The Definitive 6-Iron Golf Club Guide: When To Use It, Distance, Specifications

The 6-iron, for most amateurs, represents one of the more challenging clubs in the bag.

As we see more hybrids providing friendlier alternatives to 4 and 5-irons for some the 6-iron represents the longest iron they have in the bag.

This represents a huge change from 30 years ago when golfers regularly carried 2 and 3-irons, and the 6-iron was a relatively friendly club to hit.

But the six iron is still a valuable club to have in the bag and shouldn’t be approached any differently from the other irons you carry.

Throughout this guide, we’ll take you through everything you need to know about the 6-iron and how to set up for success with this club, including:

  • 6-iron loft and length,
  • 6-iron distance range: how far does a 6-Iron go?
  • When to play a 6-iron,
  • 4 shot-type setups for a sweet 6-iron shot

Now, let’s iron this club out!

golfer with crossed 6-irons

What is a 6-iron?

The 6-iron is part of the mid-iron family, which also comprises the 5-iron and for some now the 7-iron.

As longer irons are replaced by fairway woods and hybrids, for some golfers, the 6-iron now represents the longest iron in their bags.

A six iron may come in the form of a blade-style aimed at golfers who want the maximum in feel and shot-making abilities.

At the other end of the spectrum, 6-irons can feature wide soles, deep cavities, and thick top lines to make them as friendly as possible.

The modern 6-iron can carry a variety of lofts:

Traditional lofts for more bladed style 6-irons: 30-31 degrees

Game improvement strong lofts 6-irons: 24-25 degrees

Getting the right loft is important for your 6-iron, as you can still use this club for approach shots where you need some stopping power to hold the greens.

If you are looking to change your clubs, consider being custom-fitted so that you can uncover what type of iron and loft will work best for your game!

golf course green and fairway

6 Iron Length

The average length of a 6-iron is 37.5 inches, but there can be many variations to this.

Golfers are built differently so some may need longer clubs than standard, and others may require shorter clubs to be more effective.

If a 6-iron is fitted with a graphite shaft, it may be marginally longer than its steel-shafted counterpart.

As mentioned above, consulting with a good club fitter will help you achieve the correct length and lie for your six iron, along with the rest of your clubs.

Clubs that aren’t appropriately fitted can lead to inaccurate shots as a result of making compensations with your set-up.

golf bag and golf course

6-Iron Distance Range: How Far Does A 6-Iron Go?

Being one of the longer clubs in the bag, we expect the 6-iron to go a reasonable distance.

If we look at different types of golfers, we can see the following averages:

High handicaps: 145 – 150 yards (133 – 137 meters)

Mid handicaps: 150 -160 yards (137 – 146 meters)

Low handicaps: 170 -180 yards (155 – 165 meters)

PGA Tour average: 183 yards (167 meters)

LPGA Tour average: 152 yards (139 meters)

golfer setting up a shot

Playing golf throws up many variations when we are out on the course; weather conditions we play in can be an important factor in our clubbing.

Our 6-irons will go further if we are playing downwind or downhill.

The opposite can be said for shots into the wind or uphill, where the 6-iron will fly a little less.

If we play in wet or cold conditions, we can also expect the ball to fly slightly less further than normal.

When to play a 6-iron 

6-irons are essentially used for approach shots into greens and on par 3s where the distance is good to hit a 6-iron.

Being a lower lofted club, the 6-iron can be used effectively for punch shots or for shaping shots.

The six iron can also form part of your warm-up routine (if you have the opportunity!) or when you get to the range for a practice session.

Always start with the shorter clubs first before working up to the 6-iron.

golfer striking a ball from the tee

Set up to play a 6-iron

Setting up correctly can go a long way to making a good swing, always pay attention to your fundamentals.

We have other guides to help you with your backswing and downswing, so our focus here is purely on the set-up.

Within this, we’ll look at how to set-up:

  • Normal 6-iron shot
  • Punch 6-iron shot
  • Draw 6-iron shot
  • Fade 6-iron shot
golfer walking to the next hole

Normal 6-iron Shot

The most important thing to remember when setting up to hit any shot in golf is to ensure there is no tension in your body.

Having tense muscles will not allow a free-flowing swing that can deliver maximum power to the ball.

So bearing this in mind, here are some other key essentials we need to think about when we set up to hit a 6-iron:

  • Feet placed slightly wider than shoulder width
  • Weight distribution should be 50% – 50%
  • Ensure hands are set marginally ahead of the blade to promote a downward strike
  • Maintain a comfortable flex in the knees
  • Ball position should be 2 inches ahead of the center line of your stance
golfer on course holding 6-iron golf club

6-iron Punch Shot

This is a handy shot to have in the bag, especially if playing into the wind or you need to keep the ball low to avoid obstacles.

Within our set-up, the only tweaks we need to make to help play this shot effectively with a six iron are:

  • Ball placement should be in the middle of our stance
  • Feet placed at shoulder width apart (marginally narrower than our normal shot stance)
  • Grip the club a couple of inches lower than normal to increase control of the club head 

Promoting a lower trajectory often means the ball isn’t going to fly as far as a normal six iron, so think about the distance you have to cover before selecting the club.

golfers having banter on the golf course

6-Iron Draw Shot

The draw shot sees us intentionally shaping the ball from right to left in the air.

To hit the draw effectively, we need to alter our set-up by doing the following:

  • Aim the club face at the intended target as per normal
  • Move our lead foot forward a couple of inches to promote a “closed” stance
  • Swing the club along the line of our stance

We don’t need to make any changes to our swing to create different-shaped shots, all changes take place at address.

draw shot annotated golfer

6-Iron Fade Shot

The fade shot works in the opposite direction to the draw; therefore we want to see the ball move from left to right through the air.

Some subtle changes are required in our set-up to play this shot:

  • Aim the club face at the intended target as per normal
  • Move the lead foot back a couple of inches to promote an “open” stance
  • Swing the club along the line of our stance

Now it’s time to get some inspiration from one of the best iron players of all time who has struck memorable six iron shots.

golfer looking to the sunset, pondering

Woods Seals Victory at Canadian Open

Tiger Woods has provided some of the most memorable moments ever witnessed on the golf course.

He has a back catalogue of famous shots which are the envy of most professionals, and one of those shots took place on the final hole of the 2000 Canadian Open.

Coming to the last hole of the tournament held at Glenn Abbey, Woods pushed his tee shot right into a large fairway bunker.

With 218 yards to go, most players would have looked for the safe option.

But Tiger being Tiger, thought he could pull the shot off and selected a 6-iron.

Picking the ball clean off the sand, the ball soared into the air and carried all the danger, landing on the back fringe of the green no more than 20 feet from the hole.

A safe two-putt for Birdie notched up another win in arguably his best season as a professional!

Key Takeaways

The 6-iron isn’t an endangered species yet, but for a lot of golfers, this club now represents the longest iron in the bag.

Although the modern 6-iron is stronger lofted compared to its ancestors, 6-irons can still form a versatile part of your golf bag and should be approached in exactly the same way as any other iron in your bag.

Spend some time practicing with the six iron, especially punch, fade, and draw shots which will give you a wider repertoire of shots.

Looking for a bit more range? Check out our 5-iron guide!

golf green and golf ball
Photo of author
Golf has been a passion of mine for over 30 years. It has brought me many special moments including being able to turn professional. Helping people learn to play this great game was a real highlight especially when they made solid contact with the ball and they saw it fly far and straight! Injury meant I couldn't continue with my professional training but once fully fit I was able to work on and keep my handicap in low single figures representing my golf club in local and regional events. Being able to combine golf with writing is something I truly enjoy. Helping other people learn more about golf or be inspired to take up the game is something very special.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.