Yang Zhi started his football career at second tier side Guangdong Xiongying after graduating from their youth academy. He quickly established himself within the squad in the 2002 season with Guangdong, playing in 26 league games. The following season he would play in a further 22 league games for Guangdong and help take them to a tenth-place finish.
Yang's performances caught the eye of Chinese Super League side Beijing Guoan and he soon transferred to them at the start of the 2005 league season where he once again quickly established himself as their first-choice goalkeeper, playing in 21 league games in his debut season. The following seasons saw him become an integral member of the squad; and by the 2009 league season, he had aided them to win the top tier title. Right before the start of the 2012 season, Yang sustained an injury when he played for his hometown Guangdong in the 2012 Guangdong-Hong Kong Cup and was out for most of the season. He recovered in time to return and regain his starting role as goalkeeper for Beijing during the 2013 season.