What it’s essential know

You’ll think about that, as your expertise of golf grows, your understanding of the sport would enhance exponentially. Drawback is, the deeper you get into the sport, the extra there’s to search out out and extra baffling acronyms and phrases come your approach. Issues like MOI, COG, COR, ‘kick level’ and so forth. A few of this merely displays new technological advances however a variety of it’s poorly understood as a result of it’s poorly defined, so right here’s our information to the myriad mysteries of the world of the wedge.

What’s a wedge

There are 4 fundamental varieties of wedge however all of them have commonalities, that are – shorter shafts (for better management), elevated loft (a better angled clubhead), and extra weight within the clubhead. In statistical phrases, 70% of all photographs you hit on the course are from inside 100 yards. A major variety of these are putts however however, the remainder of the quick sport is extremely vital. It’s massively satisfying to let rip with a driver and blast the ball so far as you may however finally it’s far more satisfying to persistently stand up and down for par or birdie.

Historical past of Wedges

Oh, however wasn’t life easier again within the day, particularly in golf? We used to hold only one lofted iron in our luggage, a pitching wedge or, extra seemingly, a niblick, which roughly equates to a 9-iron. Now there’s just about no restrict. If you need somebody responsible, have a look at Gene Sarazen, one of many sport’s best gamers and the primary man to win all 4 of golf’s trendy majors (the Masters, US PGA, US Open and Open Championship) as a result of he’s credited with inventing the sand wedge, the primary actually specialised trendy quick membership to satisfy a particular want. Legend has it that whereas Sarazen was flying in a non-public airplane (owned by multi-millionaire Howard Hughes – knew you’d be impressed), he seen that on take-off, the flaps on the wings of the airplane had been lowered, to create carry. He questioned if the identical precept might be utilized to a golf membership – decrease the again of the membership to create extra carry, particularly in bunkers, in order that the membership splashed out a portion of sand, together with the ball.

Sarazen experimented with soldering lumps of result in the underside of wedges till he discovered the mixture that labored finest. When he got here to Britain in 1932 to play within the Open Championship, he smuggled the brand new membership into his bag, scared that the authorities would ban it. They didn’t, and he gained the claret jug. This fashion of design was subsequently deemed to be authorized by each the R&A and USGA – the rulers of the sport worldwide – and nearly instantly grew to become vital merchandise for golfers.

Issues calmed down a bit till in the direction of the tip of the century, when skilled golfers particularly correctly recognised how essential the quick sport was in the event that they wished to enhance their scores. Even the most effective on the planet nearly by no means hit all 18 greens in regulation (that’s, in a single stroke on a par three, two on a par 4 and three on a par 5). For the remainder of us, hitting the inexperienced in regulation is far more an ambition than achievement – 4 to 5 instances a spherical could be a median – which implies that the remainder of the time we are attempting, in {golfing} parlance, ‘to stand up and down’, that’s, pitch or chip onto the inexperienced and gap the putt.

What is the distinction between pitching and chipping?

The simplest solution to bear in mind the distinction is that you just pitch as much as the course and the chips go down. Float the ball excessive to cease it shortly and you’ve got hit a pitch. Punch it low in order that it hits the bottom early and runs additional, you will have hit a chip. With a pitch your ball spends longer within the air; with a chip it spends longer on the bottom. Simples.

The fashionable sport

From the outdated days of pitching and sand wedges can now be added hole and lob wedges and the names are fairly self-explanatory. A spot wedge (generally referred to as an strategy wedge, simply to confuse us) is designed to fill the hole in distance between the pitching wedge and sand wedge. The previous would possibly hit the ball, for instance, 95-yards, whereas a sand wedge could be good for a 70-yard shot. So, what when you’re confronted with an strategy of 80-yards? On this occasion you will have three decisions – attempt to take somewhat off your pitching wedge swing (recipe for catastrophe); go actually laborious with a sand wedge (recipe for even better catastrophe) or purchase a niche wedge. Lastly, we now have lob wedges, which have a substantial amount of loft (clubface angle). Maintain your hand straight out in entrance of you as if providing to shake palms with a stranger. Now rotate your hand in order that the again of it factors to the ground and your palm more and more factors to the ceiling. If the palm of your hand is the face of the golf membership, you will have simply elevated the loft. The better the loft, the upper the ball flies however with much less ahead distance. With these golf equipment you don’t should manufacture a shot, simply swing laborious and let the membership do the remaining.


As a rule of thumb, lofts are as follows:

Pitching wedge: 46-48 levels

Hole wedge: 48-52 levels

Sand wedge: 54-56 levels

Lob wedge: 58-62 levels.

Shock truth: In golf, there isn’t any agreed business customary on the loft of any given membership. A 6-iron, for instance, is usually about 31 levels however might be as little as 24 levels. Over time producers have tended to scale back the lofts of their golf equipment, in order that once you check out, for instance, a 7-iron, you would possibly suppose: ‘Wow, I hit this so far as my outdated 6-iron.’ Sure, you do, since you now have a 6-iron loft on a membership that’s stamped with the legend ‘7-iron’.

In the case of wedges, the extra loft, the upper the ball will fly and the faster it stops on touchdown. If it’s essential get the ball up and over a bunker, bush, tree or pond and don’t have a lot inexperienced to work with, a lob wedge could be your membership of selection. When you’ve got no obstacles to beat and a variety of inexperienced between you and the flagstick, a pitching wedge might be a greater possibility.


Nearly any assertion you make about golf will be contradicted however, as a normal rule, graphite shafts are lighter and dearer however simpler to swing tougher, producing extra clubhead pace and due to this fact distance. Nevertheless, when you’re solely 100-yards from the inexperienced, elevated distance shouldn’t be a priority, what you want is accuracy, and that’s the place metal shafts come into their very own. They are usually stiffer, heavier and give you better clubhead management, which interprets to elevated accuracy. Graphite shafts in your wedges aren’t dangerous however metal is healthier.


Now we’re getting technical however don’t fear, many golfers haven’t any actual concept what bounce means. In short, it refers back to the angle of the only of the clubhead, and can dictate how resistant the membership is to digging into the turf. Consider the underside of the membership and bear in mind Gene Sarazen soldering all that result in the again of it. The decrease that a part of the membership sits, the upper the forefront of the membership will sit. The better the diploma of bounce, the upper the forefront is off the floor at tackle.

Excessive bounce, as you would possibly guess, means the clubhead is far much less more likely to dig into the bottom, so somebody who tends to gouge out huge, deep divots would possibly desire a excessive bounce wedge. They’re additionally good for gentle, powdery sand and gentle turf. Conversely, a low bounce wedge would come into its personal on agency, hard-packed floor or moist, agency sand and a mid-bounce naturally, is between these two extremes.

Low bounce: 4-6°

Mid bounce: 7-12°

Excessive bounce: Over 12°.


There’s nearly no restrict to the look you should buy – from shiny stainless-steel, to matt black, to a uninteresting, oxidised end – all of it relies on choice. Some wedges are designed to rust over time as a result of the oxidised or rusty end offers better grip on the ball, and due to this fact extra spin. They could look ugly but when they work, what do you care?


What you’ll nearly definitely want to start with is a fundamental pitching wedge and sand wedge – each of which in all probability got here with the set of golf equipment you obtain. Spend a while getting used to them and, if doable, discover a piece of floor the place you may hit round a dozen photographs with every after which tempo them out, to get an concept of how far you hit every. Don’t take the furthest as your vary however the midpoint of all 12 photographs so that you just get a fairly correct common. When you’ve got a big hole between your common distance for these two golf equipment, you might effectively need to contemplate a niche wedge to fill that void. Lastly, when you discover that you just usually overhit your chips onto the inexperienced, or play a course with a variety of greenside bunkers that it’s essential pitch over, a lob wedge might be the reply.

Lastly, it doesn’t matter what wedge you will have in your hand, these are the photographs the place you’re most definitely to muck it up by lifting your head to see the place the ball has gone, earlier than you will have accomplished the stroke. Attempt to get into the behavior of claiming to your self that you’ll watch the little bit of grass beneath your ball, till you hear the ball land on the placing floor. Watch the place your ball was, not the place it’s going, for better consistency along with your wedges.

Concerning the Writer

Martin Vousden – Golf Author

Vousden bio

Martin Vousden joined As we speak’s Golfer in 1988 as a workers author and shortly rose to grow to be editor; underneath his stewardship it grew to become Britain’s best-selling golf title. He then grew to become launch editor of Golf Purchaser and Swing magazines, earlier than shifting to Scotland to take over at ScottishGolf. After 5 years he grew to become (and stays) a contract journalist, having written for quite a few titles, together with Golf Month-to-month, Golf Punk and The Clubhouse, which is predicated in Malaysia. He lives in Angus, about 12 miles from the Carnoustie course that beats him up each time he performs it, so he joined Kirriemuir GC. His handicap of 19.3 rises inexorably with each passing 12 months.

Martin’s golf bag incorporates:

Ping G400 driver

King Cobra F/Pace 3-wood

Kane Golf 5-wood

Callaway Massive Bertha 7-wood

Wilson D9 irons, 5-gap wedge

Yonex Z-Pressure sand wedge

John Letters Golden Goose lob wedge

Putter: GEL Ruby or Odyssey 2-ball blade (relying on which is behaving itself)

TaylorMade Distance Balls (yellow, simply because he likes the color)

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