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How Far Should I Hit My Niblick? And What Is It?


Scott Orban

The Niblick is an ancient name of a golf iron, which is equivalent to a nine iron. It used to be the highest lofted club in a set. Other iron names included The Mashie and The Jigger. Thankfully, golf club manufacturers changed from names to numbers on the irons sometime after the 1920s. But even today there are a variety of names, especially on wedges.

Golfers can be confused by the inconsistency of letters, numbers and names on wedges, and the distances they are supposed to produce. Our irons are numbered by their loft: lower loft = lower number / higher loft = high number. It may be confusing that some of our lower irons have been replaced with hybrids1 and after the number nine-iron we have a variety of labels on our wedges: P, W, PW, A, AW, G, GW, S, SW, L, LOB and also an array of wedges with the degree of loft on each of them which could be represented by the letters listed.

To simplify the process in the wedges I direct many of my novice students to take a Sharpie and write a number on them so that the numbers continue consecutively after their number nine iron and make it easy to understand and remember.

In the picture, I’ve taken a Sharpie and written the number that corresponds with each of these irons. My pitching wedge is a 10-iron. If you have an A (attack) or a G (gap) wedge in your set that will be an 11-iron, followed by those labelled with the degree of loft. I have numbered them accordingly. As the clubs have a higher loft, they have a higher number.

If you are not too sure about the degrees loft on your wedges, and where they fall into your set, ask your Canadian PGA pro. They can do this for you in a minute. If you prefer you can look up the specs online.

Scott’s Wedges

Knowing the distance each of your irons go with a full swing is a huge advantage. For the advanced golfer who carries a number of wedges (the scoring clubs) this is the baseline and a must-know.

Measure how far you hit every iron with a full swing,

measuring only straight shots (off-line shots go different distances). Your PGA Pro can help you with this using FlightScope or Trackman technology. Now write the distance on the corresponding iron. When playing, this will give you confidence in your club selection and will lead to a more focused confidence and a better swing.

So simplify the game for yourself, find out what degrees are on your wedges and give them a number. Take it to the next level and write the distance on the cso you know how far it goes. It’s amazing how improved decision making and club selection will improve your game.

1New golfers need to understand that hybrids simply replace irons. Thus your three-hybrid replaces your three-iron, the four-hybrid replaces your four-iron, etc.