They say golf is not just a sport but an experience. The beautiful lush green must have something to do with it. Golf is even more popular now, especially since it's an inclusive game that the whole family can enjoy, and there's a high awareness about it.
However, it can be frustrating as a golfer if you can't get the right equipment because this determines your shots’ fate. And to get the right equipment, you need to get your facts right.
There are many types of equipment that are essential for that accurate shot. For instance, we have Drivers, Woods, Irons, Sand wedges, Putters, and others all under different categories.
Since the short game accounts for more than 50% of the shots, you play in a round, improving your wedge play should be the first step in improving your game and score. Golf wedges come in different lofts, grinds, finishes and, bounce to help you get closer to the pin, anywhere inside of 125 yards.
You're allowed to carry only 14 clubs in your golf bag. When most people decide to start playing golf, or when golfers consider upgrading their golf gears, most people first think of getting the golf clubs, and most of the time, they first go for the irons, putters, or drivers.
Ideally, you should start with a Putter, Driver, and Sand wedge. Then supplement those with a Pitching wedge, a 6-iron, an 8-iron, and either a fairway wood or Hybrid with 18-21 degrees of loft. These clubs are considered the most forgiving and the easiest to get airborne.
Most pro golfers consider Sand wedges as one of their most reliable golf clubs while on a game. So much that others even customise their wedges to suit their preference. You can customise your Sand wedge by making certain adjustments such as the sole size, angle of the sole plane, head shape, loft angle, etc.
Suppose the number of clubs you want to carry, including your 9-iron, is 11, then it means that you only have room for three wedges. If you only want to carry 10, then you only have room for four sand wedges.
Carrying one extra wedge gives you the option of using specific clubs for certain shots instead of trying to hit a shot with a 3/4 swing when you can take a full swing.
What Players Need to Know About Wedges
Wedges are considered the highest-lofted clubs in a golf club set and are designed for short approach hits of around 120 yards and in. Wedges are mainly used for strokes played out in the sand, pitch shots, chip shots, and generally any shot where the golfer wants the ball to sharply ascend and descend.
Wedges are iron lofts and not a subset of iron sets, as many would believe. The type of wedges include:
- Sand wedges (SW)- specifically designed to make bunker shots easier. A standard SW loft is between 56º to 58º
- Pitching wedges (PW) - a basic club that hits balls the farthest since it's the lowest-lofted of the wedges. A Pitch wedge loft is between 46º to 48º
- Gap wedges, also known as Approach wedges - falls in between the sand wedge and pitch wedge in loft. A gap wedge loft is between 50º to 52º
- Lob wedges -the highest-lofted club and is used to create a steep angle of ascent and descent for hits that must hit the green with minimum roll and those that should get up very quickly. A Lob wedge loft is between 60º to 64º
The Sand wedge (SW), the golf club with an "S" on its sole, generally carries a loft that is between 54 and 58 degrees. And as its name would suggest, it's mainly used for bunker play. Due to its broad, round club head, the Sand wedge is ideal for the deft chips at the fringe and is equally ideal for those golfers playing on belly-wedge putts from the collar of greenside rough.
On average, the mid-level golfer hits a full sand wedge of 70 yards, while the Tour professional usually carries it up to 100 yards.
The Sand Wedge Loft
The SW has only two lofts:
- 56 degrees
- 58 degrees
The one you pick and which one you can incorporate into your bag depends on what will lower your scores. Your choice also depends on:
1. Preference for bag set up
Since you can only carry 14 clubs in your golf bag, it is best to decide what kind of make-up you'd want, either wedge heavy or wood heavy. Wedge setups include:
a) The player's wedge setup – 52, 56, 60º wedges
A setup that restores the 4 degrees difference between clubs that many golfers are used to. The wedge setup provides an excellent coverage from 60 to 120 yards, giving you a good selection for pitching, chipping, and bunker plays. This is best for players who hit the ball 270+ yards off the tee or play around the green with many short par fours.
b) The alternative setup – 52, 58º wedges
Alternatively, players can opt for the 52º Gap wedge and the 58º Sand wedge. Additionally, if you have a strong Pitching wedge with a 45 – 46º loft, then you'll have an evenly distributed 6º gap between the wedges.
This setup offers excellent coverage of hits that range from 60-120 yards, giving you excellent flexibility when pitching and chipping. This best opted by golfers who hit the ball less than 240 yards off the tee or play many long par fours.
2. Skill level
A 3-wedge set is best for all players. Most shots are within the 120 yards, so ideally, you don't need a 4-wedge set for that. There are Sand wedges made explicitly for specific shots that players struggle with, particularly in the sand. Some are made with heavy soles that are perfect in the sand.
Frequently Asked Questions on Wedge Lofts
1. What is bounce on a wedge?
Wedge bounce is the angle between the lead edge and the lowest point of the club's sole (trailing edge). Bounce angle helps the club to bounce as it strikes the ground instead of digging.
2. Can I customise my wedges?
Yes. A club fitter can alter the loft by 1 – 3º on a good quality wedge. So, golfers can tweak the loft of wedges and alter the lie angle after purchase if needed.
3. Do I need a wedge between my Pitch wedge and Sand wedge?
Ideally, golfers must have a wedge between their pitching wedge and Sand wedge loft. The Gap wedge (50 degrees) provides vital yardage between the clubs. The Sand wedge and Lob wedge are used more around the green compared to full swings.