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Do pros flight 60* wedges or club up?


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41 minutes ago, Barfolomew said:

We always hear about pros flighting wedges. 

 

When they have shorter shots within the lob wedge distance do they flight a 60* or do they often club up and play the gap?  Thanks

I cant speak as a pro as I am not a pro LOL,  but learning as much as I have and now having a SIM has opened the door to data.

 

Assumptions,

 

Shot scenario dictates how and why they would flight, 

 

Flighting in my opinion introduces a bunch of things.

 

1) Loft at impact (potential decrease)

2) AoA (Increased)

3) Spin Loft (Increased)

4) Smash factor. (Increased)

5) Spin (Increased)

 

From me playing around on a sim one of the interesting things I have found was the difference in smash factor when "flighting" shots.  The reason is less loft and many times ball position further back has you "covering" the ball more.

 

Smash factor increases for me, the ball goes further,  BUT with the more ballspeed I also see an increase of spin.  Again for me, its due to increased smash, Steeper AoA and potential spin loft. (potential, as I know some say AoA is independent of Spin loft affecting overall spin). Spin into wind (which normally why I flight a shot) Affects the overall distance.

 

SO......what all this means is,  depending on the distance to hit a flighted 60*,  how far you hit it,  How much smash will increase, relative to your knock down swing,  How much spin is affected and the landing area.

 

If they have a tight spot and need the max spin into the wind, they might full bore a flighted LW,

 

if its into the wind to the middle of the green where roll is available, they may just club up 1 or 2 clubs hit a 3/4 shot low with less spin and run it up.  I think they have practiced this with data down to a science and the caddy is there as well to calculate the effects of distance, spin relative to head wind and landing area.   Just a lot going on to hit a specified shot now days.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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48 minutes ago, Pepperturbo said:

The answer is NOT static, as it depends on the person and maybe conditions.  Some guys never flight the ball, others flight it all the time.  It has everything to do with how a person tackles golf.

 

I flight the ball with all my clubs.  It's based on shot plan and conditions.

Exactly.  I could say some do both, some do neither.

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2 hours ago, Pepperturbo said:

The answer is NOT static, as it depends on the person and maybe conditions.  Some guys never flight the ball, others flight it all the time.  It has everything to do with how a person tackles golf.

 

I flight the ball with all my clubs.  It's based on shot plan and conditions.

 

2 hours ago, MonteScheinblum said:

Exactly.  I could say some do both, some do neither.

 

How can I reword the question....  So is there any general reason to avoid flighting the 60 over the gap, given the situation is fine to use etc?

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19 hours ago, Barfolomew said:

 

 

How can I reword the question....  So is there any general reason to avoid flighting the 60 over the gap, given the situation is fine to use etc?

Depending on skill, flighting a LW may be more challenging than, say, 52'.; turf conditions, lie or wind can be factors as well.   I tend to flight 52 or PW, even 9i into fast greens when the pin is in the back or on an elevated back section. 

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I think something that's accessible even to the average am is a punch shot for wind or whatever reasons. I don't do a lot of fancy dancing based on skill level, but rather than hitting a high wedge into the green I will sometimes punch an 8 iron onto the green. It stays low and I have a lot of control. It's very straight.

I don't often try to flight a higher lofted club lower. I will however step on a higher lofted club to hit a really high shot if I need to.

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23 hours ago, Barfolomew said:

We always hear about pros flighting wedges. 

 

When they have shorter shots within the lob wedge distance do they flight a 60* or do they often club up and play the gap?  Thanks

I don't know what you mean by "play the gap" but a Lob wedge (58*, 60*, 62* 64*) is not designed for playing low trajectory shots..   Playing lower trajectory shots with less loft such as 52*, PW, 9-iron etc...  is easier than with a higher lofted club , so that is what Tour pros do.

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Pros can probably execute both shots. Depends on situations of course. Pin position, how greens are reacting. These guys make shots happen. 

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I play a naturally high shot shape… and so I’ve been working on hitting the low wedge shot… jayson nickol on Instagram had a great video on it.

 

https://www.instagram.com/tv/CUNb7m5FVH6/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

 

I like the thought of it being more of a draw shot to keep it low… i think it’s a good shot to have in the bag.

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On 10/9/2021 at 12:01 PM, Fairway14 said:

I don't know what you mean by "play the gap" but a Lob wedge (58*, 60*, 62* 64*) is not designed for playing low trajectory shots..   Playing lower trajectory shots with less loft such as 52*, PW, 9-iron etc...  is easier than with a higher lofted club , so that is what Tour pros do.

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Sat and Sunday, on the Champions tour Phil M. hit driver up close short of green side bunker, in the rough.  I'd say he had +/-50yrds to pin.  Both days he used the same LW and hit the same Lob shot.  One shot was a bit higher than the other.  He couldn't really flight the shot because he had to make sure of contact and distance covered the bunker. 

 

IME it's much easier to elevate or lower a gap or pitching wedge, 9i, etc., and not lose distance.  Due to nature of LW loft, LW is NOT a club IMO anyone flights, they just shorten their swing, which shortens distance and maybe takes a bit of height. 

 

Yesterday, I hit a 3i 195yds, had 142yds uphill to a back pin.  Hit a punch 7i that came in low skidded to 5' and made birdie putt.  Later on the back, faced a 138yd Par 3 slanted green, and into a breeze.  I hit a low knock down 8i to keep the ball under the breeze, it hit and stuck, 2 putt par.

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On 10/9/2021 at 2:01 PM, Fairway14 said:

I don't know what you mean by "play the gap" but a Lob wedge (58*, 60*, 62* 64*) is not designed for playing low trajectory shots..   Playing lower trajectory shots with less loft such as 52*, PW, 9-iron etc...  is easier than with a higher lofted club , so that is what Tour pros do.

 

This is definitely not true. 

 

I would say most probably would rather not have a full LW shot, when they get close to the full yardage that is when they are more likely to flight it with a higher lofted wedge, because hitting a LW with full speed is going to naturally lead to a higher shot with a ton of spin, which is hard to control.

 

If you club up at partial lob wedge yardages you aren't going to get as much/enough spin. It's pretty easy to keep a 60 out of the air when you aren't hitting it full, and you don't sacrifice as much spin.

 

Even saying that, it's all conditions. Some were hitting full lob wedges from ~110-120 on that short par 3 at Whistling Straits in the Ryder Cup because it was straight downwind and they needed to stop it. 

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24 minutes ago, TLUBulldogGolf said:

 

 

 

If you club up at partial lob wedge yardages you aren't going to get as much/enough spin.

 

Usually a bit of bounce and roll helps shots get consistently closer to the hole then drop-and-stop shots do.  Also, if the green slopes back-to-front, which is common, lower lofted club shots tend to roll out very little. The point is a bag has 14 clubs so it does not make good sense to  manipulate a higher lofted club to do what is more easily done with a lower lofted club.

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Not really sure what you mean by flight the 60 vs club up and play the gap. 

 

Not a pro but a +cap so I'll give a shot at a response. 

 

I play 46-50-54-60

 

Every one of those clubs has a full, 3/4, and 1/2 shot distance that is logged. If I have 75 yds then I know it's a 1/2 60. I have a distance overlap on all those clubs. My 1/2 54 goes the same distance as a full 60. 1/2 50 goes same distance as a full 54.

 

The club I select depends on flag position, distance, wind, and green conditions. 

 

95 to a back flag will 95% always be a 1/2 54. I want that shot flighted down, 1 hop and stop. That way I take long out of play. A full 60 there would land pin high and spin like crazy. The only time I'd pull 60 is if I had a 1.5 to 2 club wind behind me. That 60 will have less spin so it's safer to hit. 

 

Now, 90 to a front pin, almost always hitting full 60. I want that club to land past the pin and spin back. A 1/2 54 wouldn't spin back. Would hit the 1/2 54 if the greens were like disney in july....soft and slow. 

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21 hours ago, Fairway14 said:

 

Usually a bit of bounce and roll helps shots get consistently closer to the hole then drop-and-stop shots do.  Also, if the green slopes back-to-front, which is common, lower lofted club shots tend to roll out very little. The point is a bag has 14 clubs so it does not make good sense to  manipulate a higher lofted club to do what is more easily done with a lower lofted club.


It’s not hard to hit a high lofted wedge down, proper technique and strike and it should come out fairly low and spinning unless you are hitting it close to full. There are situations where you want it to release more sure (back pin with trouble long for example), but I’d be willing to bet the vast majority of shots under 80 yards on tour are played with the highest lofted wedge.

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Not just about flight, Turf conditions, wind, green slope are all factors that influence this. 

 

To me hitting an approach with a full speed LW is nothing short of a Hollywood shot but thats because I sit reading GolfWRX most the time. 

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2 hours ago, TLUBulldogGolf said:


It’s not hard to hit a high lofted wedge down, proper technique and strike and it should come out fairly low and spinning unless you are hitting it close to full. There are situations where you want it to release more sure (back pin with trouble long for example), but I’d be willing to bet the vast majority of shots under 80 yards on tour are played with the highest lofted wedge.

 

Maybe some Tour players choose to play lots of 80 yards or less to the flag shots with a 60* wedge. But, like much discussion about golf, the club selection and, or, lines of play a given Tour player may choose is of little relevance to the amateur.  It is very hard to consistently "flight a lob wedge"

and have the ball consistently finish next to the hole. There is no margin for error. While some Tour players may routinely choose that shot it is certainly possible that there scoring average would be lower if they got in the habit of playing shots with a less lofted club. And it's definite that the amateur who shoots 73 at his home course and fancies himself a player would shoot lower scores by using less lofted clubs to flight the ball. For example, the OP suggested/questioned a 60^ versus 52* for playing lower trajectory shots and I believe just about every player in the world would get the ball more consistently next to the hole by choosing the 52* instead of the 60*.  A Lob wedge has a place in the bag for sure, but low trajectory shots is not what that club/loft was designed to do.

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I have a buddy who's + cap buddy who's played on the mini tours in the past.  He will take full swings with his wedges but also flights them in certain situations depending on wind, elevation, firmness of greens and pin position. 

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10 hours ago, Fairway14 said:

 

Maybe some Tour players choose to play lots of 80 yards or less to the flag shots with a 60* wedge. But, like much discussion about golf, the club selection and, or, lines of play a given Tour player may choose is of little relevance to the amateur.  It is very hard to consistently "flight a lob wedge"

and have the ball consistently finish next to the hole. There is no margin for error. While some Tour players may routinely choose that shot it is certainly possible that there scoring average would be lower if they got in the habit of playing shots with a less lofted club. And it's definite that the amateur who shoots 73 at his home course and fancies himself a player would shoot lower scores by using less lofted clubs to flight the ball. For example, the OP suggested/questioned a 60^ versus 52* for playing lower trajectory shots and I believe just about every player in the world would get the ball more consistently next to the hole by choosing the 52* instead of the 60*.  A Lob wedge has a place in the bag for sure, but low trajectory shots is not what that club/loft was designed to do.


That’s fine but the topic asks about tour players.

 

Why is there no margin for error?

 

Why would every player get it consistently closer to the hole with a 52? 
 

I would contend there are certain pins where the 52 might be the play but there are other pins where you could almost never get it closer with 52. I agree you should let the shot dictate club selection but I don’t see why these blanket statements are necessarily true. Feels similar to the one club vs many around the green argument.

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2 minutes ago, TLUBulldogGolf said:


 

 

Why is there no margin for error?

 

Why would every player get it consistently closer to the hole with a 52? 
 

 

 

Basically, a lower lofted club allows a slightly mishit shot to still end up next to the target (hole) whereas a higher lofted lob wedge club requires perfect contact to carry the ball the precise distance need for the shot.  

The above is true for most golf shots, not just this OP subject of flighting  wedges. For example the guy who clubs himself with an 8-iron to a 150 yard target may need to achieve perfect square contact to get the 150 yard carry. But the guy who clubs himself with a 7-iron has the benefit of a slight mishit still leaving the ball hole high. Yes, slight mishits are common among Tour players. Nicklaus has said/written he rarely hit more than 2 or 3 totally pure shots per round so he clubbed himself for a slight mishit. Andnext to the green a guy chipping with a 9-iron , compared to the guy trying to chip with a SW or LW, that his slightly mishit 9-iron chip shot will still end up within 3 feet of the hole while the slightly mishit wedge leaves a 10 foot putt.

So, to the OP yes flighting  a 75 yard shot with a 52* allows the player to slightly mishit the shot and have the bounce and roll leave the ball next to the hole, whereas the guy trying to flight a 60^, if he slightly mishits the shot, will likely leave the ball 30 feet from the hole.

As for hole locations remember that a major part of consistently low scoring is leaving the ball in a good position from which to play a relatively easy next shot. In other word, a low scoring average player usually does not leave himself awkward angles , or little green to work with, for 80 yard approach shots.

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45 minutes ago, Fairway14 said:

 

Basically, a lower lofted club allows a slightly mishit shot to still end up next to the target (hole) whereas a higher lofted lob wedge club requires perfect contact to carry the ball the precise distance need for the shot.  

The above is true for most golf shots, not just this OP subject of flighting  wedges. For example the guy who clubs himself with an 8-iron to a 150 yard target may need to achieve perfect square contact to get the 150 yard carry. But the guy who clubs himself with a 7-iron has the benefit of a slight mishit still leaving the ball hole high. Yes, slight mishits are common among Tour players. Nicklaus has said/written he rarely hit more than 2 or 3 totally pure shots per round so he clubbed himself for a slight mishit. Andnext to the green a guy chipping with a 9-iron , compared to the guy trying to chip with a SW or LW, that his slightly mishit 9-iron chip shot will still end up within 3 feet of the hole while the slightly mishit wedge leaves a 10 foot putt.

So, to the OP yes flighting  a 75 yard shot with a 52* allows the player to slightly mishit the shot and have the bounce and roll leave the ball next to the hole, whereas the guy trying to flight a 60^, if he slightly mishits the shot, will likely leave the ball 30 feet from the hole.

As for hole locations remember that a major part of consistently low scoring is leaving the ball in a good position from which to play a relatively easy next shot. In other word, a low scoring average player usually does not leave himself awkward angles , or little green to work with, for 80 yard approach shots.


The club selection from 150 is probably good advice for the average player, but better players aren’t playing for a 1 club mishit, and certainly not with wedges or with chips. They happen but how can you consistently control distance that way? It won’t happen.

 

Even low scoring players don’t know where the ball is going consistently enough to play for angles. Better to try to get as close as possible and if you’re out of position then just don’t make bogey.

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Not very scientific but I stood next to the fairway of an easy par 4 during a tour event. Seemingly every group that came to the hole threw 3w or iron off the tee to this spot I was at around 110-125 out from the pin. After a full day watching this I couldn't believe how low most of them sent wedge shots into the green. It damn near looked like they were thinning these shots with full swings. Most of them were taking full swings that came out extremely low. Hideki actually missed the fairway and was 120 out in a fairway bunker. He hit a shot out of that bunker that couldn't have went higher than 15-20' off the ground. Thought it might kill someone in the grandstand behind the green. First bounce was 2' short of the pin, second bounce 2' past the pin and it spun back to pin high maybe 10" left of the cup.  

 

I'm sure it depends on conditions and such but it was a relatively calm and pleasant day outside. It was the most birdied hole that week. I'm still surprised by how low nearly all of those wedge shots flew. 

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from my point of view (regularly break par), a LW can for sure be flighted down but its rare to see even mid single digit caps actually pull it off correctly.

 

I personally do not touch my LW until I'm pretty much inside 60 yards. 60-90 yards with a head high 56* is my go-to shot. When you get outside of that you'd be surprised to see that most guys are actually flighting down pitching wedge.

 

Its almost a thin shot. Very few people in every day golf can hit this shot.

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Depends on the player and how he approaches his short shots and specifically what wedges he carries, what the lofts, bounces and sole grinds are. Some use more trajectory over spin and flight there 60* dependent on lie, green speed/slope and flag position. Versatility is a good thing when you know what you're doing, think Seve, Trevino, Mickelson, etc.

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On 10/13/2021 at 9:21 PM, Fairway14 said:

 

Basically, a lower lofted club allows a slightly mishit shot to still end up next to the target (hole) whereas a higher lofted lob wedge club requires perfect contact to carry the ball the precise distance need for the shot.  

The above is true for most golf shots, not just this OP subject of flighting  wedges. For example the guy who clubs himself with an 8-iron to a 150 yard target may need to achieve perfect square contact to get the 150 yard carry. But the guy who clubs himself with a 7-iron has the benefit of a slight mishit still leaving the ball hole high. Yes, slight mishits are common among Tour players. Nicklaus has said/written he rarely hit more than 2 or 3 totally pure shots per round so he clubbed himself for a slight mishit. Andnext to the green a guy chipping with a 9-iron , compared to the guy trying to chip with a SW or LW, that his slightly mishit 9-iron chip shot will still end up within 3 feet of the hole while the slightly mishit wedge leaves a 10 foot putt.

So, to the OP yes flighting  a 75 yard shot with a 52* allows the player to slightly mishit the shot and have the bounce and roll leave the ball next to the hole, whereas the guy trying to flight a 60^, if he slightly mishits the shot, will likely leave the ball 30 feet from the hole.

As for hole locations remember that a major part of consistently low scoring is leaving the ball in a good position from which to play a relatively easy next shot. In other word, a low scoring average player usually does not leave himself awkward angles , or little green to work with, for 80 yard approach shots.

So play for the miss and hope you never hit one solid ?  Won’t work on a Donald Ross course. Long is dead. 
 

i think it depends on the person.  Certainly is fine playing a 52 or pw for an 80 yard shot.  But for this guy it’s just a good flat lob wedge …. Not a max number lob wedge.    I don’t get how you think an off speed shot is easier than a full but smooth swing ?    I hit both , and practice both.  But to me an off speed 54 to 80 is only when a green slopes back to front and spinning it off the front  is a worry . 
 

to me that whole argument boils down to whether you see shots rolling in or flying to the hole and stopping.  I don’t get release on iron shots under a 6 iron very often.  On any green.  So I’m always flying it to a number and expecting it to be there when I get to it.  

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I don't know any pro or plus handicap player who needs to (or ever uses) use a 52* wedge to hit it low. They all have a way of leaning the shaft while staying shallow with the AOA.

 

The only use case for the P or gap wedge is when you're deliberately trying to take spin off to get it to a back pin or something like that. 

 

IMO the flighted wedge doesn't mean low spin, instead its the low one hop check shot that the best players are so adept at hitting.

 

Forward shaft lean, low smash factor, open face, clean lie and fresh grooves. 

 

You can hit the high spinning low wedge with a half swing or a full swing, just depends on the lie and technique. 

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For a prime example of a pro doing this. Look no further than jordan spieth.  That little 50-65 yard low shot he hits that bounces once and grabs.  That’s with a 60.  

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Cameron GSS 009  1.5 , sound slot , tungsten sole weights , head speed shaft. 

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All I can say about this shot is that if I even attempt to put a conscious thought into it, it will fail LOL. It's absolute feel and trusting your practice. Any deliberate try in this shot will lead to a drive thru a wendys for chili or skull job.

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g410p 10.5° KKXDtx 

0341X Proto 15° Diamana S+ 

King SZ Tour 5w

Apex UT 21° Shimada

Apex MB 4-PW Shimada

JAWS Forged 52°-56°-60° Modus 125

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