Golf Equipment Tips - How To Choose Your Wedges

By: Jim Johnson

A golfer's short game can make up for all kinds of deficiencies in their long game. So even if you are not the most accurate driver or long ball hitter, you can still recover fairly nicely in many cases if you have a good short game around the greens.

The clubs that you'll be using when you get within 100 yards or so of the green are called wedges, and there are four general kinds of wedges that most golfers should be concerned with, depending on both their skill level and the shot at hand. Let's take a look at each type of wedge and see how they are used.

One of the most common wedges that can be found in almost any golf bag is the pitching wedge. These are great irons to use for approach shots of around a hundred yards or so away from the flag. Usually they have a club loft of between 45 to 49 degrees.

The next wedge to consider is the gap wedge which is more suitable for shots that are 80 to 90 yards away from the flag or your intended target. The loft on these short clubs is usually between 49 to 54 degrees.

Another very common wedge that is found in almost every golf bag is the sand wedge. A sand wedge has a loft of between 53 to 57 degrees, and so is most effective from about 60 - 70 yards away from your target. Of course, the sand wedge also doubles as the weapon of choice for hitting out of a sand trap. The clubhead is designed to prevent allowing the club to dig into the sand as the shot is made, helping you blast the ball out of the sand trap instead.

And other type of wedge that has become increasingly popular in recent years is the lob wedge. This club head has around 60 degrees of loft, making it only useful for shots that are extremely close to the green, perhaps around 40 yards or less. They lend themselves very well to short high shots where you need to go over obstacles and stop quickly.

As you can see, there is a progression of club loft angles that can fit almost any shot situation that you can encounter when you are in close around the green. It may seem like a good idea to carry all four wedges with you in your golf bag when you play, but keep in mind that rules require that you can only have 14 golf clubs with you in your bag as you play. For most golfers, that means that one or two of these wedges may have to be sacrificed to make room for other clubs that are more commonly used.

In that case, the pitching wedge and sand wedge make good all-around choices for clubs that will be needed in short yardage situations. However, if you repeatedly find yourself in certain situations that call for a different club loft, choosing one of the other two wedges mentioned above to take along with you may work out well.

Beginners generally don't need to worry about having each type of wedge represented in their bag though, and usually just the pitching and sand wedge will do nicely.

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