High Loft Wedges
At EIDOLON, we get the occasional request for wedges with more than 60-61 degrees of loft, which we do not make. So we talk with the golfer who’s calling to see just what they are trying to accomplish with such a club. I should add that when you call us, you’ll be talking with a golfer (other than our accounting manager, we don’t have anyone in the company who can’t play to a single digit handicap). It’s a little quirk of mine that I think real golfers who know the game can do a better job of building quality equipment than an assembly line worker who doesn’t know a bogey from a baseball bat. And of course, our technical support people have to know the game to help people get the right set of scoring tools in their bags.

Anyway, this is about high loft wedges, stimulated by an email from Anthony, who asked:
“I was wondering why you only make your wedges up to 61 degrees. Some companies go up to 73 degrees and some great players like Phil Mickelson have used 64 degree wedges. So why stop at 61?”
Well, Anthony, my experience is that even lob wedges of 58-61 degrees prove difficult for most golfers to master. When you have that much loft on a club, the impact is somewhat of a glancing blow, and requires a very strong technique of the golfer. In order to control trajectories on full-swing shots, you have to be strong with the lead (left) side through impact, and most golfers just are not there. So, they end up swinging harder, and the shots go higher but not further, and they dunk the shot in the front bunker/water, or even worse, skull it over the green into who knows what.

On shorter shots around the greens, these high loft wedges present another set of challenges, as the ball is often sitting up a bit in the rough, and therefore the increased loft causes the ball to make impact with the top half of the clubface, where there is little mass. The shots I observe mostly end up short, again very likely in a worse spot than where the golfer started.

I have had the good fortune to play lots of courses, and I can’t think of one that was do diabolical that you couldn’t hit any shot you needed with a wedge of 60-61 degrees. In fact, now that I’m playing the newer grooves, I find that my 54 degree wedge is a much better scoring club for many shots around the greens. The ball comes off a little lower, and with just as much spin, but is more controllable for distance than even my 57 in many instances.

Rather than look for the “missing shots” from a wedge of more than 61 degrees of loft, Anthony, I’d suggest you spend time around the practice green with your gap and sand wedge to learn more shots you can hit with them. It’s just my opinion of course, but I think your scores will reflect the practice time very quickly.

I’m running short of topics to write about on Tuesday, guys and ladies, so send those emails to me and give yourself a chance to win a FREE EIDOLON wedge. Anthony just did!
The Wedge Guy is sponsored by SCOR Golf, where Terry Koehler is President/CEO. He encourages you to submit your questions or topics to be considered for his columns on Tuesdays and Fridays. Each submission automatically enters you to win a SCOR4161 wedge to be given away monthly. Click the button below to submit your question or topic today.


[ comments ]
birdieXris says:
I don't see the point in the high lofted wedges. I think they're very much a specialty item that takes up a lot of space for a little benefit. My highest wedge is a 58 (made special by Eidolon, plug plug) because i can hit it 100 yards if i need to with a full swing. I have control over the trajectory and it doesn't make sense for me to have anything higher or lower. If i need to get it up quickly i open the face, it's a simple change. I see a lot of people with 60 and up taking full swings from 70 yards. "Why" is my question. there's 70% more chance of making an error swinging full than there is swinging as a pitch shot IMO. There's just not enough use around the greens with a higher lofted club unless you're constantly short siding yourself or getting in the face of deep bunkers --- but then you have all sorts of other problems that need tending too.
6/14/11
 
Agustin says:
The key to hitting high loft wedges is keeping you hands ahead of the clubhead and leading with your left triceps (for RH golfers) keeping your arm tight against your body. Once you master this, you can knock down pins with them.

My favorite shot is from 80 yds out with my trusty 64°.
6/14/11
 
Bryan K says:
I play a 60 degree wedge. It is my money club. Ever since I first got it, it has been the club that I hit better than any other in my bag. I hit it around the greens and out of bunkers with a great amount of success. However, I have three things to add.

1) I don't ever take a "full" swing anymore. At least when I'm playing well, I don't. When I'm not playing well, that psychological factor of "I gotta swing harder" kicks in, and that compounds the issue. But when I am playing well, I always have a little bit more in the tank.

2) I have just learned recently that when I have a fluffed up lie in the rough, I can't hit my 60 degree. This has taken a lot of trial and error, and I finally just got to the point where I realized what the problem was.

3) I don't know if I'd be able to use a 60 degree with new grooves.
6/14/11
 
Banker85 says:
I love my 60* wedge from 50yards and in. I dont trust the full swing with the club. I dont like skying the ball so high i cant control the distane. but i say if people want it and you customize clubs why not give them what they want? Kinda like a golf pro snob IMO.
6/14/11
 
mjaber says:
I had a similar discussion with a guy at the local golf shop. He carries 1 wedge (sand), because he learned to hit many different shots with all his clubs. I, being a fairly new golfer, found it easier to use a "full" swing to get the right distance than to try to figure out if I need to hit a 1/2 shot, a 1/4 shot, a 9/16 shot...

I've never had an issue hitting my 60* with a "full" swing, and I get a consistent 85ish yards out of it.

My so-called "full" swing is not a full turn. I believe I'm about a 3/4 turn with all my clubs. I've found better control and rhythm when I focus on trying to NOT make a full rotation to parrallel.
6/14/11
 
legitimatebeef says:
I have come to rely on the 60. I guess its possible to open the face of a regular sand wedge to get more loft but that just exposes more bounce. Sometimes you really need to slide that club underneath the ball and in those cases the extra bounce does not help matters. I use a 60 with low bounce- 6 degrees- not much for full shots, but around the greens it gets a lot of use, especially when the rough is thick and the greens hard and fast, which is how they've been for most of the season. If you have the right club, and your ball is sitting decently, anything's possible.
6/14/11
 
legitimatebeef says:
Also regarding the full swing, I don't think it should necessarily be avoided. Kind of like the 3-iron shot, can't the full wedge shot reveal something about the condition of your swing? Like people have said, it requires a proper hands-ahead strike. And as the Wedgeguy has pointed out before, with that stiff of a club you really have to load the shaft and avoid releasing the clubhead too soon. I've been rebuilding my swing lately and the trajectory of my full wedge swings has given me some good feedback. and let's face it, if you are playing every short shot with the intent of getting it super close, sometimes you have to put your bollockz on the line and try to loft one up in the air.
6/14/11
 
stuart189 says:
It can be my best club, it can also be my worst club. Love it out of the bunker and gives you so much satisfaction hitting over a bunker and landing next to the pin. I also nearly kill my playing partners when I skinny it at about 100mph 6 meters off the ground onto the next fairway. :)
6/15/11
 
Bryan K says:
beef: Interestingly, even when I'm not playing well and I start to swing hard at the ball, I still tend to hit my lob wedge well. I also have to make one clarification. When I hit a flop shot or a bunker shot (which I tend to use my lob wedge for), I take a full swing.
6/15/11
 
infoblues says:
I have to have a 64*. I might learn otherwise later on as I get better, but for now the biggest reason I need it is for the less than 15 yard pitches near the green (which in my case are usually not from the apron / fairway). I just don't have the confidence with a 52 to chip it correctly - the biggest concern being that if I get the bounce on the green, it will roll farther than I want and if I get the bounce before the green it will stop far too short, maybe not even make it to the green. With a 64* I can pitch making sure it lands on the green and stops quick too. Yes, I agree that a full swing with it is hard to accomplish, which I have learned after a lot of skulls. In fact, I find that hard with any wedge higher than 52*.
6/17/11
 
wedgeguy says:
infoblues, there are a lot of options between your 52 and a 64. I'd suggest you "ease" into the right formula. Do you not have a wedge of 54-56 degrees? If not, get one. Or one of about 58-60. I think you'll find them to be much more versatile scoring tools. And watch our ad at the top of this column for a never-before offered price on our EIDOLON wedges.
6/19/11
 
infoblues says:
Oh yes, I do.. I usually carry a 56, 60 and 64 in addition to the iron set that runs upto 52. But I've found the 64 the most often used wedge for myself followed by 52. 56 is sand wedge with a lot of bounce and I always feel wary of using it lest I skull it. I do use it in fluffy lies and sand of course. The 60 has an intermediate bounce and use it for deep bunker lies or intermediate fluff. I carry so many wedges at the expense of more fairways woods / hybrids / long irons, which seems to be working fine for now. Another reason is that I also remember you mentioning in one of your earlier posts about how similar loft differences in lower lofted clubs are less important than higher lofted clubs. Plus it limits the number of harder to hit lower lofted clubs to just a few that I can working on to get better at.
6/19/11
 
GolferAnt says:
Nice, I needed a PW, since the set i bought goes from 45* to 52*
6/20/11
 
GolferAnt says:
in "Dave Pelz's Short Game Bible" he recommends having a 50-51, a 55-56, 60-61,and 64

Dave pelz says this about the 64 degree wedge "makes life around the greens very easy, because it hits high, soft shots without having to open the face."
7/5/11
 
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Terry Koehler is "The Wedge Guy" and President of SCOR Golf- The Short Game Company.

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