180 Yards With A 9-Iron? Seriously?


Posted by Dexter Francois | Posted in , , , , | Posted on Sunday, August 21, 2011

As the final round coverage of the Wyndham Championship began, they highlighted the play of Tommy "Two Gloves" Gainey. He had an approach shot from 180 yards out. He pulled out a 9-iron and knocked it onto the green and left himself with about 20 feet for an eagle putt.

9-iron from 180! Are you serious? And Gainey isn't even one if the long hitters. It's no wonder the pros are so good. With length like that, they are giving themselves great chances to score well. 180 for me is a 6-iron and since I still struggle sometimes with this club, I might use my 22 degree hybrid and choke down a little.

Gainey isn't a big guy. He's not small in stature either, but he's not Dustin Johnson or Gary Woodland. It probably has to do more with club speed. I get compliments on how smooth my swing looks and I have improved on my distance in recent months, but how much more confident would I be with a 9- iron in my hands from 180 instead of a hybrid club.

I think it may be time to start looking into what drills or exercises I should be doing to get even longer. I was thinking about doing a more golf specific workout program. Just like in any sport, certain muscles need to be developed to maximize efficiency for that activity.

I'm not complaining with where I am right now, but we can all use a little more distance right? Have a great round analways hit your target.

*I'm still posting from my iPhone, so if things are not as pretty as they usually are or if there are a few typos, that's why. Editing is the tough part.

Photo found here.

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Comments (19)

  1. August 21, 2011 at 1:39 PM


    The distance these guys are hitting the ball is insane!

    I have one way to keep up to them and it requires no time in the gym or work on your sing....bump your lofts stronger!

  2. August 21, 2011 at 5:05 PM

    Interesting...I had heard that some of the major manufacturers use this technique when advertising their equipment. They show the pros hitting their clubs miles but neglect to tell the consumer that the lofts have been altered. Don't quote me on that. That's just what I've heard.

    Do you know if there is a limit to how much one can change the lofts?

  3. August 22, 2011 at 1:38 AM


    I have a strong feeling that with Callaway's sales struggling, Phil's lofts are bumped to portrait the perception that Callaway is long. I know he hits it long and the humid air had something to do with it but he I recall him hitting 8 iron from 190. Oh yeah, that green plays close to 30 feet uphill!!

    Pretty sure there is no rule against how much one can charge their lofts.

  4. August 22, 2011 at 5:42 AM

    Using Phil Mickelson to front the campaign is pretty smart but people these days are wiser and will not be bought by Phil Mickelson.

  5. August 22, 2011 at 9:31 AM

    Lofts are stronger for a lot of the pros, Dex. And for some of them, the shafts are longer as well. Annika, for example, used a 46-inch driver -- about 1 1/2 inches longer than a standard women's driver. (And no, just lengthening your shafts doesn't automatically get you more distance. If you don't know what you're doing, you can actually lose distance.)

    The biggest thing you have to remember is that the pros get to spend hours working one-on-one with club designers, using the newest tech, to help them get that distance. You might be surprised how long you could hit the ball if Nike designed clubs and balls specifically to maximize your distance with your swing!

  6. August 22, 2011 at 11:32 AM

    @Jordan-The TaylorMade commercial with Nick Faldo comes to mind. As he's swinging his club he asks for the distance on each swing. He says something like, 'the ball just goes for miles.' I remember there being small print at the bottom of the screen. Maybe that was the disclosure where they say the clubs have been altered or "results will vary."

  7. August 22, 2011 at 11:35 AM

    @Gareth-I think most consumers know that they can't perform like the pros. They may be preying on the few(like myself) who are silly enough to think that they can:-)

  8. August 22, 2011 at 11:48 AM

    @Mike-interesting that you mentioned Nike. I just started working for them part time to occupy some time while I work on that project that I told you about.(yes, it's still going to happen). Maybe I can contact someone that can get me into the "Oven" to get me fitted for the right clubs. That would be great content for the new project.

    As far as Annika is concerned, it would seem that a longer shaft would cause a golfer to swing slower thus less distance. Was it a feel thing for her or was she counting on a " longer" swing to produce more distance?

  9. August 22, 2011 at 2:26 PM

    If you can swing them at the same speed, longer shafts can give you more clubhead speed. Annika was extremely strong; she was legendary for doing workouts like 1000 situps a day. And if you look at her stats after the disc injury, her driving distance dropped off dramatically.

    But while she was healthy, she had such a simple swing that she didn't waste much effort. That's the kind of swing that could make good use of a longer shaft.

    Strength is the key for using longer shafts effectively. The two players I can think of right offhand who used longer-than-normal shafts -- Gary Player (all clubs an inch longer than normal) and Ben Hogan (3-wood an inch longer) -- were extremely strong for their size.

    BTW, lighter shafts can offset the extra length somewhat. By all means, if you get the chance, ask the guys at the Oven about it.

  10. August 22, 2011 at 4:07 PM

    @Mike-I just watched some footage of Gary Player workouts. He's a mad man. It's insane how fit he is. I saw that he has a workout book available on Amazon. Looks like I have another book to add to the library.

  11. August 23, 2011 at 12:40 AM

    Thanks Dexter Francois for telling us the truth. I thought that it was really possible to hit a 180 yards with a mere 9-iron club. They are trying to deceive customers for them to earn profitably.

  12. August 23, 2011 at 5:12 AM

    @ Dexter Francois
    Yes I know but I do hate false claims I prefer the straight answers. I have always known golf was a hard sport ever since I got into it. I feel for the people who are bought this material though.

    Oh and I could hit it 180 yards with a 9 iron with a serious thin along the hard fairway of links lol

    On the theme of Gary Player - I just watched some putting tips from the man less than an hour a go what a gentleman and legend of the game. He still works out to this day you know. He makes golf a fun sport!

  13. August 23, 2011 at 8:44 AM

    @HGB-It may be possible for the pros. They work hard on their games. For us mere mortals though, not so much. There may be a few amateurs who can push it out there, but that is probably few and far between.

  14. August 23, 2011 at 8:52 AM

    @Gareth-One of the reasons I like Arizona golf in the summer is that the fairways become baked from the intense heat. If you can bare the heat, and get a good drive and kick forward, the ball will run forever. I had a drive of 295 yards the other day. I average 250-260 during the cooler months. The ball just kept rolling and rolling. I felt like Superman:-D

    As for Mr. player. He is one of the legends I would like to meet. I'm sure I would learn a lot about the game and there would never be a dull moment during a round with him. He is an inspiration.

  15. August 25, 2011 at 8:31 AM

    @ Dexter Francois

    haha yeah I live on the west coast of Scotland so I have all the links golf I need Troon, Turnberry its all here there is nothing better in golf than booming a drive down a links fairway but then again I have hit great drives only to see them bounce awkwardly and land in trouble. Thats Golf!!

    One place I have always wanted to play is in high altitude. You can really get at apparently, every little helps lol

    Yeah Gary Player is such a character of the game just like Seve and Trevino were. They don't make them like they used. I don't want to be to hard on todays players but it just goes to show you can have fun and still compete like those guys did.

  16. August 25, 2011 at 4:13 PM

    @Gareth-I hope to make it to the birthplace of golf someday. The pictures and television coverage I have seen are astounding. I'll have to pick the warmest time of year though. Not a big fan of playing golf in the cold. I'm a wimp. Just being honest:-)

  17. September 9, 2011 at 6:31 AM

    lol @ Dexter
    Your quite right it does become freezing here in the winter and autumn. It is beautiful in the summer particularly the links courses. Turnberry and Troon are basically on my doorstep.

    In the winter though is not a good time - Rain, snow, serious winds and freezing temperatures its just no fun. I practice indoors more in the winter to be honest.

  18. September 10, 2011 at 12:51 PM

    Summer it is then. That's the opposite for me. It is so hot here during the summer in Phoenix that I only practice my drills indoors. Otherwise, I'm risking heat stroke. Early morning rounds and lots of water is the only way to survive this time of year.

  19. September 3, 2014 at 6:24 AM

    I use standard 714 AP2 irons. I am 5'8" and 175 lbs. This morning, I was practicing from an old tee box on the course where I live. I used my Bushnell Tour V3 laser to laser the 150 yd. marker in the middle of the fairway. It was 140 away. I got out my 9-iron and proceeded to hit 25 balls out that way. Some I crushed and some I hit fat. The ones I crushed, 4 of them, landed between 175 and 180 yards out. My typical 9-iron is 150/155 yards. It was a hot humid morning so they may have travelled a bit further than usual and the tee box was probably 10' higher than the fairway. But still, those are long 9-irons. You don't need jacked-up lofts or special equipment. You don't need to be a gym-rat. You just need good solid technique. And just because the club says 42* of loft that doesn't necessarily equate to what loft is presented to the ball at impact. If I have the shaft leaning 10* towards the target I may be presenting a 6-iron loft at impact (dynamic loft). :-) Tommy probably hit a big draw with his 9-iron by severely decreasing the 9-irons loft at impact. Maybe he had to fly around an obstacle??? I don't know - I didn't see the shot.