Wedges are short irons that have a lot of loft. These golf clubs are not designed for distance shots. Instead, you can use them to hit extremely high shots so the ball lands on the greens. Wedges are among the most versatile clubs in your bag and are also known as position clubs.
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A well-played wedge shot can help you get into position for a short putt. This will prevent you from attempting a shot that will get you into trouble.
Understanding Golf Wedges
Generally, wedges have heavier clubheads, higher lofts, and shorter shafts, than any other golfing irons. These features play a significant role in helping you hit accurate short-distance lob shots, which effectively gets the ball out of tricky spot and onto the green. Also, wedges are primarily designed using modified soles.
This helps the player move the clubhead through soft grounds, such as thick grass, sand and mud to remove a ball that is stuck in the sand or even buried. Wedges in golf can be divided into four categories, including gap wedges, lob wedges, pitching wedges and sand wedges.
When To Use A Wedge For A Golf Shot?
The appropriate time to use a wedge primarily depends on the yardage of the shot. A typical recreational male golfer may be able to hit 65 to 75 yards with a sand wedge from the fairway while a woman is likely to hit 45 to 60 yards. Similarly, a male golfer is likely to hit 40 to 50 yards with a lob wedge whereas a woman would be able to hit a 25 to 40-yard shot. The gap wedge is likely to fall between your sand wedge and pitching wedge yardages.
When properly struck, these clubs will produce an arching, high shot. So, if you want to hit a high shot that can get over a tree for example, using a wedge is a great choice. Similarly, using a wedge would also be a good choice if you are off the green and have to hit over a big bunker and a flagstick. A wedge will help you ace that arching shot that will get you through. Since wedge shots have a high trajectory, they don’t roll much when they hit the green.
Skilled golfers can easily produce great amount of backspin using a wedge. This causes the ball to back up once it finally hits the green. As an added bonus, you may also use a wedge for chipping around the green.
If you are a beginner, consider using lob and gap wedges as a specialty club that can later be used to turn your golf career around. A sand wedge is among the most trusted options for a beginner. It is likely to become one of your first “add-ons” once you become a pro golfer.
An Early History Of Golf Clubs
In the earliest days when golf was played on the eastern coast of Scotland, golfers used primitive equipment to play the sport in a rather casual and haphazard manner. Initially, most early players carved their own clubs using wood.
However, soon enough, they turned to renowned and skilled craftsmen who were able to produce competitive equipment. The earliest specially made clubs were produced when King James IV of Scotland requested a bow maker to construct him a set of golf clubs in 1502.
Early golf sets that were used for play during that time consisted of fairway, driving clubs for hitting medium range shots whereas spoons were used for short range shots, a putting cleek and nublicks (which are similar to modern-day wedges). After 1618, the world was introduced to the Featherie golf ball that lasted for more than 200 years.
Club heads were usually made using tough wood, including holly, pear, apple and beech. The shafts were typically made using hazel or ash. The head was joined to the shaft using a splint which was then bound tightly with the help of leather straps.
However, the time, cost and most importantly, the effort that went into making these golf club priced them beyond the reach of the masses. Clubs such as niblicks and long-noses were prone to breakage hence a golfer could expect to break at least one club during each round.
These factors contributed to the fact that golf was typically associated with the elite or upper class folks of society. People started with a few experimentations on the clubface. While some club-makers used leather to increase compression and attain a longer distance, others used bone fragments and implanted metal to prevent the clubface from shattering. As early as the 1750s, some club-makers incorporated forged metal heads for making niblicks.
Who Was Gene Sarazen?
Gene Sarazen is regarded as among the most esteemed names in golf. He was one of the world’s top professional golfer during the 1920s and 1930s. He is among the only top five golf players to win all of the major golf championships in his life along with Tiger Woods, Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player.
Apart from being a young golf prodigy, Gene Sarazen was also known for inventing the modern sand wedge. He was first to debut the club and kept it a secret during his preliminary practice rounds. He originally called the club a sand iron. He was known to previously struggle with his sand play.
Gene Sarazen’s invention was to weld the solder onto the lower back on the club. His main goal was to build up the flange so that it no longer sat lower than the leading edge once it was solded. His design also featured additional weight that offered the club enough power to force the ball through the thick sand.
Thanks to his marvelous invention, every top-class golfer has used this wedge design and well thought out technique ever since. The sand wedge is now also being used by top-class players for hitting shots from the grass.
Rules And Regulations According To The USGA
While on the PGA tour, golfers are required to conform to the USGA Rules of Golf according to the official tour handbook. To abide by the rules, manufacturers typically send a new club to the USGA (United States Golf Association) for inspection and testing. This process is conducted to ensure the club is compliant with the rules.
While the USGA does not publish a comprehensive list of banned clubs that don’t conform by the USGA guides. It does, however, provide a searchable database that confirms whether the club conforms by the USGA’s extensive list of guidelines regarding grooved faces.
These rules and regulations apply to standard irons, wedges, woods and hybrids.
General Golf Club Rules And Regulations
To ensure you are using legal club for official tournaments, we advise you go through Appendix II of the Rules of Golf. Here are a couple of general guidelines you should keep in mind before investing in a golf club:
- The golf club must not be considerably different from the customary and traditional form and make. This means the golf club should contain a head and a shaft, along with a traditional grip.
- The abovementioned parts must be secured to form a single unit and must not contain any external attachments. This, however does not include putters.
- The golf clubs must be at least 18 inches long but must not be longer than 48 inches.
Golfers must also follow a variety of other rules regarding the straightness and angle of the size, shape and shaft of the grip along with the structure of the clubface.
The USGA first announced a new set of rules regarding club heads grooves in the 2008. The rules affected clubs that featured lofts with 25 degrees or more. This affected wedges of all types.
The rule also banned clubs with “sharp-edged U-grooves” and was in favor of V-groove designs that were predominantly used in the past. The groove rules were implemented on LPGA and PGA tours from 2010.
If you are eager to learn whether your golf wedge has been banned by the PGA, log on to USGA’s official website and use the “Informational Club Database.” Follow these steps to determine whether your golf club is eligible for official golf tournaments:
- Type the name of the manufacturer
- Type the product name
- Describe the club’s marking using the appropriate boxes
- Ensure the club type has been set for “Irons and Wedges”
- Click on the “Submit” button
Alternatively, you can also type the manufacturer’s name and hit the submit button. This will allow you to access a list of verified manufacturer’s irons and wedges. To speed the process, hover over to the far right column of the manufacturer’s list. You will find a section called “Meets 2010 Groove Rules.”
The approved clubs will be marked “Yes” while the banned clubs will be marked with a “No.” On the other hand, some clubs will be marked as “ATR.” This stands for additional testing required so you might have to wait a while for the results.
Wedge Degrees You Need To Know About
Golf wedges are among the most indispensable tools in your golf arsenal but do you really know which wedge can be used appropriately in your bag, depending on your skills and the time you spend at the golf course. If you are a beginner, you can definitely benefit from a set of magic irons.
The degree of loft angle varies depending on the wedges. Each type may have an edge over the other depending on specific distances and situations. Here are the four most popular types of golf wedges and their angles that you need to know about:
Gap wedges were manufactured to bridge the gap between sand wedges and pitching wedges. Gap wedges typically feature a loft angle between 50 to 56 degrees. Gap wedges are the newest of the lot and are designed to cater to the needs of casual golfers who are in search of more range.
When To Use A Gap Wedge?
Gap wedge are meant to be for shots that are too short for using a pitching wedge. Gap wedges are also ideal for hitting shots that are too long for sand wedges. If struck properly, the golf ball can fly quite high with a gap wedge. Similar to the pitching wedge, the gap wedge can be used in a variety of settings.
However, it is best used for places with sand, tall grass, mud or distances that go up to 80 to 100 yards. However, keep in mind that gap wedges usually do not come with a standard set of golf clubs. So, to select the best wedge, examine the loft of the sand wedge and the pitching wedge and ensure the loft of the gap wedge is between the two.
Pitching wedges are among the first wedges used by a beginner because they are packed with a set of irons. Pitching wedges typically feature a loft angle ranging between 46 to 50 degrees. However, this may vary depending on the manufacturer.
The pitching wedge is typically used for shots that need to be hit between 100 to 120 yards of distance. A pitching wedge can also be used as an all-purpose wedge. However, we advise you use include other wedges in your bag.
When To Use A Pitching Wedge?
The ball will shoot up into the air when you strike it with a pitching wedge, and cover a distance of 110 to 140 yards. Golfers who want to hit the green generally opt for a pitching wedge. Since the ball travels high up in the air, it does not roll too far on the green.
A sand wedge typically ranges from 54 to 58 degrees. As the name indicates, these wedges are designed to escape from green side bunkers because of its heavier and wider design on its sole. Over the years, the sand wedge has been commonly used as a go-to club for chips and bunker shots near green. It was also the highest lofted club a golfer could find in his bag until the lob wedge came along.
Using a regular golf swing, most players can hit sand wedges around 90 yards. Sand wedges are typically shorter than most clubs and are designed to help golfers put spin on the ball. Also, due to the customized club face, sand wedges are prone to be heavy.
When To Use A Sand Wedge?
Wondering how you can use a sand wedge to its maximum potential? A sand wedge is typically a golfer’s highest-lofted club, if the player does not carry a lob wedge with a higher lob. Sand wedges are typically used for a variety of short shots outside of bunkers that require a greater height. However, a sand wedge’s main function is to aid the golfer’s escape from greenside bunkers.
With the help of the bounce plate in the sand wedge, players can dig the wedge into the sand, far enough to get under the ball. An experienced player will be able to achieve this much easily compared to a novice. The ball glides forward, allowing the golfer to make solid contact and hit a loft, short shot. Since the soft wedge is shorter than other clubs, it allows players to put spin on the ball
Lob wedges come in handy for hitting shots that come in high lofts between 60 to 64 degrees, whereas ultra-lob wedges can reach up to 70 degrees. Golf players must take special care regarding precision when using a lob wedge.
This club may not be found in every golf bag but is a great addition to your golf bag if you are playing on a course with lots of trees, hazards or elevated greens. In this case, the lob wedge can help you get the ball out of trouble areas. While a typical fairway shot may get your ball over 40 to 60 years, a 10 to 40-yard chip will help get your ball out of the green.
When To Use A Lob Wedge?
Similar to sand and gap wedges, most club sets don’t include lob wedges, so you have to purchase them separately. They offer greater loft than any other wedge that ranges between 60 and 65 degrees.
These wedges are best suited for hitting trickier and more precise shots. They are typically used by golfers to hit lob wedges under 80 yards and can send the golf ball high in the air. Lob wedges are useful for conditions were golfers need to hit the ball in the air and want it to rise quickly.
Choosing The Right Wedge
To become an awesome golf player, it is essential you select the right wedge for your golf bag. Here are a couple of factors you should consider when selecting the right wedge:
The loft is one of the most important aspects to consider when investing in a golf wedge. In simple terms, the loft is the angle created between an imaginary vertical line and the face of the wedge. The greater the loft, the more elevation your shot will have. This causes the fall to fly higher whilst covering less distance.
Most pro-golf players carry a variety of three to four wedges in their bag to add greater variation in their short game. The key to choosing the right set of wedges is to ensure there are no big gaps in the loft between the first loft and the lowest lofted iron in your set. Also, ensure there is no gap in the edge wedge. For best results, keep the loft gap between 4 degrees for each club.
The bounce of the wedge is the portion of the club that makes contact with the turf. It thus bounces the club through the surface when the ball is at impact. Bounce is a comprehensive term that incorporates all the elements involved in the sole design. This includes the leading edge, camber, sole width, rocker and the bounce angle of the wedge.
When professionals talk about bounce, they typically refer to the bounce angle. The bounce angle is the angle between the point that meets the ground and the leading edge. The bounce angle is added to prevent the wedge from digging into the turf or sand, discontinuing the momentum of the club through the ball. The most common type of bounce wedges include:
- Low Bounce Wedges: Wedges that have a bounce angle of 4 to 6 degrees are regarded as low-bounce wedges. As the name indicates, these wedges offer minimal bounce and are best suited for players who simply want to sweep the ball or are playing in firmer turf conditions. Low bounce wedges are also suited for coarse sand in bunkers or those with little sand.
- High Bounce Wedges: High bounce wedges feature a bounce angle of more than 10 degrees. In high bounce wedges, the leading edge sits higher when the sole is placed on the ground. Additionally, high bounce wedges are best suited for players take deep divots or dig at impact. It is also suitable for softer conditions and for bunks with fine, deep sand.
- Mid Bounce Wedges: These wedges feature an angle that lies between 7 to 10 degrees. Mid bounce wedges are considered among the most versatile options and can be used for a wider range of conditions. Golfers may also use them for a variety of swing types.
Sole grinds are designed to aid golfers in hitting better shots at the golf course. So, what is a sole grind? In simple words, the term sole grind is used to describe the additional shaping of the sole of the wedge that is situated around the toe or the heel.
Because of its impact on the course, manufacturers are now offerings a variety of sole grinds in addition to the standard wedge sole. Most manufacturers use a machine to grind the soles to suit specific shots and turf conditions. This will result in a better outcome and will give you an edge in the field.
For example, a heel grind plays a crucial role in removing materials, such as sand and debris, from the heel of the sole.
This allows the face of the wedge to sit lower on the ground. However, at the same time, the sole grind also plays a crucial role in altering the bounce of the sole. If you are a beginner, we recommend you seek advice from a teaching professional when selecting the best type of grind for your game.
Finish Of The Wedge
These wedges are made using a variety of materials that feature various finishes. Each finishing offers a different set of benefits. Some most common types include:
Chrome, Nickel And Black Nickel
Most wedges feature a traditional chrome plating. This provides an overall soft, classic and solid field. Not to mention, it protects the wedge from rust. Black nickel is a unique colored chrome plating that provides rust protection and strength similar to chrome finishing. Black nickel also offers the same solid feel as chrome.
In the same way, nickel provides a mixture of soft inner qualities combined with a hard, toughed exterior. The traditional chrome plating offers the wedge a more rustic and traditional look. It also reduces glare.
Raw, Copper And Oil Can
Raw wedges are untreated and made from steel that are allowed to rust over time. Rusting provides the golf wedge a much softer feel as compared to chrome. Raw wedges offer more spin but they are considered the least durable of all finishes.
These wedges are not suitable for beginners and can be used by experienced players. On the other hand, some makers offer an oil can finish using a heat oxide treatment.
These wedges feature a non-glare appearance and result in a soft feeling. However, the oil finish is likely to wear with time. This results in a rusty raw wedge appearance. Golfers can also opt for wedges with a beryllium copper finish.
This finish is similar to both raw and oil can. Beryllium copper finish offers a soft feel on the club face. However, it is known to get darker with time as the oxygen affects the metal.
All wedges feature a steel shaft unless the wedge comes from a graphite set of clubs. Steel shafted wedges typically feature a standard wedge flex and are specifically designed for shorter clubs. It offers maximum accuracy and feel that is needed in a short club where flex is less important.
What Is A Chipper?
A chipper is a golf club that combines a wedge and a putter. Chippers typically feature a 30-degree loft that is ideal for making shots that are too short for a wedge but a bit too long for a putter. While you can use chippers for tournaments, they must be single-faced and must have a cylindrical grip with a flat end.
Double-faced chippers are illegal and cannot be used in professional tournaments. Most novice players agree that a chipper is easier to use compared to wedges. The chipper is ideal for teaching golf fundamentals before you learn how to master each type of club.
Chipper Vs. Wedge
A chipper features a shorter shaft length than a wedge. This offers the golfer much better control when they are just off the green. While most professional players frown upon any player who uses chippers, you can use one effectively to shave strokes off your game. Practice using a chipper in various conditions and you will eventually get the hang of it.
What Is An A-Wedge In Golf?
The A-wedge is a popular golf club that is among the four main categories of golf wedges. This includes the sand wedge, lob wedge, pitching wedge and of course, the A-wedge. The A-wedge is referred to as the gap wedge. Golfers can typically identify an A-wedge because of its “AW” or “A” stamp on the sole near the toe. However, it is now becoming common to stamp the loft there.
What Does The ‘A’ Stand For?
By now, you are probably wondering what the ‘A’ stands for. Well, it usually stands for either “attack” or “approach”. Some manufactures may sell the club using either of these names. This club is known by more names that most modern clubs in golf.
Why All The Different Names?
Using different names is a marketing technique to attract more customers since it fulfilled the desire of the manufacturer to be different from others. However, this particular club is commonly known as a gap wedge and all the other names have created a confusion.
Some manufacturers today are starting to use loft and other specs as a way to market their products. So, instead of simply calling their club an “A-wedge” or a “Gap wedge”, some companies get away by listing their wedges as “50-degree wedge” or “48-degree wedge.”
Spinning A Wedge
Golf wedges are particularly used when you have to hit shots towards the green. These golf clubs add spin to the shot, enabling you to land the ball solidly on the green. The golf wedge also prevents the wedge from rolling off too far or stops the ball on the spot without rolling.
To become an expert in the golf course, you need to work hard to add spin when you strike the ball with your wedge. The ability to add more spin can significantly improve your putting position. Follow these simple instructions to spin a wedge:
- Examine the Ball: To ensure the ball spins at its full potential, you must first ensure it is lying on the clean, with not too much grass around.
- Choose the Right Club: Typically pitching wedges, sand wedges are used for hitting a wedge shot. Choosing a shorter club allows the golfer to hit more powerful shots.
- Adopt the Right Stance: Stand with an open stance like you would do for other shots. However, for best results, place the ball behind the center point of your stance. You should place your weight on your front leg and lean yourself towards the target.
- Follow a Steep Path for the Swing: Make sure your wrists and hands are firm. Rest the shaft of the club and the top of your hand should be towards your target. Swing whilst only using your arms and refrain from moving the upper body. If you are a novice player, avoiding swinging the club to the side or towards the back. Slightly bend your back knee ahead of the ball and pull in your backside during the swing.
- Making a Small Divot: Use the steep swing to ensure the club head meets the ball at a sharp angle. Because of this motion, the club head will brush against the grass, creating a small divot when you hit the ball.
Use A Drill Swing To Practice Hitting The Ball
We recommend you use a drill swing to practice hitting the ball effectively. These practice swings do not have the height or distance of a typical wedge shot.
Once you have learned how to correct your swing, you can use the same technique to create the angle required to hit the ball solidly. Practice this drill to hit the ball right:
- Take your stance using a sand wedge. Stand in a way that the ball is positioned right in front of your back foot. Position the open club face behind the ball. You must angle the shaft of the golf club over your outer hip.
- Practice the swinging movement whilst only using your arms. You need not swing more than waist high. Ensure the handle is positioned in front of the clubface.
- Remember the angle of the wedge during this drill and try to duplicate this movement with your normal wedge shot. Ensure the ball is positioned towards the back of the center of your stance.
How To Use Lob Wedge As Your Best Weapon
A lob wedge is designed to cater to and handle a number of specific situations. Since it is the most-lofted and shortest club in the bag, it is easier for golfers to hit a solid shot with a lob wedge. However, some players are not able to use this wedge to its best capabilities as they position the ball improperly or decelerate the swing. Here are a couple of keys you should work on when you are hitting the lob wedge:
- Ensure your weight is distributed evenly on both feet. Position the ball in the middle of your stance.
- During the address, the shaft of the wedge must be perpendicular to the ground or it should lean slightly towards the target.
- Ensure the clubface is square to slightly open.
- Your primary aim to should be to accelerate through the ball. To complete this step, try making your follow-through a bit longer than your backswing. For example, if you wish to swing back to where your left arm is parallel to the ground, try to aim for a full finish first.
- The left hand leads to the downswing, which keeps the golf wedge shaft leaning forward. This results in a mildly descending blow.
- To become a better golf player, you must learn to trust the club’s loft. If struck correctly, the lob wedge can be used for hitting high shots off the clubface. This produces plenty of spin but prevents the ball from spinning once it lands on the ground. In other words, there is no reason for you to swing the ball tentatively for fear of hitting the ball too long.
Follow the abovementioned steps to use a lob wedge to its best potential when you are at the golf course.
How To Use A Pitching Wedge
A pitching wedge is among the most versatile clubs in your golf bag. This useful arsenal can be used to hit high shots that will fall on the green with little backspin.
This golf wedge can also be used for lower ship shots when you need to push the ball onto the green and cause it to move close to the hole. While mastering various pitch wedge shots may require some time and practice, follow these steps to improve your game significantly during the swing:
- Position the club only as far as you really need to when you are approaching the green. You may use a pitching wedge from 120 yards or when need to hit a full swing. A half-swing will be sufficient for hitting a chip shot from 10 yards.
- Follow through and mirror your backswing. Once you hit the ball, do not stop short or else you won’t be able to get type of backspin you will need.
- Plan your spin according to the loft of the pitching wedge. For example, you will require a bigger swing for a 62-degree loft to achieve the same distance as compared to a shorter swing with a 48-degree loft.
Follow the abovementioned steps to perfect your swing with a pitching wedge.
Hopefully, this handy guide has provided you with all the information you need regarding golf wedges. If you learn to use it properly, a golf wedge can easily become one of your deadliest weapons as an experienced golfer. If you are a beginner, consider seeking the advice of a professional before investing in a set of golf wedges. For more ideas, you can also browse several websites online so you can make the most of your wedges.