Recreational players don’t use this club enough, says instructor

Ruoning Yin of China chips on the 11th green during the first round of the CPKC Women's Open at Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club on August 24, 2023 in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Learning how to incorporate a lower-loft chip will pay dividends.

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As if the game wasn’t already hard enough, we recreational players tend to make it even harder. How? Our club selection, says Carly Schneider, the director of instruction at the Cove Club in Cabo Del Sol, Mexico.

According to Schneider, there is one club that recreational players simply don’t use enough: a 9-iron.

While you may be thinking, I only wish I could have a 9-iron in my hands more often during a round, the 9-iron shot Schneider is referring to isn’t a full swing. Instead, it’s learning how to utilize the club around the green.

Chipping should be used 99 percent of the time,” Schneider told me at GOLF’s recent Top 100 Teacher Retreat in Scottsdale, Ariz. “We only need to pitch it when we need to hit it over something, or we need to hit it maybe a little bit of a longer distance and get some carry.

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“But learning how to make a chipping stroke and use an eight or a 9-iron, getting that shot down and learning how to get into the center of the clubface will make golf become a lot easier, which is what we all want to do.”

Recreational players have a tendency to look at every shot around the green as an opportunity to use a lofted wedge. But Schneider said that using a short stroke with a lower-lofted club like a 9-iron is hugely beneficial for any player.

“The 9-iron is really useful anywhere between 25 and 45 yards from your target,” Schneider said. “Get your feet really close together, maybe one club-face apart, and almost feel like you’re putting. That motion will give you just a little bit of a chip and plenty of roll. As you practice this shot, you’ll realize that you have to make less effort and less of a swing to produce a very effective and almost a certain result.

“You can also miss it all over the face that way and still create some predictability and consistency on the green.”

Using a 9-iron instead of a wedge can give you a much lower margin of error and lower scores as a result. Give it a try in your next round and enjoy your newfound greenside prowess.

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