Wedges are perhaps the most important weapon in every golfer’s bag. As a matter of fact, 80% of your handicap is a direct result of your game inside 100 yards. But without the proper club in your hands, the wedge game can become way more difficult than it should be. Let´s explore the different factors to consider when purchasing new or used wedges.
In this guide, we’ll cover the following details for picking your wedges:
Let’s get started
Mistakenly the only factor when purchasing wedges. A club loft is an angle at which the clubface lies relative to the shaft. It dictates the distance and the trajectory of the ball: the higher the loft, the higher the shot, and the shorter the distance.
Figure 1. Wedges and lofts
The gap is the difference in loft between wedges. You should choose your gap in such a manner that it allows you to have a comfortable wedge for every yardage (See Figure 2). What is more, you should consider the number of wedges you will put in your bag and the type of shots not only you like to play but also that your local golf course requires.
For example, you might be really good at hitting flop shots and might therefore buy a set of wedges between 58° and 64°. With that setting, you will have a huge spread of yardage between your pitching wedge and your 58°. Furthermore, if your golf club requires more bump and roll shots you will not be able to use any of your wedges for that.
Figure 2. Golfer in red has no club to hit 110 yards
The bounce of a wedge refers to the area of the club that hits the ground at impact. Although bounce includes several aspects of the club sole, you should specifically care about the bounce angle, formed between the leading edge to the point where the sole meets the ground (See Figure 3). Why do wedges have a bounce angle? To prevent the wedge from digging into the ground, also known as a chunk shot. Low bounce wedges are recommended for skilled players with shallower divots and firm conditions. On the other hand, if you have a steeper angle of attack, resulting in deeper divots, or if your golf course conditions are softer you might want to try high bounce wedges.
Figure 3. Bounce of a wedge
Did you know that wedges with the same loft can have different soles? The grind of a wedge is defining the shape of the sole. Manufacturers grind the soles, removing metal from the heel to the toe to better suit different golf course conditions and shots.
Figure 4. Wedges with the same loft but different grind soles.
Have you ever wondered how professional players manage to stop the ball or even make it spin back? Their secret is created in the grooves of the club. This is crucial when buying used wedges or deciding whether it is time to change your wedges. If the face and grooves exhibit a lot of wear they will underperform.
Although it is almost impossible to change wedges once a month as the pros do, it is more important to your game to regroove your current wedges or buy new ones rather than buying the latest driver. So, keep your priorities straight!
Figure 5. New and used grooves
Almost every wedge comes with a standard ‘wedge flex’ shaft. Typically, they are just a stiff shaft, specially crafted for a shorter club to maximize feel and accuracy. Though flex is less important, if you are playing regular or extra stiff shafts in your irons you might want to consider reshafting your wedges according to your specific needs. It is not necessary that the flex of your wedges matches those of your irons. As a matter of fact, most players have a different weight depending on the kind of shots they prefer to hit and to add feeling to the wedge shots.
Wedges are all about feeling. So if you don’t like the stock grip you should change it right away. Explore different models and sizes until you find the most comfortable for your hands.
Though only aesthetic, the finish manufacturers give to wedges wears quite differently over time, impacting their appearance and their resell value.
Black wedges for instance (my personal favorite), look amazing when displayed in pro shops but will start to wear out as soon as you hit your first shot. On the other hand, Chrome or Nickel finishes last much longer.
In the following table, I describe my current wedge setting.
|PW||46°||F||08||Project X 6.5||140|
|GW||50°||F||08||Project X 7.0||130|
|SW||54°||S||10||Project X 7.0||120|
|LW||60°||L||04||Project X 7.0||100|
Personally, I like chipping with my 54° because in my local golf club bump and runs are very hard to control. What is more, I do not hit fairways as often as I would like to, so I usually find myself in the position of having to fly over trees. Therefore, I need wedges that allow me to hit over them but still get some distance to reach the green. That is why I have heavier shafts on my wedges, to be able of hitting full swings with less spin and more control.
Hopefully by the time you reach this point you have understood the different aspects to consider when buying wedges. Now it is your turn to use this knowledge and put it into practice.
Don’t be afraid to test as many options as you need in the pro shop. And in case you still can not find the right combination for you, I suggest ordering custom golf clubs online. Some manufacturers have even developed their own online wedge selector tool, to guide you in the process of selecting the right wedges for your game.
Last but not least, feel free to ask in the comment section below and I will help you as much as I can.
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