Golf Wedge Buying Guide
Making sure you are confident with the wedges in your bag is very important in ensuring success around the greens. This golf wedge buying guide is here to help aim you in the right direction in purchasing the perfect set of wedges to improve your game on the golf course.
As many golfers know, the short game is one of, if not the most important facet of the game while on the course. Often these clubs are used to recover from trouble (sand traps) or avoid trouble (hitting over hazards) or getting it close to the pin to score.
4 Types of Wedges
There are four wedges for golfers to choose from, all having different lofts which translates to different uses and benefits in the short game. The four types being the pitching, gap, lob wedge and sand wedge.
1). Pitching Wedge
One of the most common wedges to all players in the game of golf is the pitching wedge. A pitching wedge is typically between 44 and 48 degrees of loft and is normally sold with an iron set.
This type of club is usually the first one many golfers will, and should, learn to use before advancing to any other type. Pitching wedges have typically been made around 44 degrees.
2). Gap Wedge
The gap wedge, or otherwise known as an approach wedge, is next in the bag. A gap wedge was designed to be the perfect middle man in between the pitching and sand wedges.
The loft range is between 50 and 54 degrees. This club was made for and designed to help with shots in the awkward yardages, allowing golfers to take a full swing yet have less spin than a sand wedge.
e for and designed to help with shots in the awkward yardages, allowing golfers to take a full swing.
3). Sand Wedge
Another common wedge to all players is the sand wedge. The sand wedge was originally designed to help golfers get out of the sand traps, as the name suggests, due to the heavier and wider head design.
Sand wedges are usually clubs with 56 or 58 degrees of loft. They can be used anywhere where the need is to get the ball up quickly and with lots of spin.
4). Lob Wedge
Lob wedges are increasingly becoming the new favorite wedge in the game of golf due to the increased popularity of flop shots (hitting the ball high with spin so it lands softly.) Lob wedges are now also becoming the club of choice by many golfers to get the ball out of sand traps.
The lob wedge has a high loft ranging from 60 to 64 degrees, making it a very open club face which allows for a high arcing shot and making the ability to stop the ball on the green easier.
What is Loft?
Loft is the angle created between the club head and the shaft of the club. It is what distinguishes wedges between each other and will also dictate how far a certain club will hit the ball. The more loft a golf club has, the higher the golf ball should go.
A big factor in choosing what wedges should be in the bag is the disparity in loft. A general guideline to follow is having your wedges 4 degrees apart other than a pitching wedge which should be around 6 degrees away in loft.
The general rule of thumb is the higher degree of loft the higher the ball will arch and that will result in a shorter distance traveled. While every player is wildly different, a good summary of loft vs. distance is:
Your results will vary!
The loft bounce angle of golf wedges is something that is overlooked far too often when buying a wedge. A wedge's bounce is the part of the club that is going to hit the ground.
The wedge bounce angle is the angle from the leading edge of the club head to the ground. There are three different categories of wedge bounces: low bounce, mid bounce, and high bounce.
Low bounce wedges are called that when a wedge has a bounce angle of 4 to 6 degrees. The low bounce wedge is better suited for firm course conditions, or tight lies.
Players that sweep the ball and take a shallow divot in the ground will like low bounce wedges.
When wedges have 7 to 10 degrees of bounce, they are considered to have a mid bounce. This is the most common type of bounce to see on a wedge.
These have the most versatility and this is the standard option.
If a wedge has more than 10 degrees of bounce (most commonly 12), it is considered to be a high bounce wedge. High bounce wedges are better suited for soft conditions.
Players that like to take deep divots on shots around the green will want high bounce wedges.
Another facet of wedges that play hand and hand with the bounce of the club is the sole grind that the club has. The sole grind is on the bottom off the head, next to the leading edge. It is the way the wedge's sole is carved out. The three most common grind options are the L, M, and K sole grinds.
Better for firm conditions and a more sweeping swing style.
The most neutral grind type, offering playability to many types of golfers.
The best for bunker shots, the K grind has the highest bounce.
Q) What is the best wedge when I am in the sand?
A) Historically, the sand wedge had been the top club out of the bunker, but the preferences by many golfers have now switched to the lob wedge. A lob wedge provides a high wedge loft that allows a golfer to utilize more shots and get more air on the ball.
Getting a higher arch on the ball will allow it to land softly and stop more quickly.
Q) What type of wedge shots go with each club?
A) Wedges are the most versatile set of clubs that will be in your golf bag. Each different wedge can be used in different short game shots, it is just a matter of what attack angle you choose.
Typically, chip shots are better suited for lower lofted clubs like the pitching wedge and gap wedges. Flop shots are better suited for higher wedge loft, normally a lob wedge but it is doable with a sand wedge.
Q) What wedge bounce should I get?
A) Wedge bounce is very important, having the wrong wedge bounce for your swing style can be very damaging to your game. If you have a steep attack, a higher bounce will be better. If you have a sweeping swing attack, and like more bump and run shots, you will want less bounce in your wedges.
Turf conditions also play into this. If you play more firm courses, lower bounce is necessary, and if you play soft courses, you will want a higher bounce.
Q) What type of shaft do I want?
A) Almost all wedges will come with a steel shaft. You can get a graphite shaft on some occasions.
All shafts come in a standard flex to provide the most consistent feel and accuracy.
Q) How many wedges do I want in my bag?
A) It all depends on feel, skill level, and more. The most common wedge people leave out would be the gap wedge, but if you have the ability to play all four types it is highly recommended so as to give you maximum control over distance.
Remember the maximum number of clubs you can have in your bag is 14 per the USGA.