How to Choose the Right Wedges in Golf

Even though the first instinct in any sport is to use power for better results, the same can be said in golf in some respects. However, the more you play, the more you realize that golf is a game of finesse and accuracy. Power can provide an advantage but only once each and every other aspect of your game is perfected. 

Look for instance at someone like Bryson Dechambeau, his power may have helped him create a name for himself, but he will be the first person to admit that what drove him to his success is when his play within 100 yards improved.

The best players in the world are not the ones that win longest drive competitions. They are the ones that have pinpoint accuracy and precision in their short game, especially their wedges. 

Different Types of Golf Wedges:

Choosing which wedges to keep in your bag is a difficult decision, there are a plethora of factors to consider.

There are four different types of wedges that can be found in a golfer’s bag, these are the pitching wedge, the gap wedge, the sand wedge and the lob wedge.

Amongst these, the pitching wedge is one that comes when you purchase a set of irons but the other three are normally to be purchased separately. 

Pitching Wedge:

The pitching wedge comes in a variety of lofts between 44 and 49 degrees. The average players tend to hit the pitching wedge around 110-125 yards, and this is a very important club in your bag as you often find yourself in distances which require a pitching wedge. 

Gap Wedge:

The gap wedge is true to its name as its purpose is to fill the gap between a pitching wedge and a sand wedge. The loft on this club varies between 50 and 54 degrees, and this is usually used to cover distances of 80-100 yards, and it can go up to 110 yards as well. This club is crucial as it reduces a margin of error for you having to hit the skin out of a sand wedge or hitting a soft pitching wedge. 

Sand Wedge:

Now we move on to the sand wedge, the loft on this varies between 54 to 58 degrees. It can also carry the ball 80-100 yards, the design of this club is such that it has a heavy face and is made so that it can slide through sand and also thick and tall grass. It launches the ball high up in the air with the purpose of making sure it does not roll too much when it reaches the green, this ensures greater accuracy. 

Lob Wedge:

The last one is the lob wedge, this comes in lofts ranging from 59 to 65 degrees, the concept behind this club is the same as the sand wedge as it lobs the ball up in the air and ensures a softer landing on the green. This club is perfect for trying to get up over a bunker or any other surface and onto the green. 

Characteristics in Wedges:

Loft:

Now we look at the different aspects of a wedge and how to determine which one to buy and which characteristics would suit you better. The first thing for you look at is the loft of the wedges.

The loft of a club determines how far your ball will go and the trajectory it will take in the air.

Naturally clubs with more loft will travel less but have the highest trajectory, this assists you in landing your shot with far more accuracy.

In short range situations, and in difficult parts of the golf course like a thick rough or a bunker, the greater loft you have on your club the better your chances of playing the shot you desire. 

As attention grows more and more towards the short game all over the world, it can be seen that most golfers prefer to have three types of wedges in their bag, however some golfers will even go so far as to have four to five different wedges in their bag. The sole purpose for this is to minimize your shots within 100 yards which is where you can truly improve your score. 

Gap:

The way to determine which wedges to keep, you have to look at the gap you want between your lofts. As mentioned above, each wedge comes in a range of lofts.

The first thing you must do is to decide how many wedges you want to carry in your bag. In order to determine this, the first thing to consider is the gap you would prefer to keep in between your wedges.

Usually, players prefer to have anywhere between three to five degrees of loft separate their wedges. 

If you are someone who prefers to have four wedges in their bag, then the recommended gap would be either 4 or 5 degrees. This will make your pitching wedge 45 degrees if you choose the gap to be 5 and 46 if you want the gap to be 4 degrees.

Furthermore, your gap wedge will be 50 degrees, your sand will be 54 or 55 and lastly you would have either a 60 or a 58-degree wedge.

The best thing to do when buying wedges is to predetermine the gap you want in your wedges and then try out the different lofts. Whichever one feels the best suited to your game is the one you should stick to. 

Bounce

The next factor to consider is the bounce of the wedge in question. The bounce is judged by the sole of the club. Simply put the greater the bounce of the club, the less it would dig into the surface.

Therefore, when you are in a bunker or a thick rough, you would prefer to use a club with higher bounce.

In different circumstances, when you are hitting longer range shots from the fairway, you would want less bounce on your club as this would cause the club to dig deeper into the surface which would ensure the best contact with the ball. 

Grooves

The next item to look at when selecting your wedge is the type of grooves it comes equipped with. The grooves on a club create grip on the ball which allows it to spin once the ball lands.

The grooves also assist you in the accuracy of your shot as they add more control on the golf ball, ensuring the best shot trajectory as well.

The grooves create a friction between the ball and the club which causes the ball to stop or spin back as soon it hits the green.

There used to be deep grooves in wedges, however it was judged that these caused far too much backspin and created an unfair advantage and so the deep grooves were banned in golf. 

Now there are very particular instructions on how the grooves on a wedge are to be, in terms of their volume and the radius on the edges. By doing so, the wedges available now go higher in the air but have less backspin for when the ball lands on the green.

There are two particular types of grooves available nowadays on wedges, these can be either in a vintage finish or grooves carved through laser etching.

Vintage finish grooves are designed in a manner that their eventual rust is such that it complements the style of play of the golfer using them.

Laser etched grooves are very different to the vintage finish as they maximize the spin ratio on the ball, and they do not rust in a manner that compliments your game over the long run. 

Conclusion:

Imagine someone like Phil Mickleson, Tiger Woods or Jordan Speith. These are players that save strokes every round simply because of their wedge play. The reason behind this is the fact that they understand all the factors discussed above such as loft and bounce.

Firstly, they choose their wedges according to the style which suits them the most.

Secondly, they choose their wedges based on the type of courses they play.

Therefore, once you have decided the loft and gaps you want out of your wedges, you must consider the course or courses you tend to play at the most.

If you play somewhere with soft grounds and lush fairways, you would be smart to pick your higher lofted clubs like sand wedge with a higher degree of bounce and your 60 degrees with a bounce of around 8-9 degrees.

However, if your home course is a more difficult one and consists of harder grounds and tighter lies, you would like to decrease the bounce on your sand wedge by 2-3 degrees and your lob wedge by at least 4-5 degrees.

This would ensure that your clubs are utilized to their maximum capabilities, and you purchase them according to your specific needs.

If you follow this guide when purchasing your next set of wedges, there is a very high possibility that your short game will improve, and your score will drop by a couple of shots at the very least. 

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