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Top of the bag gapping - what do people play


lordemsworth
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13 minutes ago, getitdaily said:

You disagreed but your setup agrees with me. You don't go 46 or 48/56/60. You've setup your wedges at 5 degree gaps. That's exactly what I'm advocating. On the cover, it appears you don't have a giant hole in your wedge gapping. Before I added the 50 I had 46/54 and had a really big gap from 110-120. That yardage gave me fits. 110 was a super spinny 54 that rarely got close. 110 with a 46 pw was not reliable to get close. 

 

You get your lower end gaps right with 3 wedges whereas I do it with 4. But the principles are exactly the same...no big yardage gap on the lower end.

 

I also go 52/58 and even 50/58, but didn't mention it.  Was uncharacteristically trying to stay on track.  LOL

 

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Rather than think about distance gaps for approaches to the green, for the top of the bag, I think about distance gaps for off the tee. The idea being that, even on a new golf course, I figure out how far the safe/wide/easy part of the fairway is, rather than just bombing (depending on the type of course). That way I'll have higher FIR and then likely higher chance for going at the pin. It gives me more confidence with my goal shot off the tee and lets me play the hole from green to tee in my mind.

 

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3W - 270

5W - 250

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5i - 215-220

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I’ve changed my setup for the 2021 season to:

 

Driver 10.5*

3-Wood 16*
Driving Iron 20*
4-PW

GW 52*
LW 58*
 

13 clubs

 

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OP I have very similar gaps that you list. I also see a 200y shot as if I get on the green great!

 

If I had a lot of shots where 200 vs 210 mattered on the courses I play, I would work on those gaps a bit more but as it is I prefer the extra wedge to have 125/110/95/80 y full swings and the partials they also produce, to chart a nice Pelz style matrix.

 

Courses and tee's I play, I face maybe 1 200y style shot a round as a par 4 approach or long par 3 at worst. At best I am driving well and the only time I take the 20d hybrid out is a par 5 approach to run it up somewhere. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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In college I subscribed to the idea of 2 wedges instead of 3 (not including PW). The idea was to get really good with 1 wedge (58 degree), instead of switching back and forth and being only good with 2 wedges (56 and 60). I did this to simplify and improve my wedge game, and as a side benefit, add a 3 iron to fit my gap between my 4 iron and 2 iron hybrid. So my bag is as follows:

 

CARRIES (It's winter and I'm changing my swing so I don't have exact numbers yet):

Driver: 280-290

3 wood: 240-260

2 hybrid: 230-240

3 iron: 220-225

4 iron: 210-215

5 iron: 195-205

6 iron: 185-195

7iron: 175-185

8 iron: 160-173

9 iron: 145-155

PW: 133-145

51 degree: 110-130

58 degree: 110 and below

 

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I have a love/hate relationship with 3W and hybrid clubs. However, I started using a driving iron and it's the automatic fairway club off the tee from day one. In theory, the club I have for that distance should come in high and soft, but the results with that club aren't as consistent. I'm on the coast, so tons of wind on a regular basis are normal for me. Right now I still own all of the club options and I am picking from them and seeing how it goes. What I'm certain of is that I'm not changing the bottom of my bag. My comfortable carry distances are PW 130-135, GW 115-120, SW 105, LW 90. Then I play 3/4 and half shots depending on the situation and it works out pretty well and leaves me options. I almost never swing a LW full, but I use it a ton around the green and we have a lot of firm sand and it's perfect for it. I don't see any possible scenario where my scores would benefit from significantly wider distance gaps in the shorter clubs.  

 

In other words, my goal is to love every club. If it means I don't get aggressive on a par 5 in some specific distance window or carry scenario, so be it. I'll math it to a wedge approach I really like and feel confident from there. To each their own. 

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6 minutes ago, me05501 said:

I think our perception of gapping is WAY more accurate at the short end of the bag than the long end.

 

At the long end we are generally considering ideally-struck shots on a flat course with no wind. We'll say our driver is 260 and our three wood is 220 and our 3 hybrid is 200. But our actual real-world, on-course average distances probably vary more than we want to think. 

 

If your full-on sand wedge goes 80 yards, you're going to get 80ish yards from it almost every time.

 

That three wood that "goes 220" goes 200 and 240 just as often, I'd wager. 

 

Difference being is that you aren't making as 'controlled' a swing to create a certain distance outcome with top of the bag clubs.  Top of the bag clubs aren't made to be a precise yardage, never have been or we would all be playing shorter, heavier shafts for more consistency and control.  I hit my 4i off the tee far more than into a hole, so exact distance isn't needed, I'm just shooting for a basic window and go from there, but would rarely play it if I knew I was going to get in danger from a total potential yardage it gives me given the present circumstances of the hole (wind/elevation/soft or hard turf/swing for the day).

 

Also, in the world of laser range finders and GPS tracking devices, most have a pretty good handle on what they do.  But that is saying that they play the exact same shot each and every time in the same conditions.  This isn't reality.

 

How and where a ball lands also needs consideration as top of the bag clubs are thought of as total distance clubs, where as irons people know their carry and marginal roll out.

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3 minutes ago, gwelfgulfer said:

 

Difference being is that you aren't making as 'controlled' a swing to create a certain distance outcome with top of the bag clubs.  Top of the bag clubs aren't made to be a precise yardage, never have been or we would all be playing shorter, heavier shafts for more consistency and control.  I hit my 4i off the tee far more than into a hole, so exact distance isn't needed, I'm just shooting for a basic window and go from there, but would rarely play it if I knew I was going to get in danger from a total potential yardage it gives me given the present circumstances of the hole (wind/elevation/soft or hard turf/swing for the day).

 

Also, in the world of laser range finders and GPS tracking devices, most have a pretty good handle on what they do.  But that is saying that they play the exact same shot each and every time in the same conditions.  This isn't reality.

 

How and where a ball lands also needs consideration as top of the bag clubs are thought of as total distance clubs, where as irons people know their carry and marginal roll out.

 

Correct. But it also suggests that obsessing over gapping at the top of the bag is probably not all that productive. 

I can totally see re-arranging the top of one's bag to fit the course they play the most. If your home course has 3" Bermuda rough, carrying a 7-wood probably makes sense. If you have to play a 210 yard par three every week you probably choose a club that can do that comfortably. 

 

In my case, I long ago committed to playing most par fives as three-shot holes. Where some people choose clubs to approach par five greens, I realize that the longest shot I'm likely to hit from the fairway is either a layup on a par five or a long approach to a par four. As long as I have a fairway wood or hybrid that can cover 190-210 yards I have that shot covered. 

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Top of the bag, see below. I switched clubs from driver to 4i- including going to shafts about 10 grams lighter.

 

Big challenge was emphasizing good form on the swings with lighter clubs: swing through and hold it high, no need to muscle the clubs like with old mix.

 

I'm going into my tenth season with some sort of 4W + 7W mix, although Rogues are new as of last summer.

 

The 4H and 4i have some overlap. 4H flies a bit higher and longer, while the 4i (refitted from steel to hybrid shaft) flies lower, runs out more, and is a driving iron. The 4i is great on longish par 3 holes with wilderness over the green, where a chip off the fringe is much preferable to flying the green and losing a ball. Also good on short, tight par 4s where missing the fairway often means lost ball.

 

If I added a fourth wedge at the other end, I would drop either 4i or 4H as a gameday decision.

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

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

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One of my strengths (this is born out in my round data) is my proximity to pin from longer ranges. I have found having consistent gapping at the top of the bag has lead to more birdies on par 5s and more pars on long par 3s. I gapped out the bottom of my bag a little more middle last season and added an extra club at the top (5 wood) to make that work. With the amount of practice I get, my current game, and the courses I play, I found myself saving more strokes with this setup than having narrower gaps at the bottom. In general I think its easier to improve from an average of a 3 putt range to 2 putt range from 180-240 than it is to go from 2 putt range to 1 putt range from 75-130. Below are my current yardages - I spend a lot of time making sure I know how far each club goes under different situations, a valuable exercise for anyone. 

 

I swap out the 2 driving iron/5w and 4h/3i based on conditions each round. Lots of wind, probably favor the irons. 

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What works for Crossfield may not be best for you.  He likes his "rinky dink" hybrids, and seems to be a pretty good wedge player.  So he is probably pretty good at hitting shots with the wedges.  Taking a little off, flighting it down etc.  

 

Do what helps your game, whether it's 5 FW's and hybrids or 5 wedges.  Myself I go with a bit of both currently, although I do like a D, 4W, 7W combo, I've also experimented with a PW,52,58. I currently go with. 

 

D

3W, 5W, 7W

5-G

54,58

P

 

I could lose a wedge, or a FW and make it work, but long irons really aren't my strength so I play to my strengths.  

 

 

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As I 16hc according to the app I use right now, I treat the top of my bag as such:

Driver - Swinging well, Need to go long, have some width and/or room to recover if I go more offline than planned

16.5* 4 Wood - Need to keep it under 260 with any roll I might get, or driver not behaving

21* 4 Hybrid - Will get out there to 220 with regular reliability. My safest in-play option off the tee

23* 5 Iron - Off the tee if hooking the hybrid that day. 

 

I can than figure it out from 6 iron down for approaches/lay-ups. 

 

I don't see how closer gapping would benefit my game in any way. I have 13 clubs, if anything I would go from 52/58 to 52/56/60 to get to 14 clubs.

 

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As a relatively short hitter, the top end is not that important to me.  But I also don't need to obsess over the bottom.  I've stopped trying to get maximum yardage out of my wedges, usually hitting them at half or 3/4 speed.  This has actually helped me get a better feel for in between yardages so I need less wedges.  I dropped the three wood as I can't hit it off the deck and was just as accurate off the tee with a driver.  Anything requiring over 200 yard carry I'm going to lay up, unless there is a safe bail out or not too much penalty for missing green.

 

Current bag is:

 

Driver (250 total)

Super Hybrid 17* (215 carry)

21* Gapr Mid (200 carry)

5 iron (185)

6-9 irons

45* PW

50* GW

58* lob.

 

So I only carry 12 clubs with added bonus of lighter bag to carry.

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11 minutes ago, azgreg said:

Currently only carrying 10 clubs.

D - 255-260

5w - 225-230

3h - 200-205

5i - 180

7i - 160

9i - 140

pw - 125

gw - 110

sw - 95

p - 295 (I catch it thin sometimes)

 

 

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Normal course swings at around 85%. I'd much rather club up and flight the ball than take a full swing.

 

Woods

Driver: 285

4 wood: 255

7 wood: 235

 

Irons

20*: 215

25*: 200

30*: 185

34*: 175

38*: 165

42*: 155

46*: 145

 

Wedges

50*: 130

54*: 115

58*: 100

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At the top end, I have two clubs that whose primary goals are max distance off the tee (driver) and max distance off the deck (3w).

 

I've always practiced and am comfortable with hitting bunt drivers off the tee, so I don't have any "gap" for tee shots that require less-than-full distance. I never hit the 3w from a tee.

 

Similarly, the yardage gap between my 3w and my 3hybrid (my next longest club) - which is probably something on the order of 20-25 yards, is nearly inconsequential in most any round I've ever played. Again, it's not hard to choke up a half inch or so on the 3w to take a small amount of yardage off, but frankly, that's not something that comes up very often.

 

Everything else from that 3hybrid on down has nice, well-known distances. I don't feel the need to have anything else at that end of the bag. Consequently, I do have wedges that range: 47/52/56/60. The 47 PW, though, is mostly used as a "10-iron".

 

Unlike some here, I'm generally in agreement with most of what Crossfield has to say. However, his comments in this particular video of his just don't apply to me.

 

 

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Changing my bag at the moment heading into the new season and as for many people this is the tough Part. I have my Driver and [4-PW] which will not change so I have room for 2 clubs. 1 will probably be a 4/5 wood Just find them easier and more versatile then a 3 wood. And then the next club is the tough 1. 6/7 Wood, 3 Hybrid, 20 Degree Driving Iron. I am leaning towards the Driving Iron at 20 Degrees as it is very versatile[Can hit it high/low] but going to test all of them.

 

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6 hours ago, nitram said:

Unless you're an outstanding ball striker (15+GIR) you're going to use wedges moreoften than any other club sans driver and putter. 

 

My Arccos data shows that this is true in my case. I have only recorded 54 shots with my pitching wedge, but 104 with my 52, 118 with my 58, and 107 with my 64... and only 30 with my 6 iron (for example). Some of that comes down to my home course: many par 4's are driver then 52 or driver then 8 iron, the par 5's are driver then 4 iron at the absolute longest. 

 

I have a 9.5 degree driver, 16 degree 1 iron utility, then 21 degree 3 iron, 24 degree 4 iron, etc.

 

My Arccos data is attached. The remaining clubs are 52 (70 - 104m), 58 (47 - 95m), and 64 (36 - 53m).

 

You can see that some if it makes no sense - I do not consistently hit my 6 iron just as far as my 5 iron, for example, but I use my 5 iron much less (22 shots versus 40) so some of the data is skewed by the type of shot I play (mostly punches from trouble with the 4). Some of the data is also skewed because I've been playing a composite course for a while during some renovations to various holes and Arccos doesn't do well with that and I haven't manually adjusted everything I should when it thinks I'm all over the place. But at any rate, I find that there is a great deal of overlap outside my driver, and that overlap is a good thing because it gives me plenty of shot making options if I need them. The 4, 5, and 6 iron overlap is not as close as it might appear by the stats.

 

I find that this setup works well for me. My home course rewards accuracy over distance and while I can get the ball out there, I've built my bag for shot making rather than gapping. I'm pleased to see that the data shows me using my gear in the way that I intended even if some of the data isn't entirely reliable. I like having 3 clubs I can hit on some tees, depending on how aggressive I'm feeling, and still birdie the hole.

 

Edit: 9.5 degree TS2, 16 degree U510, T100 3-PW, 52, 58, 64 Callaway wedges.

 

 

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I wanted to thank everyone for the discourse and sharing the bags.

 

It's cool to people are looking to also have less than 14 clubs in the bag.  For the longest time I played without a gap wedge, and just had a 46 PW, 52, 58.  I am thinking of going back to that, but not really add anything to the bag.  Rather carry fewer clubs.

 

Looking at the courses I play, the second shot is typically 170 or less (depending on the quality of tee shot) on:

11 holes:  1, 2, 5, 7, 8, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16

 

Over 230 yards:

I would layup and play for third shot

2 holes:  9, 18 (all par fives).

 

210 - 230 yards: (looking to advance the ball to hit close with my 3rd shot)

I would hit 3H

2 holes:  3, 10

 

180 - 200 yards (I expect to hit greens, or just be off on all three)

I would hit 4i or 5i.

3 holes:  4, 6, 17 

 

I think as long as you identify the top most distance you look hit greens 50% or better at, then you should be ok.  For me, that distance is 200 yards.  And this is primarily 3h territory.

 

I guess I don't agree with Mr. Crossfield.

 

 

 

 

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Mark Crossfield is right when talking about the Top of the bag, and yardage spread.  Our golf equipment should be consistent throughout the bag, but people too often focus on wedges, and the more, the merrier.  What's curious about that if stagnant index is any indication, 4-5 wedges are not helping people to score mostly due to the BIGGEST fact, they've added clubs but are NOT practicing ENOUGH with those clubs, so they are a waste.

 

What gets me is people talk about scoring and relate it to short irons and wedges.  And I would agree, short irons and wedges are crucial to people that drive the ball well, and have skilled short games.  But it's not true for people that don't drive the ball long and straight.  Those same golfers are likely playing tees that are too long for their skill and or the equipment they put in the bag.  Why?  They don't have the 2nd shot that entails using clubs at the top of their bag.  You know, fairway woods, hybrids or long irons. 

 

The OP says "To be honest, I probably hit 25% of greens from this distance, but don’t really expect to, otherwise play to hit it close on my third shot."  He says, "on most par 5s, if I have to hit 230 or more, I turn it into a 3 shot hole."  Yet he carries a 4wd that supposedly is 230yd club.

 

I still play long yardages like 450yd Par 4 because my driver is 250+, but just as important, I am comfortable hitting straight 3i-5i into a green.  However, if I miss the green I rely on my SW or LW to get up and down. 

 

People need to reassess what clubs they put in the bag, and why.

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Could not begin to count the number of people that I play with that really have no idea what their distances are at the top of the bag.  I have my stock yardages for years.  

 

driver carry=250

3 wood       =230

2 iron          =220

3 iron          =210

4 iron          =200  etc.

 

This winter I used Tuttleman's MOI equation using my 8 iron as the base.  My increments in club length used to be 1/2".  I changed the increments to 3/8" from the 8 iron base length.  So I might be adjusting the lofts slightly on my irons to get back to the 10 yard gaps that I want them at.  Carry a 52 & 58 wedge.

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10 minutes ago, Pepperturbo said:

The OP says "To be honest, I probably hit 25% of greens from this distance, but don’t really expect to, otherwise play to hit it close on my third shot."  He says, "on most par 5s, if I have to hit 230 or more, I turn it into a 3 shot hole."  Yet he carries a 4wd that supposedly is 230yd club.

 

Wow - a bit of jerky thing to say, no?   Lots of other ways to say the OP has a 230 club and doesn't feel comfortable hitting it, rather than cast doubt it's a 230 club. 

 

But you're right, I don't feel comfortable hitting that 4 wood consistently off deck, and I'm sure I'm not the only.  Yeah, I could get better, but given common limitations of family, practice, play, and other things in life, gotta draw a line somewhere.  :)

 

So, rather than potentially duff it, I make it a 3 shot hole.  On a par 5, I don't necessarily think it's a negative.  Maybe we should discuss strategy, and what to do better in this case?

 

 

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Just now, lordemsworth said:

 

Wow - a bit of jerky thing to say, no?   Lots of other ways to say the OP has a 230 club and doesn't feel comfortable hitting it, rather than cast doubt it's a 230 club. 

 

But you're right, I don't feel comfortable hitting that 4 wood consistently off deck, and I'm sure I'm not the only.  Yeah, I could get better, but given common limitations of family, practice, play, and other things in life, gotta draw a line somewhere.  🙂

 

So, rather than potentially duff it, I make it a 3 shot hole.  On a par 5, I don't necessarily think it's a negative.  Maybe we should discuss strategy, and what to do better in this case?

 

 

WOW, is right.  You put it out there. 

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20 minutes ago, Pepperturbo said:

Mark Crossfield is right when talking about the Top of the bag, and yardage spread.  Our golf equipment should be consistent throughout the bag, but people too often focus on wedges, and the more, the merrier.  What's curious about that if stagnant index is any indication, 4-5 wedges are not helping people to score mostly due to the BIGGEST fact, they've added clubs but are NOT practicing ENOUGH with those clubs, so they are a waste.

 

What gets me is people talk about scoring and relate it to short irons and wedges.  And I would agree, short irons and wedges are crucial to people that drive the ball well, and have skilled short games.  But it's not true for people that don't drive the ball long and straight.  Those same golfers are likely playing tees that are too long for their skill and or the equipment they put in the bag.  Why?  They don't have the 2nd shot that entails using clubs at the top of their bag.  You know, fairway woods, hybrids or long irons. 

 

The OP says "To be honest, I probably hit 25% of greens from this distance, but don’t really expect to, otherwise play to hit it close on my third shot."  He says, "on most par 5s, if I have to hit 230 or more, I turn it into a 3 shot hole."  Yet he carries a 4wd that supposedly is 230yd club.

 

I still play long yardages like 450yd Par 4 because my driver is 250+, but just as important, I am comfortable hitting straight 3i-5i into a green.  However, if I miss the green I rely on my SW or LW to get up and down. 

 

People need to reassess what clubs they put in the bag, and why.

 

You know what the cool thing is, there have been 20 some odd posters who responded in this thread in a respectful manner, and you were the only one to cast aspersions.

 

The kicker is, you actually had a great point to make:

 

"What gets me is people talk about scoring and relate it to short irons and wedges.  And I would agree, short irons and wedges are crucial to people that drive the ball well, and have skilled short games.  But it's not true for people that don't drive the ball long and straight.  Those same golfers are likely playing tees that are too long for their skill and or the equipment they put in the bag.  Why?  They don't have the 2nd shot that entails using clubs at the top of their bag.  You know, fairway woods, hybrids or long irons."

 

Bit of a shame. 

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7 hours ago, TigerInTheWoods said:

I messed around last year with Shot Scope but didn't like wearing a watch so I've scored a Gen 2 Arccos (no BS subsciption fee) to get some insight into GIR % with the long end, what clubs are working better, where the gaps are, and what I actually need to hit. I don't think Crossfield's model necessarily works for all players because it's very dependent on what course you're on. For tournaments and match play I play my home track at 7100 but men's league we have to play it at 6700. The latter forces me to hit less than driver a lot so having a top heavy bag is nice, the former is all about driver wedge. Our course is Par 71 and we only have 3 par 5s. 2/3 I can easily reach with a 200-225 second shot if I get my drive running out to 320-330. The last is a weird one with a pond that cuts off the fairways so it's usually 3w - 3w. I don't even think Bryson could carry the Pond so it really creates a tough hole that I usually play in 3 shots. What I do know is that I lose shots to pros on par 5s. Essentially if capitalize I break par, if I don't then I don't. Generally I end up shooting 2-3 over par and I will have been even on the Par 5s. It's a big weakness for me. The rounds I have played the par 5s quite well I'll shot mid to high 60s. 

 

My current bag is                                 Thoughts

Driver - 290-300 carry

3w - 260 carry                                      -- Strengthen 3w? 

18 degree hyb - 240 carry                   -- 5W? Add height?

4i - 230 carry

5i - 215 carry

6i - 200 carry

7i - 185 carry

8i - 172 carry

9i - 160 carry

Pw - 145 carry

51 - 130 carry

56 - 110 carry

60 - 100 carry

 

I'm on the fence about whether putting the driving iron in full time would be worth going 47-52-58. I use my wedges a lot on my course so I don't know if it's worth dropping one. I'm great at hitting numbers with my wedges too but I'm not sure what is worth it in the top end to justify. 

 

 

I would say no, you are probably good with your distance control due to the good spacing (partly anyway). The gaps with 5-6 degrees will be largish, probably around 4 to 4.5 yards per degree of loft.

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