How Many Wedges is Right...For You!?
Terry "The Wedge Guy" Koehler is in New Zealand this week speaking at a PGA Seminar. While he's out, we're going to feature a "Best of The Wedge Guy" article from the past. This article was originally published March 3, 2011. Enjoy!
As you might imagine, this is one of the most common questions we get at SCOR Golf, as we talk with dozens of players a week about this very subject. And the answer is always different, as it depends on many factors. I chose this topic this morning in response to a question from Charles, who asked:
It seems like there are two schools of thought about just how many wedges the average amateur should carry. One school suggests that 3-4 wedges (PW, GW, SW, LW, for example) is just too many for most amateurs, who should limit their wedges to 2 or 3 at the most. This simplifies the options for the golfer, and in theory, forces the golfer to develop more touch in the short game. The converse, of course, is to have as many wedges as you are comfortable carrying, whether that's 3, 4, or even 5. What do you recommend, Wedge Guy?Well, Charles, that's a question that has as different answer for every golfer, and the key is to find the right solution for you. It's a multi-step Q&A process.
First, you need to determine each end of your wedge selection. On the lower end, know what the true loft is of your set-match "P club". If you've read much "WedgeGuy", you know that I refuse to call these 43-46 degree, renamed 9- and even 8-irons "pitching wedges", because they are not. So unless you are playing a more traditional blade iron "P club" with a loft of at least 48 degrees, don't count it as one of your "wedges".
Secondly, determine the highest loft wedge you are comfortable playing. For some, it's a wedge of 64 degrees or more. For others, it's in the 57-58 range. As I watch the weekly "what's in the bag" reports from the tours, it seems more and more of these guys are carrying a 58 as their highest lofted club, and getting away from the 60. That's probably due to the performance difference with the new grooves, but I'll save that for another column.
Once you determine the two ends of the spectrum you are trying to fill, then you should build a matched set of scoring tools to fill that big gap. If you are a long hitter, or if you do not want to have to manipulate too many shots with each club, I believe loft differences between wedges should be three degrees. That will give you tighter full swing distance intervals, and more options around the greens. A set makeup of 48/51/54/57, with a 60 if you'd like, could be perfect.
On the other hand, if you are shorter in distance, and don't mind gripping down and monitoring swing speed and backswing length, then you can get away with fewer scoring clubs. In this case, you probably have one of these stronger "P clubs" and so your wedge make-up might be 47/52/57, with possibly a 61...or something similar.
Whichever route you take, I am a firm believer that the shafts on the wedges "on the rack" are too heavy and too stiff for nearly all players. For optimum performance, your wedge shafts should be designed just for wedges, and they should match your iron shafts in material, weight and overall flex.
Either buy wedges from a company that will give you the option to do that (like SCOR Golf maybe???), or have major brand wedges rebuilt with new shafts that will give you the performance you seek.
I hope that answers your questions, and I feel certain the readers are going to chime in with lots of additional advice. Guys???
The Wedge Guy is sponsored by SCOR Golf, where Terry Koehler is President/CEO. He encourages you to submit your questions or topics to be considered for his columns on Tuesdays and Fridays. Each submission automatically enters you to win a SCOR4161 wedge to be given away monthly. Click the button below to submit your question or topic today.
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