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What is the benefit of using a wedge instead of P or G from the iron set?


jpark0221
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Some reasons I could think of for using a specialty pitching wedge over a set wedge: you'll have more bounce options, more sole width and grind options; more finish options; look and feel are consistent with the other wedges in the bag; COG higher for lower launch; grooves are designed for higher spin. Probably other reasons as well that I'm missing.

 

I personally like a set wedge as it's what I grew up with and it's as you said, a full-swing club that I consider my 10-iron. For a while I also played a set GW (51*) just because I liked the more squared-off toe for full swings. Rare to find pros that do that nowadays IMO but they're out there

 

 

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I’ve always used a specially pw, have a MG3 46 in the bag now. I prefer the little wider sole and softer feel of the specialty wedge.  

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The only way you'll know is try a different (specialty) wedge instead of the one marked P and see how it works. Give it a couple dozen rounds, you can't really tell whether a wedge has an advantage until you get used to playing various shots with it. 

 

My point being...they play those wedges because it's what works best for their game. And you ought to play what works best for your game too. Your best choice won't necessarily be the same type of club as someone else's. 

Edited by North Butte
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Flighting shots lower, getting additional spin for stopping power and to hit it shorter, and minimizing the chance of hitting flier moon balls you can sometimes get with even players cavity irons. At that level very few players want to be hitting their pitching wedge more than 150 yards. The wedge is a scoring club and is almost always being used to hit knockdowns to tweener yardages. 

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Shot shaping.  Beginners are lucky to get the ball anywhere on the green.  If you practice a lot like the pros, you may be able to take it to the next level, which is to get the ball to roll in the direction  you want after it hits the green.  The usual goals when club fitting are distance dispersion.  This is often achieved by minimizing a slice or hook.  Swing faults.

But, if you have a really good swing, you don't need to worry about picking a club to hide swing faults and can go after a "balanced" club that will allow you to hit draws and fades when you want them.

Edited by ShortGolfer
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If you look a little closer you'll notice that most pros who have a specialty 46/48 wedge usually play cavity backs. The speciality wedge is more blade like allow a little more more control and the ability to play shots a little easier that the pw that matches their set would provide. If a pro plays blades the usually have the same blade for PW. 

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I’m far from a pro…very far. Earlier this year I switched from a 48 degree set matching gap wedge to a specialty 48 degree wedge. I’ve found that it does flight the ball a little lower and with more spin then the set matching gap wedge did. It’s still a great full shot club. I find it’s more consistent for partial shots, it’s less likely to come out “hot”. I also really like it around the green. If I’ve got enough green to work with I will bump and run. I can open it up a little and it can play like a 52. 

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For one, I never liked the look of the set pitching wedge.

 

Apart from that, I think the turf interaction is smoother, the feedback on strike quality is better, and it’s easier to control trajectory.

 

also the forgiveness is still, marginally, worthwhile on my 9-iron, I don’t miss enough on my PW to need something like that

Edited by Chief Penguin
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TLDR; I think its whatever you want your PW to be... An extension of your iron set or an extension of your wedge set.

 

 

There are many reasons that people go either direction on the P wedge, but its mostly for distance/flight gaping.

 

I think 99.8% of Pros use a specialty wedge for their Gap wedge, so some like the progression from that more than the progression from the 9 iron. Whether its the turf interaction of sole, flight progression, or distance gaping, I think its whatever the player prefers with no real pros or cons.

 

FOR US however, by us I mean those who are 4 or higher, I think it will come down to distance gaping more than the pros. Whether you feel comfortable taking a bit off of a 9 iron to compensate for the bigger distance gap, or do you feel more comfortable with a PW instead? If your answer is no difference, then I think 46 specialty wedge will give you more options, especially hitting it out of a thick rough or troublesome lies.

 

Also, these specialty wedges are like blades no? If you frequently visit the OTHER sides of the sweetspot, I would probably say maybe a Cavity Back PW might offer bit more consistency.

 

I dont really think its for sole grind options, as I dont know any 46-48 degree wedge that comes in multi sole options other than the narrower sole, and 2-4 degree of bounce.

 

And I dont really think they grind on them that much either, other than the leading edge of players preference.

 

 

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The general consensus, for the specialty vs st gap wedge in particular, is what you're using it for or need out of it. Me, for example, my gap wedge is pretty much just a full swing club, I've tried it for some touch shots and it doesn't work great for me. Meanwhile my sw is a specialty wedge and it and my 9 iron are my go to clubs around the green. Now, I could improve on the consistency of the GW if I practice more, but it still wouldn't be as consistent as a specialty wedge. I've had a few shots where I feel like I did exactly what I wanted and it came out really hot and overshoots by a mile, then times where I haven't put a good swing on it and it seems to perform even worse than I thought. With pros I think the specialty wedge just offers more consistency and the ability to shape shots more, especially if it's a blade wedge and they have CB irons.

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Given most iron sets PW are 43°-45° these days I'm not sure anyone needs a specialty wedge in that loft or whether they're even offered in lofts that low. I have a 44° set PW and initially had a CBX 2 50° wedge but found the gap too big so switched to a CBX Zipcore 48° wedge. If the set PW was 47°/48° like they used to be I'd definitely use the set wedge. 

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For most recreational golfers, I'd guess the difference is absolutely nothing.  Some of the guys I play with have multiple wedges in their bags, and all they are really doing is adding additional weight.  Basically, you just need one club for popping the ball over sand-traps or mounds or whatever obstacle might prevent you from simply chipping with a seven iron, so whichever lofted club you hit best will work.  Obviously this may not apply for the better skilled golfers, but I'd guess most of them could get on quite fine with just a PW as well.

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I do of course need a "club for popping the ball over bunkers" and one for hitting out of bunkers (especially when I try and fail to pop it over 🙃) but mostly my wedges function as additional full swing clubs. I've got irons with roughly 10-12 degree gaps between them and at some point that changes over to "wedges" instead of "irons", depending on how you label them. But my longest "wedge" goes about 10-12 yards shorter than my longest iron and the other wedges are 10-12 yards shorter per club.

 

So my highest lofted wedges goes about 60 yards and my longest iron goes about 170 and I have clubs for every 10-12 yards in between. It doesn't really matter if I have a "iron" with "G" written on it or a "wedge" with "48" written on it as my 100-yard club. I just pick whichever club in that spot seems easiest to hit.

 

The lobbing and bunkering clubs do need to be "wedges" but they've got 54+ degrees of loft and aren't going to be "irons" no matter what. 

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10 minutes ago, North Butte said:

I do of course need a "club for popping the ball over bunkers" and one for hitting out of bunkers (especially when I try and fail to pop it over 🙃) but mostly my wedges function as additional full swing clubs. I've got irons with roughly 10-12 degree gaps between them and at some point that changes over to "wedges" instead of "irons", depending on how you label them. But my longest "wedge" goes about 10-12 yards shorter than my longest iron and the other wedges are 10-12 yards shorter per club.

 

So my highest lofted wedges goes about 60 yards and my longest iron goes about 170 and I have clubs for every 10-12 yards in between. It doesn't really matter if I have a "iron" with "G" written on it or a "wedge" with "48" written on it as my 100-yard club. I just pick whichever club in that spot seems easiest to hit.

 

The lobbing and bunkering clubs do need to be "wedges" but they've got 54+ degrees of loft and aren't going to be "irons" no matter what. 

For better golfers, those gaps in your wedge distances will certainly make a difference but given most of the folks I play with are like myself (as are most of the people I see playing on the public courses we play) and almost never hit the ball a consistent distance with any given club, they aren't really seeing any benefit from using a 54 over a 60 or such.  I personally have much better success hitting greens if I use my 7 iron anywhere from 110-140, as I find myself coming up short about 99% of the time with a wedge.  Obviously that methodology isn't for everyone, but I think a lot of recreational golfers would be surprised at how successful it could be if they were willing to try it.

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A lob wedge allows a short high shot that land on the green and stay there, even if you are in thick grass.

But, given the difficulty of making that shot, many golfers are better off doing something else.  

Lob wedges are hard because as the loft increases, the available surface area for hitting the ball goes down.

When practicing I've swung under the ball, missing it entirely!

 

The course I play on has a ton of water so some holes have a lot of high grass right around the green.  

 

I was looking at videos of popular nine hole course and compared them to the drawings of the holes and noticed that they had taken out a lot of bunkers to make the holes play easier.

I also played this year on an inexpensive course that didn't have any bunkers.  If the course allows  you to roll the ball up the greens perhaps you should do that!

 

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11 hours ago, Jc0 said:

If you look a little closer you'll notice that most pros who have a specialty 46/48 wedge usually play cavity backs. The speciality wedge is more blade like allow a little more more control and the ability to play shots a little easier that the pw that matches their set would provide. If a pro plays blades the usually have the same blade for PW. 

That isnt all that true... look at justin thomas, adam scott with the blades. I think overwhelmingly, you see it a lot with the titleist guys. The vokey blends very well with the titleist sets. It's a lot more customizable in terms of loft (grind, bounce, etc.) versus the PW in their set. And mainly, for a scoring club, you want that ability to make it as suited to your needs as possible. 

The longer players tend not to do this because their PW is too long to be in that "scoring range". Their next wedge, which is usually their gap wedge, is that "scoring club" because it's in that distance range. And they all use a wedge specific club to meet their swing characteristics

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18 minutes ago, the_Danimal said:

That isnt all that true... look at justin thomas, adam scott with the blades. I think overwhelmingly, you see it a lot with the titleist guys. The vokey blends very well with the titleist sets. It's a lot more customizable in terms of loft (grind, bounce, etc.) versus the PW in their set. And mainly, for a scoring club, you want that ability to make it as suited to your needs as possible. 

The longer players tend not to do this because their PW is too long to be in that "scoring range". Their next wedge, which is usually their gap wedge, is that "scoring club" because it's in that distance range. And they all use a wedge specific club to meet their swing characteristics

I kind of agree with both of you. Possibly more guys playing blades in the lower end of the bag using a set wedge. But JT and Adam Scott play the higher bounce GW so using a 46.10 probably fits in better than a sharper set wedge. 

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Basically IMO if you use a PW or GW to chip around the green than it makes sense, otherwise it doesn't.

 

Typically a dedicated wedge is gonna be more blade like, versatile grinds etc, and allow a bit easier time on finesse shots. 

 

If you're making mostly full swings with PW and GW i don't see the reason to do it

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6 hours ago, North Butte said:

I do of course need a "club for popping the ball over bunkers" and one for hitting out of bunkers (especially when I try and fail to pop it over 🙃) but mostly my wedges function as additional full swing clubs.

 

The break for many players comes at PW to GW.  If you rely on your PW and GW to be a 10i and 11i for a lot of full shots, the set wedges may be the way to go. Then, go specialty for SW and LW.

 

If you rely on your wedges primarily for close in shots, especially if you don't hit full shots with the wedge, the specialty would be the way to go: more variety on bounce, grinds, etc.

 

And, club designer Ralph Maltby suggests going the opposite on at least one wedge: If you have primarily low- to mid-bounce wedges, have at least one high-bounce (often a SW) to give  yourself some options in unusual situations.

 

And finally, there's the question of how well your GW/AW works for you. Years ago, I played Callaway X20 irons. PW was fine, but I had a terrible time with the set AW. Sold it off as down-payment for a Cleveland CG14 GW.

 

On the other hand, the AW for the TM SLDR irons (2014) was excellent for both greenside partials and full shots.

 

image.png.375d3baac839d867be931559405b626b.pngAnd, going back 40-plus years, I played with MacGregor MT flatsole forged blades (2i to 10i). Rather than a true PW, the set had a 10i: not a lot of bounce. Great for half and full shots off fairway, and to cut things out of rough. But, it was iffy for touch shots around the green. Sometimes would skull the ball clear across green, or nip it fat and leave it short. Because of this, I used a lot of 7i chip-and-run for close in, or a SW with a flange from off green.

 

History buffs: In 1960s and 1970s, MacGregor and other OEMs offered 10i and 11i with certain models.

 

Back to modern times: Maverick McNealy has worked with Callaway to develop a 10i and 11i for his set. Also, Honma makes a 10i and 11i in its TR20 irons.

 

 

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20 hours ago, jpark0221 said:

What is the benefit of doing this instead of using P from the iron set, which is essentially 10i? I see lot of pros using wedge from different club (e.g. Vokey) instead of P from the same set.

It really depends on age, and what clubs a person practices with around greens.  Tour guys practice with LW and SW, seldom chip using PW.  However, on the Champion's Tour they use LW, SW, PW and 9i, 8i even 7i more often. 

 

Given I used to only use LW and SW, (like PGA Tour), and now use LW, SW, PW, even 9i (like Champions) for shots around the green.  Maybe what makes the difference is age, being less aggressive and smarter?  Which club depends on where the pin is in relationship to my ball and what the surface is like in between.  All depends on conditions and where the pin is located whether I fly the ball to the pin or not.

 

My 2cents.

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4 hours ago, MtlJeff said:

Basically IMO if you use a PW or GW to chip around the green than it makes sense, otherwise it doesn't.

 

Typically a dedicated wedge is gonna be more blade like, versatile grinds etc, and allow a bit easier time on finesse shots. 

 

If you're making mostly full swings with PW and GW i don't see the reason to do it

 

This is the correct answer.  As soon as you start using the wedges for chip/pitch shots, go dedicated wedge.  If you only treat it like a 10/11 iron, the matching wedge to your set.

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