9 Iron vs Pitching Wedge: When to Use Each Club

The short game is a crucial part of any golfer’s game, and mastering the use of your 9 iron and pitching wedge can help you shave off strokes from your score.

Having approach shots in your arsenal that can land soft and stop quickly is essential to a successful game. In this article, we will discuss the key differences between a 9 iron and pitching wedge and when to use each club.

We will dive deep into the different features and specifications of each club so that you can make an informed decision about which to use in any given situation.

Once you understand the differences and similarities between these two clubs, you will be able to accurately choose which one is right for the shot that you want to take.

Editors Choice
Wilson Profile SGI Set
  • Excellent value
  • Comes with a bag + headcovers.
  • A perfect set to get started in golf
  • Forgiving irons perfect for beginner golfers
  • Custom fitting options available (regular, tall, senior, left or right-handed).
Budget Pick
Callaway Strata Full Set
  • 9-16 piece sets available.
  • Lightweight and easy to carry.
  • Available in right or left-hand models.
  • Mallet putter is great for beginners who need more help with alignment.
  • Forgiving driver, 3-wood and 5-hybrid so you don’t need to try to hit long irons.
Top Pick
TaylorMade RBZ Speedlite Set
  • Premium beginner set.
  • Graphite or steel shaft options.
  • Golf clubs are made of high-quality materials and very easy to hit.
  • The set includes two rescue clubs, sand wedge, bag, and headcovers.

9 Iron vs Pitching Wedge – Overview

Cobra Forged Tech X Golf Iron

Most of the complete sets of golf clubs on the market today include a 9 iron and pitching wedge. The main difference between a 9 iron and a pitching wedge is in their design and loft angles. Both clubs are beginner-friendly and can be used to hit a variety of shots.

A 9 iron has a loft angle of 41 degrees, while a pitching wedge has a loft angle of 45 degrees. This difference in loft angles results in different behaviors and uses for the two clubs. The Pitching Wedge is generally easier to hit than the 9 Iron, with a higher launch angle and more spin.

Most golfers hit their 9 Iron an average of 120 to 140 yards, while the Pitching Wedge is normally hit 100 to 120 yards. In addition, a 9 iron can get you out of deeper lies and provides more accuracy than a pitching wedge. The 9 iron and pitching wedge are two incredible clubs for your short game.

Key Differences Between a 9 Iron and Pitching Wedge

Golf Pro

I often hear golfers asking which club they should use for a certain shot. The 9 iron and pitching wedge are both excellent clubs that can be used for many different shots on the course.

The main differences between a 9 Iron and Pitching Wedge lie in their design, length, loft angle, and lie angle. Let’s take a look at each of these features and how they affect the performance of the clubs.


A 9 Iron has a thinner sole than a pitching wedge, which makes it easier to hit out of deeper lies. The Pitching Wedge also has more weight at the bottom, making it better for shots from tight lies or sand traps.

Maria Verchanova - Sand Trap


A 9 Iron is typically 36 inches long, while a Pitching Wedge is 35.5 inches long. This is due to the difference in loft angles; a higher loft angle requires a shorter club length to produce the same ball flight.

Loft Angles

A 9 Iron has a loft angle of 41 degrees, while a Pitching Wedge has a loft angle of 45 degrees. This means that the Pitching Wedge will launch higher and spin more than a 9 Iron, but it also has a shorter distance and less control.

Lie Angle

The lie angle of a 9 Iron is 64 degrees, while the lie angle of a Pitching Wedge is 65 degrees. The higher lie angle on the Pitching Wedge helps the club launch higher and spin more, which is why this club is best for shots from close range.

When to Use 9 Iron

Golf Course

We all have different favorite clubs and shots, but knowing when to use a 9 Iron is important for any golfer. This will not only help you hit the ball better and more efficiently, but it will also help you save strokes on your scorecard.

Approach Shots

I often recommend using a 9 Iron for shots that are 120-140 yards away. This club has enough backspin and control to get the ball close to the pin without overshooting the green.

Try and aim for the flag (or pin) with a 9 Iron, rather than the back of the green. The shallower club face combined with the higher spin and backspin will help keep your shot on target.

Short Par 3’s

If you want to come into the green high and soft on a short par 3, then using a 9 Iron is the way to go. The higher loft angle and backspin will help you get onto the green without going over it.

Some of the par 3 layouts can have trees or bunkers in front of the green, so using a 9 Iron will help you get the ball up and over those obstacles.

Lay Up Shots

A number of us amateur golfers make this mistake, but don’t try and hit the green in one shot if it is too far away. Instead, lay up with your 9 Iron and use a wedge to get up and onto the green.

This will help you avoid danger, such as water hazards or bunkers, while still providing enough accuracy to get the ball close to the hole.

Bump and Run Shots

Golf Balls on Practice Green

These are my favorite shots around the green. A bump-and-run shot is where you hit the ball low off the ground, so it runs onto the green rather than flying over it.

You can use a 9 Iron for these shots, as long as you have enough control to keep it low. This club has less loft than other wedges, so this helps keep the ball running instead of flying. I sometimes use 8 Iron or even 7 Iron as they have less loft and distance than a 9 Iron.

These shots require practice and precision, but they can be a great way to get the ball close to the hole without letting it fly past.

When to Use Pitching Wedge

Most of us prefer using a Pitching Wedge around the green, as it provides more control and spin than a 9 Iron. Once you master your short game you will shave strokes off your scorecard by choosing the best club for each shot.

Approach Shots

If you are facing a shot that is 100 yards or less, then using a Pitching Wedge will provide more height and backspin than a 9 Iron. This will help you get the ball close to the pin without going over it. Some courses have more elevation changes, so the Pitching Wedge can really be helpful in those situations.

Clearing Hazards

Golf Course

Have you been in a situation on the course where you need to clear a hazard or bunker that is in your way? If so, then the Pitching Wedge can be your best friend. This club will launch the ball higher and spin more, so it can help you get the ball over any obstacles on your way to the green.

Short Par 3’s

If you are hitting a short par 3, then using a Pitching Wedge can help you get the ball close to the hole. The higher loft and spin will help keep your shots accurate, while still allowing you to get enough distance and height onto the green.

I remember our nearest the pin competition at the club where I used a Pitching Wedge. The yardage was approximately 110 yards to the pin and although I didn’t win, it was great fun!

Lay Up

I have recently played with one of the Golf Professionals in Vilamoura, Portugal and I was facing a decision between hitting a long Iron or laying up with a Pitching Wedge. With a long Iron, I would have to be sure to clear the water hazard but with a Pitching Wedge I could lay up.

I was tempted to go for it but decided to take the safe option and lay up with the Pitching Wedge. This way I have positioned myself nicely for the next shot and potentially saved myself few strokes.

Golf Ball

Pitch Shots

As the name suggests, a pitch shot is an airborne shot that carries and then stops on the target. It differs from the chip shot in that it requires more loft, distance and spin to stick close to the hole. The ball will travel farther than with a chip shot but will still have enough spin for it to stop quickly upon impact.

Chip Shots

Chip shots are low, running shots that require less loft and spin than a pitch shot. Chips usually travel short distances before stopping on the green. The aim is to get close enough to the hole for an easy putt, so accuracy is key here.

For chip shots, I recommend using either a 9 Iron or Pitching Wedge depending on the distance of the shot. The 9 Iron will launch the ball slightly lower with less spin, while the Pitching Wedge will give more height and spin to help you get close to the pin.

Best Iron Set for Beginners and High Handicap Golfers

PING G425 Iron Set

Ping G425 - 7 Iron

Ping G425 Iron Set is everything that a mid-to-high handicapper could ever want in an iron set. The G425 Irons are designed to deliver distance, forgiveness and feel in a more compact shape, making them the ultimate game-improvement iron set.

The looks of these irons are classic and modern at the same time, which is sure to make them a favorite among golfers of all skill levels. The G425 Irons feature a variable-thickness face for increased ball speed, higher launch and improved spin control around the greens.

They are designed to be easy to hit and offer the ultimate in performance and forgiveness, making them great for golfers of all skill levels.


  • Distance and forgiveness
  • Perfect for mid-to-high handicappers
  • Great distance and accuracy
  • Forgiveness on off-center hits
  • Great feel and sound


  • Looks might not be for everyone
  • Shorter distance than other irons
  • No other cons
Our Pick
PING G425 Iron Set

If you are a beginner or a high handicap golfer, the Ping G425 Iron Set is an excellent choice. 

  • Super Forgiving Irons
  • The ball jumps off the face 
  • Great for Beginners and High Handicappers
  • Good for faster swings too
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Best Iron Set for Mid-Handicap Golfers

Cobra 2022 King Forged Tec Iron Set


The Cobra King Forged Tec irons are an impressive addition to the market, with a sleek and elegant finish that makes them look like they can add a lot of distance to your game.

These clubs have been engineered to provide the perfect blend of forgiveness, accuracy and distance, making them the perfect choice for mid-handicap golfers.

This set is packed with technology that helps to improve accuracy and launch, giving you the confidence to take your game to the next level.


  • Incredible distance
  • Sleek and elegant design
  • Suitable for low to mid-handicap golfers
  • Great feel and sound
  • One length option available


  • Not as forgiving as other clubs
  • May be too expensive for some
Our Pick
Cobra Forged Tech X Iron Set

The Cobra King Forged Tec irons are the perfect choice for mid-handicap golfers who are looking to improve their accuracy and distance.

  • Clean, traditional look
  • Excellent feel and feedback
  • Plenty of forgiveness
  • Great value for money
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.


Whether you are facing a long approach shot, short par 3, or need to clear a hazard, selecting the right club can be a huge factor in your success. 9 Iron and Pitching Wedge will usually give you enough height and spin for most of these shots.

Make sure you know your distances and select the club that will give you the best chance to hit your target. With practice, your accuracy and confidence with these clubs will improve and you’ll be seeing lower scores in no time!

The Golf Bandit
The Golf Bandit

Hi, I'm Jan. I love golf and I have been playing for a while now. I really enjoy trying out new golf clubs and equipment, and like to review them on my blog. I consider myself lucky as I have access to the latest clubs and gadgets, so I can get a feel for how they perform on the golf course. I also like to share my tips and tricks on how to improve your game, so if you're looking for help with that then look no further! Thanks for visiting, and I hope you find something useful here.

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