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how many wedges should you carry

How many wedges should you carry?

How can you optomise your wedge set-up? Equipment editor Hannah Holden takes a look

 

With space for just fourteen clubs in the bag, getting the split between different clubs is crucial to your success out on the golf course. There are loads of factors affecting how many wedges you should put in play, so let’s take a look…

What are the different types of wedges?

Firstly, what are the options when it comes to wedges? Typically golfers will have at least a pitching wedge included in their iron sets. This typically has between 45 and 50 degrees of loft. It is worth knowing what loft your pitching wedge is to help with gapping the rest of your bag.

After this, players will carry a gap wedge that generally has 50 to 54 degrees of loft; these are included in some iron sets and are known as utility wedges. Sand wedges come next and can be from 54-58°. Finally, lob wedges are the highest lofted wedges, with loft varying from 58 to 64 degrees!

You can have wedges that match your iron sets, such as the Ping G430 wedges below, or you can have what I would refer to as a specialist wedge. This would be something like a Vokey or a Ping Glide 4.0.

I would always recommend someone carries at least one specialist wedge. They are designed for more finesse shots around the green, and I also find the thinner structure, and sole makes it much easier to get out of bunkers with. They generally have a tighter grind on the sole, so it is easier to open up the face and hit high chip shots without worrying about thinning it off the front edge of the club.

What wedge shots do you want to play?

Firstly, you need to look at what you want to use your wedges for and how versatile each club may be. Do you want something that is mainly for chip shots? Do you want something really high lofted for bunker and flop shots? Or do you prefer to run the ball low? Will you be using your wedges for full shots, and what do you want the distance gapping to look like?

Viktor Hovland

Personally, my most lofted club is my starting point for sorting out my wedge set-up. I have used a 58° for a long time, so I feel very comfortable with this around the green and know I can hit all my short game shots with this.

If you don’t know what wedge you like to chip with, I would recommend trying a few out and seeing which you are most consistent with. Lob wedges or someone’s most lofted club generally vary between 56 and 60 degrees of loft. Lots of tour pros who play on faster greens opt for a 60-degree wedge; however, Tiger Woods uses just 56 degrees and still manages to hit all the shots.

How does the rest of your bag setup look?

From here, I will then build my wedge set up around this most lofted club and my pitching wedge carry distance.

My most lofted wedge carries 80 yards, and my pitching wedge carries 125 yards. That leaves me with a 45-yard gap to fill. Personally, I only really need two clubs to fill this gap. I also know I prefer hitting three-quarter shots with a smaller wedge than I do with a pitching wedge, so I will probably get a gap wedge that is fairly near in loft to my pitching wedge.

If you are a slower swing player, you may have a smaller gap between your pitching wedge and lob wedge in which case only one other wedge would be required.

If you are a high club head speed player, you may find your pitching wedge goes a lot further, and you need fewer clubs at the top of the bag. This would make space for you to have four specialist wedges as well as a pitching wedge.

how many wedges should you carry

It is also important to remember a 46-degree pitching wedge will fly further than a specialist 46° wedge due to the club head being smaller, and it is designed for precision rather than ball speed. So it is always best to try to hit each wedge loft on a launch monitor before purchasing to make sure the carry distances are perfect.

What wedge grind should you use?

When you are picking lofts, it is also worth looking at sole grinds and what might suit your game or golf course. The grind actually refers to the shaping of the sole of the club. Different amounts of material can be removed from the sole, heel and toe of the club to change how the leading edge sits and how it reacts through impact.

A fuller grind is best for wedges you hit full swings with, whereas you might want a more versatile grind on a wedge you chip with and want to use to open or close the face.

How many wedges do pros carry?

As with all equipment on tour, wedge setups vary from player to player. In general, all pros will carry a pitching wedge and three specialist wedges. Some players drop a club at the top of the bag to allow them to carry four specialist wedges. Rory McIlroy uses a 46°, 54° and 60° whereas Jordan Spieth uses a 46°, 52°, 56° and 60°.

Jordan Spieth

Hannah Holden

hannah holden

Hannah Holden is the Equipment and Instruction Editor here at National Club Golfer. If you’re looking to improve your game, by changing your golf swing or upgrading your golf equipment she’ll have the answers.

As well as writing lots of features and reviews you can find her on our YouTube channel giving you insights on the latest rules, clubs and tips to improve your golf game.

Hannah is a member at Alwoodley golf club. You will either find her here or driving up and down the country playing in a variety of elite amateur events.

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