Two of the most favorite golf clubs in a bag are usually the 9 iron and pitching wedge.
These clubs have a high loft and are well known for the ease of use that they offer.
The 9 iron and the pitching wedge are both great golf clubs to consider when approaching a green and when chipping and putting.
Chances are, if you have a complete set of golf clubs, you will have a pitching wedge and a 9 iron in place.
The great thing about these clubs is that even beginners can learn to use them.
Let’s take a look at some situations that you may come across on the golf course and determine which of these two golf clubs is going to be the better one for you to choose.
9 Iron Vs. Pitching Wedge
When deciding when to use a 9 iron or pitching wedge, there are several key factors that you must consider.
Not all golfers are going to have as much success with their 9 iron as they do with their pitching wedge.
Learning to play both of these clubs from a variety of lies and situations will help you become a better player.
Here are the things to consider when choosing between a 9 iron or a pitching wedge for your next shot on the golf course.
The most important factor to look at here is the lie of the ball.
The lie can either be in the sand, in the short grass, or in the rough.
If you have a great lie, you will really have a choice to hit any of the clubs in your bag.
The situation changes a bit when you look at the more difficult lies like hitting out of the rough.
When hitting out of the rough, you may notice that it is much more difficult to get the higher ball flight that you need.
The rough tends to shut the club face down and cause more roll or topspin.
For a longer approach, this is fine.
However, around the greens, it does not make much sense to try and do a lot out of a poor lie.
The key is to get the ball out of the bag, lie back in the short grass, and create as much spin as you possibly can.
For this, the pitching wedge is going to be the better overall club to go with.
The pitching wedge has several degrees more loft and a much higher chance of flying high towards the target.
The grooves on the pitching wedge are also created to increase the overall spin that you can get with your iron shot.
For a lie where you need to hit out of the rough, choose the pitching wedge.
When you are hitting off a tee, or the ball finds the short grass, the 9 iron or the pitching wedge is a great choice.
So many great golfers work on keeping their golf balls in the fairway, and this is the exact reason.
When you hit from the shorter grass, expect much better overall results.
Now it’s time to consider the distance that you have to the hole.
Most golfers can get around 100 yards, sometimes considerably more with their pitching wedge.
If you have a pitching wedge that matches your iron set, then you will likely hit the 9 iron about 10 yards further than the pitching wedge.
This is nothing that you are doing wrong in your swing, and instead, it’s something that naturally happens because of the loft and design of the club.
The distance that you hit shots will increase as the loft of the club lowers.
If you have a shot that requires a bit more distance and more of a penetrating ball flight, the 9 iron is the better choice.
The pitching wedge is good for short distances or even the more punch-type approach shots.
Many golfers feel more comfortable taking a half-swing with their pitching wedge than they do with their 9 iron.
The pitching wedge, because of its higher loft and forgiving sole, can be quite a bit easier to manage when it comes to distance control.
Most players have to learn how to hit a ¾- or ½-swing pitching wedge shot, but they may not be capable of doing this with a 9 iron.
Golf professionals will tell you that hitting shots of all different lengths with each of your clubs is important.
Learn how to control the distances that you can hit and keep the ball flight managed.
This will only help you in playing the best golf you can.
When golfers struggle with distance control, practice hitting with both the pitching wedge and the 9 iron.
Over time, you should be able to hit both of these clubs a variety of distances.
In the meantime, when you have a full swing distance that you need, use the 9 iron.
When you have more of a feel-type shot, consider the pitching wedge.
All players have different strengths and weaknesses in their game.
Some golfers are stronger with their irons and others with their wedges.
The 9 iron plays a bit more like an iron while a pitching wedge plays like a wedge.
Consider your ability when you are looking to try and hit certain types of golf shots.
If you are in a tough situation or really want to attack a golf pin, think about the golf club that you have in your hand and which one is going to make more sense for you to swing.
Your ability absolutely plays into this situation, and you must consider what makes you a great player.
It’s fine to have favorite shots, and you should use them when the pressure is on.
Although most golfers will rely on the pitching wedge when it comes to ability, the 9 iron is a favorite for others.
As long as you are being smart about club selection throughout your round, when you have a situation that feels more like a preference decision, choose the club you like the most.
4. Ball Flight
As we have mentioned, the loft of the 9 iron is slightly different than the pitching wedge.
The pitching wedge has a really high ball flight that can be moved around by the wind.
If you hit the pitching wedge up high, you are subject to whatever the wind is doing that day.
Sometimes this is a positive, and the wind will carry the ball further down towards the hole.
Many golfers like to hit a shot up high and let the wind take it.
However, there are also times when you will want a more penetrating ball flight, and this is where the 9 iron comes into play.
Although the difference in the loft is small, the overall ball flight and control can be a little lower and easier to manage for golfers.
Some players feel as though letting the ball get up and into the wind is a disadvantage, and it makes more sense to allow the ball flight to be more controlled and a bit lower.
Higher ball flight is a positive at times, but be sure you are ready for it.
5. Green Slope
The slope of the green will also play into the ball flight a bit.
When a green slopes away from you or has a lot of undulation, you will need to have a shot that has more spin.
The pitching wedge is much easier to spin than the 9 iron.
With a pitching wedge shot, you can control the ball a bit more as it reaches the green and gets it to stop.
We like to look at the pin location, see how it plays into the shot, and then make a decision from there.
If the pin is closer to the front of the green and you need to get the ball to stop right away when it hits the green, the pitching wedge is the better choice.
When the pin is in the back of the green, it can make sense to hit your approach shot to the front with a 9 iron and then let it roll out towards the hole.
The more the ball can roll and get back towards the pin, the easier it will be for you to get close to the hole.
When the pin is in the back, and you hit a pitching wedge, it may stop much closer to the front of the green, setting you up with a longer putt.
6. Make/Model Of The Club
Another issue to consider when deciding between a 9 iron and a pitching wedge is the make and model of the golf club you choose.
Many golfers will use a 9 iron that is part of their iron set but replace their pitching wedge with more of a blade style pitching wedge.
Many professional golfers are doing this now to try and get some additional performance from their pitching wedge.
Golfers who have more of a blade style pitching wedge should use it when it comes to chips and pitches around the greens.
The make and model of the blade style pitching wedge make it more workable and allow for golfers to hit the ball in a more controlled way.
The iron style 9 iron is better for distance and power, whereas the blade style pitching wedge is good for control.
Some golfers will have a 9 iron and pitching wedge that matches, and this will make the issue a bit less difficult to figure out.
However, if you have decided to move away from the traditional iron set, be sure to take the make and model of the club into consideration when deciding which club to hit.
Do You Really Need A Pitching Wedge?
Golfers need a pitching wedge.
There is really no way around this as it is one of the most important clubs in the bag and is used more often than other golf clubs in the bag.
If you are serious about shooting low and want a club that helps you score and get your shots close to the hole, the pitching wedge will be it.
Many golfers think about taking wedges out to add in more long irons, hybrids, and fairway woods.
Although this may seem like a solution at the time, it does not make sense.
The issue is that when you remove clubs like this from the bag and replace them with the fairway woods or hybrids, you leave large yardage gaps in your bag.
The yardage gaps then create problems with scoring.
Chances are you will need a pitching wedge during the course of a round much more than you will need a 9 iron.
If you find that the pitching wedge that comes with your iron set is not the best fit for your needs, there are plenty of additional wedges that you can add to the bag.
This helps golfers to have a cohesive set of golf wedges that match and perform with a very similar feel throughout the set.
The bottom line is that you do need a pitching wedge, but you can be creative about the pitching wedge you choose and which one will work best for your needs as a player.
There are hundreds of equipment options out there to choose from, so don’t be afraid to think outside the box and get something that is a perfect fit for your needs.
Can I Chip With A 9 Iron?
Some golfers wonder what clubs can be used for chipping and what clubs need to be used for full-swing shots.
The more time you spend in the game, and the better you get, the more you will look at your golf bag as a complete set of tools.
The tools can be used in a variety of ways to try and get the ball in the hole in the shortest period of time.
If you want to chip with your 9 iron, you absolutely can.
In fact, there are golfers who will chip with a 4 iron or even a hybrid golf club.
The key is to learn a variety of different shots so that you are prepared for any situation that you may come across on the golf course.
Chipping with a 9 iron is not difficult, and it ends up allowing for quite a bit of roll or release once you take the shot.
The chipping with a 9 iron should improve over time when you realize the amount of roll that the ball can get when you chip it properly.
Distance control is the hardest part about chipping with a lower lofted club like the 9 iron.
Try to think about hitting the ball about a third of the way to the hole and letting it roll the rest of the way.
If you want to become a great golfer, take several clubs to the green and learn how to chip and pitch with all of them.
No two rounds of golf are the same.
You will have different lies, angles, and overall obstacles that come into play.
Give yourself the best chance at overcoming these obstacles by learning to hit a variety of different shots.
Too many players go right to the sand wedge or lob wedge when it comes to chipping when sometimes keeping the ball a bit lower is the smarter play.
We hope that you now know when to use a 9 iron and when to use a pitching wedge.
Both of these clubs are important and deserve a spot in the golf bag.
This is not a situation of either or, you will want to have both clubs with you.
The most important tip of advice that we can offer is to carefully evaluate the lie that you have.
When you look at the lie and consider the different types of shots that you need to hit, the decision as to which club to play will be quite a bit easier.
In the end, the 9 iron and pitching wedge should be two of your favorite clubs in the bag.
This will help ensure that you are going to get the best overall results.