The wedges: How many should be in the bag?

Published on   2023-06-19 by Kai

We already covered the topic of wedges in the equipment category. They are among the most important clubs in the bag, because they are used for approach play. And here - as even rookies among golfers quickly learn - the game is decided.

It should be emphasized once again that the so-called short game, the approach to or the shot on the green from a distance of up to 100 meters, is often decisive for victory or defeat, for a good or bad score on the course.

Teeing off mistakes rather easy to correct

As important as it is to hit the ball from the tee reasonably straight and also far, unsuccessful shots here are often not too much trouble to make up for, mistakes can be corrected without it showing up clearly on the scorecard.

But the approach is different. Together with the putt, it is decisive for the game. This is because it is often not possible to "simply" straighten out a mishit club. If you miss the green on your approach shot, you will have to write down an extra stroke.

Protected green makes the game more difficult

If the green is protected - as is often the case - by sand bunkers or water hazards, additional strokes are quickly added, possibly even penalty strokes if the ball is lost.

And that's why the way to the driving range, the grip on driver, fairway wood or hybrid, also to the longer and long irons is important, but an intensive practice of pitch or chip and also of putting should get at least as much time.

Practice approach shots

If the swing with woods and irons is reasonably repeatable or even already good and consistent, then the short shots may even get significantly more practice time.

So we've been warming up and practicing and hitting nice straight and long balls. Now it's on to chipping and pitching. And now the wedges come into play. And how many of them do you have in your bag?

If you've bought a complete set for your golf career, you'll usually have two wedges in your bag, and they'll be well equipped - at least for the early days: pitching wedge and sand wedge (or as my golf license coach Nick, the Brit, used to say about the latter, somewhat missing the German grammar: "Die Sandeisen").

And here we are again at the keyword "loft". Today's pitching wedge comes with an average loft of 48 degrees, while a sand wedge has an average loft of 56 degrees. Beginners in particular are definitely well equipped with these wedges, because they don't usually get very far with them at first.

When to choose a wedge?

For those who have been walking from hole to hole for a long time, are very ambitious, or are even on their way to becoming professionals, things look a little different: Distances of significantly more than 100 meters are then quite possible with a pitching wedge. And with a sand iron, the 100-meter range is not far away either.

But especially when playing with ambition, this can make a lot of difference. What do you hit with when the green is a good 100 meters away? And what do you use when there are only 60 meters or less to cover?

Gap and lob wedges come into play

As already emphasized, the golfer should not have to slow down his swing significantly, but - for the sake of a consistently good game - should always swing the same way. With the longer irons, it is clear that the distance differences are achieved by the different club selection. And so it is ultimately with the wedges.

So if you achieve reasonably consistent distances with your different clubs, and always hit the ball a good 100 yards (pitching wedge) or 70 to 80 yards (sand wedge) with the wedges, you would be well advised to pack two more wedges in your bag: The Gapwedge (from English "Gap" = gap), which with its loft of about 52 degrees is located between pitcher and sand iron. And finally the Lobwedge, which with 60 degrees is clearly designed for high parabolic shots and very short distances.

So if you set out with two more wedges, you should have the right tool in your bag for all short game conditions. Now nothing stands in the way of a good round with corresponding results on the scorecard.

Previous article in the series: Training under control

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