- Wedges are scoring clubs. Often you will use a wedge for shots of less than 100 yards. You should consider buying wedges separately from the other components of your set of irons. You should have the option of hitting your wedges from different types of lies and seeing if they work well for your swing.
- The minimum number of wedges you should consider playing is two – a pitching wedge and sand wedge. Many players carry three wedges – a pitching wedge, gap wedge, and sand wedge. And others carry four wedges – a pitching wedge, gap wedge, sand wedge, and lob wedge. The number of wedges you should play should depend on the kinds of wedge shots you like to hit.
- A typical loft for a pitching wedge is 48 degrees or less, and for a sand wedge is 56 degrees. Eight degrees of loft or more between these two clubs is a lot. The gap wedge is designed to fill the distance “gap” between the pitching and sand wedge. If you prefer to fill this “gap” by hitting less than full shots with your pitching wedge, then you may prefer to not carry a gap wedge. However, if you prefer to hit full wedge shots, then you should consider carrying a gap wedge.
- Wedges have some key playability characteristics – sole “bounce,” sole width and sole radius, and sole grind. The right wedge choices can significantly improve your short game. Bounce on wedges is your friend! You may not, in fact, be playing with wedges that have enough bounce.
- One of your key wedges is your sand wedge. There are many different sand wedge designs, for different levels of player skills and different types of wedge shots. Some sand wedges have a lot of “bounce” and/or a wide bottom sole – these types of sand wedges are designed to make it easier to hit sand shots out of soft sand, but may be difficult to hit from tight fairway lies. You should consider the types of course conditions that you typically play on, and consider using a sand wedge that will work well for these conditions.
- A “typical” lob wedge has 60 degrees of loft and a small amount of bounce (4 to 8 degrees), and is designed for hitting high lofted shots near the green. If you have difficulty hitting a lob wedge well you should not be surprised – 4 to 8 degrees of bounce is not enough for a lob wedge. Most players need much more bounce – most likely more than 16 degrees, even as much as 20 degrees – on their lob wedges. Lob wedges with higher bounce and the right sole design are easy to hit from any type of lie.
- Perhaps more than for other golf clubs, how your wedges “feel” to you when you hit shots is important to how well you hit them. Players who like to hit their wedge shots aggressively may like shafts that are and feel stiff; players who play their wedge shots based more on feel and using short swings may do better with shaft flexes that are softer than the ones in their other irons. You should play with wedges that have a feel that helps you to have confidence in hitting your wedge shots close to the hole.
- There are now many wedges available that have rough surface finishes and groove patterns that can help you to stop the ball quickly on greens. If you like this kind of performance from your wedges, you should find wedges that have these characteristics.