4 Wood Vs. 9 Iron Comparison Overview

Replacing woods with irons and vice versa isn’t as straightforward as replacing irons with hybrids. You can’t just replace woods and irons based on number. The numbers and lofts don’t line up the way they do between hybrids and irons.

Still, you may be wondering what clubs you need. Would it be better to carry more irons or fairway woods? That will depend on the player and the situation but to help you find your answer, we put together the following comparison overview.

4 Wood Overview

A 4 wood is a viable option for anyone who wants comparable distance to a 3 wood with a little more forgiveness.

In general, we’ve found that a 4 wood is easier to hit than a 3 wood. It’s a bit shorter but still has a nice, large head that looks good at point of address. Additionally, we were pleasantly surprised when we found that the 4 wood we were testing was also good in the rough.

4 woods usually have 16 degrees of loft so they are able to cut through tall rough and pop the ball fairly high into the air. The 4 wood we tested was pretty much as good as a hybrid club for getting out of the rough.

You can also expect an average distance of about 210 yards with a 4 wood if you have a moderate swing speed. This also makes it an option off the tee.

9 Iron Overview

The 9 iron is an important club to have in the bag because it can make short approaches a lot easier.

However, you really need to get used to this kind of club. The 9 iron is the shortest of the numbered irons so you will have to learn adjust your swing and stance accordingly. This can be very challenging for some players.

If you stick with it though, you will find that the average 9 iron provides acute control over ball placement and spin rate. We were able to work the 9 iron we were testing with back spin, nearly neutral spin and excellent apex height on short approaches.

In our collective opinion, it would be worth it for golfers of all skill levels to carry and learn a 9 iron. The 4 wood is a nice and versatile club to have in the bag as well if you don’t prefer hybrids.

9 Iron Overview & First Impressions

When we tested a 9 iron against a 7 iron we were disoriented because we tested the 7 first. The shorter shaft and altered stance takes some getting used to.

When you need a higher loft than a 7 or 8 iron and on approaches within 120 yards, the 9 iron is an excellent.

If you’ve tried a 9 iron before without much success, it may have been a forged, players irons but don’t worry, the 9 iron also comes in a game improvement form which is focused on allowing beginners and high handicappers more forgiveness and consistency.

It’s also not surprising to see a pros ball land on the green and then spin off in a different direction as the better player has been able to add considerable spin to the ball thanks to the generous loft.

Because the 9 iron has a sharper leading edge, it can cut through the rough easily and is excellent if you do find yourself in trouble.

However, if you want easier putts, you will need to get familiar with the 9 iron. It offers robust spin control – just get used to the typically heavier head.

One Iron Down – 8 Iron

An 8 iron will cover an average of 130 yards and might not get used too often depending on what your swing speed is like.

One Iron Down – Pitching Wedge

The pitching wedge is even more generously lofted, workable and is used for distances just around the ground. Better players will be able to send the ball straight up into the sky.

4 Wood Overview & First Impressions

If the 3 wood is a bit big a daunting for yo, the 4 wood is very similar but it is more compact and possibly less daunting for some.

The 4 wood is often overlooked and the 3 wood is preferred instead in combination with the 5 wood but there is no one size fits all and many golfers will prefer to carry a 4 wood as their solo fairway wood or in combination with a 7 wood.

Those with slower swing speeds might have 12 degrees of loft in their driver and the next logical progression for them will be the 4 wood.

It is easier to carry and wield for those with slower swing speeds and it might be used as a solo wood for a fast swinger looking to carry an extra hybrid or a chipper for around the greens.

Whatever your circumstance is, you should carry clubs that suit your game optimally.

The 4 wood has a higher, shorter flight path with less roll out than the next club down in the 3 wood, which it will almost always replace.

The club is used effectively off the tee on par 3’s or dog legs and also off the fairway and in the light rough.

Golf is a game of tradition but you shouldn’t hesitate to break that if a 4 wood will be beneficial to your game.

One Club Up – 3 Wood

The 3 wood is longer, heavier and produces a longer, lower flight path with more roll out. It is far more popular and the 3 + 5 Wood combo is the one we see most often, especially in average  and above swing speeds.

One Club Down – 5 Wood

You would almost never carry a 3 and 4 wood together, they are too similar. When carrying a 4 wood, you may be better off carrying an extra hybrid or a 7 wood over a 4 wood. A 5 wood produces a higher, shorter ball flight with less rollout than a 4 wood.

9 Iron Selling Points

  • Good control
  • Good feedback
  • Good for hilly courses
  • Very precise
  • Good from rough or bunker
  • Promotes accuracy

4 Wood Selling Points

  • Excellent For Slower Swing Speeds
  • Can Be Used As A Replace For 3 And 5 Wood
  • Easy To Hit From Good Lies
  • Versatile Club From Tee Or Off The Deck
  • More Precise Than A 3 Wood

Who Are 9 Irons For?

Speaking objectively, 9 irons will be more useful to advanced players who can cover most of the fairway in one or two strokes on shorter par 5’s.

They are most helpful on short approaches and can really help out when you’re facing down a hilly or particularly fast green

Again though, no matter what your skill set as a golfer currently is, this is a club you will need to learn.

A 9 Iron to Check Out – Taylormade SIM2

We really liked the forgiveness of this 9 iron. It has a lot of pop too which is really what you want from your 9 iron.

Distance: 94/100

Accuracy: 96/100

Feel & Control: 95/100

Forgiveness: 92/100

Overall Score: 96/100

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Who Are 4 Woods For?

A 4 wood is not as popular a club as we feel it should be.

It’s excellent for slower swing speeds who find a 3 wood more difficult to wield.

It’s also perfect for those looking to carry a 4 wood + 7 Wood combo and those who want to carry 1 solitary wood in favor of an extra hybrid or iron.

A very similar club to the 3 and 5 wood and there is no reason it shouldn’t used more if it fills the distance gaps effectively.

Our Favorite 4 Wood – Cobra Men’s Fly Z

Cobra have made big progress as a golf brand in recent years and our preferred 4 wood right now is their Fly Xl model from 2021.

The club is light and easy to strike and it also has an adjustable loft which means you can switch it from a 3 Wood to a 4 wood easier with the use of an allen key.

The club itself is well priced and has a ton of distance and forgiveness features included.

Distance: 94/100

Accuracy: 93/100

Forgiveness: 92/100

Feel and Control: 91/100

Overall Score: 93/100

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