The pitching wedge and 9 iron are both considered scoring golf clubs. Most often used for short approach shots into the green, they should be some of the most accurate clubs in your bag.
Once the golf ball has found the fairway, lower handicap golfers will consider approach shots with both of these clubs as excellent opportunities for a birdie. Mid handicappers will generally be disappointed to miss the green with either club, whilst high handicappers should feel confident of advancing the ball close to the green.
The pitching wedge and 9 iron are both similar clubs, but in this article we will take a look at the subtle differences between them and how they can be used.
What loft is a pitching wedge vs 9 iron
There are no industry standard lofts for these clubs. As iron technology has modernized, many manufacturers have favored stronger lofts. This has meant the variety of lofts for each specific club has widened between makes and models.
Typically within the same iron set a pitching wedge and a 9 iron should be separated by 4 or 5 degrees of loft. Depending on the specific iron set you choose the lofts will usually be:
Pitching Wedge: 42 to 47 degrees
9 Iron: 38 to 42 degrees
There are still extreme cases that fall outside these ranges. For example, the super game improvement Titleist T400 irons have a 33 degree 9 iron and a 38 degree pitching wedge.
How far should you hit a pitching wedge vs 9 iron?
Every golfer will have their own distances for each club depending on their swing. The most important thing is knowing your realistic and consistent yardages. That way, you will be far more accurate when it comes to choosing the right club.
As mentioned above, lofts vary so much between manufacturers that the exact distance you hit each club is less meaningful. Other than a slight ego boost over your golfing friends.
You will find the average pitching wedge distance will range from 100-145 yards and a 9 iron from 110-155 yards. Again, this a generic average and there will be plenty of golfers outside this range.
With 4 or 5 degrees less loft the 9 iron will go further than the pitching wedge. How much further again will vary between golfers, but a gap of between 10-15 yards is most common.
Do you swing them any differently?
No, these clubs should both be swung with the same technique when playing full shorts.
Swing techniques and set-ups for irons are most commonly separated into long, mid and short irons. The pitching wedge and 9 iron both come under the short iron category.
Despite being a ‘wedge’ the pitching wedge is essentially treated as an extension of your iron set. It was even originally referred to as a 10 iron, because it followed the same loft progression and iron style as the rest of your set.
The basics of the set-up position for both these clubs are: have the golf ball placed in the center of your stance, position your hands slightly ahead of the ball and aim your feet slightly left of the target.
The swing technique itself for these two clubs will depend on your skill level and, if you are taking lessons, your coach’s philosophy. For the average golfer it is often simplest to merely adjust your set-up then make the same swing for all your irons. The differing loft of each club will adjust the ball flight and distance.
Can you use both clubs for chipping?
A pitching wedge and a 9 iron are both excellent options for chipping. They are most commonly used for chip-and-run style shots, where you would like the ball to release and roll towards the hole.
You should experiment with both these clubs around the green to find out what situations you can use them. With a bit more loft, the pitching wedge will come off the face slightly higher, with a little more spin and less roll.
Should you consider a specialist pitching wedge?
Specialist wedges have become slightly more popular on Tour recently and it should be another consideration when choosing your iron set-up.
A specialist wedge is one that is made outside of the standard iron set. The grooves and clubface are designed specifically to optimize spin performance and control around the greens. You can also choose specific sole grinds and designs more suited to your game.
Most golfers carry at least a couple of higher lofted specialist wedges, often a sand wedge and lob wedge. Adding a specialist pitching wedge will give you more versatility around the greens and can give you better distance control on pitch shots.
When it comes to full shots this would separate your pitching wedge further from your 9 iron. The distance gap is likely to extend slightly, because a specialist pitching wedge would have less distance and forgiveness for off centre strikes. For this reason, a specialist pitching wedge is best suited to only lower handicappers.
The pitching wedge and 9 iron are incredibly similar clubs. So much so, that if you are only using a half set of seven clubs you could just choose one of these two clubs. This is a common option among beginners that are just learning the game.
If you are carrying a full set, both these clubs play a vital role in a golfers bag. When using your scoring clubs, distance control is vital and having less distance gaps between each club helps you achieve more accurate results.
You will want to make sure your pitching wedge and 9 iron are two of the most accurate clubs in your bag. That way you will be giving yourself more putts for birdie.