The loft on a golf club is just the angle of the clubface from what would be a perpendicular or vertical clubface. As woods and irons get higher in number, so too does their loft increase. For example, a 9 wood will have a greater loft than a 3 wood. The greater the loft the less distance but higher trajectory you’ll get on your shots.
The loft on a 9 wood is typically between 23 degrees and 26 degrees. By comparison, a standard 3 wood has a loft of between 13 degrees and 16 degrees. In terms of distance, a 9 wood is comparable to a 4 iron or 5 iron for many players. From the rough, you’d almost always want to play an iron, but if you feel comfortable hitting your woods, then a 9 wood might be a better choice, given that the distance to the hole is around 150 yards.
When a Higher Loft Is Better
Clubs that have a higher loft generate more backspin, which is helpful when trying to get a ball to stick on the green. Low-trajectory shots from lower loft clubs tend to carry and bounce more once they hit the ground. When you have to hit over trees, for example, you’ll definitely want a higher-loft club like a 9 wood.
Why Carry a 9 Wood
A 9 wood is not a typical club to carry for more experienced golfers, though seniors and beginners often prefer higher-loft woods to irons because woods tend to be easier to hit cleanly. The larger club head and club face allow for a little more room for error. A more experienced golfer may carry a 3, 5 and 7 wood, along with a driver, irons and a putter.
The same type of club, manufactured by different companies, can have subtle but important differences. A Callaway 9 wood, for example, may feel much different in your swing and give you different results than a Nike 9 wood. Your swing speed can affect how the loft angle impacts the shot too. The best way to find if a 9 wood or any club you need is right for you is to try it out. Many golf shops have trained club fitters and designated areas where you can take a few real swings. And since clubs aren’t cheap, it’s worth taking some for a test drive before you bring one home.