The Science to Selecting Wedges
As you would imagine, at EIDOLON we get questioned daily by golfers wondering what wedges they should carry. One of the most curious things to me about set make-up is how little science is applied to the selection of wedges. It seems that even golfers who go through a custom fit process for their irons, will then just randomly pick wedges off the retail rack.

I got this question just this week from Dennis, an oobgolfer and reader of TheWedgeGuy, who explained that he has a set of irons with a 46* pitching wedge, and was wondering . . .

What lofts should I be using for gap and sand wedges?

Well , Dennis, you are way ahead of most golfers by actually knowing the loft of your pitching wedge. With the advent of the cavity back irons, and the constant pursuit by major brands of “longer hitting” clubs than the competition, they have made a mockery of traditional lofts, particularly with the short irons. When Hogan and Nelson played, “pitching wedges” were just that – a club designed for short game skills, with 50* of loft being pretty standard. As we went through the 60s and 70s, we saw PW lofts drop down to 48-49*. But now, many of the new “high tech” sets of irons feature “pitching wedges” with lofts of 46* or even less. I know of at least one model of irons that have a “pitching wedge” of only 43*!!! I don’t care what you call it, guys . . . that’s an 8-iron by Hogan’s definition. Putting a “PW” on the bottom sure doesn’t give it the qualities you want in a pitching wedge.

So, to answer Dennis’ question, and for all of you who might be interested, you have to approach the building of your scoring club arsenal by really KNOWING your short irons. Almost all manufacturers post their specifications of their irons on their websites, but if yours are a few years old, you might not be able to find that out. Any qualified clubmaker/fitter can measure and tell you exactly what you have.

What we find at EIDOLON, fitting and building thousands of wedges, is that there are some very basic fundamentals of building your scoring tools that will give you consistent yardage increments with full swings, and the right scoring options around the greens:
1. Loft increments of about 4* from your PW to each successive wedge will give you a yardage difference of about 12-14 yards, depending on your strength.

2. Shaft lengths should reduce about ¼” from 8- or 9-iron on down to keep distance increments consistent. The nature of irons is that the old standard of ½” length differences gives most golfers smaller gaps at the long end of the set and wider gaps in the short irons. In my opinion, you should strive for just the opposite.

3. Whatever shaft you play in your short irons should be closely matched in weight and flex in your wedges. At EIDOLON, we build wedges on the Rifle Spinner for golfers playing standard weight steel, and have gotten rave reviews on our SCoR graphite, which we recommend for all golfers playing lightweight steel or graphite in their irons.

4. Shaft flex is important. Off the rack wedges from all major brands have the same shaft – a Dynamic Gold “wedge” flex, which is heavier and stiffer than the iron shaft played by the vast majority of golfers. This prevents a consistent feel and balance from your short irons to your wedges.

5. And taking a tip from tour professionals, slightly flatter lies in your wedges sets you up for better wedge play. We recommend that the longer wedges – pitching and gap – be 1* flatter than your short irons. The higher lofted wedges should be 1-2* flatter in lie angle.
Golfers don’t typically carry enough wedges, and too many fairway woods and hybrids. In determining scoring set make-up, we ask golfers how many clubs they have in their bag that go further than their 5-iron. The answer is often 4-5. But why? If you are playing the right tees for your game, you probably don’t hit 4-6 shots a round with those clubs, but are trying to play as many as 17-25 with only 2-3 wedge options. It’s something to think about. When you are 175+ yards from the greens, chances are you have a bigger target area than when you are inside 100 yards. Match your options to the challenge and your scores will improve.

So, Dennis, I hope that answered your question. You’ve got one FREE EIDOLON V-SOLE wedge earned by asking, so let us know which one you want, and if you want to fill in the rest of the set!

And if you guys have any other insight on selecting wedges that optimize scoring, I’m sure Dennis and I both would love to hear it.


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[ comments ]
cpjolicoeur says:
very good point about needing to carry more wedges and "short game" clubs than long irons and hybrids.

my current set of TaylorMade irons includes a PW with a loft of 44* and a SW with a loft of 54* for a full 10* gap between clubs!
10/7/09
 
windowsurfer says:
This makes a lot of sense. My old(ish) Toney Penna XQ-9 forged blades include a PW that I am guessing is more like 50 and less like 43. I have a Toney Penna SW from a different set (same era) that I suspect is 56* and a 60 Dynacraft LW. The PW has the proprietary TP "Pennaflex" stiff steel shaft, like the rest of the set. The SW a TT DG S400 and the LW is steel, not marked. There is a 1/8" difference in lengths, progressively. I know (I think I know) that the #4 Apex Edge graphite shafts in my Hogan hybrids suit me cuz I hit them well, consistently. Is it the clubhead or the shaft? I have a Hogan hybrid with a Rifle 6.5 and I hit it straight, but not as far (allowing for loft differences.) So, I'm curious about graphite shafts for wedges and will be interested to see what others say about this.

BTW, when I look at the sole of my TP SW, it is ground like the Eidolon. The PW and the Dynacraft LW are not. Interesting.
10/7/09
 
Banker85 says:
is lie angle the same as bounce? i have a 45* PW a 50* gap and a 60* loft wedge. all different brands grips and shafts! i could probably take out the 4I and fill the gap with a 54* or 56* SW since i rarely use it at my local course 5900 yards, usually after my drive i am hitting no more than a 8I but a lot of wedges mostly 50* which i cant seem to get a consistent distance from. anywhere from full swing 100-120yds
10/7/09
 
scottland says:
Knowing your lofts are battle that most amateurs fight. If you asked 10 people on the course what loft their PW was, 8 wouldn't know. Mine is 49* (Nike forged Blades). So a 54* SW and 60* LW work great for me. If I had a 46 or 47* PW I would probably play a 52/53* SW and a 58-59* LW
10/7/09
 
windowsurfer says:
Scottland -- How do you measure loft accurately?
10/7/09
 
colinw says:
Love the fact that my Tommy Armour 845 Silver Scot 1-9 irons came desperately cheap, (41 bucks), higher lofts than standard today, a really nice sweet spot and MOST OF ALL the lofts stamped onto the face. Makes it so much easier to deal with distance and compare sets.
10/7/09
 
onedollarwed says:
Wegdy is right, I did many demos for irons and "woods," but grabbed a stock wedge. However, After many years of using different wedges, I tried my current brand and was instantly impressed - been using them since. By dumb luck it was almost the same as the irons - though the wedges predate the irons!
Here is what I'm working with:


Club Loft -¦ Lie -¦ Offset " Length " Bounce -¦
2 18 59.0 0.154 39.25 2
3 21 59.5 0.142 38.75 2
4 24 60.0 0.134 38.25 2
5 27 60.5 0.134 37.75 2
6 31 61.0 0.130 37.25 3
7 35 61.5 0.126 36.75 3
8 39 62.0 0.126 36.25 4
9 43 62.5 0.114 35.75 5
PW 47 63.0 0.114 35.50 6
GW 52 64 35.50 8
SW 56 64 35.25 14
LW 60 64 35.00 4
and shafts: S300 130grams, Low Flight, tip= .355, butt=.600
The wedge shafts are True Temper which as far as I can tell are very similar to the DG S300s.
10/7/09
 
onedollarwed says:
Shoot, I took the time to line everything up in the above list but it took out all the spacing! I checked the specs before getting GW to keep it to 5* from PW. I don't actually own the 2 iron in the chart above, but use the 3 iron a lot.

My fairway woods have lofts of 15 and 21 degrees - also with S300 shafts (I select one for the course that day). Driver 9.5 degrees. No hybrids. So: P,D,FW,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,PW,GW,SW,LW,=14
I think I may use the long clubs more than most. On most courses I can use D, 3w, or 3i on almost any tee. 3i plays the best draw, and 3w the best cut. 3i is my conservative club. 3w max distance off fairway with good lie. The rest are just filling in distances. 4i is the least used, unless you get right on 200-210yds.
Kind of curious... How many of the hybrids you guys use out there are matched in any way to your set? Do they conform to same shafts? Lies? Lofts? Lengths? How does that work? Is it a smooth transition, or just like going from iron to "wood?"
10/7/09
 
Bryan K says:
My long clubs...I play a 11.5* driver, a 19* 3h, and a 21* 4h. I also have a 3w in my bag that I don't ever use.

My wedges: I play a 45* pw, a 52* gw, a 55* sw, and a 60* lw.

I still don't hit all that well with the pw, but the gw, sw, and lw are the only clubs in my bag that I have any kind of confidence or consistency with.
10/8/09
 
Trav says:
"We recommend that the longer wedges GÇô pitching and gap GÇô be 1* flatter than your short irons. The higher lofted wedges should be 1-2* flatter in lie angle."

Question - I have Eidolon GW (52), SW, and LW. Does your comment mean that my wedges have the flatter lie angles you refer to? Or do I have to get my irons (MP32) and wedges measured to see if this is the case?

I'm not sure I agree about not having 4 clubs longer than a 5I - I have driver, 4W (instead of 3W as you once suggested, and I completely agree), 3H and 4H, which I need for especially for longer par 3's even if I only use them once or twice oherwise. But if you meant 4 clubs over the 5I in addition to the driver, then I would certainly agree.
10/8/09
 
onedollarwed says:
It's funny,
I think part of the issue is that is unusual for us to have real accuracy with the long clubs consistently, and that if you played a round without them your score might not suffer too much, or might improve even. Say you had a driver and then the next club was a five iron or relative hybrid, would you miss those clubs?
Now getting max distance off fairway or rough needs something other that driver or 5-iron. But how often is that max distance not a problem. I might start tracking a new stat: Trouble shots... what club did you hit that got you in trouble? Are you putting 4 irons into the sand? Are you hitting wedges into the sand? hmm.
10/8/09
 
Bryan K says:
The question though...if I'm not supposed to have four clubs longer than a 5i....

I have four wedges, three "long" clubs, and a putter. That leaves me room for six clubs in my bag. 5i through 9i equals only four clubs. That still leaves room for a club.

To be completely honest, I have a 3w in my bag that I never use. The reason I keep it in my bag is because I have no idea what I'd replace it with. The obvious answer would be a 2h. But if I'm not supposed to have four clubs longer than a 5i, then what does that leave? A fifth wedge?

No....I think four long clubs and four wedges is about right.
10/8/09
 
SteveS says:
I'm not a long hitter (220 yd off the tee)and any par 4 around 400 yds, I plan on taking a third shot to the green something around 30yds. I have hybrids at 15*, 20*, 25* 30*(my 150yd club) My 20* is my go to long iron; punch shots, chipping in some cases. I also carry a 5w, but I only use it off the tee for par 3 >180yds. It has a deep face which allows a little higher tee. I carry 3 wegdes, PW 47*, GW 53*, and SW 57*. I very seldom use the 53*. 60yds and in requiring loft I use my 57*. >60yds with loft my 53* or 47*. If I can bump and run I'll use anything from my 7 thru PW or my 20* hybrid. This has been a very successful combo for me, this has been ny best year yet after playing 4 years. I have shot 82,84,84,85 89 and low 90's (bad days). The major lesson I learned was to know your limitations and play accordingly. I always play to the middle of the green and use more club on any shot where I have any doubts.
10/8/09
 
onedollarwed says:
This is really great! To think back to the golf beginnings where a mere two or three club sufficed. My golf beginnnings as well. I now use about 7-10 guitars. The more you have, the more set-ups you can have - open tunings, heavier or lighter guage strings, nylon, steel, 12-string, rhythm, shred, bendy, slide, whammy. Something for every situation.
10/10/09
 
schifahrer says:
Very good point. That's why I ordered a set of 4 wedges at Eidolon 2 months ago and looking forward to increase my options around the green with them. Anyhow the full amount for the set and a hefty shiping charge was deductet from my credit card in a flush, but since then no useful informations from Eidolon arrived.
Still hope that sometimes in the long futur I will be able to post a positiv feedback here.
10/22/09
 
wedgeguy says:
Now that concerns me about your order experience here at EIDOLON. Can you contact us first thing tomorrow to see what the heck is going on? We ship 95% of our orders within two days of receipt!!! You're saying TWO MONTHS????? Please contact me right away.

Terry Koehler, EIDOLON Golf
10/22/09
 
hack99 says:
You say that PW-52* wedges's should be 1* flatter and SW-LW 1*-2* flatter I am curious for the reasoning for this ...
1/11/10
 
Century1 says:
I am going to buy a set of Eidolon wedges. The wedge guy and a friend of mine who
is like the local wiz kid at 53, (always under par and usualy in the mid high 60s)
"I can only dream" Any way his take on lie angles and shaft lengths are much the same as the wedge guy, and my friend warned me that when I went to get my new ping S57s fitted that they would try to increase my lie angle up 3 to 4 degrees and not to let them. He was right, 3.75 to be exact. As it stands I did alow them to increase by 2.25 due to my hieght. I hope that was not a mistake. I also hope that the people at Eidelon, don't mind me asking some questions, before I buy. My friend the die hard, Titleist, guy can't wait to try them as well, as soon as this darn snow goes away in April.
2/1/10
 
windowsurfer says:
Hi Terry,

I just graduated from a 1970 set of MacGregor forged blades to a 2008 set of MT Pro-Cs. This brings my PW from a 51* to a 46*. Can you tell me about BOUNCE and the logic involved in choosing? As I fill in new 50* wedge (and maybe a matching 56* SW and 60*LW) should I consider an 8* or 12* bounce, and why? Right now I play my 51* PW, a 56* Toney Penna SW and a 60* Dynacraft LW. Sorry - don't know the bounces on them. Pls feel free to refer me to another article if this is a faster way to answer my question. Thanks!
2/12/10
 
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Terry Koehler is "The Wedge Guy" and President of SCOR Golf- The Short Game Company.

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