Wedges are known as “scoring clubs” for a good reason.
The level of expectation grows when we are faced with a wedge shot.
Compared to a long iron or fairway wood approach we put ourselves in a position where we tell ourselves we can get the ball nestled close to the hole when we hit a wedge shot.
It’s an area of the game that professionals work very hard at.
On the PGA Tour, the average distance to the flag from 100 yards out is 9 feet.
For a mid-handicap amateur, the distance is closer to 20 feet.
That isn’t bad but the chances of one-putting are much better from 9 feet than they are from 20 feet.
So we can see that we probably aren’t getting the best from our wedges and wedge play.
Whilst we can dedicate more time to practice if the wedges we are using aren’t helping us we’re still unlikely to hit them as close to the flag as we would like.
In this article, we’ll take you through the important elements of consideration for your wedge game and how being fitted for wedges will help knock shots off your handicap.
To do this we’ll look at the following:
- Understanding the different wedge categories
- Get to know your numbers
- Loft gapping
- The pitching wedge question
- Custom fitting
Understanding the different wedge categories
First things first, let’s be sure we are clear on what constitutes a wedge and typically what type of lofts these clubs feature.
This club represents our longest wedge and will be lofted between 44 and 49 degrees.
Next in the lineup is the gap or attack wedge acting as the bridge between the pitching wedge and sand iron and can feature lofts anywhere between 50 to 53 degrees.
Every golfer will have one of these in their bags.
This club is not only used on approach shots but can be our “go-to” wedge for chipping around the greens
Lofts for these clubs tend to fall within the 54 to 56-degree category.
Our most lofted wedge, the lob wedge will cover the shortest distance and be generally lofted between 58 to 60 degrees.
There are a few exceptions here - Phil Mickelson has sometimes been known to carry a 64-degree wedge in his bag.
Get to know your numbers
If you ask any professional or elite amateur, they can tell you how far they hit each wedge in their bags.
Why is this important?
There are two main reasons.
The opportunity to create good birdie chances is one reason.
But it’s handy when they get out of position off the tee.
If you watch a professional tournament on television you’ll see players in areas of the golf course they never intended to be in.
Sometimes you can hear the player discuss with their caddy what the ideal lay-up distance is if all they can do is hit a recovery shot back into play.
What they are looking to achieve with this is to leave them with a favourite wedge distance for their next shot which they feel confident they can hit close to the flag.
Scoring well isn’t just about making birdies.
It’s about being able to turn double bogeys into bogeys or bogeys into pars.
Getting to know how far you hit your wedges serves two major purposes.
- Hitting more accurate wedge shots on the course
- Assess where there are potential distance gaps that need to be covered
When we consider that our wedges can cover any distance from 50 yards up to 130 yards correct loft gapping becomes really important.
As with all our clubs we want to see nice and consistent gapping of lofts so we can cover these distances effectively.
So in tandem with understanding more about how far we hit our wedges, we can then start to plan out effective loft gaping for our wedge makeup.
A common setup is to have 4 degrees loft difference between each wedge.
As an example, you might employ the following setups in your bag:
- 50 degrees, 54 degrees and 58 degrees
- 52 degrees, 56 degrees, 60 degrees
The starting point in this process will relate to what loft your pitching wedge will have on it.
The pitching wedge question
Today, golfers have two options open to them with their pitching wedges:
- Go with the pitching wedge from their set of irons
- Opt for a similar lofted wedge to compliment their existing specialist wedge make-up
Iron lofts have generally gotten stronger over the years which means a pitching wedge from an iron set can have as little as 44 degrees of loft on it.
If there is no gap wedge in the bag the next club could be something like a 54-degree sand iron which will leave a big distance gap between the two clubs.
Opting for a similar lofted specialist wedge also can have its problems.
Whilst it may match up to your other specialist wedges it can feel and look completely different to the rest of your iron set meaning a lack of continuity between your wedges and 9-iron.
There are pros and cons to both options so it’s worthwhile discussing what the best option is for your game when you come for a fitting session.
If you are considering new wedges custom fitting holds many advantages.
The first element of the process will be assessing the existing clubs you use.
Understanding what sort of a wedge player you are and how far you hit your wedges will start to build the picture of any distance gaps you might have.
Once distances have been established the next part of the process is working out the ideal loft gaping for your wedges.
Along with getting the loft gaping right custom fitting will help in creating the correct spin numbers and tightening shot dispersion leading to more accurate wedge play.
It’s also worth noting the importance of your wedges to your short game.
Getting the lofting correct can add different shots to your short-game armoury.
In conclusion, having our wedges set up correctly optimises their potential as scoring clubs.
- Understanding how far we hit wedges can establish distance gaps that need to be filled.
- Establishing the correct lofts for our wedges gives us consistent gaping and distance control
The typical distances we are looking to cover with our wedges is between 50 and 130 yards which is a wide gap.
Being custom fitted for wedges not only gives us the right combination of lofts to cover those distances it will help increase our confidence out on the course making these clubs the scoring clubs they are meant to be.
At Golf Tech UK we help golfers make confident decisions about the wedges they purchase through our custom fitting process.
If you are in the market for new wedges get in contact with us for a fitting session.
Alternatively, have a look at what we have available on our website.