Sorting Out Wedge Confusion
This is the first of our regular Tuesday articles addressing questions from our readers. We had a number on this topic, but “Ross” sent his Q on Sunday, 2/15 and put it pretty simply:
“It used to be that if you had a pitching wedge and a sand wedge you were good to go. Not so anymore. If I carry 3 or even 4 wedges, how do I know what to use where?”
Well Ross, that comes up a lot, so let me get into this. The reason we used to only carry a Pitching Wedge and a Sand Wedge is that Pitching Wedges used to be about 50-51 degrees in loft, so those two options served us well. Then manufacturers began jacking up the lofts to give more distance, and pitching wedges came down to 48 or so, creating the need for the “gap wedge” most commonly about 52*.
Then our more speedy greens, deeper bunkers tougher recovery shots led to the development of the Lob wedge, with lofts of 58-62 degrees and even more.
Now we’re seeing the manufacturers crank up “pitching wedges” (and they use the term loosely) so that 43-45 degrees is not uncommon. A club of that length and loft used to be an 8-iron or at least a 9-iron by the way. So now, they’ve created a distance gap again, this time between the gap wedge and this new nuked up “pitching wedge”, which is not any good for pitching the ball anyway. So they really aren’t helping your short game, you see?
We get lots of inquiries at EIDOLON asking us which wedges golfers should carry. My answer is almost always the same – as many as you can make room for!!! The more scoring options you give yourself inside 125-135 yards, the lower scores you are likely to get . . . it’s just that simple. Most golfers have too many fairway woods and hybrids, giving them as many as 5-6 options outside 175 or so, but only two wedges for all their money shots, when they are in prime scoring range. That just doesn’t make sense.
So, the first thing you need to do is KNOW what your pitching wedge loft is. Go to the manufacturer’s website and find “specifications” for your model of irons, and you’ll find that out. Then you should begin looking for wedges that give you about a 4 degree difference from one to the other, down to the highest loft wedge you might want to carry. In my own bag, for example, my pitching wedge is 47 degrees, and I carry a 50, 54 and 58* EIDOLON V-SOLE to give me plenty of scoring options inside 9-iron range.
If you carry one of the cranked up pitching wedges of 43-45 degrees, you might find that a 48, 52, 56 and 60 fill in just fine.
“But that gives me five wedges, Terry”, I can already hear you saying. No it doesn’t, because that “pitching wedge” in your set is really a 9-iron!
Now, once you have these wedges, you need to find out exactly how far you hit each with your comfortable full swing. We discuss this process in detail in our book, “The SCoR Method”, (http://www.eidolongolf.com/scorbook.asp) but the way to do this is take some balls to the far end of the course, a baseball field or anywhere else you can hit wedges. Hit half a dozen good shots with your longest wedge and walk off the distance to the center of the group. Take your next longest wedge with you. Then hit the balls back toward your starting position and walk off that distance. Do this back and forth with each wedge until you know how far each one will go with a comfortable full swing.
Then you can hit balls with half swings with each wedge to find out what kind of trajectory and distance you get with each again. With just a little practice and orientation, you’ll know exactly how far each wedge goes with a full swing and half swing, and you have eight scoring shots. Using our SCoR Method, you can also learn how to hit the “in between” yardages by changing only your hand position on the grip, and not varying your swing.
With 3, 4 or even five wedges in your bag, you will find that you always have lots of options around the greens, without manipulating your swing but by simply choosing the club that will deliver the trajectory and spin you see that shot requiring.
Oh, and to address what clubs to remove to make room for more wedges, examine the long end of your set, be honest about how far you really hit each fairway wood and hybrid, and your middle irons, and remove those that don’t give you at least a 15 yard difference on each side. Again, in my own bag, I find a 17* 4-wood and a 19* hybrid do all I need between my 4-iron and driver.
Let me know your thoughts and feedback on this and all my writings on The Wedge Guy. And congratulations, Ross. We’ll be contacting you to get the specs for your FREE EIDOLON wedge.
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 ]
I feel that wasnt a short game question it was more of what you preferred.any golfer who carries only the standard two wedges doesnt understand the scoring aspect.any good golfer knows how far they hit all their clubs and what they need in close.
This is the best advice I have ever read in any web blog. Also don't always believe the loft on wedges (measure the distance you hit it) many clubs have had the lofts changed. Also lenght of shaft can cause a difference to distance. I have some wedges that hit farther than 8 or 9 irons with normal swings.
Les Page says:
Now I am in trouble. With my greastest difficulty being fairway to someplace close to the green and only 10-12 yards between 3-5-7 FW's, 3-4 Hybrids, and 6-9 Irons I am down to the PW (44*)and a 52* Wedge. I need everything else to get me on or close. Because of this I spend the majority of my practice time with the PW & 52, square, slighty open, flop open and using full, 3/4 and half swings. Thank goodness I have a very consistent tempo. For me it has turned out to be a good thing. Now inside 100 yards I only have to choose between two clubs. Probably not what the wedge guys want to hear. Now if I could just keep my head down.
My question is- how do you know if you have a set where the PW is 43* versus being 48*? I've worked under the assumption that mine is 48*, but I guess I really have no clue.
A lot of local pros have lie machines and they can measure it or do you have a Golfsmith store near you.
Ben Crane says:
Kickntrue - Go to your club manufacturer's website. Most have their specs posted for the club models you own.
After some time reading you, I-¦m glad to say I-¦ve gone your way
- I-¦ve ditched the 3W and 5W, in favour of a more versatile 4W, that I can use better off the fairway and similar off the tee
- I made a test, and the distance between my 3 and 4 iron was small, even with well struck shots, I guess due to my average swing speed, so I retired the 3 iron in favour of a 19-¦ hybrid that perfectly fill the gap between 4W and 4 iron.
- Changed my set 46-¦ PW for a true 47-¦ wedge. Now, I-¦ve discovered in this wedge a true weapon : can chip and chip like never I did
- For the rest wedge setup : armed with my laser, and 50-¦, 52-¦, 54-¦, 56-¦, 58-¦ and 60-¦ demo wedges, found the best gap distance solution with 47-¦ PW - 50-¦ GW - 54-¦ SW - 58-¦ LW that give me at full and 3/4 finesse swings the following distances : 90-80-70-60-50-40 meters (1 meter=1.1 yards)
- Then, I chose the bounce (50.10 54.14 and 58.6) to match the use of each club in my home course conditions
And from since, I-¦ve shaved 4 strokes :-)
Oops. Guess I should've READ the article.
Thanks Terry for such an in depth reply to my wedge question! I've been slowly updating my golf bag since I started playing again after taking so many years off. So as a "new" beginner once again this really helps a lot. I think this will really help out my short game!
Thakns again for your help.
[ post comment ]