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Why do we need so many wedges?


OldFrog75
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True. I started this thread and I guess that's the crux of it. Today's PW has the same loft as an old 9 iron so you could say the standard is still only 2 wedges (GW,SW) and most players probably carry a lob wedge as well for a total of 3 which isn't a lot. But I do see people play with 4, 5, or even 6 wedges these days (counting the PW as a wedge), some with loft differentials of only 2 degrees, which I think is impractical at best...unless they are really, really good players who can make use of such small gaps.

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Versatility. And i don’t mean things like “you have to use a lob wedge to hit it high.” I mean, I feel your wedge game can get really

good if you can hit 4 different shots from the same lie with 4 different wedges. Practicing hitting from the same spot with different wedges helps create control in your game and gives you tons of options when you need them on the course.

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So, in my round today, I hit the following different shots:

Choked down 46* PW from 114 yards (ended up at 6 feet - made putt :-) )50* GW from 104 yards ... 25 feet54* SW from 85 yards .... 20 feet60* LW from 60 yards .... 20 feetMultiple chips with 54* wedge, mostly to tap in rangeOne "long" chip (20 yards) with 50* wedge ... to 4 feet, made putt2 different "full swing flop shots" with 60*, both to one-putt rangeFor me, it gives me the flexibility to play lots of different short game shots. And there's no long game gap in my bag, so not sure what I would add ....

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I switched over to i210 (2-PW/17*-45*) and was mindful on the stronger lofts coming from a 2018 Callaway Apex MB (2-PW/18*-49*) but did not experience any gapping issues. The modern irons get to the same distances in a different way vs the older blades.

Have no problems with a 3/4 PW and jump right into a 54* SW and 58* LW therefore, no need for a GW. Bare in mind, my SW and LW are primarily for around the greens so I get it with guys prioritizing a handful of wedges from the fairway.

My conclusion, look at carry yardages first before even spacing lofts.

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There were times in early golf that players carried 6-8-9 clubs total..... then times where you could basically have as many clubs as you wanted almost. It wasn't until the last 80-90 years golf became maxed at 14 clubs. My point is, things change, thats why people carry more wedges... because technology allows it, and sometimes course conditions require it. Lofts, the letter or number stamped on the bottom, ball, clubs, all of it has changed. If you don't need more clubs at the top end gapping, IE: a 5 wood, hybrid or 3 iron, it opens a spot for another club, that becomes a 58-60 for a lot of people as the 50-52 is a PW of old, and 54-56 is the sand iron of old.

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I've been trying to get in shape since retiring from the military, results?, I hit my wedges a bit longer that I used to on full swigs (about 80%) so:

PW 46*-130-140

GW 50*-120-130

SW 54*-105-115

LW 58*-100 and below

I've played 4 wedges since I started playing, honestly I have never thought of playing with less than 4...to each their own I guess, I don't think there is a right or wrong answer to the question... 

Ping G400 LS Tec 8.5*, Rogue Silver 125 MSI, Tour S, 44.25"
Ping G410 14.5*, Stock Alta S Flex, 43"
Callaway Apex Hybrid 18*, GD Tour AD-DI 85S
Callaway Apex X Muscleback 4-P, DG Tour Issue shafts
Callaway X Forged 52, 56, 60-DG Tour Issue shafts
Odyssey #7 stroke lab, 34" oversize grip
Bridgestone Tour XS (Tiger Edition) and new Pro V1

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That’s right. I think of my PW at 43*, and even my “W” at 48*, as a 10 iron and 11 iron - full swing clubs. Then I jump in 6* loft increments (the largest gaps in my bag) to a 54* SW and a 60* LW to cover the yardage to get on the green.

I think it’s actually stranger that people crowd the top of the lineup with so many clubs, devoting 4-5 clubs to cover the yardage to get on the fairway.

I could make a case to carry only a driver and 3H. (I carry a 3W for tight tee shots ...and sentimental reasons tbh.)

Driver: TaylorMade SIM Max

Wood: TaylorMade M6

Hybrid: Taylormade M3

Irons: Titleist 718 AP1

Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM7

Putter: TaylorMade Ardmore 2 Black Copper

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A lot of the old timers had more loft than you think. A lot of them back in the day secretly added loft to the 55* SW and ground the sole. When Phil Rogers worked with Jack they made his SW 58* prior to 1980. I read somewhere Hogan had quite a bit of loft on his sand iron, he probably did most of his pitching with a actual pitching wedge with at least 52* . I used to have an old set of Spaulding clubs from the 1940,’s there was no wedge at all, but the 9 iron had more than 50*

plus their 8 irons usually had 44* of loft, which is now pretty standard for a PW, so the modern set is totally out of kilter name wise.

The original matched sets were 1,2,3,4 woods. 1-9 iron, putter. That’s 14 clubs and the lofts covered the full range you needed.

when you number something you start with the number 1. 1 irons used to be somewhat playable, the fact that the modern set starts with a number 5 should answer your question.

Ping G400
Ping G410 3, 5 and 7 wood

Ping G410 5 hybrid
Mizuno JPX 921 Hot Metal. 5-G
Vokey 54,58 Testing TM MG2 60* TW grind and MG3 56* TW grind.  
Odyssey Pro #1 black
Hoofer, Ecco, Bushnell
ProV1x-mostly
 

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Several reasons. First, the strengthening of the lofts, which leaves a gap (hence GW) between PW and GW.

More strategies for how to play wedges. It used to be finessing the 50* set PW and 56* SW. Back in the 1960s and 1970s, the old-school club pros designated the 40- to 100-yard range as no-man's land: stay out of it. Also, Hogan recommended using partial wedges mainly inside 40 yards. The idea was if you couldn't get inside 40 (or 50 yards) with your approach, lay back and set up a full-wedge finish.

Then Dave Pelz came along, working for club manufacturers, and came up with the idea of the the "well engineered" golf club mix. Try to get to 15-yard gaps with numbered irons, then closer gaps for your wedges (up to 4 of them!) He recommended a full swing for numbered clubs and woods, and a finesse swing for 30- to 120 yards with your four wedges. Go onto the Cleveland wedge site, and you can get a full YouTube banquet of Pelz' how-to. A sample: https://www.golfchannel.com/video/wedge-week-dave-pelz-swing-tips-distance-control

For wedge matrix, think in terms of...

Greenside pitches (normally not included in matrix)7:30 swing9:00 swing10:30 swingAnd, coinciding with Pelz parsing the short game, the lob wedge arrived. This allowed a golfer to "throw darts" inside 50 yards. The golf architects took note, and started making little nodes in the greens where you needed to "throw a lob dart" to get in close to a pin put there. And, these showed up on some "upscale" public courses, even though they would never have a chance to host the US Open... but, everyday golfers got to suffer instead.

Going back to the "well engineered" club mix, many golfers attempt to use the P, G, S and L wedges with precision. They come up with a wedge matrix that - theoretically - covers partial wedge shots from 20 to 100 yards in tiny increments. In our Equipment forum, you'll read about people wondering whether they should bend a wedge a degree weaker, or just choke down a quarter inch to shave the 9:00 GW shot from 50 yards to 48. Whether it's better calibrate four wedges down to the yard just go by feel is an interesting question. (Answer: it varies from golfer to golfer - individual differences.)

And, the golf club manufacturers took note and gave us wedges for all occasions. Look at the wedge variety from our 2020 survey:

image.pngIn short, availability of a dozens of wedge flavors creates demand.

When I switched out of stiff shafts circa 2009, it took me four weeks to select a new set of irons, and 14 months to get my beyond-PW wedge mix determined. Where did all those wedges come from?Details on 2020: http://www.golfwrx.com/620534/best-wedges-of-2020-golfwrx-members-choice/

What's In The Bag (Summary as of October 2021, post-MAX changeover)

 

Driver:  Tour Edge EXS 10.5°, set 9.5°; weights neutral   ||  FWs:  Calla Rogue 4W + 7W

Hybrid:  Calla Big Bertha OS 4H at 22°  ||  Irons:  Calla Mavrik MAX 5i-PW

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

Ball: 1. Srixon Q-Star Tour / 2. Calla SuperHot (Orange preferred)  ||  Bag: Sun Mountain Three 5 stand bag

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

     * MD4 54°/10 S-Grind replaced MD3 54°/12 W-Grind.

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Correct, in addition, in the very early early days there is reference of players with 20-30 clubs in a bag, left and right handed. Super early on they only had 6-8 clubs when golf started out. It was in the 30's they decided on 14 total clubs allowed because it was getting out of hand apparently, guys with 32 clubs in the bag. It does crack me up in golf to always hear the stuff about "old timers didnt have all these clubs" and "the ball didn't go as far" "golf now is bomb and gouge", "players today have less skill than the days of old" essentially alluding to almost take credit away from todays players that the allude the game is now easier than it was in the past. Things have changed, but doesn't mean we now have extra wedges and for some reason are less skilled because the old timers only had 2 wedges to create shots with, theres been 14 clubs allowed since the 30s. Courses weren't 7400 yards then either, and the greens weren't rolling 12-13-14. Some would say a lower spinning ball (now) is much less accurate, even though it goes further. These kind of conversations always crack me up.

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Lots of wedges is nothing new. Look at the PING iron sets from the 80's and 90's. They had wedges available at many lofts. The ISI set had W, W2, S, S2, S3, and L available with something like 2* of loft between each set.

The reason is that modern iron lofts are jacked which make a W play like a classic 8 iron.

Also, the tremendous increase in driver distance over the years has made multiple fairway woods irrelevant. I know many players (myself included) who keep only one fairway wood and replaced their second fairway with another wedge. I just like having another full swing option in close because I am inside 100 way more than I am 230 out.

 

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I have a 46* pw and 56* sw for the past few years and never once kicked myself for not having a 50/52 or 58/60.

Sim Max 9° Old School Hzrdus Yellow

TSi2 4 wood stock Tensei Blue

Geom Moe Irons: 21°, 29°,37°, 45° & Edel 55° DVR all in kbs c-taper lite 
09 SC California Monterey


Golf Instagram:@MinimalistGolfClub

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The manufactures adjusted the lofts which have become very confusing for most golfers. My set consists of a 43 pitch and a 48 gap that match my set. I use them like any other iron with mostly full swings so they could have stamped a #10 and #11 on the end of them. My true wedges are 52 gap and 56 sand and in the future I will probably add a 60 lob.

Driver _____ Ping G400 Max
Woods ____ Ping G410 3 & 5 
Hybrids ___ Ping  G410 4H & Titleist 818H1 5H
Irons ______ Titleist 718 AP1 6-W
Wedges ___ Titleist Vokey SM8 52.08F & 56.08S
Putter _____ Bettinardi BB45
Ball _______ Titleist ProV1 - Yellow / Snell MTB-X - Yellow
Bag _______ Datrek Lite Rider
Distance __ GPS:  Bushnell NEO Ghost,  Rangefinder:  Precision Pro NX7 Pro
GHIN ______ HCP floats between 10 and 12

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I had been carrying three wedges until a couple of months ago. My wedge make up was 46, 52, 58. My 52 degree GW is really a 50 degree bent 2 degrees weak. I changed irons to the 2020 Ben Hogan Icon blades which come in 4-PW. The PW is still 46 degrees but I added a fourth wedge in the bag. My wedge lofts now are 46, 50, 54, 58. I bent my 50 degree GW back to 50 degree and added the 54 for a tighter loft gap and a sand wedge with some bounce on it. I am still learning the 54 degree SW and what type of shots are best and how to execute them reliably. Work in progress but coming along.

Driver:  TaylorMade 300 Mini 11.5° (10.2°), Fujikura Ventus Blue 5S Velocore

3W:  TaylorMade M4 15°, Graphite Design Tour AD DI 7S

Hybrid:  TaylorMade Sim2 2 Iron Hybrid 17°, Mitsubishi Tensai AV Raw Blue 80 stiff

Irons:  Ben Hogan Icon blades 4-PW, Nippon Modus3 Tour 120 stiff

GW / LW:  Scratch Golf 1018 forged 50°/ 58° DS, Nippon Modus3 Tour 120 stiff

SW:  Callaway MD5 Jaws 54°, TT DG Tour Issue S200 115g wedge shaft

Putter: Byron Morgan DH89 GSS custom, Salty MidPlus cork grip

Grips: BestGrips Augusta Microperf leather slip on

 

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Ball spun more.

Ball didn't go as far.

Greens weren't as hard/fast.

Stronger loft creep over time.

Driver: Ping G400 Max w/ Ping Alta CB 55 Stiff (44.5")

Fairway: Ping G410 SFT 3W w/ Ping Alta CB 65 Stiff

Hybrids: Titleist 818 H1 3H/4H w/ Aldila Rogue Black 85 Stiff

Irons: Ping i210 5i-UW w/ Nippon Modus 3 Tour 105 Stiff (+0.5"/1.5* upright)

Wedges: Ping Glide Stealth 2.0 54 SS / 58 ES w/ Ping AWT 2.0 Wedge Flex

Putter: Taylormade Spider X Navy (35")

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My thinking was like that until last week. The height I get on my 41 degree Mavrik PW is not like an 8 iron of old. Same distance yes but my PW can actually roll back where the old 8 Iron would hop forward, not much, but some. It plays like a PW for that player like me. Today’s GIs are actually amazing . And it allows better gapping between irons.

(my first fitted set wereNicklaus N1 casts had a 49 Degree Wedge. The eight I believe was 40. But that was 30+ Years ago with no artificial hips and -50 lbs. I ll count it from now on. Though I call it my 125 club anyway)

Livin' proof that Lefties are not naturally talented.

Driver Callaway Epic Flash 10.5 set to 9.5
3 Wood Epic Flash set to 16 degrees
3-5 Hybrids Epic Flash 18 20 23 degrees
6 hybrid Big Bertha 26 degree 
7-AW Callaway Mavrik Irons 
50 degree GW Vokey SM7
56 degree SW Vokey SM7
Odyssey White Hot V-Line Fang

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IMO, don't necessarily "need" and bagful of wedges, most do so because of TV, golf magazines and articles. I carry 3 because I don't need more at top of bag, so as I have room (and decent enough player to use a 64* wedge) so why not? I used to only have 52/58, added the 64 for grins and glad I did for creativity around the greens.

2021 Bag Update:

 

Epic Max LS - MMT 60S

Epic Flash 5 Wood

Epic 3/4 Hybrids

Apex '21 Irons 5-7  MMT95 TT

Apex Pro '21 Irons 8-A  MMT95 TT

PM Grind Slate Wedges 58/64

Odyssey Exo Mini 7s

B330 XS Yellow

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