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Dustin Johnson explains why he’s using a 9-wood at the 2022 U.S. Open

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Back in May, at the 2022 PGA Championship at Southern Hills Country Club, it was revealed on the telecast that Dustin Johnson was using a 9-wood for his tee shot on the par-3 8th hole. More specifically, as GolfWRX learned shortly after, the club was a TaylorMade Stealth 9-wood with a whopping 24 degrees of loft (roughly the same amount as a standard 4-iron these days).

In the past several years, 7-woods and 9-woods have become widespread on Tour, and they’ve even started sneaking into the bags of some of the game’s longest hitters and best ball strikers.

Prior to the 2022 PGA Championship, Johnson had already made the leap into the realm of high-lofted fairways, having used a TaylorMade SIM 7-wood and a TaylorMade Stealth 7-wood over the past few years.

But the 9-wood was new for him at the time.

Flash forward to Wednesday at the 2022 U.S. Open at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass., and Johnson still has the 9-wood in his bag. He still keeps a TaylorMade P730 “DJ Proto” blade 3-iron around for certain conditions and courses, but the 9-wood is a first-string starter in his gamer setup, and he has it in play this week at the U.S. Open.

Interestingly, TaylorMade has also confirmed that Johnson doesn’t have a 3 wood in the bag this week, instead opting for a driver-5 wood-7 wood-9 wood setup.

Curious about his thoughts on the 9-wood, and what benefits he sees from such a high-lofted wood, I asked Johnson himself on Wednesday at the 2022 U.S. Open.

Here’s everything he had to say:

“I like my 7-wood so much that I asked Keith (Sbarbaro, the VP of Tour Operations at TaylorMade), ‘Do we have a 9-wood?’

“He’s like, ‘Yeah, we got one.’

“So he got me one and he built it up.

“I started hitting it and it’s…I hit it a lot better than I can hit a 3-iron. More so if I have to hit it into a green; it’s a little bit easier to stop it. I still bring my 3-iron with me for golf courses where I need it off the tee. Probably at like the Open Championship I’ll use a 3 iron instead of [the 9 wood]. It just takes the place of my 3 iron, which honestly…there’s not much difference between a 3 and a 4 iron as far as carry wise. I think a 4 iron is a little easier to get up in the air. So, for me, it just fit really nicely in the bag.

I hit a nice high cut with it, but I can turn it over if I need to. It’s a little bit easier for me to turn it over if I need, especially getting it up in the air and turning it over if I have to. I mean, I can hit a low draw with a 3 iron. It’s gonna roll forever. But to hit one and stop it on the green is a little bit difficult.”

With that being said, I pose a related question to amateur golfers (regardless of handicap): If Dustin Johnson says a 9-wood is easier to hit than a 3-iron, and that his 3-iron carries about the same distance as his 4-iron, then why would any of us still willingly use a 3-iron? I’ll leave that up to the comment section.

DJ’s full WITB setup at the 2022 U.S. Open

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He played on the Hawaii Pacific University Men's Golf team and earned a Masters degree in Communications. He also played college golf at Rutgers University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism.

5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Gordy3279

    Jul 5, 2022 at 8:57 am

    in all reality today’s 4 iron is a 4+ or a weak 3 iron. I have a solid 4 degree gap on all my irons from 50 degrees to 22 degrees. I do carry a 16.5 4 wood and a 13 degree 3 wood. On some courses there are certain tee shots when I need a good 220-230 shot off the tee so I carry an old 2 iron or in today’s golf a “driving iron”.

  2. Imafitter

    Jun 17, 2022 at 11:46 am

    Several centuries back I carried a Callaway 7 Heaven and Divine 9, as they were easier to hit than long irons, and hybrids didn’t exist. Today I go from driver to 5w then hybrids, starting my irons at 5. However, personally I find hitting out of the rough much easier with an iron than fairway wood or hybrid, but I am seriously considering replacing my 4h and 5 iron with a 7 & 9 wood. Just depends on the distances.

  3. Justin

    Jun 16, 2022 at 11:51 pm

    I hit my 4 iron 210. I hit my 3 iron 230. 250 off a tee. That’s not about the same distance.

    • birdiedancer

      Jun 17, 2022 at 7:09 am

      ok pro, but the article was about DJ’s bag.. so let’s put u and DJ 230 out, you pull your studly 3 iron, DJ pulls his 9 wood while you giggle the wimp is using a 9 wood lol….who hits the green?

    • Dan

      Jun 20, 2022 at 9:02 am

      You’re talking about total distance, DJ specifies carry distance. That’s what matters to them when hitting into greens, carry distance.

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Whats in the Bag

Mac McGirt (William McGirt’s Son) WITB 2022 (August)

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Driver: TaylorMade Stealth Plus (10.5 degrees @ 12.5)
Shaft: UST Mamiya Quantum Purple

5-wood: Cleveland Golf Junior (18 degrees)

7-wood: Cleveland Golf Junior (22 degrees)

Hybrid: Cleveland Golf Junior (28 degrees)

Irons: Cleveland Launcher UHX
Shafts: UST Mamiya Recoil Dart

Wedges: Cleveland RTX Zipcore (54-12 Full, 58-12 Full)
Shafts: UST Mamiya Recoil Dart

Putter: Scotty Cameron T10 Select Newport 2

Grips: Golf Pride VDR

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Whats in the Bag

Tommy Gibson WITB 2022 (August)

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Driver: Titleist TSR3 (9 degrees)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD XC 6 X

3-wood: TaylorMade Stealth (15 degrees, 16.5 degrees (High Launch))
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD XC 7 X, Graphite Design Tour AD XC 8 X

Irons: Srixon ZX (4), Srixon ZX7 (5-PW)
Shafts: UST Mamiya Recoil Prototype Utility 95 F5 (4), Project X 120 6.0 (5-PW)

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore (50-10 Mid, 60-10 Mid)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400

Putter: Scotty Cameron Timeless Tourtype SSS

Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet Cord

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Are blades really ‘punishing’ or do people swing too hard? – GolfWRXers discuss

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In our forums, our members have been discussing blade irons. WRXer ‘ChunkItGood’ questions whether blades are actually overly punishing, and kicks off the thread saying.

“I just heard a guy on tv quote John Anselmo (?) who apparently taught Woods to the effect that ‘you can hit the ball as hard as you want as long as you hit the center of the face and stay in balance.’

If people followed that rule, would they have to worry about punishing’ mishits? Shouldn’t they, instead of getting more forgiving clubs, just stop swinging so hard they cannot hit the center of the face?”

And our members have been sharing their thoughts on the matter in our forum.

Here are a few posts from the thread, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.

  • BagOfToast: “I find that a lot of the time I’m not hitting the center I’m just swinging too fast, so I’d agree with swinging too hard.”
  • iknowbagu: “It’s not mutually exclusive. Yes, blades are more punishing on off-center strikes. Yes, people swing too hard.”
  • jomatty: “Blades are punishing. I’m not sure that most players do better when they try to swing easy. As long as my tempo stays good and I don’t get quick from the top, my most consistent strike, with everything wedges, is one that is very close to as hard as I can swing. If I try to make that same hard swing and my tempo is bad, or if I try to make an easy swing and my tempo and sequencing is bad then I have lots of problems.”
  • Phabs: “Believe Tiger’s dad said that to him, not a coach. Swing speed had nothing to do with contact point. I can swing slow and hit a ball like crap, or I can swing out of my shoes and have the same result.”

Entire Thread: “Are blades really ‘punishing’ or do people swing too hard? – GolfWRXers discuss

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