Your wedges are the second most important clubs you have in your bag, after your putter. There are a variety of wedges from which you can choose. The distance and height that you get from your wedges depends on your golf ability.
I recently broke my sand wedge and went to a club-fitting specialist to purchase a new one. He asked me a number of questions, including, do I take divots with my wedges or do I pick my ball off the ground with a shallow angle of attack? Do I play on a course with forced carries over bunkers to elevated greens?
He then explained a number of things I need to consider before buying wedges.
The bounce is the area of the wedge that hits the turf. Bounce angle is measured between the leading edge and the sole of the club.
The sole grind is the additional shaping of the sole of the wedge. A heel grind enables you to open the clubface more at address.
The finish, such as chrome or nickel, is also an alternative. Chrome enables the wedge to maintain its color and appearance longer. Raw finishes are designed to rust.
Shafts are an area that you must decide on. Most wedges come in steel shafts, but you can order wedges with the same shaft you have in your other clubs.
Now for the decision on how many wedges you want to carry in your bag. I recommend at least three. You should have at least four degrees between the wedges.
Pitching wedge (44-48 degrees) is the least-lofted wedge. You can use this for full swings and long chip shots.
Gap wedge (50-53 degrees) is the wedge closes the gap in distance and trajectory between your pitching wedge and sand wedge. This is a great wedge for short pitches and chips.
Sand wedge (54-58 degrees) is used in the bunkers and short pitches to the green.
Lob wedge (59-65 degrees) is the highest-lofted wedge available. I is designed to get the ball up quickly, which is great out of thick rough and also used in steep bunkers.
Finally, when choosing the wedges you want in your bag, think about the course you play. Are the greens small or large? Do the bunkers have high lips, and what is the texture of the sand?
It is important to know your distances with your wedges. Work on different length swings with each of your three wedges. Also work on different trajectories into the green.
Dr. Jean Harris is an LPGA Master Professional and teaches at Pinecrest Golf Club. firstname.lastname@example.org; golfdoctorjean.com