What Wedges Should You Carry ?
At EIDOLON Golf, we receive the occasional email about wedges with lofts of more than 60 degrees, the most common request being for a 64* wedge. I really don’t recommend those, and so I always answer that we do not have plans to offer one anytime soon. But with Phil Mickelson now playing one apparently, the dialog is picked up a little steam, so I’d thought this would be a good topic for this week.

Wedges in general require lots of practice to get proficient, and I’ll add that the time you spend practicing with your wedges will pay off more in lower scores than any other practice you can do. That said, the higher the loft, the more you need to work with the club to find out what it is capable of doing for you.

Many more golfers write us about troubles hitting a 60* wedge than ask for one with even more loft. By design, the higher loft wedges will hit higher shots, but also realize that this means the club is sliding under the ball more easily. In a fluffy lie, it is very easy to hit the ball so high on the clubface that you get a very inefficient transfer of energy, so the ball does not go as far. And most golfers have a difficult time swinging as full with these wedges as the shot requires. Here are my thoughts on how to determine what is the highest lofted wedge you should carry:

1) How’s your wedge game overall ? If you have a pretty sharp short game, and can hit various shots with your 55-56* wedge, you might find that the addition of a 60 will allow you to explore your creativity to a higher level.

2) What is your home course like ? If the greens are firm and fast, and require shots over bunkers to close pins, the 60* can be a great equalizer for you.

3) What is your ball flight ? If you're a high ball hitter with your wedges, more loft is NOT the answer. One of my favorite quotes in golf was by Allan Doyle, who responded to a question about the secret to playing well: “ Hit your wedges and short irons low, everything else high. "

4) Practice the most with your highest lofted wedge. Learn how to hit shots of all types, and see how well you can hit a short high shot with spin by laying it open. If that’s not high enough, try out a high lofted wedge and see what it can do.

And finally, I’ll offer this, as I seem to over and over again. Don’t let the PGA Tour players influence what you do with your equipment. These guys are the best in the world, have personal club technicians at their disposal, and practice more in a week than the most avid amateur does in a year. And they don’t put anything in their bag for competition until they’ve spent many hours with it in practice.
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[ comments ]
Rick says:
As usual, on point. I've never had any issues with a 60, tried a 64 and was very inconsistent. It was good for hitting a specific distance on a full swing, as opposed to a partial swing on a 60, but the extreme loft magnified slight swing errors and mishits and the errors hurt more than it helped on the very few shots it was used. Was not worth kicking a distance club out of the bag.
Jim says:
Great post Terry. I bought a 60 when I thought I was good enough. I couldn't control the distance on full swings, hit it fat and had a lot of trouble with it. I proceeded to get rid of it. After a couple of years and my handicap getting close to scratch I bought another one and have used it a lot more from 100 yards and in and only on specialty shots. 10 and below should be the only ones to use it since it requires so much technical effeciency.
Artful Golfer says:
I totally agree with your suggestion to practice the most with your highest lofted club. For me that's my 60* wedge. I practice with it so much around the green that it's now the only club I use (except when I need more bounce from the sand or rough) inside 100. My gap and sand wedge are essentially just extensions to my iron set, used only for full shots from 120 and 110. I pitch, chip and lob with my lob wedge and hit it for practically every approach to the green from 100 yards in. By putting the ball back in my stance, I chip it like a 7-iron. By opening it way up, I hit it like a 64* wedge. With limited time to practice, I've found it really works well to get really comfortable with a single wedge for every type of shot around the green instead of practicing with different clubs for different types of shots.
John says:
excellent post. Good podcast too! Anyway, this post and the one on set makeup go together, in my mind. I realized that I was carrying 2 hybrids, 3 degrees apart, and a 52 and 58 degree wedge. Not much sense there! Dropped one hybrid, carry 4-PW, and am moving to 52, 56, 60 degree wedges. I like the 58 degree wedge, but I play a course with small greens that are firm and quick. I used to chip a lot with a 56 degree, and I find myself going back and forth between 52 and 58 depending on the chip shot. I also found myself opening the blade on the 58, or taking something off of the 52, or trying to hood the 58 to fill the gap between the two wedges. It just makes too much sense to close the gaps at the 'scoring' end of the bag as opposed to having a bunch of woods and hybrids!
wedgeguy says:
Phil Mickelson sure helped illustrate my point about the 64-degree wedge this weekend. Here's a guy respected to have the best wedge game around and he takes a 9 on a par five, with three pitches from exactly the same spot with his 64* wedge. Now, if this can happen to Phil, what chances do most of us have trying to master this high-lofted of a wedge? Just food for thought.
JWHpurist says:
Your comments are "Spot On" relative to wedges and their use. For over 30 years I have used the same playing Set of Irons, Wilson Pro Staff FG-17's #1-PW (stiffD2) and a PGA R-91 55* wedge custom reground to a V sole and back weighted in 1975. These clubs have allowed me to score low when used properly. Riviera (Pac Pal)+6 in 1979. If a person learns to use a wedge properly and practices enough multiple lofts are not needed. JWHpurist
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Terry Koehler is "The Wedge Guy" and President of SCOR Golf- The Short Game Company.

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