamic loft. The longer shaft should generate additional clubhead speed, and the bulge and roll on the face of a 9-wood (compared to an iron with a flatter face) produces a gear effect that brings toe and heel hits back towards the centre of the fairway.

A handful of players at the recent US Women’s Open carried 9-woods. Although that doesn’t appear to be a significant number, the more telling stat is that roughly 20 percent of the field started their iron set at the 6 or 7-iron. This is our suggestion for everyday golfers, and the 9-wood is a great replacement option.


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