They’re all the rage on Tour, but how are wedge shafts different to normal iron shafts and do you need them in your wedges? We investigate...
Like the putter, your wedges are a very personal choice. They are the scoring clubs in your bag and golfers can choose from an array of lofts, sole grinds, bounce angles and even the stampings on the back. But the shaft is often the component that gets overlooked and those that do so could be losing out on short-game performance. Wedge shafts come in many forms and rose to prominence when the groove restrictions were introduced in 2010. By altering the design of the shaft, manufacturers found they could make up for the loss of spin somewhat by tinkering the shaft’s design.
Wedge shaft features
Typically, a wedge shaft has a softer, more active tip section (the area closest to the clubhead). This increased flexibility in the lower end of the shaft increases the loft presented to the ball at impact but also makes the attack angle steeper – two key ingredients for increasing backspin.
The True Temper Dynamic Gold Spinner shaft was one of the first wedge-specific shafts on the market. It featured a small section of the shaft with a thinner diameter positioned near the grip of the club. Combined with a longer tip section this created extra through impact, increasing spin by up to 500rpm.
Some golfers like to hit their pitch shots low, while others prefer a higher ball flight. KBS has recently launched two wedge shafts, depending on your preference. The 610 wedge shaft delivers a lower, more penetrating ball flight via a firmer tip section and wider butt section. Conversely, the Hi-Rev 2.0 shaft has a more active tip section that increases dynamic loft, launch and spin for added stopping power.
“Both the KBS wedge shafts can help with chip shots,” Kim Braly, KBS’ R&D and Tour Operations Director, told GM. “There is a load on the shaft on almost all shots. This reduces as the shot becomes shorter. But having a wedge-specific shaft can still help you gain a little more control even on chip shots around the green.”
Nippon is another company to offer a wedge-specific steel shaft that has been put in play by over 50 PGA Tour players this year, including Hunter Mahan and Henrik Stenson. Its N.S Pro Modus3 wedge shaft offers some of the benefits of its previous wedge offering launched in 2010, with the addition of a new heat treatment called MHT (multi-heat technology) that improves feel around the greens with a low trajectory and less variable spin.
Full or finesse shots?
Wedge shafts can also vary between the lofts in your bag. It is commonly thought that in your pitching wedge, with which you tend to play full shots, the shaft needs to have a thicker wall to make it heavier, firmer and easier to control. But on partial and finesse chips and pitch shots with your higher-lofted wedges, using a shaft with a thinner wall makes it more responsive through impact to help generate a higher flight and more spin.
Cost and specs
Wedge shafts are a similar price to standard iron shafts, but it will vary from brand to brand so be sure to check. Most wedge shafts come in three different flex options and weights ranging from around 110g to 140g. Try to get a weight similar to that in your irons so the feel on full shots is similar