There is much to ponder in the wedge world when looking to upgrade or refine your line-up at the scoring end of your golf bag
What To Consider When Buying A Wedge
What to consider when buying a wedge? Quite a lot as it happens – perhaps a bit of a surprise to some golfers.
Wedges – often referred to as the scoring clubs – cover a wide range of lofts from about 42˚ up to 60˚ (and even beyond) as you work your way up from pitching, gap and sand wedges to the lob wedges required when rapid height or the softest of landings is required.
What To Consider When Buying A Wedge
The first consideration is how much you’re prepared to pay. If you’re starting out, you may, of course, opt to use any wedges that came with your iron set at least to start with.
However, speciality bladed wedges can cost as little as £30 as you’ll see with the Inesis wedge in our best wedges for beginners article.
Beyond that, most tour brand wedges will set you back between £90 and £140, with options well beyond that from specialist companies like Fourteen or Miura.
How Many Wedges?
Most golfers carry between two and four wedges in their bags. Tour trends may be for four, but is that necessarily right for you?
You need to assess whether you require more options and versatility at the longer end of your set to avoid potentially big gaps there, or at the scoring end of the bag.
You may only carry 14 clubs, so you can’t have it both ways unfortunately!
Related: How many wedges should I carry?
If you think you need greater depth at the long end of your bag, check out our best fairway woods and best hybrids articles. If you want to load up at the short end, there is much still to consider when buying wedges…
Lofts And Gapping
Deciding how many wedges will then dictate what sort of lofts you need between them.
If you’re going to stick with your iron set pitching wedge, then you need to know what loft your pitching wedge so you can work out what loft your next wedge (typically a gap wedge) ideally needs to be.
If you’re dropping your set’s wedge, you need to check your 9-iron loft so you can work out what will be the best pitching wedge loft for you.
Iron and wedge lofts have got stronger over the years. Whereas the degree of loft on pitching wedges in sets was once typically in the high 40s, they’re now in the low- to mid-40s. The PW in Callaway’s Mavrik Max set is 43˚, for example.
If you’ve changed your irons recently but haven’t changed your wedges for a while, you may have inadvertently created too big a gap, which leads on to gapping.
In an ideal world you’re looking for a spread of between 4˚ and 5˚ from your 9-iron to your first wedge and then between wedges.
As for the highest loft, most of the best lob wedges are 58˚ or 60˚, so if you wish to carry a lob wedge you will need to factor that in to your loft and gapping calculations too.
Related: Best Lob Wedges
This as important as loft, if not more so in some ways. Bounce refers to the angle created between the lowest part of the sole and the leading edge when the club is grounded neutrally.
Low bounce would typically be 4-6˚. With the leading edge sitting closer to the ground it will suit firm conditions, sparsely filled bunkers, or players who have more of a sweeping action.
High bounce would be from about 10-14˚. It will better suit lusher conditions, well-filled bunkers or players who dig a little more and therefore need more wiggle room in the strike.
Mid-bounce options are fairly versatile and will best suit firm to normal turf conditions according to Titleist wedge expert, Bob Vokey.
The fact that many of us play at courses where we could be presented with a variety of turf and bunker conditions is why it makes sense to ensure you have different bounces at your disposal just as much as different lofts.
This has become the wedge buzzword of recent years, with companies bringing to market a selection of sole grinds often inspired by tour player preferences.
Grind refers to the material removed or ground away from different parts of the sole to make the club more playable in different conditions or for different types of player.
Some grinds are designed for versatility; others might take away more material from the heel area to make it easier to get the club sitting well on shots where you need to open the clubface.
Beauty is largely in the eye of the beholder when it comes to how you want your wedges to look. But there are one or two practical considerations to factor in too.
Black or tour satin are probably the most popular finishes at the moment, with polished chrome falling out of favour.
This is partly because of its tendency to reflect sunlight unhelpfully into your eyes from the ungrooved toe and heel parts of the face.
Raw or ready-to-rust finishes are still available from the likes of Mizuno and others. But it’s probably a finish to avoid if the sight of a rusting clubhead is likely to upset you!
Forgiveness may not be such a pressing requirement with these short clubs, but some golfers will still prefer a little extra assistance.
That may be via a wedge with more of a cavity back for an element of perimeter-weighted forgiveness.
It may be something with a slightly wider sole for more forgiveness in the strike and to help get the ball up.
Or it may be one of the more unusual-looking, ultra-wide-soled clubs in our most forgiving wedges guide, like the C3i or Tour Edge E521, for those seeking maximum wedge assistance.
We hope this article will have given you further food for thought over what to consider when buying a wedge.
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