After the driver and putter, wedges are the most used clubs. As you build your short game skills you may want to invest in a good set of wedges. Yet picking the right wedges for each player can be complicated. We sort through some options to help you make the right choice.

Golfer user wedges in three distinct areas: approach shots, greenside bunkers and around the green. For approach shots from 110 to 40 yards wedges are used with a full, ¾ or ½ swings (we call the less than full-swing shots distance wedges). Wedges are of coursed used in the bunkers. Finally, around the green for 40 yards in from the fairway, rough and fringe we can use wedges to hit high shots that land softly, low shots that roll a longer distance and end up next to pin and everything in between. If I were stranded on a desert island with just one type of club, I’d choose a wedge.

Wedges Should Give Us Options

Including their pitching wedge, players should have three or four wedges including a gap wedge (sometimes call an approach wedge), a sand wedge and a lob wedge. Don’t let the name of the club fool you. Sand wedges are not just for sand. They can be used all around the green. Likewise, you need not only use your sand wedge from a greenside bunker. You can and should use a variety of wedges — everything from pitching wedges through lob wedges (as well as the occasional 9 iron). And lob wedges are just for lobing; we can use them for a low(ish) trajectory shot that has more roll.

If you are investing in a new set of wedges, what should you buy? There are different options for each wedge: loft, bounce and grind. Equally Spaced Lofts First, for your three or four wedges pick equally spaced lofts to allow us to hit almost any distance from 110 to 40 yards. Most pitching wedges have between 45 to 48 degrees. If you have three additional wedges you may want a 50-degree gap wedge, 56-degree sand wedge and 60-degree lob wedge. For example, I carry a 45-degree Ping pitching wedge, a 50-degree gap wedge, a 55-degree sand wedge (originally a 56-degree club that the loft was decreased to 55) and a 60-degree lob wedge. If you carry only three wedges consider a pitching wedge, a 52-degree gap wedge and 58-degree sand wedge. In general, try and get lofts that are somewhat evenly spaced. Learning how to hit a distance wedge a precise yardage is huge score-reducer.

Vary the Bounce

The bounce of a wedge is the angle created between the leading edge and the lowest point of the sole or trailing edge. Perhaps a simpler way to think of it is the “bulge” beneath a wedge. Similar to how a water skier keeps the tips of his skis up so they don’t dive into the water, this bulge (bounce) on a wedge keeps it from digging into the sand in a bunker or the soft ground. Wedges with a lot of bounce have a big bulge and glide though deep and fluffy sand without digging or getting buried. Wedges with little bounce are relatively flat. These do a good job on tight lies without much grass, or even firm, hardpan sand. Low-bounce clubs can get under the ball better.

Titleist wedge designer Bob Vokey has long pointed out that “bounce is your friend” because it can be very help in sand, deep rough and many other lies, too. With deference to Mr. Vokey, low bounce clubs are useful, too. Players need both high and low-bounce wedges

Choose a variety of bounces. My 50-degree gap wedge has 8 degrees of bounce, my 55-degree sand wedge has 12 degrees of bounce, and my 60-degree lob wedge has just 6 degrees. If you tend to be a “digger” that makes deep divots you may want more bounce, and if you tend to be a “picker” that makes shallow divots you may want to consider a little less bounce on gap and lob wedges.

The Bounce is More than the Number Stamped on Your Club

Strictly speaking, bounce is the angle from the lowest point on the sole to the leading edge. Most manufacturers stamp this angle on the wedge next to the loft. But this doesn’t tell the whole story. The sole is the width of the bottom of the club. A club with a high bounce but thin sole will effectively have a small bulge. A club with the same bounce (angle) but a wide sole will have more bounce (again, bigger bulge) and play differently. Don’t just consider the bounce, but also the width of the sole.

Get Versatile Grind

The grind is the shape or contour of the sole of the club. Grinds come in a huge variety (as if picking a wedge wasn’t already complicated enough). Most grinds are designed for a specific type of bounce (high or low). Grinds are suited for specific types of conditions they typically play. Choosing the grind is an area where you may want to get fitted by a golf professional. Talk about whether your course has thick rough, fluffy sand, a lot of hardpan lies, etc. Also, as we like players to develop versatility with their wedges, we favor grinds that offer more versatility.

Choose A Flatter Lie

Master of the modern short game and tour player teacher James Seickmann recommends to his tour players have a flatter lie angle (the angle between the club shaft and the ground when the club is soled at address) for their wedges. You should have a flatter lie for your wedges, too. Players that use a one-degree upright angle for their irons may want to consider getting wedges that are one degree flat (a two-degree difference). Because wedges are hit at much lower speeds than irons the shaft will bend less at impact, thus they don’t need to be as upright as full-swing irons. A flatter wedge will interact with the turf and sand better.

To summarize: get equally spaced lofts, choose a variety of bounces, get a flatter lie, and a grind that provides versatility. A good set of wedges will give the variety to play a variety of shots for many different conditions.

Signup for Gift Card Enroll Now