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How to choose wedges?


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I’ve been playing golf for decades, I have owned a number of sets of irons, numerous drivers (for the last 10 - 15 years all fitted), a number of putters. Some I have been happier with the others but I always knew why I choosing them. But wedges seem like a mystery. I have had a wedge “fitting” but it was off mats and I don’t think it translates to real play. I head to golf courses and they might have a few demo wedges, usually Vokeys or TMs without many different bounces and grinds. It seems that I buy a wedge and it’s okay but it never seems great. So I but another, and so on and so on. So my question is this, how do you choose wedges?

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So I just ordered a new set of RTX-4s, lost my SW and being a ho at times got with a new set and really put some thought into it. So I carry a 50* gap, 54* sand, and 60* lob. The 50* I mostly use on f

I used to just use my "set" wedges for years until I had a co worker who was a scratch golfer that really helped me out with my short game. He basically told me you need an 8 iron and 3 wedges for th

Everybody is different but there are general guidelines and I’m sure others will chime in to point you in the right direction. Every manufacturer has “their grind”.

To make it even more complicated, are you considering 3 or 4 wedge system?

Im very pleased with my current RTX-4 as they perform well from the fairway and around the greens.

I look at grind, bounce, loft, size, shape (tear drop, silhouette, square, high toe) swing weight, course conditions, swing type and shafts.

lol don’t forget finish chrome vs satin vs black vs raw

For example, do you prefer open face or squarer shots? Are you steep vs shallow? Is your course firm or soft? Is your sand dense or fluffy? Are your lies tight? Lol different grasses like burmuda vs green grass etc

Anyways, I personally place emphasis around the greens so my high lofted LW and SW are crucial in my set-up but then I leave a gap between my PW which I have great touch with.

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Echoing what @Chuck905 mostly says, here's what I look at, more or less in order.
Do I like the way it looks at address? Leading edge shape, etc.What lofts do I want/need for the distances I want them to go. This can be adjusted after the fact with bending but if your going with a 4W system I like to go down in 4* increments from my PW.Bounce. This is where it gets tricky because it really depends on your local conditions and how you like to play certain shots.Me personally I play 50/54/58. My 54 had more bounce and that's what I use out of greenside bunkers 95% of the time. My 58 has less bounce for firm sand and tight lies where I really need to pick the ball clean.

Cobra SZ 9* : Ventus Blue 6-S

Cobra F9 Tour 4W : Tour AD TP 8-S

Cobra ForgedTec 3-iron : Nippon Modus3 105-S

Srixon Z785 4-PW : Nippon Modus3 120-S

Cleveland RTX3 50, 54, 58 : Nippon 115-S Wedge

Piretti Potenza 370g : Breakthrough Technology Stability Shaft - 34"

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I try to find a head shape I like, and then I hit a few chips if possible with the 60 degree. How high i am able to hit a short chip on a standard shot is the deal breaker.

I find some heads can flop the ball up higher way easier then others. For example the original callaway mack daddy forged i couldn't get in the air.

There's a way the ball rides up the face and releases that is really important to me. Hard to describe, but give me 5 chips with a club and I can tell if I can use it or not

Callaway Mavrik Max 9 w/Hzrdus Smoke Black 80
Ping G410 LST 13 w/Ping Tour 75
Ping G400 Crossover 20 w/KBS Tour Prototype 85
Ping G410 4-SW w/S300
Titleist Vokey SM8 60 M grind

Deschamps Blade 375g

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Since I think I have good short game mechanics for me it is really about feel since I hit hit on the sweet spot most of the time. In full shots, pitches and chips, I want to know if I hit one solid or if I hit one out on the toe or the heel. I also like quite a bit of bounce on my sand wedge as well.

10.5 deg Titleist 905R with stock UST Proforce V2 Shaft
1999 Ben Hogan Apex Blades (3-PW) with stock Apex 4 Steel Shafts
Taylormade V-Steel 5W & 3W with Grafalloy Prolaunch Red shafts
Taylormade ATV wedges in 54 and 58 degrees with stock steel shafts
Rife Island Series Aruba Blade Putter

 

"Loft for loft, length for length, and shaft for shaft, the ball will go the same distance when hit on the sweet spot regardless how old the iron."

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Once you find grinds you like, you can experiment. But I did a fitting on mats too. Didn't seem to be a problem.

My thing is this...I use my wedges for full shots. They have a "number" just like anything else. I have more bounce on 58* and less on the 52*/46*. Also okay a bigger gap because I use them for full shots, have the saw'd off shot, the pitch and the chip/flop with all.

But, again for me, I use my iron shafts and they all have heel/toe grinds to allow me to open/close the faces to my heart's desire.

Found the Cally XWedge C grind years ago, now the edels. I also like blade style wedges, so it works in my favor.

 

So how to pick? Luck, fitting, personal preference then someone to give you #'s. Turns out wedge flex shafts were giving me too much spin...once I switched, I'll never go back. I would have just kept having inconsistent results had I not had a fitter tell (show) me that. Always been good around the greens with about any wedge. Once I found style/weight/grind/shaft I can just look at a wedge and know if I can hit it.

PING G400 LST 9* Fuji XLR8 51

PING G400 16.5* Fuji XLR8 61

PING i500 3-PW KBS CTaper Lite 110 Stiff

Edel 46* DVR/52* DVR/58* DVR KBS CTaper Lite 110 Stiff

PING Vault Anser 2

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@Chuck905 and @jvincent set the stage for considerations.
Both have hinted at shot analysis, so I'll go into specifics:
What is your basic wedge shot? Do you line up mainly with a square face and vary your backswing length... or or do you like to open the face up and close down, and do magic tricks with your wedge?IF you mainly do square face, you probably want a Vokey F grind or, in SWs and LWs the S grind. Callaway offers a similar S grind in all its lofts; it has just modest toe and heel relief and a sole that helps keep clubface square at impact.
If you are more adventurous, try other Vokey and Callaway sole grinds.
Best way to choose wedge mix is to try a few models here and there. Then put together a short list and (if COVID ever ends), go to a demo day and try out different wedge models from the turf. Other ways to do it:
Find a local course that does Titleist Thursdays. Call the pro and set up a wedge test day to find your mix.See if Cleveland has a wedge short game tour coming to a place near you. (Sometimes there's a fee involved.)Find an Edel demo pro and get an outdoor fitting. Edel is very systematic in their player profiling, and tends to favor very high bounce wedges for the mix. (Edel will explain why)

What's In The Bag (Summary as of October 2020)

 

Driver:  Tour Edge EXS 10.5°, weights neutral   ||  FWs:  Calla Rogue 4W + 7W

Hybrid:  Calla Big Bertha OS 4H at 22°  ||  Irons:  Tour Edge CB Pro Tungsten 4i-9i

Wedges:  Calla MD3: 48°, 54°... MD4: 58° ||  Putter: Ping Sigma G Tyne (face-balanced)

Ball: Calla SuperHot (Orange preferred)  ||  Bag: Sun Mountain Three 5 stand bag

For details see:  Pending (need protocol to embed file list).

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I can totally relate - been playing for over 20 years and wedges have always been a mystery. Totally admit that my lack of skill, practice, etc contributed to my frustration but after trying numerous wedges, I finally just decided to go with wide sole wedges that offer max forgiveness (Cleveland CBX, Callaway MD W, etc) Lots of great advice here, hope you find the best wedges for your game.

Ben Hogan GS53 9* with UST Helium stiff or Ping G30 9* with regular flex TFC 419D Ben Hogan GS53 16* with UST Helium stiff Titleist 816 H2 21* with stiff flex Diamana S+ Blue 70 Taylormade M CGB 4-AW with regular flex Nippon NSPRO840 Callaway MD3 Milled Black Wide sole wedge 56* Odyssey Works #7 Tank Versa with Superstroke
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A quick update. I gathered the various wedges that I own and headed to my club's short game practice area. I brought the following: Epon 210 KGX in 50, 54 and 58 degrees; Vokey SM7 in 52 F grind and 56 S grind; Vovey SM6 58 M grind; Edel 54 and 60; and Taylormade Hi Toe 58. For chips and short pitches I thought the Vokey SM7s (especially the 52)were better for me (they are also the newest), next were the Epons, and the Hi Toe and Edels were quickly eliminated. The Vokey SM6 M grind was very good at the short sided type pitches. Bunker play: SM7 56 S grind and SM6 M grind were better followed by the Hi Toe. I was unable to really hit measured shots for gapping but I think the Epon 50 was (not surprisingly) the longest followed by the Vokey 52 by a few yards (how much was tough to tell), again the difference between the 54 wedges and the 56 wedge was difficult to eye ball. Interestingly, I was fit for the Edels and Epons and the Vokeys showed up as pro shop credit from tournament play. In fairness to the Edels and Epons, they are older and way more used than the Vokeys .

 

What does it all mean? I'm not really sure because of age and wear of some of the wedges but it helped me decide what wedges I will play this weekend and heading into the summer tournament season. But there are so many other wedges out there that might be better, Ping Glide 3.0, TM MG2, Vokey SM8, etc. I guess wedge selection is difficult, in part, because there are so few fitting places with different length grasses and bunkers and actually are brand agnostic. One of my clubs has a few Vokeys to demo and the other has TM and Vokey. I've decided to follow Bob Vokey's advice, use a sand wedge with pretty good amount of bounce and a lob wedge with little bounce and hope that works for me.

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So I just ordered a new set of RTX-4s, lost my SW and being a ho at times got with a new set and really put some thought into it.

So I carry a 50* gap, 54* sand, and 60* lob. The 50* I mostly use on full to 3/4 shots so I opted to match the shaft and lie angle to my irons. For the SW I went with a heavier and not as stiff shaft, with high ounce and a forgiving sole. I also went with the standard lie. This is because I don't hit many full shots so I don't need as much stiffness, and we less speed there will be less toe drop in theory. The LW I went with really low bounce, and again heavier shaft as mentioned, . My thinking was like yours, I want to have options for all the scenarios of tight lie, soft sand, hard sand, etc. And this set up should work on any course. Now will my swing work, that is always the question.

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I used to just use my "set" wedges for years until I had a co worker who was a scratch golfer that really helped me out with my short game. He basically told me you need an 8 iron and 3 wedges for the short game. One for pitches which is basically a long chip shot, one for what he called general chipping around the green and then a high lofted one for what he called sand and over hazard chipping. So after working with him i have basically 4 clubs to use for the short game depending on what shot i need to hit around the green. I use an 8 iron with a putting swing if its just off the green like 1-5 feet. Then for general chipping I use my 50. For long bump and run pitches i use my PW which is 46. Then I have my 56 SW which I use in the sand or if I have to hit a flop shot over some hazard. Opening up my 56 basically turns it into a 58/60 lob wedge so I can hit everything I need with these four clubs, 8 iron, 46 PW, 50 GW, 56 SW. As for brand I have iblade irons up trough PW and then my 50 and 56 are glide forged and those wedges are awesome. Perfect sole/bounce for what I use them for. Very versatile. Hope this helps!

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Ping Anser Driver 9.5
Ping Anser Fairway 3
Ping Anser Hybrid 17, 20
Ping Iblade 4-PW
Ping Glide Forged 50, 56
Ping Anser 5 Milled

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Quite a bit a trial and error, but a lot depends on whether you like to manufacture shots around the green or just hit the ball square. If you open and close the face then grind will be very important. Most courses I play have lots of baked fairways, as well as very soft conditions, so I have my 54 for the soft, fluffy lies and my 58 for the tighter lies and firm conditions. I use my 50 for a lot of chips as most greens require me to fly the ball a bit before letting it roll.

Wilson Deep Red II Tour (9.0)
King Cobra SZ (15.5), G10 HY (18, 21, 24)
MP-32 5i - 9i, Vokey SM5 50, 54 (F), 58 (M)
Rife Aussie

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I pick whatever I like the look of the best for brand.

Then I pick what yardages I want each club to hit, loft depends on the specific brand weighting, Ive had to go stronger loft when testing a RTX compared to weaken loft for a Vokey. Gap wedge is 125, sand wedge is 110, lob wedge is 85. I also match my wedges so that a 3/4 swing hits the max of the next wedge below it. My 3/4 gap wedge hits about 110-115 but much lower, and I have my ladder and my wedge grid in my card holder.

Then its trial an error for bounce. I tend to play lower bounce in everything, but I do keep the sand wedge with slightly higher bounce than the lob wedge, usually 8/12/8. If i need to bend a wedge its always making the wedges stronger and removing bounce, I tend to not get along well with bounce, but Ive always had a 56/12 wedge and base everything around that. Its also nice to occasionally have some extra bounce im playing in a tournament.

Then ill order them, usually with S400 because I got those by accident in a set of wedges and loved them and refuse to ever change. Bend them 4 degrees flat. Then take them to the range to get my wedge grid tuned up.

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Unlike irons, wedge choices are more personal/subjective. Where it can be dicey is choosing Grinds, lofts & bounces that fit your style of play. If a person is not acquainted with their wedge style, their choice of wedges may or may not reflect that. Grinds translate to digger or sweeper, if you keep square face to the target or open various degrees, are you a creative "feel" shot maker or static that follows a clock swing, play soft or firm or both turf conditions; all those can be reflected in loft choices combined with grind.

Having said that there is NO panacea wedge. Great is the person's wedge skill. I like my LW because I've learned how to be really effective using its grind. A wedge does what its told. Give it a confusing commands (not use it correctly for the shot or grind) results will vary. Example; I've seen guys by a wedge that's preworn, almost no trailing edge, leaving a vary narrow sole and low bounce. Squaring the face the user has to have firm wrists. If wrists are at all flimsy going into impact, the face angle with change at impact and shot result will not be what was hoped for. Chose your wedge wisely for it can be an effective tool or one that bites the hand that feeds it.

  • Titleist TS2 9.5, Ventus 5 "S"
  • Titleist TS2 16.5*, Ventus 7 "S"
  • Titleist 718 T-MB 17* 2i, i110cw "S"
  • Titleist 620s - 3i-PW, PX 5.5
  • SM6 F-52/8, PX 5.5
  • SM6 M-58/8, DG-S200
  • SC CA Monterey
  • ProV1 or AVX
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