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Is the lob wedge overrated?


dalehead
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I use the 60 more than any other clubs around the greens. And if you're good with your wedges, you can lob, pitch, bump and run, bunker blast, or chip with that club without any problem.

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Irons: 4-GW Titleist T100 w/ Project X LZ 6.0
Wedge: Vokey SM8 54.10S TC w/ Project X LZ 6.0

Wedge: Vokey SM8 60.04L TC w/ Project X LZ 6.0
Ball: 2021 Titleist ProV1

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I don't think they are over-rated. Overused, for sure.

I agree with what a few others have said; its really more about bounce than loft. Most of us really shouldn't be using a high-loft, low-bounce club for anything like a full swing because we don't make consistent enough contact to avoid the chunks and skulls, much less achieve decent distance control.

I am currently carrying two "lob wedges," a high bounce 58-12, and a low bounce 60-04. They are completely different clubs. The high bounce on the 58 makes the club very forgiving on full shots from the fairway, and is ideal for soft bunkers, and for most shots around the green. Fundamentally, it is forgiving club that I don't think most higher handicappers would have a problem hitting decently. OTOH, I never hit the 60 "full." It gets used for very firm bunkers (common at my courses), and for when I need to "clip" one off a tight lie to stop it quick. I'll use either for "flops," depending on how firm the ground is and how the ball is sitting.

Also, the SM-5 through SM-8 Vokey 60 L grind is terrible. For me, the leading edge is too low when square, and too high when opened. Its the ultimate "unforgiving" club. I just don't get it. My old "Red Saw" 60-04 is essentially a low-bounce M grind, which is much more versatile, and even pretty forgiving around the green, if you use a good "use the bounce" technique.

 

 

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My 58* is my favorite club in the bag. It's also my highest lofted. I can hit high soft shots and low spinners with it. Just make sure you get a higher lofted wedge with the right sole grind and enough bounce. The problem with a lot of "lob" wedges is they are too low bounce for most people.

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It's all about the bounce and grind... wait, that didn't sound right

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Driver: Titleist TS3 9.5 w/ Tensei Blue 55 S
3W: Titleist 915F 15 w/ Diamana D+ 80 S
3H: Titleist 915H 21 w/ Diamana D+ 90 S
Irons: 4-GW Titleist T100 w/ Project X LZ 6.0
Wedge: Vokey SM8 54.10S TC w/ Project X LZ 6.0

Wedge: Vokey SM8 60.04L TC w/ Project X LZ 6.0
Ball: 2021 Titleist ProV1

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Local Course conditions and player’s short game skill/and or preference are the determining factors in answering this. Green size and speed also matter. My own lob wedge is 58 degrees, and it is most definitely NOT overrated for my game. However I have been using my 54 wedge more often past 2 seasons, and it allows for some different shots to be played. If I was forced to play with only sand wedge or only lob wedge, it would be a tough call.

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For me, the LW is the most versatile club in the bag. It’s not a club that I ever really use to hit a full swing with but from 75 yards and in and around the green in particular I am able to do things with it that I cannot with other clubs. To my mind, a large part of that is the grind, I have a Vokey L grind with 4 degrees of bounce. Now I suppose, if my 56 degree wedge had 4 degrees of bounce then I would be able to do almost as much with it as I can with my LW but that would leave a gap elsewhere in the bag.

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I grew up and learned to play in the age before there was such a thing as a lob wedge so you had to do everything with the SW. It made you learn to be more creative with your shots and I loved my sand wedge.

But I had a revelation in '84 or '85 when I found a 60° Lynx Master Model wedge, direct from Japan, at a golf shop in L.A. I had played with a Master Model SW in high school and college until I lost it, so I snatched it up without hesitation. I remember it was $80 - an OUTRAGEOUS amount for a wedge back then. That's when my love affair with the 60° began and I have always had one in the bag ever since.

Overrated??? No, for me INDISPENSABLE!!

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Nobody ask for pictures, please...

 

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On the courses I play at anyway, if you don’t drive more than ~280 yards and play blues or blacks, you need to be able to use a high lofted wedge at a high skill level to have any chance of approaching par. Outside of 150 yards, most people’s GIR rate will be under 50%. You then obviously have to recover to a 1 putt range.

On most green configurations, you have to control both your landing location and roll out to have a chance at recovering. Without a lob wedge, that’s a difficult proposition at best.

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I cant think of a single piece of equipment that was adopted as fast as the lob wedge. Very much not over rated. Maybe misunderstood and misused.

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It seems most of the discussion is on loft. But, one needs to consider bounce too. I have historically used a PW, GW, 56 degree and 60 degree. The 56 has 10 degrees of bounce and the 60 has significantly less (4 degrees). I found I have very few opportunities during a round to use the 60. So, I dropped it unless I play a course that could benefit by having one. I am surprised to read where people use a 60 out of the sand. I wouldn't want to do that with a low bounce 60. The 56 is a bit more versatile around the green.

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Depends on the sand or lack thereof. I use my 4 degree bounce 58 for most shortish greenside bunker shots. On longer bunker shots I will use my 6 degree bounce 54. The bunkers around here for the most part are firm to hard pan. If I play outside the area I will take some higher bounce wedges with me. Sometimes I need them, sometimes not. Only the really soft, deep sand causes the need for higher bounce typically as well as soft turf which we don't have around here either.

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Comment of the day right there!

I'm a high handicap with an average swing speed but I have no trouble using my 60 degree within 60 yards for a full shot, high and soft onto the green or in the green side sand. I love this club around the greens. For a short chip shot I use the 56 though.

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Good question. i’ll answer this for myself...

I own a 58* lob wedge and a 65* lob wedge. You must admit, these are two different clubs. On a normal round, I’ve gone to a 3 wedge setup, 47,52,58. A 58 is quite versatile for me, I’m able to comfortably take a full shot or use it for most shots 95 yrds and in. The 65* comes out for match play only. It’s only there for a Low percentage, hero shot attempt.

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Use a 58 sand wedge. And still rather use my 53 degree wedge unless there is 0 roll out. 60? Never got the feel for distance. But if you can use , God bless ya.

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They are way over-rated. I've been playing for 50 years and while I flirted with a 60* for a while in the late 90's I found opening up my 56* wedge lets me hit the same high soft flop shots as I can with a 60*. Yes, you can get even more loft opening up a 60* all the way but I find that's a little harder to use for me--I have to be more precise to keep from just popping the ball straight up. I'm a 2 HC. I could see how pros with much greater skills (I've played and hit with PGA Tour and Korn Ferry players so I know how they are on a whole other level especially short game) could use a fully open 60* wedge to great advantage. Still I believe Tom Watson who had a pretty great short game never felt the need for more than a 56* wedge. As the OP rightly says, ams are just not good enough to take advantage of a 60*. The only slight advantage is for a player that simply doesn't know how or isn't comfortable dramatically opening the face. For him/her a 60* played square does give an advantage.

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I don't know if the word "overrated" is the right way to have this discussion. I would think there are two better ways to think about it - do you score better with a 58-60-higher wedge in the bag or does having them in the bag make golf more fun for you? I've been playing AW/54/58 for the 10 years or so. About a year ago, I bought a used Callaway MD Forged 56 on a lark because it had a C-Taper Lite shaft that matched my iron set. I also purchased a 50 deg MD4 which I put in over the AW when I play the 56. I'm not a big practicer and I wouldn't say I'm great around the green with the wedges. Arccos says my "chipping/pitching" index is much worse than my long game or putting.

Anecdotally, I would say this:

1 - it is rare that I pull out the 56, wishing I had brought the 58. Maybe once every 5-10 rounds. And it will generally be when I have a nice 80 yard shot to a tight pin and would rather hit a full 58 than an 85% 56.

2 - I have somewhat greater confidence with the 56 over the 58 (it's true that I also have more confidence with the 54 over 58 when I carry those - I tend to use the 54 more)

3 - I hit fewer horrible shots with the 56 than 58 - chunks/blades.

4 - I probably score slightly better with 56 vs. 54/58

So when I'm carrying my bag (which is about 70% of my golf) and want to get around with 11-12 clubs, I put the 56 in. When I'm riding in a cart and don't care about weight, I usually put the AW/54/58 in, but I don't think it helps my scoring. If I want to carry more wedges, I definitely need to invest in practice and building confidence.

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