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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

Phillip Knowles WITB 2022 (September)

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Driver: Titleist TSR3 (9 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Tensei 1K Pro White 50 TX

3-wood: Titleist TSR2 (15 degrees @ 14.25)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Black 7 X

7-wood: Titleist TSR2 (21 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Atmos Tour Spec 8 X

Irons: Titleist T200 (2-4), Titleist T100 (5-6), Titleist 620 CB (7), Titleist 620 MB (8-9)
Shafts: KBS Tour 125 S+

Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM9 (46-10F, 50-12F, 54-10S), Titleist Vokey Design WedgeWorks Proto (58-T)
Shafts: KBS Tour 125 S+ (46), KBS 610 Wedge 125 (50-58)

Putter: Scotty Cameron F-5
Grip: SuperStroke Traxion Pistol GT Tour

Ball: Titleist Pro V1

Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet 360, Golf Pride Tour Velvet Cord

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Whats in the Bag

Kevin Roy WITB 2022 (September)

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Driver: Ping G425 LST (10.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana PD 70 TX

3-wood: TaylorMade SIM2 (15 degrees)
Shaft: Project X HZRDUS Smoke Black RDX 80 TX

Hybrid: PXG 0311 Gen5 (19 degrees)
Shaft: Project X HZRDUS Smoke Black RDX 90 6.5

Irons: Titleist T100 (4-PW)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100

Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM8 (50-08F), Titleist Vokey Design WedgeWorks Proto (54-M, 58-L)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 (50),  True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400 (54-58)

Putter: Scotty Cameron GoLo s5
Grip: SuperStroke Traxion Flatso 1.0

Ball: Titleist Pro V1
Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet Cord, Golf Pride ZGrip Cord

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Whats in the Bag

Harry Hall WITB 2022 (September)

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Driver: Callaway Rogue ST Triple Diamond LS (9 degrees @8)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Black 7 TX

3-wood: Callaway Epic Speed (15 degrees)
Shaft: Project X Even Flow Riptide LX Proto 70, Fujikura Ventus Black 7 X

7-wood: Callaway Epic Speed (21 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Tensei AV Raw Orange 85 TX

Irons: Callaway Apex TCB (4-9)
Shafts: Project X 6.5

Wedges: Callaway JAWS Raw (50-10S, 56-10S), Callaway Jaws Full Toe Raw (64-10 @62)
Shafts: Project X 6.5 (50-56), True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S200 (64)

Putter: Odyssey O-Works #7 W

Ball: Callaway Chrome Soft X

Grips: Golf Pride ZGrip Cord

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