Should I Carry A Lob Wedge?
In recent years, lob wedges have become more and more popular, and good ones can prove to be deadly scoring tools . . . if you’ll take the time to really learn how to use it. But I get emails all the time complaining that “lob wedges are too hard to hit”. Well, I think that’s true in many cases due to the wedge itself. Many of the lob wedges on the market have so little bounce that they ARE very hard to hit. And many of them have so much of the weight so low in the club that they cause the ball to shoot straight up if there is much clubhead speed at all. And then there are those stiff, heavy “wedge” shafts . . .

The reason I picked this topic this morning is because of the question from Scott W., who asked:
“What is your view point on whether a mid-handicapper (~13) should carry a 60 degree wedge?”
I’d like to give Scott my take, and then have you guys and girls chime in with your advice for him, OK?

First of all, modern courses are designed with today’s equipment in mind. They are longer to allow for the modern drivers and balls, and they have more danger around and close to the greens as well. Bunkers are closer to the putting surface in many cases, and slicker and faster greens require more loft and spin to work the ball close. For that reason, the lob wedge was developed. Early models had very heavy and wide soles, but very little bounce, as they were designed from tour player input, not the needs of the recreational player. [I’ve talked about “tour bounce” before, so you know what I think of that for the “rest of us”.]

But, Scott, if you will find a lob wedge that has a good sole and is built right for you (might I suggest an EIDOLON?), and spend some time with it, you will find it to be a great scoring tool for your greenside shots that require loft and spin.

As for the technique, realize that the lob wedge is designed to produce height and spin, so let it do its job. On all shots, make sure that you keep your hands moving through the impact zone, and that they are ahead of the clubhead at impact. In other words, the shaft is leaning slightly forward – DO NOT EXAGERATE THIS! Play the ball slightly back of center for most shots and just make smooth back and through swings. Resist any tendency to swing hard with a lob wedge. The key here is precision in your technique. Every other club in your bag, except your putter, will make it go further. When you pull a lob wedge, you are looking for spin and height, and distance precision.

Once you get familiar and comfortable with the lob wedge, practice doing different things with it. Learn how to open the face and hit soft flop shots. Learn how to play the ball back and hit lower, high-spinning, “one hop and stop” shots. Have fun with your new toy and it will reward you with more scoring options around the greens and shots that will put big smiles on your face.

So, oobers, that’s my advice to Scott. What’s yours?
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 ]
Kickntrue says:
Well- I guess Scott will get to know if he wants- now that he's WON a free EIDOLON wedge for having his question picked.
8/11/09
 
Lerxst says:
I really cant give advice much as I am a high handicapper, but I carry a LW and love it. I dont use it all the time however, when I know the distance is correct and or I have an obstacle that I must carry I will use it. What I like most about it is that when I hit it the ball lands and stops. A perfect example of this is this weekend when I had about 50 yards for my third on a par five to an elevated green. Nice easy swing and it dropped dead below the hole and left me an 8' for birdie. Now, I can say that there have been times when I was afraid to use it because I would skull it, but I practice with it all the time now and am not afraid.
8/11/09
 
ayparekh says:
I love the LW. I never hit the club full but its perfect for the 25/30yd shot with not much green to use. I use it 3/4 times a round. Although I use the Taylormade R7, which isnt all that great...I'd love to upgrade all my wedges to a Titleist Vokey when the price is justifiable.
8/11/09
 
xxjt123xx says:
It is not an easy club to use. It does give you more options around the green. It is great for stopping on a dime, or if you need to hit 40-50 yards out and use a full swing.
8/11/09
 
aaronm04 says:
I've got an Eidolon 60* and two Vokeys (56 SW and 50 GW). I'm a mid-handicapper (12 atm). I like the LW when there is not much green to work with and have hit some money shots with it. The Eidolon wedge is as-advertised. The thing stops on a dime and it lets you be more aggressive to the pin. I should caution that, unlike other clubs/wedges in your bag, if you mishit it(esp. chunking it), you won't get much roll to make up for it. Hit it right and you will be rewarded.

I can recommend a LW to a mid-handicapper, but just get plenty of practice with it (all of your wedges for that matter).
8/11/09
 
bducharm says:
My take is I would NOT recommend a LW for a higher handicap player. MOST shots that are required can be played by a 56* wedge. The safer shot is to keep the ball closer to the ground versus up in the air. Dependencies are there (conditions, terrain, etc.). I spoke with an older former tour pro and asked him if he believed that amateurs needed 60* wedges and he did not. I am a +2 handicap by the way.
8/11/09
 
mrgumbysix says:
Im a 20 handicap and I only use my lob 20-50 yards from the green and I still prefer a plush lie with every shot. I recently moved from Rochester NY to Port Orange FL and find a lob wedge is very rarely needed here due to the difference in grass. I suggest a pitching or gap wedge is much safer for higher handicap golfers.
8/11/09
 
Trevor Spring says:
A 56* wedge is all you need unless your on tour. If you want to improve can i suggest reading Stan Utleys Short game book, He will teach you how to properly use your wedges.
8/11/09
 
honeywl says:
I am an older (71) high handicaper (21) and love my lob wedge. I've been playing just over a year and am much more comfortable with it than trying to "bump and run" up to the hole. I have three other wedges: PW (46*), UW (50*) and SW (54*). The lob wedge (60*) will get me nearer the hole more easily when the pin is near the green's edge and/or there's a bunker or rough ground near the hole. All you need to do is practice with it, like any other club.
8/11/09
 
SingleDigits says:
I agree that a lob wedge (and pretty much any other club) can be a very useful tool with the right technique and a good amt of practice. I've also heard (and tend to agree with) the notion that high handicappers need a lob wedge more than pros because they miss the green more often.

I've recently added a 64 degree wedge to my bag so now I carry 5 wedges: 48, 52, 56, 60 and 64. My first practice session with the 64 included about 1/3 fat or skulled shots. Other times I held back and got under the ball too much. As the Wedge Guy mentions in the main article, you have to play the ball a little back and make sure your hands are ahead of the ball on impact. I also found that if you open up the blade of the 64 for an extreme flop shot that it's easy to swing right underneath the ball and not move it at all (there's far less room for error).

Like a lob wedge if you don't already have one, I think the 64 will become a useful addition to my bag and I'll report back after a few more rounds with it.
8/11/09
 
mike_52 says:
I'm a mid handicapper and I could not play without my LW. I use a Calloway X-Tour and have learned to open the face for shorter shots and close it for longer ones. The advice to not try and hit it hard is right on the button.
8/11/09
 
falcon50driver says:
I'm open to suggestion, and I'm not being critical, I just don't understand how anyone would need 5 wedges. How do you decide which one to use? Wouldn't it be better to use just one, and try to get used to the feel for pitching different distances? Sort of like a basketball player using the same hands shoots a variety of distances. If you're hitting a full swing with each one, what yardages do they go? Maybe I can learn something, although I don't play the game anymore, I still read the articles. Thanks
8/11/09
 
Shankapotamus says:
In recent years I have gone from a 15 to a 5 and have had a 60 degree Cleveland in my bag the entire time. People will try to tell you that a lob wedge should not be used by mid-high handicappers b/c they should get the ball on the green and let it run. However, I believe the ability to hit the ball to a spot and make it stop quickly is a key for those that don't have the time to practice chipping with every club in their bag. However, I would not recommend you ever use it for a full shot unless absolutely necessary.
8/12/09
 
paulthewitt says:
i have to agree with a lot of what has been said. I play off 24, however, more commonly shoot between 10 & 18 (just not in competitions! :-( ). I have carried a lob wedge almost since starting golf last year, the NEED for one was immediately evident. And the point about missing the green and needing to scramble pars more often is a good one. From within 30 yards this clubs is the go-to club unless the situation dictates another play is better.

Also - to the bump and run crowd....please shut up. Its fantastic that YOU can do it.... I however, cannot. always too long or short. So why bother when i cant just put my lob wedge close? Plus, i nearly always it seems find myself with a bunker between me and the green with the need to stop dead. the lob wedge with an open face is normally the correct shot to play. As was said by mr wedge guy, courses are designed to make you work to get back on the green if you miss em first time. So a lob wedge is needed.
8/12/09
 
paulthewitt says:
My final point may not be popular. But i believe there is an ego thing with some low handicappers. They like to think only they can use lob wedges. Simply no longer true. the the CG14 by cleveland and the eidolon both are useable by worse players. I play a nickent ARC wedge, which also works well. Simply make sure you have a well designed wedge (another point the wedge guy made....tour grinds are rubbish for anything less than a tour course AND player).

good article
8/12/09
 
Bryan K says:
I'm a high handicapper, and my lob wedge is my favorite club. I tend to shoot best with all of my wedges in general (because I practice them the most), but since I've started to learn to chip with my lob wedge over the past couple of weeks, I've become extremely comfortable with anything within 50 yards of the green.
8/12/09
 
Bryan K says:
Just to clear everything up....I use four wedges, and they are the most important clubs in my game for scoring. I know that if my tee shots are errant, I am still capable of shooting a bogey round. However, if my wedges are errant, there is absolutely no possible way for me to shoot a bogey round.

I use four wedges, and I've practiced a lot in learning how to use them. I'm not consistent, but when they are on, I tend to score well overall. I use a 45 degree pitching wedge, a 52 degree gap wedge, a 55 degree sand wedge, and a 60 degree lob wedge. I use the lob wedge as much as the other three wedges combined.
8/12/09
 
Banker85 says:
I am a 13 handicap and use my Vokey 60* wedge anytime i am around the green. I can get it closer than any other wedge i have. I am not a bump and run guy either but i just love this club it is the most consistent one in my bag. I agree totally with the wedge guy i always put ball back in my stance and keep the hands in front of the club head always accelerating thru the ball.
8/12/09
 
bducharm says:
It's interesting to see that most guys commenting on this have said "I'm not a bump and run kind of guy". I lived in England for 3 years and HAD to become that kind of player. Courses in America don't usually dictate bump and run kind of plays. It is kind of sad that we Americans don't get too many opportunities to play the "British" type of golf!!!
8/12/09
 
mike_52 says:
I guess I am a little of both bump and run and stick it. From 45 to 60 yds I stick it close with my LW. When I am around the green Iike to B/R.
8/12/09
 
SingleDigits says:
@merlin: yeah, I'm not sure I should carry 5 wedges as the 64 is an experiment. My full swing distances are 130, 120, 110, 100 and 80 with the 48, 52, 56, 60 and 64 degree wedges. It's true that I could choke down, use partial swings to cover the distance of the 64, etc. If you read Dave Pelz's short game bible he makes a good argument for an X wedge. Just played a round this morning and the two times I used the X wedge I miss-hit it (one slightly fat, and one I didn't swing hard enough). So the jury's still out for me. :)
8/12/09
 
BME_Badger says:
Thanks for the comments everyone - my lucky day that Terry picked my question :-) I'm looking forward to having a chance to try the 60 degree wedge soon and play with different types of shots as suggested by Terry.

I too play a lot of bump and run when I can but there are so many greens now with shelves for pin placements that I think lobbing it to the proper place might be helpful. Now to decide what club to take out of the bag... was thinking 5W.
8/12/09
 
onedollarwed says:
I hit the 60 almost exaclty 105 yds without overswinging - of course it is always back in the stance (inside of left foot). I did carry a 64 at one time but it way way too easy to fluff a ball.
One reason a 60 works well is that you can keep the ball way back in the stance and still get good loft - back in the stance means almost no chance of stubbing the club! Mine has minimal bounce. My 56 has maximal bounce and is better for sand, deep rough, or playing open up in the stance. 52 for bump and run - harder to leave it short.
Until recently I had struggled after amazing drives, by stubbing pitches, or - fearing the stub - flying the green. Again, play the ball back and don't be afraid to take a nice juicy divot - even in hard ground. Something about being up close on beautiful tight fairway freaked me out. Over that now!
8/12/09
 
falcon50driver says:
SingleDigits, Thanks for your reply, I see your reasoning completely. The 5 distances you listed are almost exactly what I use for my 5 thru 9 irons. I know they probably seem short for most of you, but I seem to hit them very high and thay all, including the 5 iron, pretty much stop dead. The only wedge I carry, a pitching wedge, is for everything 72 yards and closer, including sand. I guess my question now is, do you use your most lofted club for everything inside of 80 yards? It looks like we're doing the same thing, but just different numbers on the clubs.
8/13/09
 
SingleDigits says:
Merlin: For distances below 80 yards, I sort of follow Dave Pelz's "clock-face" recommendations. For 70 and 60 yards I use a nine-o'clock position with my 56 and 60 deg wedges. For 50, 40 and 30 yards I let my club go to parallel with the ground on the backswing and then follow through to vertical (using my 52, 56 and 60 deg wedges respectively). I can also take about 20 yds off my full swing distances with a 3/4 backswing (i.e. 10:30 o'clock).

Next I want to work on a low pitch that bounces twice and then checks immediately. I've been playing recently with two older guys who never reach the long par 4s in two, but always seem to get up & down with the shot I just described.
8/13/09
 
jjgibb0 says:
I'm a 20 and carry one. Maybe that's why I'm a 20?....Ha! Anyway, I do notice I mis-hit it alot out of the rough. Chili dip if you will. You just need to know your comfort zone, and don't be tempted to reach for it anytime you're around the green. The 7 or 8 iron chip is a much easier shot and will usually out perform the LW. I know this, but for some reason, I always reach for the LW with visions of sticking it [ball] next to the hole.
8/13/09
 
falcon50driver says:
jjgibb0, I think I know what you're talking about with the visions of sticking the ball tight to the pin.. I used to play with a guy who ALWAYS took a mighty swing with his wedge when close to the green. He ALWAYS sent the ball screaming across the green. I finally figured what he expected was a lot of spin and the ball stopping.....It NEVER happened.
8/13/09
 
Banker85 says:
ya mine never just check like the pros it but it does the job far better than any other club around the green.
8/13/09
 
JT Golfman says:
They are nice wedges but i think the clevelands are better. They are light weight and you can get an older model (cg 10) for less than 100$ and they are easy to hit. They also usually take one smal bounce and stop.
8/13/09
 
mjaber says:
I have one, and I like it. I think it's just as possible to play well without one. You learn to adjust to what is in your bag, especially when you have the same setup all the time. I find I'm more comfortable chipping with my lob because I've always had a tendency to skull my chips, resulting in another chip from the other side of the green. With my lob wedge, I will occasionally leave a chip short by sliding under the ball in a fluffy lie, but I've never skulled it.
8/13/09
 
nytrumpet says:
I use my lob wedge all the time. I don't know what I would do without it. You must practice with it to find out how it works for you.
8/13/09
 
whitefro78 says:
I'm a 15 handicap and I just picked up Vokey 52, 56, and 60 degree wedges. Its the fist time I've had any wedges other than a Pw and Sw. So far they are great except when I stripe a drive and 3 wood to the front of green a long par 5 and then get yippy and shank a 60 degree. Just need more practice to get used to hitting it off the tight lie.
8/13/09
 
onedollarwed says:
Yeah whenever you pick up a club, you should intuit the feel for the club - unless it's new to you. They're all different after all. I mean.. does anyone carry duplicate clubs in the bag? ? ?
They're all different lengths, and lies. Every club in the bag will put your body in a different position (there are some exceptions). It took me about 2 mos to adjust from being a 1-wedge player to a 3-wedge player. Very weird at first, many unpredictable chips, pitches, blasts, etc.
M2D does make me laugh a little... " I just don't understand how anyone would need 5 wedges. How do you decide which one to use? Wouldn't it be better to use just one, and try to get used to the feel for pitching different distances?"
Let me translate into M2D-speak... Why yould anyone need more than one race car? Couldn't you drag, Indy and dirt track with just one? Heh?
8/13/09
 
JOSEPHLB says:
I think its important to get a wedge, that you are comfortable with. Loft really isn't the most important factor. Bounce, grind, sole width all play a role in determining if you have a wedge that you will be capable of playing.
8/14/09
 
golfmaniac says:
I am an 8 and don't presently carry a 60 degree wedge. I have carried a 60 before for a number of years, but found that I can create the same shot by opening up my 56 SW. Given the choice of carrying a 5 wood or 60 I have gone with the 5 wood. I don't think there is a correct or incorrect answer to the question. It all depends on the player and the type of course he or she plays.
8/14/09
 
falcon50driver says:
Singledigits explained very nicely why he has 5 wedges. He starts using wedges 130 yards out, decreasing in 10 yard increments, down to 80 yards. I played the game the same way, but using irons until the distance was under 70 yards and then used my wedge. I can't imagine using a different club for 50 30 20 10. That's what I thought people were talking about. That's why I asked. Maybe a few do.
8/16/09
 
onedollarwed says:
Heh, every club is a wedge as simple machines go. It does seem odd now that I think about it - that wedges can differ so much in material and construction from your set. A lot of people hate hitting their un-wedgy irons anyway. A friend would play 3 nine irons in a row on certain par-5's when placement was key.
As for the special shots that SingDig mentions, I think it's called a punch-flop. Or is that a chop-skid? Oh, it's a stabbyoyo.
8/16/09
 
Hoody005 says:
I just recently added a 60 to my game and it's a LOVE HATE relationship I have with that thing. I can stick it tight from 40 out within 2 ft or slide right under the ball and still have a 20yrd chip so ultimatly it really depends on the lie that you have to actually utilize the 60. If im in the fairway all day my 60 gets a break but in the rough around the greens its a busy club..
8/21/09
 
c5agalb says:
I find myself needing to use my LW at least 5 to 6 times around because I come up short or over the green. I almost always find myself off the green on the flag side with little room to let the ball run. When I have to go over a bunker, I want my LW in hand. Modern course feature well protected greens with multiple bunkers, a LW is essential to fly it over them. Course built early lst century may have allowed for bump and run as greens were more open, but not today. A SW often does not have the touch and stopping power for those 10 yd shots to get me on the green.
8/21/09
 
cowboy7683 says:
well i may be the odd guy out here. but i m a fairly new player. and am not a great player. but i honestly love my 60 degree LW. when i m within 60 yards it is my go to club. and i have recently learned a little flop shot with it that has easily shaved 5-10 strokes off my game. oh and it always makes me feel good. when u have that high floating shot landing on the green. it always seems to give me confidence. but again i may be the odd guy out. haha.
9/1/09
 
Mr_X says:
I have hit 60 degree lob wedges. I have hit them well. Although I am a high handicapper, my short game is my strength. Since I get up and down better than I drive, I don't think lob wedges are valuable to earn a place in my bag. Everything that can be done with a 60 degree wedge can be done with a slightly open 56 degree wedge. Fly a tree, make the ball tango or have it land softer than a snowflake. It can all be done with a sand wedge. The extra space left by only having three wedges can go to another fairway wood or hybrid which will keep me on the fairway AND out of trouble in the first place.
9/9/09
 
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