What is a Short Iron in Golf

Golf, a sport that demands precision and skill, is played with a set of clubs designed for various distances and scenarios. Short irons are a crucial subset of golf clubs that play a significant role in a golfer’s game. In this article, we will explore what short irons are, their characteristics, and how they fit into the golfer’s toolkit.

Rangefinder on Discount

Introduction to Short Irons

Short irons are a subset of irons in a golfer’s bag, typically comprising the 8-iron, 9-iron, and pitching wedge (PW). These clubs are known for their lofted faces and shorter shafts compared to long irons and woods, making them ideal for shorter distance shots and precise control.

Characteristics of Short Irons

a. Lofted Faces: Short irons have highly lofted faces, which means the clubface has a significant angle relative to the shaft. This loft generates more vertical lift on the golf ball when struck, making it easier to achieve a higher trajectory and a softer landing on the green.

b. Shorter Shafts: Compared to long irons and woods, short irons have shorter shafts. The shorter shafts provide greater control over the clubhead and enable golfers to make more accurate and controlled swings.

c. Versatility: Short irons are versatile clubs that can be used for a variety of shots, including approach shots to the green, chip shots, and bunker shots. They are essential for golfers when they need to make precise, shorter-distance shots.

Uses of Short Irons

a. Approach Shots: One of the primary uses of short irons is for approach shots to the green. Golfers often use an 8-iron, 9-iron, or PW to target the green from a distance where precision is critical. These clubs provide the necessary loft to stop the ball quickly on the putting surface.

b. Chipping: Short irons, especially the pitching wedge, are frequently used for chipping around the green. Golfers can employ a putting-like stroke with these clubs to get the ball rolling smoothly towards the hole.

c. Bunker Play: In greenside bunkers, short irons can be used to get the ball out of the sand and onto the green. The lofted face helps lift the ball out of the bunker’s soft sand while maintaining control.

Club Selection and Strategy

Selecting the appropriate short iron depends on the golfer’s distance to the target and the height and trajectory required. Golfers should consider factors such as wind, pin placement, and green conditions when choosing a short iron for their shot.

Practice and Skill Development

To excel in using short irons effectively, golfers need to practice consistently. This includes mastering distance control, accuracy, and understanding how each short iron behaves in different situations. Proper technique and a solid understanding of how to play short irons can significantly improve a golfer’s overall game.

Short Iron Terminology

Before concluding, let’s briefly explore some golf terminology associated with short irons:

  • Scoring Clubs: Short irons, including the 8-iron, 9-iron, and pitching wedge, are often referred to as “scoring clubs” because they are instrumental in getting the ball closer to the hole and setting up opportunities for birdies or pars.
  • Gapping: Gapping refers to the yardage intervals between each of your short irons. Golfers aim to have consistent gaps to ensure they have the right club for various distances. For example, knowing your 8-iron carries 140 yards and your 9-iron carries 125 yards helps you make informed club selections for specific shots.

Types of Short Irons

Type of Short IronLoft Angle (degrees)Typical Distance (yards)Use CaseCharacteristics
Pitching Wedge44-4890-120Approach shots, chippingHigh loft, versatile
Gap Wedge (Approach Wedge)50-5480-110Approach shots, filling distance gapMid-range loft
Sand Wedge54-5870-100Bunker shots, short approachesHigh loft, bunker-specific
Lob Wedge58-6460-80Flop shots, tight liesExtreme loft, delicate shots
Approach PutterVariesVariesPutting from the fringeLonger putter shaft

Loft Angles of Short Irons

Iron TypeLoft Angle (degrees)
Pitching Wedge44-48
Gap Wedge50-54
Sand Wedge54-58
Lob Wedge58-64
Approach PutterVaries

Typical Distances for Short Irons

Iron TypeTypical Distance (yards)
Pitching Wedge90-120
Gap Wedge80-110
Sand Wedge70-100
Lob Wedge60-80
Approach PutterVaries

 Short Iron Use Cases

Iron TypePrimary Use Case
Pitching WedgeApproach shots, chipping
Gap WedgeApproach shots, filling distance gap
Sand WedgeBunker shots, short approaches
Lob WedgeFlop shots, tight lies
Approach PutterPutting from the fringe

Characteristics of Short Irons

Iron TypeCharacteristics
Pitching WedgeHigh loft, versatile
Gap WedgeMid-range loft
Sand WedgeHigh loft, bunker-specific
Lob WedgeExtreme loft, delicate shots
Approach PutterLonger putter shaft, designed for fringe use



In conclusion, short irons are indispensable clubs in a golfer’s bag, designed for precision and control on the golf course. They are characterized by lofted faces, shorter shafts, and versatility, making them ideal for approach shots, chipping, and bunker play. Understanding when and how to use short irons effectively is key to improving your golf game and achieving lower scores. As with any aspect of golf, practice and skill development are essential for mastering the use of these clubs and becoming a more proficient golfer.


What is a Short Iron in Golf


  • Anglo Carson

    Anglo Carson, a Certified Golf Instructor, embarked on a remarkable journey, driven by his unwavering love for golf. He founded The Golf Mine with a singular mission - to create a golfing haven where passion knows no boundaries. His lifelong love affair with golf, combined with his expertise as a Certified Golf Instructor, turned into a vision to share his extensive knowledge, inspire, and promote the game he holds dear.

Leave a Comment