How To Buy Golf Wedges - Ultimate Golf Wedge Buying Guide
If you’re like most golfers, you want to shoot lower scores and beat your playing partners every time you tee it up.
Instead of trying to figure out how to hit it further or another Golf Digest tip to shallow the club, become an expert wedge player instead. Your wedges play a pivotal role in your game, yet most golfers almost ignore these clubs entirely.
Look, I get it; buying a new driver to hit bombs is more fun. But what’s the point of hitting it long if you can’t score well?
The secret is to learn more about your wedges and equip yourself with the right clubs.
Four Type of Golf Wedges
Let’s start by first understanding all the different wedges available.
The first type of wedge is one that comes with almost all iron sets – pitching wedge. Your PW is a very versatile club that gets frequently used by most golfers.
A pitching wedge usually has a loft between 43 – 47 degrees, depending on your iron set.
On most game improvement sets of irons, expect lower loft as that makes the ball travel further as their primary goal is distance. For more advanced iron sets that are focused on ball-striking (aka blade irons), expect much more loft (46-47 degrees). This helps elite golfers shape shots and flight the ball at different trajectories.
What’s great about this club is that you can use it for a variety of shots from different distances. It works great for full swings; you can hit knockdown shots, long bunker shots, and long chip shots too.
The gap wedge, also known as a utility or auxiliary wedge, is usually 3-6 degrees higher loft than your pitching wedge. As the name suggests, it fills the gap between your pitching wedge and sand wedge. It’s also great for a myriad of shots inside 100 yards.
The third type of wedge is one I’m sure you’re familiar with – the sand wedge. While it’s made to help you get out bunkers, you can hit it for all kinds of other shots too.
The loft of a sand wedge is generally between 54-57 degrees.
The final wedge type is the lob wedge. This isn’t a club that every golfer has, and usually for good reason. A lob wedge isn’t always the easiest wedge to hit, which is why I do not suggest it for high handicap players.
But if you’re someone who can shoot in the 80s or better, this wedge can greatly help your game. You can use it for short bunker shots, to hit high shots over trees/hazards, and greenside shots too. As you look to get into single digits or even scratch handicap, the lob wedge will become your new best friend.
The loft for lob wedges ranges from 57-64 degrees.
Golf Wedges 101
Now that you have a better understanding of the four types of wedges, let’s go over some more questions that most golfers have.
How many wedges should I carry?
Regardless of handicap, I would recommend at least three wedges. For elite players who want more short game options, use four wedges (add a lob wedge).
How does bounce work?
Bounce is one of the biggest misconceptions when it comes to buying wedges.
So what is bounce anyway?
According to TGW, “Bounce angle is the angle between the ground and the leading edge of the club when the sole is rested on the ground. This is the part of the wedge that hits and moves through the ground when you hit the ball. It’s what helps you achieve the proper contact, control, and spin on your wedge shots.”
Bounce is your friend! Too many golfers don’t use enough bounce and make it nearly impossible to make great contact with the ball.
Here is a good rule to use…
With fluffy sand or high grass from the rough, use more loft. With tight lies or firm sand, use less loft. Having wedges with different bounces makes it easier to play all types of shots.
Should I use cavity back wedges?
As I mentioned in the intro, most golfers don’t pay a ton of attention to what type of golf wedges they play. But this can lead to playing wedges that don’t match your swing or your iron set.
Ideally, if you are playing cavity back irons, you should play cavity back wedges too. Specifically, the gap and pitching wedge. It doesn’t matter as much with a lob or sand wedge, but can help high handicappers as they are more forgiving.
What type of shafts should I use in my wedges?
There are two options that most golfers use.
The first option is to use the same shaft that you use in your irons. This makes it an easy transition as the weight and flex are the same.
The second option is to use a slightly heavier shaft (usually 10-15 grams more). For example, if you play 110 gram iron shafts, play 120 gram wedge shafts. The reason is that you don’t need distance from wedges and extra weight makes it easier to flight shots at different trajectories.
How should I gap my wedges?
Ideally, you want 3-6 degrees between wedges.
Any more than six degrees difference and it will likely bring in certain distances that are difficult to hit on the course. With 3-6 degree separation, it’s easy to choke up on certain clubs and not have big gaps in your distances.
Remember, you can always bend wedges to add or reduce loft too. For example, if you have a 51 and 58 degree wedges, you can always adjust your 51 to 52 and/or your 58 to 57.
If you do tweak your wedges, make sure to use a certified club fitter to not damage your clubs. Also, any more than two degrees can potentially damage your club too, so keep it between 1-2 degrees.
Finally, remember that when you adjust the loft, you also adjust the bounce of the club too. If you add one degree of loft to a 56.08 (56 degrees of loft, 8 degrees of bounce) it becomes 57 degrees with 9 degrees of bounce.
Final Thoughts on Golf Wedges
Your wedges play a major role in helping you play your best golf.
Don’t make this game any more difficult by playing wedges that aren’t suited for your game. Or, not having enough wedges in your bag.
How many wedges do you play with? What’s your favorite wedge?
Let us know in the comments!