I know it’s the off season or winter season for many, and most probably aren’t thinking about their wedge game this time of year, but with the new “groove rule” and all the questions / talk we are getting about wedges and the wedge game – thought I’d give a little information to help everyone.
First – as most of you have read from me before – the wedge game is a CRITICAL part of the golf game. When I am talking about wedges, I am basically talking about anything inside 100 yards for most. (For some will be a little further, for some a little shorter). This is a part / large part of the “scoring” part of the game.
Second – Again – as most of you have heard me say before – no one should have an advantage over you in this part of the game. Meaning – it is not a strength issue, but rather a practice / technique, etc.. issue. In other words, you can have a GREAT wedge game as long as you work on it properly and have the proper equipment to give you the best chance.
Third – You need to make sure you’re equipment allows you to maximize your wedge game. As I have come to find out, it seems a majority of golfers don’t understand wedges, how the can work for them and how to use them….
So, let’s talk about wedges and hopefully working with your equipment can help improve your game, or at least, give you the best chance to score your best.
1. I believe you should carry the maximum amount of wedges “your bag” will let you carry. Meaning – as you can only carry 14 clubs – I would recommend carrying at least 3 wedges (including your pitching wedge). If possible, carry 4. (Pitching, Gap, Sand and Lob). Reason – the more wedges you carry the better your yardages will be between the wedges. In other words, you will less gap in yardages between the wedges the more you carry.
2. Different wedges are made to use for different shots. Let’s talk about the sand wedge first (typically 54 to 56 degrees).
Most sand wedges have at least 10 degrees of bounce or more. The bounce is the angle on the sole from the back of the club to the front. Every club in your bag has a little bounce, the sand wedge has increased bounce (typically 2 to 3 times as much) to help you keep the club from digging in the sand (soft surface) too much. Meaning, it is a very good bunker / sand or medium to high grass club, but not so good from hitting short shots from “tight” (minimal grass) or hard lies. The added bounce on the club will make the club skip/bounce on hard ground and will cause blade / thin type shots. Most see this when hitting chips / or shot shots off of tight lies. It is not recommend to chip or pitch with a sand wedge from tight / hard lies.
3. The lob wedge (typically 58* +) is a great wedge for high pitch / lob type shots. Reason – appropriate bounce, added loft and typically a little “wider” sole. Most lob wedges have a slightly wider sole which will help the lob wedge slide across the ground and get more weight under the ball to help get the ball up fast.
4. It is recommend to have steel shafts in your wedges (gap, sand and lob). Reason – you want the added weight in the clubs. These clubs are the shortest clubs in the bag (besides putter) and are often hit with 1/2 shots, out of rough, out of sand, etc.. etc.. The added weight is a big advantage when hitting the clubs in these situations. Makes it easier to hit out of rough, sand, etc.. Don’t have to swing so hard, club head will get through grass, sand much easier with added weight. Graphite is a great material to protect the body when the club is being swung fast and allows you to hit the club further. No needed with the wedges – wedges are “control” type clubs – the added weight in steel is STRONGLY recommended in the wedges.
Last – let’s talk about spin. We all want to create spin on our wedges. Without spin, it is very difficult to get the ball close to the hole. Most won’t be able to create spin to stop the ball completely, but everyone can and should create spin to slow the ball down which helps get it close to the hole.
The primary variables of spin are angle of attack / speed, club type, and ball type. The more speed, the more spin you can create. The softer (or more layers) the golf ball, the more spin you will create. Finally, the softer the metal of the club, the more spin you will / can create.
Another important variable and the one that is changing is the grooves on the wedges. The current groove (pre 2010) can create more spin then the one’s the USGA are requiring in the upcoming years. (2014 for USGA amateur events, 2024 for everyone).
To make a “long story short” it is recommend everyone carry wedges that give them their best advantage in their scoring part of the game.
The recommended wedges are those that are a “forged” (soft metal) type, steel shafted, with pre 2010 grooves (maximum spin grooves).
You can see examples of these wedges at: www.titleist.com
Reason I bring all this up, is these wedges that will give you the maximum advantage around the green in your “scoring” game are quickly disappearing. Most major manufacturers are no longer going to produce the wedges with the pre-2010 grooves after the end of this year. Meaning – if you are considering getting some of these wedges – get them NOW – they are literally going to be gone in a few days….
If you have any additional questions about the wedges, groove rules, etc… please don’t hesitate to give us a call or email anytime.
If you would like to order new / additional wedges give us a call. All wedges need to be custom built to the golfers specifications – absolutely critical to have a proper fit.