Wedge Buying Guide
Next to your putter, your wedges are the most important scoring clubs in your bag. You will rely on your wedges to get the ball to within range for a birdie-putt range from up to 100 yards out and for getting the ball up and down from around the green. This is why you will find many advanced players and pros carrying up to 4 wedges in their bag. Here are some things to think about when choosing your wedges.
Without a doubt, this is the most important consideration in choosing your wedges. You will first need to know the loft of your 9 Iron before deciding how many wedges you will need and the right lofts for them. It used to be that your 9 Iron's loft would be at about 44 degrees, your pitching wedge would then typically be set to 48 degrees and your sand wedge would be set to about 52-54 degrees.
As golf club manufacturers increasingly market their irons as having more distance, the loft of the typical 9 Iron today is getting closer to 41 degrees. This leaves a large distance gap between your 9 Iron and your pitching wedge at 48 degrees! So starting with your 9 iron you will want to choose a set of wedges that give you 4-6 degrees separation in loft between them. You may also decide you want to add a lob wedge to your arsenal to give you the option to hit those high lob pitches around the green.
So depending on your 9 Iron's loft, you could go with any of the sample scenarios below, or any other combination that best suits your game.
|Wedge||Loft (deg)||Loft (deg)||Loft (deg)||Loft (deg)|
|Pitching Wedge (PW)||46||48||46||48|
|Gap Wedge (AW)||50||52||52||54|
|Sand Wedge (SW)||54||56||58||60|
|Lob Wedge (LW)||60||60|
The 4-6 degree step-up in the loft will give you the most versatility to hit full shots at regular distance intervals so that you have the right club for those 60, 70, 80 or 90-meter shots to the pin.
Another big consideration in choosing your wedges is the bounce angle of each wedge. It took me a long time to understand this concept but once I did, it made a world of difference for my short game.
Simply put, the bounce angle is the angle between the leading edge and the point where the flange of your wedge makes contact with the ground. Bounce is needed to prevent your wedge from digging into the turf or sand before you strike the ball. The larger the bounce angle the greater the distance off the ground the leading edge is when the flange makes contact with the ground.
Low Bounce Wedges
Bounce angles of 4-6 degrees are considered low bounce. These will typically suit the golfer who has a shallower, more sweeping stroke. If you are taking large divots with your full wedge shots, a low bounce wedge is not for you but if you find that you take small shallow divots on you full wedge shots you might want to consider low bounce wedges. Low bounce wedges also suit firmer courses where the risk of digging into the turf is less than with soft turf. Low bounce is also useful around the greens on lob wedges where getting under the ball is paramount and on sand wedges at courses where the sand in traps is shallow and dense.
Mid Bounce Wedges
Bounce angles of 7-10 degrees are considered mid bounce and are suitable for golfers who take neither large or small divots or who play a range of courses with varying turf conditions.
Mid Bounce Wedges
Bounce angles of more than 10 degrees are considered high bounce and are suitable for golfers who have steep strokes that result in large divots. These wedges also suit courses with softer turf and sand traps with deep, fine sand.
Sole grind is something beginner players may not have to worry about just yet. However, as you improve around the greens, you may want to look into various types of sole grinds to add versatility to your short game.
Sole grind is the amount of grinding or wearing down that occurs on the heel (the portion of the sole closest to the shaft) and toe of a wedge. To put this in perspective, Irons don't have different sole grinds because you are almost always used to make a full swing with these clubs. Around the greens though, you might want to reduce or increase the loft of your wedge depending on the type of shot you want to play. Sole grind allows you to do this with more consistent results.
For example with the right sole grind, you can adjust your 56-degree wedge at address so that it gives you the same result as a 60-degree wedge. This gives you more versatility around the greens but you have to know what you are doing.
Most wedges today come with a standard stainless steel shaft. So luckily, this is one variable you need not worry about when choosing your wedges.