8 Iron Golf Club (Key Tips on This Crucial Club)

The 8-iron golf club is the transition from mid-irons to short irons that offers more accuracy and precision.

It is a club that we amateurs use often during a round for approach shots after hitting a decent drive.

With an 8 iron in hand, the average golfer should hit the green more than 75 percent of the time. If not, it’s time to spend some time practicing a little more.

Learn all about your 8 iron’s loft, length, distance, and how to get the most from this key golf club below.

What’s an 8 Iron Golf Club Used For?

An 8-iron is the start of your scoring clubs that requires accuracy and distance control between 130 and 150 yards.

The shorter shaft allows you to exercise more control over the swing to produce better impact and accuracy.

The major difference between 8 iron and 9 iron is the loft which impacts the distance that you hit a 9 iron. Both irons fall into the short iron category and have the heaviest clubheads and the shortest shafts of the numbered irons.

📢 Need To Know: The traditional loft for a 9 iron was around 48 degrees. This has changed significantly over the decades and 9 irons in today’s market have lofts of around 9 degrees with even pitching wedges having a stronger loft than the traditional 9 iron.

Pros and Cons of an 8 Iron


  • Swing Verification
  • Accuracy


  • Short shaft
  • Clubhead

Pros of an 8 Iron golf club

• Swing Verification

Hitting an 8-iron will identify any weaknesses in your swing that require more work to improve accuracy.

As a short club, it has one of the shortest shafts of all the clubs in your which will make it easier to hit.

However, if you consistently mishit your 8 iron you have to look at your swing overall and determine where the weaknesses are and tweak your swing.

• Accuracy

A shorter shaft and higher lofted club enable you to hit the ball higher adding to the stopping power on the green.

With some practice, you can learn to control your 8 iron and consolidate the distance that you consistently hit the 8 iron.

Cons of an 8 Iron golf club

• Short shaft

Having a short staff will enable you to exercise more control over the club head. However, it also means that you are standing closer to the ball.

This leads to a more upright swing that you have to get used to before you can reach consistency with the 8 iron.

• Clubhead

As you move up your bag to get to the higher-numbered clubs, you may find that the clubhead gets smaller.

The 8 iron with its status as the first of your short irons has a smaller head than lower-numbered clubs. This requires a more accurate swing to make center contact.

Some amateurs find this quite scary and have to work on getting confident in hitting an 8-iron.

Average distance with an 8 Iron for Amateurs

How far does an 8-iron go?

The distance that you can hit an 8 iron varies between golfers and their swing speed.

Remember that the 8 iron is made for accuracy not specifically distance. Hitting the 8 iron the same distance with every shot is more critical than how far you hit it.

📢 Need To Know: An average golfer is most likely somewhere between 130 and 150 yards for men and 90 to 110 yards for women.

Average distance with an 8 Iron for PGA Professionals

Professional golfers have mastered maximizing lag during the downswing and therefore compresses the ball better at impact. This compression provides distance and a lower ball trajectory.

Male professional golfers can hit an 8 iron between 140 and 200 yards while women professional golfers average between 100 to 155 yards.

The main cause of the difference between men and women is the difference in their swing speeds.

What Is the Average Swing Speed for an 8 Iron?

I have to reiterate that swing speed is influenced by a myriad of factors such as height, body type, and flexibility.

The 8 iron is aimed at accuracy and distance control, not distance.

The average swing speed for an 8-iron is approximately 75 miles per hour.

What Degree of Loft Is on an 8 Iron?

Traditionally an 8 iron came with a loft of between 37 and 39 degrees. However, the stronger lifts offered by some manufacturers have changed the lofts to as low as 33 degrees.

Manufacturers have resorted to stronger lofts in their iron sets in their quest for longer shots of every numbered club.

📋 Keep in mind: Loft helps you to get the ball airborne without you having to help the ball into the air. It determines the apex of your shots, distance, and the angle at which the golf ball falls towards the green. The higher the loft, the more spin the club will generate.

What Is the Standard Length of an 8 Iron?

Shafts on the 8-iron are shorter than most other clubs to allow you to reach consistency and accuracy. Generally, steel shafts are slightly shorter than graphite shafts.

Shafts vary from 37 inches for men’s graphite shafts, to 36.5 inches for men’s steel shafts.

Women’s shafts on 8 irons range from 35.5 inches for steel shafts to 36 inches for graphite shafts.

It also depends on the height of the golfer.

📢 Need To Know: Measurements are taken from the crease of your wrists when your arms are hanging loosely by your side. The distance from the crease of your wrist to the floor is taken to calculate the ideal length of the shaft for you.

What Is a Good Smash Factor for an 8 Iron?

The average smash factor with an 8 iron varies between 1.3 and 1.5.

Smash factors depend on the quality of the strike and the impact of the golf ball. The optimal smash factor is 1.5 but few golfers are able to reach this consistently.

Your swing speed does not determine the smash factor. The position of the ball on the clubface plays the most significant role in determining the smash factor.

Impact on the sweet spot will provide a higher smash factor while off-center hits provide a lower smash factor.

What Hybrid Replaces an 8 Iron?

The most common hybrid to replace the 8 iron is an equivalently numbered 8 Hybrid.

Traditionally hybrid clubs were used to replace long irons. However, manufacturers produce super game improvement irons that have hybrid-like irons up to a 9 iron.

How To Hit an 8 Iron?

This video will give you some insight into how to hit your irons.

How to hit an 8-iron tips


It is most important to learn how to align your club when hitting any iron.

Some golfers use the direction of the tee box to line up their clubs. However, not all tee boxes point towards the target. Golf courses use this tactic to trick inexperienced golfers to aim down the incorrect line.

Consistent tempo

A consistent tempo will allow you to hit the ball more consistently thus improving your distance control. The ideal ratio is 3:1, meaning that your backswing takes 3 times as long as your downswing.

Low Point Control

Controlling the low point of your swing is crucial to hitting the golf ball first and the turf, irrespective of which club you have in hand.

Having control of the low point in your swing will enable you to improve the consistency of the ball flight and expected distance control.

💡 Golfible Tip: View your divot after each shot to see whether you managed to make contact with the ball first.

On the practice range, you can mark the ball position with a white line or place a training aid in line with the ball to identify whether your contact with the turf was after the ball position, closer to the target.

Controlling the low point will prevent fat shots and thinned shots that all affect your distance.

It is also important to move your weight toward your leading side during the downswing to move the low point slightly ahead of the golf ball.

Avoid trying to lift the ball and strike down on the ball with an 8-iron.

Start Line Control

Controlling the line on which your ball starts after impact will enable you to work the ball around.

Having a closed face will start the ball away from you and draw you into the target. An open clubface is likely to produce a baby fade toward the side that you are standing, and then fade toward the target.

Experienced golfers are able to start the ball on the right line about 70 percent of the time. With shorter irons such as the 8 iron, this increases to approximately 90 percent.

💡 Golfible Tip: An excellent way to practice improving the start line is to place an alignment stick approximately 15 feet ahead of you and then start the ball on the point you are aiming at and shape the ball back towards the centerline.


What is an 8 iron used for?

The 8 iron is typically used for mid-range approach shots to the green, from around 130-150 yards. Its loft angle is higher than the 7 iron but lower than the 9 iron, allowing golfers to hit the ball with a high trajectory and moderate distance for a soft landing and less chance of overshooting the target.

Can you pitch with an 8-iron?

Yes, you can pitch with an 8-iron. In fact, an 8-iron is a common club used for pitching shots from short distances around the green. Its loft angle and length allow for high, soft shots with less distance, making it ideal for the job.

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Lawrence Smelser has been part of the Golfible writing staff since 2019 and is a freelance golf journalist. Smelser has covered the PGA Tour including the U.S. Masters with Augusta.com. He holds a journalism Bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M and a Master’s journalism degree from the University of North Texas. Learn more about our team at Golfible on our About Us page.

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