How Far You Should Be Hitting a 6 Iron (Based on Skill)
Written by Brittany Olizarowicz

Britt O has been playing golf since the age of 7. Almost 30 years later, she still loves the game, has played competitively on every level, and spent a good portion of her life as a Class A PGA Professional. Britt currently resides in Savannah, GA, with her husband and two young children. Current Handicap: 1

Updated on January 12, 2024

The easiest way to break this down is to sort golfers by what their handicap is. Let’s look at how far you should be hitting a 6 iron based on your current handicap.

Beginner

A beginner male golfer often hits a 6 iron around 140 yards. Once they get the hang of this club and how it works, the distance can increase to 150-155 yards. Beginner golfers will have trouble getting a high ball flight, so you have to watch out for the line drive shot.

Most beginners should look for a 6 iron with a wide sole that helps improve and increase total launch in the shots they are hitting. As a beginner, if your set only comes with a 7 iron and lower, don’t worry about it; for now, you can add a 6 iron in later.

If you notice your 6 iron and 7 iron are going the same distance, this is common. As your clubhead speed increases, you should see total distance.

High Handicap

High handicap golfers often struggle with hitting the center of the clubface consistently. With the clubface being difficult to make contact with, many high handicappers struggle to get maximum distance from their shots.

With high handicappers, the 6 iron will probably travel about 145-150 yards on average. The issue with distance in this club has more to do with accuracy than with swing speed.

Many higher handicappers have high swing speed, but when it is not applied correctly, the results are unfavorable. If you find that you have more success with hybrid type clubs, don’t be afraid to take the 6 iron out of the bag and switch to something a bit more forgiving.

Mid Handicap

Mid-handicapped golfers tend to have average swing speeds and often hit their 6 iron in the 150-160 yard range. With a modern game improvement 6 iron, you can expect about 155 yards of distance on average.

One thing that can have a significant impact on the mid handicapper’s total distance is the loft of their irons. If your iron loft is a bit on the low side, you may see a longer carry distance.

With changes in the center of gravity positioning over the last few years, mid handicappers have seen more distance in their mid to long irons and a higher ball flight.

Low Handicap

One of the reasons golfers make it to the low handicap range is because they are able to hit the ball far. When you have excellent distance, it makes it easier to cover a long hole in a shorter number of strokes.

Low handicap golfers tend to have fast swing speeds that allow for yardages in the 170-180 yard range for a 6 iron. Low handicappers with slower swing speeds may be in the 160-169 range.

Most low-handicap players use a 6 iron, some mid to high handicappers look for alternatives, but most lower handicappers will go to at least a 4 iron in their set.

Professional

The PGA Tour average for a 6 iron is 180 yards. Some golfers can get it to go 190 and others closer to 178, but this is the general range for a 6 iron. For LPGA Professionals, the averages are slightly lower in the 160 to 170 range. Again this is related to swing speed.

Professional golfers also play with golf clubs that are more traditionally lofted; this means that they are hitting these longer distances with a club with even higher lofts than the one you are using.

If they switched to something like a game improvement iron, the distances they could hit the ball would be even higher!

 

When to Use Your 6 Iron

The 6 iron is a versatile club; in fact, it is one of my favorites when it comes to controlling ball flight. I don’t like the 6 iron for my short game, although I have seen some golfers learn how to do a bump-and-run shot with the 6. Here are the best ways to use your 6 iron and have better results on the golf course.

Approach Shot To The Green

The 6 iron is best used for a full swing approach shot to the green. You will find out the total yardage that you can hit the 6 and swing away to the center of the green. With the 6 iron being responsive, you can also fade or draw the ball.

When a 6 iron approach shot is struck correctly, expect a high ball flight, plenty of spin, and a generally controlled path or line.

Knock Down Shot

The knockdown shot keeps the ball flight lower so players can get the ball to fly under the wind. With a knockdown shot, you can expect a bit more roll when the ball does hit the green, but you can also get the distance in some of the most challenging conditions.

The loft of the 6-iron is perfect for a knockdown shot. It gives you just the right mix of forgiveness and control that is necessary to hit a shot like this.

Play around with a knockdown shot on the driving range, and you will be surprised at how much you can do with it on the golf course.

Controlled Shot From Tee Box

When standing on the tee box, it’s essential to learn how to control a golf shot. A par 3 is difficult in that you only get one shot to make it perfect. Some golfers can perfect a ¾ type swing with their 6 iron which results in some impressive overall accuracy and control.

I would highly recommend learning how to take a little off of your 6 iron (i.e., not a full swing) and keeping it as accurate as possible; it’s a shot you will continually use on the course.

 

Other Clubs That Could Replace a 6 Iron

If the 6 iron is not a good fit for your game, you are not alone. There are plenty of golfers that struggle with a 6 iron and the ability it has to get you from point A to point B. Some golfers don’t like the lower loft and the overall look of the club head, while others just don’t feel comfortable.

Here are a few alternatives if you need those exact yardages but don’t want to keep the 6 iron in the golf bag.

6 Hybrid

The 6 hybrid is a perfect option for golfers who are slightly leery of a 6 iron. The 6 hybrid is much easier to launch, has a deeper and lower center of gravity, and can help golfers get a more consistent distance.

What I like about the 6 hybrid is that it is much easier to hit out of the rough than the 6 iron. If you find that you are continually hitting your approach shots into the green from the rough, invest in the 6 hybrid.

Hitting a 6 hybrid and a 6 iron is not all that much different, but the 6 hybrid makes it a bit simpler for the higher handicap player.

13 Wood

Golfers that don’t like the iron or hybrid look can also consider adding in an additional fairway wood. From a loft perspective, the 13 wood will match the 6 iron, but it certainly has some different playability.

With the 13 wood, you will take more of a sweeping type golf swing and get a slightly more penetrating ball flight, as opposed to the high loft you may get with the hybrid.

The 13 wood is a bit longer than a 6 iron, so some golfers also notice a bit more distance.

Utility Club

There are a few   that may get you close in loft and yardage to a 6 iron. However, most companies will stop their utility club production at the 5 iron loft. When utility irons are used, you will sometimes notice a more precise turf interaction.

They tend to have a slightly wider sole and promote a higher launch than the 6 iron itself.

 

Tips for Hitting Your 6 Iron Further

If you want to get your 6 iron to fly further, you must make a clean strike. I have found that these are some of the best ways to ensure you get the most distance and the best overall results from your 6 iron.

  • Always ensure the ball is in the center of your stance; a half-inch forward of the center works as well, but don’t play this off your front or back foot.
  • The 6 iron requires plenty of acceleration through impact, don’t slow the swing down to try and increase accuracy; go after the ball.
  • Make sure that you finish high, amateur golfers forget to transfer their weight through the ball, and it can cost you a few yards.
  • Practice stability and balance off the course so that you can go after the ball a bit more when you are on the course.
  • Remember that total distance only matters if you hit the ball straight, make sure your hands and body are working together to get high ball flight, accurate shots, and increased total distance.

 

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Brittany Olizarowicz

Britt O has been playing golf since the age of 7. Almost 30 years later, she still loves the game, has played competitively on every level, and spent a good portion of her life as a Class A PGA Professional. Britt currently resides in Savannah, GA, with her husband and two young children. Current Handicap: 1