What it’s essential know

You’d think about that, as your expertise of golf grows, your understanding of the sport would enhance exponentially. Downside is, the deeper you get into the sport, the extra there may be to seek out out and extra baffling acronyms and phrases come your manner. Issues like MOI, COG, COR, ‘kick level’ and so forth. A few of this merely displays new technological advances however loads 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 principal sorts of wedge however all of them have commonalities, that are – shorter shafts (for larger management), elevated loft (a larger 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 brief recreation is extremely necessary. It’s massively satisfying to let rip with a driver and blast the ball so far as you possibly can however finally it’s way more satisfying to constantly 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 doubtless, a niblick, which roughly equates to a 9-iron. Now there’s nearly no restrict. If you’d like somebody in charge, take a look at Gene Sarazen, one of many recreation’s biggest 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 really specialised trendy brief membership to satisfy a selected want. Legend has it that whereas Sarazen was flying in a personal aircraft (owned by multi-millionaire Howard Hughes – knew you’d be impressed), he observed that on take-off, the flaps on the wings of the aircraft had been lowered, to create elevate. He questioned if the identical precept could possibly be utilized to a golf membership – decrease the again of the membership to create extra elevate, 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 model of design was subsequently deemed to be authorized by each the R&A and USGA – the rulers of the sport worldwide – and nearly instantly turned a must have merchandise for golfers.

Issues calmed down a bit till in direction of the tip of the century, when skilled golfers specifically correctly recognised how essential the brief recreation was in the event that they wished to enhance their scores. Even the perfect 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 way more an ambition than achievement – 4 to 5 instances a spherical could be a mean – which signifies 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 keep in mind the distinction is that you simply 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 may 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 trendy recreation

From the previous 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 method wedge, simply to confuse us) is designed to fill the hole in distance between the pitching wedge and sand wedge. The previous may hit the ball, for instance, 95-yards, whereas a sand wedge could be good for a 70-yard shot. So, what in case you’re confronted with an method of 80-yards? On this occasion you may have three decisions – attempt to take a bit of off your pitching wedge swing (recipe for catastrophe); go actually arduous with a sand wedge (recipe for even larger catastrophe) or purchase a spot wedge. Lastly, now we 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 fingers 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 may have simply elevated the loft. The larger the loft, the upper the ball flies however with much less ahead distance. With these golf equipment you don’t need to manufacture a shot, simply swing arduous 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 reality: In golf, there isn’t any agreed trade commonplace on the loft of any given membership. A 6-iron, for instance, is often about 31 levels however could possibly be as little as 24 levels. Over time producers have tended to cut back the lofts of their golf equipment, in order that whenever you check out, for instance, a 7-iron, you may assume: ‘Wow, I hit this so far as my previous 6-iron.’ Sure, you do, since you now have a 6-iron loft on a membership that’s stamped with the legend ‘7-iron’.

With regards to 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 can be your membership of alternative. When you have no obstacles to beat and loads of inexperienced between you and the flagstick, a pitching wedge could possibly be a greater choice.


Nearly any assertion you make about golf could be contradicted however, as a basic rule, graphite shafts are lighter and costlier however simpler to swing more durable, producing extra clubhead pace and due to this fact distance. Nevertheless, in case you’re solely 100-yards from the inexperienced, elevated distance isn’t 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 larger 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 thought what bounce means. In short, it refers back to the angle of the only real of the clubhead, and can dictate how resistant the membership is to digging into the turf. Consider the underside of the membership and keep 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 larger the diploma of bounce, the upper the forefront is off the floor at tackle.

Excessive bounce, as you may guess, means the clubhead is far much less prone to dig into the bottom, so somebody who tends to gouge out huge, deep divots may desire a excessive bounce wedge. They’re additionally good for comfortable, powdery sand and comfortable 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 purchase – from shiny chrome steel, to matt black, to a uninteresting, oxidised end – all of it relies on desire. Some wedges are designed to rust over time as a result of the oxidised or rusty end offers larger 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 most likely got here with the set of golf equipment you acquire. Spend a while getting used to them and, if attainable, discover a piece of floor the place you possibly can hit round a dozen photographs with every after which tempo them out, to get an thought of how far you hit every. Don’t take the furthest as your vary however the midpoint of all 12 photographs so that you simply get a fairly correct common. When you have a big hole between your common distance for these two golf equipment, chances are you’ll effectively wish to think about a spot wedge to fill that void. Lastly, in case you discover that you simply usually overhit your chips onto the inexperienced, or play a course with loads of greenside bunkers that it’s essential pitch over, a lob wedge could possibly be the reply.

Lastly, it doesn’t matter what wedge you may 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 may 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 larger consistency along with your wedges.

Concerning the Creator

Martin Vousden – Golf Author

Vousden bio

Martin Vousden joined Immediately’s Golfer in 1988 as a employees author and shortly rose to turn out to be editor; below his stewardship it turned Britain’s best-selling golf title. He then turned launch editor of Golf Purchaser and Swing magazines, earlier than shifting to Scotland to take over at ScottishGolf. After 5 years he turned (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 accommodates:

Ping G400 driver

King Cobra F/Pace 3-wood

Kane Golf 5-wood

Callaway Large Bertha 7-wood

Wilson D9 irons, 5-gap wedge

Yonex Z-Drive 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)