Golf wedges are often considered a part of the irons family. However, they are vastly different in certain aspects. For instance, they have the shortest shafts and the highest lofts among all the clubs, making them useful for lob shots during the short game.
Besides the shaft length and high loft, there are several other factors and characteristics that are unknown to a significant chunk of the golfing community.
These factors play a critical role when you’re in the process of deciding which golf wedge will best suit your playing style. Check out our guide to the best golf wedges in the market.
This article will discuss all of these factors in detail so that you have all the information and can make a better decision.
1. Wedge Type
The type of wedge is the first decision you have to make when buying a golf wedge. There are four types of golf wedges, pitching wedge, gap wedge, sand wedge, and lob wedge.
All of these wedges have varying lofts and shaft lengths that make them suitable for different situations. Of these, the gap wedge is used only by experienced golfers and very rarely by amateurs.
a. Pitching Wedge
The pitching wedge is the most commonly used golf wedge. They have a loft that ranges from 44 to 49 degrees which makes them suitable for getting under the ball and launching it high in the air with a steep launch angle.
Typically, a well-hit strike from a pitching wedge can travel anywhere between 110 to 130 yards.
b. Gap Wedge
The gap wedge is named after the “gap” it fills between the pitching wedge and the sand wedge. The ball’s trajectory from a gap wedge shot is higher and shorter than a pitching wedge but lower and longer than a sand wedge. They have a loft between 50 to 54 degrees, resulting in a carry distance of up to 100 yards.
c. Sand Wedge
Sand wedges are designed for a specific purpose, which is to get the ball out of bunkers and tall grass and land it safely on the green.
Sand wedge’s heavy clubhead size is perfect for these conditions, and it also minimizes the spin, which prevents the ball from bouncing away from the hole. Their loft lies between 54 to 58 degrees and can cover a distance between 80 to 100 yards.
d. Lob Wedge
The lob wedge is designed to get out of tricky situations like when you’re facing a water hazard or bunker before the green. They provide very high launch angles, ball trajectories, and low spin, making them ideal for landing the ball gently on the green. They have the highest loft that ranges from 59 to 65 degrees and can cover distances up to 90 yards.
Spin is one of the most vital characteristics of golf wedges. Wedges must be able to stop the ball on the green without bouncing away from the hole. Having high spin helps golfers stop the ball on the green with high precision. To maximize spin performance, companies add specialized grooves and milling on the clubface.
So, you should always go for a golf wedge with a better groove design and milling pattern for the best spin robustness. However, you should also keep in mind these grooves erode very quickly due to wear and tear, which significantly reduces spin numbers. That is why golfers prefer using brand-new wedges for tournaments.
3. Feel and Feedback
Feel, and feedback of a golf wedge are also crucial as they alert the golfer in case of mishits. Wedges that provide a consistent feel and feedback throughout the clubface boost confidence and improve game quality. Better response and feel also offer more control to the golfer over his shots and playing ability.
4. Bounce and Grind
These two terms often confuse several golfers as they are associated only with wedges. Firstly, bounce is the angle between the ground and the leading edge of the club, causing it to “bounce” off the ground at impact instead of digging in. As a general rule of thumb, a lower angle is preferred on soft surfaces like bunker sand and vice versa.
On the other hand, grind simply means the shape, depth, and design of the sole, how much material it removes, and how it interacts with the turf. Grind also determines the ball flight and trajectory.