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When I started playing golf everything seemed much simpler. You got a set of clubs with irons including a pitching wedge and sand wedge and you went off and started playing.
But in today’s game the world of golf wedges seems to be almost an academic discipline in itself.
Start a conversation about wedges and you’ll soon hear constant references to features such as bounce, grind, lie angle and finish and if you’re like me it can all begin to feel complicated and overwhelming after a while.
And I’ve been playing the game for a long time so I’ve no idea what those new to the game make of it!
Some of the current top wedge models have over 20 options to choose from and that’s without even taking into account what ‘finish’ you would prefer.
So to cut through the complexity should your approach simply be to make all your wedges the same?
Golf wedges should not automatically be the same. Wedge lengths, lie angles and shafts are best to keep consistent but grinds and bounces are good to vary to help maximise the variety of wedge shots you can play. Getting good distance gapping between your wedges is more important than similarity.
Part of the problem many amateur golfers have also is that they get caught up in the latest wedge technology and terminology and forget to ask themselves the right questions about their wedges.
Rather than focus on the seemingly endless options for wedge combinations of bounce, grind, finish etc the average golfer can better look at more practical things to help them choose their best wedge set up.
Given research shows a quarter of all shots are played with a wedge its important players get their wedge set up right.
Following the set up of the pros also may not be the best option as given the cost of modern wedges the wrong purchase could make you rack up some big numbers both in the golf shop and on your scorecard.
- Should All My Wedges be the Same Brand, Type and Finish
- Should All Your Wedges Have the Same Bounce and Grind?
- Should All My Wedges be the Same Length, Shaft & Lie Angle?
- Do All the Pros Have Matching Wedges?
- Wedges mentioned in this article
Mind the Gaps, Your Game & Conditions Before Matching Wedges
When assessing whether all your wedges should all be the same brand and have the same grind, bounce, lie angle, shaft etc it’s important to firstly focus on what you’re trying to achieve.
You are trying simply to get the golf ball in the hole in as few shots as possible. And with your wedges you are simply looking for clubs that will help you do that from roughly 100 yards in.
As 5-time Major champion Seve Ballesteros, who alongside Phil Mickelson is regarded as the best wedge player that has ever played the game, said “[Golf] is not how it’s how many.”
“What happened was years ago they always said a sand wedge was at 56 degrees, [then] all of a sudden along come irons that keep people for some reason [recognising] distance so the manufacturers start strengthening all their irons. The next thing you know pitching wedges are all the way down to 43 degrees and some people haven’t even moved [their set] to fill it with a gap wedge.”Bob Vokey, one of the world’s foremost wedge designers
So to that end it’s vital therefore when it comes to assessing whether your wedges should all the same that you keep this in mind and rather than focusing on grind, bounce, lie angles etc instead first consider the following three factors:
1. WHERE you play most of your golf
If you play most of your golf on a parkland course the fairways and sand in the bunkers are likely to be soft and the rough thick and lush.
Play the majority of time on a links course by comparison however and you’ll typically be encountering much firmer fairways and bunkers with sometimes light wispy rough and occasional thick deep long grass that reaches up to your knees.
Just those simple facts would lead those 2 players to likely choose very different wedges in terms of bounce, grind etc.
Add to this that the links golfer will find themselves much more frequently needing to keep shots low and penetrating through a wind compared to a parkland player who can much more easily hit the ball as high as they like and you can quickly see how important the main conditions you play in are to wedge choice.
Other elements of your home course can be relevant too.
If it’s a shorter course lined with trees you may be required to play a high flop shot over a tree branch one hole followed by a low wedge shot under a branch the next.
Or if you play on a long course and have lots of long shots to play you may consider it’s more important to have an extra wood or hybrid in your bag with only 2 or 3 wedges.
“If your home course is on the longer side, maybe consider going with just three wedges because you’d probably benefit from another hybrid or fairway wood. The opposite would be the case for shorter courses where you’ll have more wedges in your hand.”Rory McIlroy
In short therefore when it comes to your wedges you need first to assess what types of wedge shots you are going to be hitting most often and at the same time all the various types of shot that will you need to play from roughly 100 yards.
It is very easy now to buy a golf wedge today and not get much change out of $200 (£150).
Have 3 of those wedges in your bag and that’s a big number you could be spending.
So to make sure you maximise the bang for your buck, and more importantly make sure you don’t waste money on a wedge that’s not suited to your game, it’s essential that you assess all the types of wedge shot that the course where you play the majority of your golf will require you to play.
Unlike the pros, the vast majority of us amateur golfers can’t simply swap in another wedge into our bag because it suits the course conditions this week better.
We’re more often than not stuck with what wedges we have for a good period of time so we need to make sure they can work well for us in as many situations as possible.
2. Your ABILITY
When it comes to selecting wedges and whether they should all the same or not the next key factor is simply your ability.
Are you confident out of the bunker or not? Do you consistently get the ball out or do you find your heart sinking whenever you see the ball heading for sand knowing it will probably take you 4 shots to get out?
Are you comfortable hitting high lofted wedges (e.g sand and lob wedges) with a full swing? Do you take big fat divots with your wedge clubs or do you tend to nip the ball off the turf taking almost no divot.
The answers to these questions are key to selecting your wedges and whether they will all be exactly the same or not.
One player who struggles out the sand but has much more confidence with their wedges off the fairway may find themselves mixing up their wedge set up in terms of bounce, grind, loft etc to maximise their strengths but help them with the bunker play they struggle most with.
Also beginner and high handicap players in general tend to find it much more difficult to hit 3/4 or 1/2 shots so ideally their wedge set up should be enabling them to hit as many full shots with their wedges as possible.
It is also highly unlikely that a beginner or high handicapper needs to think about having 4 wedges and beginners especially should be wary of recommendations from better players saying they ‘must have’ 3 or 4 expensive forged, high spin blade wedges in their bag.
Start with the standard two, pitching wedge and sand wedge, and develop your wedge skills and wedge options from there.
Get used to how those feel and play before you being to think about carrying 3 or 4 or even 5 wedges as some good players do.
3. GAPS, GAPS, GAPS
We talked above when it came to assessing where you play most of your golf the importance of ensuring you have as many bases covered as possible in terms of the variety of wedge shots your main course will require you to play most often.
The single most important factor however when it comes to ensuring you maximise the ‘variety’ of wedge shots you can play with your chosen wedges is to get the ‘gapping’ right.
It is absolutely critical that your wedge set up covers a good degree of loft and therefore distances.
Bob Vokey, one of the world’s foremost wedge designers, says he likes to see anywhere 4 to 6 degrees between the lofts of a golfer’s wedges which will equate to anywhere between 10 and 15 yards of distance for most male golfers.
Female and junior golfers will have 5 to 10 yard gaps by comparison.
This equal spacing, the vast majority of golf club fitters then agree, makes it easier for players to cover as many of the variable distances under 100 yards as possible and minimise those often dreaded ‘in between’ distance wedge shots.
And where do you start when trying to get these gaps right?
Grab your pitching wedge, check its loft and how far it carries and go from there.
Test out how far different wedges with 4 to 6 degrees more loft carry and work it through to decide how many wedges you want to carry to cover what distances.
Interestingly Bob Vokey also recommends looking at whether a golfer has a ‘go to’ club around the greens and working back from there towards the pitching wedge.
He believes any wedge choices should not remove a golfer’s ‘go to’ wedge shot from their bag as it’s the shot that gives them the most confidence around the greens and in difficult situations on the course.
Seve Ballesteros, the 5-time major champion and wedge maestro, for example used his 56-degree wedge as his ‘go to’ club.
And remember it’s the consistent gapping in distance rather than loft which is the most important thing!
Whatever you do also please please please don’t buy a wedge simply because it ‘spins’ the most or because it will let you hit one flop shot like Phil Mickelson.
A $200 wedge in your bag which is only useful for maybe one shot every 4 rounds is waste of time and money.
Save your money and focus on getting a wedge set up that covers as many distances and varieties of shot as you’ll need out on the course.
Spend money on a ‘fitting’ session first before you buy anything and use the three factors described above to help you choose the best wedges for you.
Then test out, in real playing conditions rather on a mat if you can, as many options as you can before you potentially make any big commitment to spending a few hundred dollars or pounds on a bunch of wedges.
And then finally make sure you base your decision on the ‘results’ you are getting as opposed to any preconceived notions of what wedge components ‘should’ be the same or not.
“It’s an ongoing battle against spin. It’s not all about how much spin you get. Gapping is the main criteria rather than spin. Spin is overrated.”Bob Vokey, Titleist Master Craftsman
Should All My Wedges be the Same Brand, Type and Finish?
There is no question golf wedge technology has made a huge difference to golfers short games in the last couple of decades.
But at the same time as the options have increased exponentially so has the complexity of the decision as to what wedges the average golfer should choose.
Almost all elements of a golf club can now be changed but for now we are simply going to focus on the brand, type and finish of your wedges.
Should all those elements of a wedge be the same?
Same brand wedges give a consistent look and often better distance gapping as the material, grooves & face match. But this is not a strict rule & results must dictate wedge choice over brand. High handicappers should choose cavity back pitching & gap wedges but the choice of finish does not matter.
Starting with the brand many club fitters, including Nick Sherburne, founder at Club Champion, a Golf Digest 100 Best Clubfitter, believe you should have a consistent brand wedge set up.
Speaking to Golf Digest he said the following:
“We see so many golfers come through with a bouquet of brands of wedges. Remember they all have their own twist on material, grooves, face roughness etc. These factors will also have an impact on ball speed and spin, and those two factors have a lot to with the distance you hit a wedge. Having a consistent wedge brand set up with neutralize that and leave you with better-gapped wedges, that go the distances you need them, shot after shot.”
Many golfers also get more confidence from looking down and seeing a consistent look to all their wedges and that is more likely if they are all the same brand.
However we would urge you to use this approach as a starting point for your wedge testing and not as a hard and fast rule.
For one this approach is a potentially a high cost long term strategy.
Say for example after a couple of years you lose confidence with one of your wedges and discover another brand of that club is working better.
According to this ‘brand consistent’ approach you are then faced with the potentially very costly prospect of having to replace all your wedges and if you have 3 or 4 that bill is going to be high.
We would argue you would find it more cost-effective to simply use your favourite wedge brand or current club brand as a starting point for your testing but then base your final wedge decisions on the 3 key factors we have already mentioned:
- The conditions of the course where you play most of your golf
- Your ability; and
- Ensuring the loft gaps of your wedges let you cover a good distance range.
Whichever wedges then give you the most confidence based on those factors and most importantly the ones which give you the best results are the ones to go for and if the brands end up not matching don’t worry about it.
I’ve seen good players do both – some sticking with one manufacturer and others having different brands for every wedge.
There is no strict rule and never forget it’s the number written on the scorecard that counts the most not the brand of your clubs.
“For most clubs and most players today, the pitching wedge and gap wedge are full-swing clubs, while the sand wedge and lob wedge are used for bunker shots and high-loft partial shots from the rough. Only if the player has more skill and high swing speed will I suggest that the gap wedge be a speciality blade type of wedge.”Jim McCleery, McGolf Custom Clubs
Whether you should go for all the same ‘type’ of wedges and make them all cavity back or blade style is principally based on your ability.
If you are a beginner or high handicapper for example you want to have as many ‘full-swing’ clubs in your bag as possible and that includes your wedges.
But when it comes to wedges it is hard to hit full swing shots with speciality blade-style wedges.
For wedges that therefore are most likely to be used for ‘full swing’ shots – the pitching and gap wedges – most club fitters recommend less skilled golfers with typically lower swing speeds stick with game-improvement or cavity-back wedges for those clubs.
When it comes to sand and lob wedges, typically used for bunker, half-swing shots and around the green shots, high handicappers can however increase the options of what wedges they look at and test, alongside better players, the speciality blade-type options also.
[Editor’s note – some manufacturers call their gap wedge an ‘approach’ wedge but they are essentially the same thing]
When it comes to the ‘finish’ of your wedges however just go with your personal preference and don’t pay much attention to all the myths that you always hear.
There has been a long term ‘view’ cited in golf circles for example that rusty wedges spin more than standard chrome ones.
As a consequence, many golfers choose ‘raw’ wedges which have no plating or finish coating so rust can form on the club head’s surface, and in theory therefore implant more spin on the ball.
There has never been any firm proof to support this idea though and indeed on testing some wedges to look at this very thing Today’s Golfer found that the standard chrome wedge performed better than its ‘raw’ counterpart.
As part of this test Today’s Golfer also gave an interesting insight into where the ‘rust’ myth stemmed from.
When clubs were historically only finished in chrome, when that chrome finish eventually wore out, it did result in more spin on wedge shots.
However with all the advances in modern, laser-milled, groove technology that tech has overtaken ‘rust’ in terms of effectiveness at imparting spin on the ball.
So today the need to have raw wedges which will rust to get more spin no longer applies as modern grooves are now so good they do a better job.
There are though two potential advantages of raw wedges which may help you:
- The face of a raw wedge without question reduces glare from the sun so if you are always playing in hot parts of the world this may be something worth considering.
- Raw wedges better show up how you are striking the ball. As you use a raw wedge more often the club face will wear down to the metal underneath to show where you are striking the ball most often. A wearing away in the middle of the clubface will therefore give you an excellent focus and target for future wedge shots. Signs of wear in the toe or heel of the club face by comparison however will likely show you have some practice to do to sort out how you are delivering the wedge at impact.
In today’s wedge market you can get all sorts of finishes on your wedges including chrome, brushed steel, jet black, black nickel, oil can and raw.
And I am sure with that list I have missed out at least another 4 or 5 that are available.
Don’t worry about it too much however. Just go with what you like the look of most and move on.
Should All Your Wedges Have the Same Bounce and Grind?
Strike up a conversation with a regular golfer about wedges these days and within 10 seconds the discussion will likely turn to bounce and grind features.
But before we answer whether the bounce and grind on all your wedges should be the same it’s important to first clarify what is meant by the ‘bounce’ and ‘grind’ of a wedge and what difference they make.
In short ‘bounce’ is the angle created between the leading edge of your wedge and the lowest point of the sole or trailing edge. This is the area of the club that hits through the ground as it contacts the ball.
“Bounce if your friend because it provides forgiveness on all types of wedge shots.”Bob Vokey, Master Craftsman and one of the world’s foremost wedge designers
A good way of understanding what this means in practice is to hit some bunker shots first with your pitching wedge and then with your sand wedge without opening the face of either club or changing your swing.
You should immediately feel the difference as soon as you swap from one to the other.
While the pitching wedge will tend to ‘dig’ into the sand and get a bit stuck the sand wedge, with its ‘higher bounce’ will slide under the ball much more easily as it encounters less resistance when it strikes the sand.
The width of the sand wedge’s sole then helps further reduce resistance as it magnifies the bounce of the club.
What does this mean in practice for the average golfer?
The short answer to that is wedges with different degrees of bounce will work better for different standards players and also in different conditions.
The table below gives a general summary of which wedge bounce is most likely to suit different players on various course types.
|BOUNCE TYPE||DEGREES||COURSE CONDITIONS||TYPICAL DIVOT||STANDARD OF PLAYER|
|Low bounce||4°-6°||Firm fairways (i.e. tight lies) and bunkers.||None / Small||Low handicap|
|Mid bounce||7°-10°||Normal / Neutral fairways and bunkers||Normal / Medium||Average golfer|
|High bounce||More than 10°||Soft fairways (i.e. fluffy lies) and bunkers. Heavy rough.||Deep / Large||Beginner / High handicap|
For example players who have a steep ‘angle of attack’ coming into the ball with their swing and take big deep divots will likely benefit from higher bounce wedges.
Golfers meanwhile who sweep the ball off the turf with a shallower angle of attack and sometimes don’t even take a divot at all will typically find lower bounce wedges more useful.
If you tend to thin or scull your wedge shots also from the fairway it’s very possible you need less bounce. Hit the ball fat or heavy more often than not and that could be an indication you need a wedge with a higher bounce and a wider sole.
Where you play your golf is also a factor.
If your home course is a parkland type course for example higher bounce wedges are typically more suited compared to links courses where lower bounce wedges are designed to be more helpful on the tight fairways.
These are only not hard and fast rules of course as there never are when it comes to choosing golf equipment but these guidelines will let you know where to start your testing out of different wedges to see which are the best for your own game and course.
“I think every amateur should north of 12 degrees of bounce, because I just think that bounce helps you, but also they just don’t practice enough to know how to take it off and add it.”Tiger Woods
Don’t forget also as a player you affect the bounce your wedge has simply by how you use it.
Open the club face up a little for example and you are adding a little bit of bounce and loft.
As for wedge ‘grind’ in basic terms this refers to the ‘shape’ of the sole of the club which can be changed by ‘grinding off’ material from the heel, toe and trailing and leading edge to adjust how the wedge interacts with the turf.
Different wedges with material removed from different parts of the sole of the wedge can benefit different players.
And when it comes to wedge grind the type of divot you take is again relevant as it was when it came to assessing the likely best bounce of wedge for your game.
Take a shallow or even no divot and a ‘narrower’ sole wedge with low bounce will potentially help your game. A big deep divot by comparison means a ‘wide’ soled wedge will likely be preferable.
Course conditions should again also be considered with narrower grind wedges being designed to suit firmer fairways and bunkers with wider grind wedges targeting use in soft conditions.
And if you didn’t already maybe think this was complicated enough the main manufacturers then use different terminology for their grind options.
For example while Titleist’s Vokey wedges cover grind options branded F, M, S, D, K & L-Grinds, Taylor Made opts for a simpler C-Grind, Standard Grind and Wide Grind offering.
Callaway by contrast has 5 grind options called something different again – C, S, W, low bounce W and X-Grind.
And of course certain grinds are only available for specific lofts of wedges to make things even awkward – e.g. Titleist’s Vokey’s L-Grind is only available with their lob wedges.
To help summarise grind options from the various manufacturers though we’ve put together the following table to try and simplify some of the options when it comes to wedge ‘grind’.
|GRIND CATEGORY||TYPICAL DIVOT||COURSE CONDITIONS||MANUFACTURER EXAMPLES|
|Narrower grinds||None / Small||Firm fairways (i.e. tight lies) and bunkers.||1. Taylor Made C-Grind|
2. Callaway C-Grind & Low Bounce W-Grind
3. Cleveland Low Sole
4. Titleist Vokey M-Grind, S-Grind Ping Glide TS Grind
|Standard grinds||Normal / Medium||Normal / Neutral fairways and bunkers||1. Taylor Made Standard Grind|
2. Callaway S-Grind
3. Cleveland Mid-Sole
4. Titleist Vokey F-Grind
5. Ping Glide SS Grind
|Wider grinds||Deep / Large||Soft fairways (i.e. fluffy lies) and bunkers. Heavy rough.||1. Taylor Made Wide Grind|
2. Callaway X-Grind & W-Grind
3. Cleveland Full Sole
4. Titleist Vokey D-Grind
5. Ping Glide WS Grind
I must confess sometimes my head hurts when I think too much about wedge grind and bounce options particularly when looking at the different manufacturers and trying to understand their individual terminologies.
Unless you are wedge obsessed therefore we would suggest you keep things simple when it comes to considering different wedge ‘grind’ and ‘bounce’ options.
Always go back to the beginning and start with what conditions you play most of your golf in, your ability and what wedges are going to give you good distance gapping.
“Wedges need to versatile and every player is different. It’s never one size fits all for all wedges. That’s why we have many grind options.”Bob Vokey
Assess your typical divot type with your short irons and wedges also and that will give an idea of what wedges may suit you best.
Or if you want another approach to help you choose your wedges just test out the standard ‘grind’ and ‘bounce’ wedges from all the manufacturers which aim to cover the most divot and condition options and then go up or down the bounce or grind width scale depending on your results.
What ‘wedges’ feel is important for sure but judge by results above all else.
And if the same grinds and bounces across your wedges gives you the best results and let you cover all the distances and types of shot you’ll need most often from 100 odd yards in go for it.
A variety of wedge bounces and grinds however are more likely to enable you to hit more types of shots and deal with a wider variety of lies and course conditions. Different ‘bounces’ and ‘grinds’ are also designed to work best for different standards and types of player so a mix often works better.
Get a qualified fitter to help you if can but only spend your hard-earned money when you’ve tested all the options and proven to yourself which wedges will give you the results you want.
Always remember also that a golfer has control over the amount of grind and bounce they can apply to any wedge shot.
The way you adjust your wedge club face at impact affects both these elements and the same wedge addressing the ball in different ways can therefore act as two different wedges in one.
“Tiger Wood’s lob wedge has an overall bounce of 11 degrees when it’s square to the target but with a shalved down heel, it’s possible for him to hit extreme flop shots with a bounce that measures just 4 degrees. All this is possible thanks to grind.”Golf.com
How you use your wedges is therefore ultimately more important than what wedges you use.
Should All My Wedges be the Same Length, Shaft & Lie Angle?
With all the focus on wedge ‘grinds’ and ‘bounces’ in today’s golfing world the subject of wedge length is often overlooked by many amateurs.
But just as it does when it comes to drivers and fairway woods the length of your wedges plays a role in how they will perform for you.
So what length should your wedges be? Should all your wedges be the same length for example?
Club fitters are generally agreed that amateur golfers should have wedges which are the same length as their shortest iron, most commonly the 9-iron. If you use your most lofted wedges for around the green shots only however you can consider a shorter length for those clubs to give greater control.
As with all golf equipment decisions such ‘rule of thumb’ advice is always given with the caveat that each player is different and what works for golfer will not automatically work for another.
But when it comes to length having all your wedges the same length as your shortest iron is the best starting point.
You may find though that shortening your wedges by ¼ or ½ inch from your shortest iron and as your wedges get more lofted, as some club fitters do recommend, gives you more control with your shots as you get ever closer to the green.
But just remember if you do start experimenting with the length of your wedges that you will also be messing around with their weight.
And weight matters alot when it comes to all your clubs. A big change to the weight of a wedge can lead to big differences in the results of golf shots.
Ball speed, launch angles, spin rates, ball flight etc can all change when the same golfer uses a different weighted club.
As a general rule a longer wedge will fly further and higher but you’ll have less control while a shorted one will provide more control but will be more difficult to get speed and height.
So if you do start moving away from the general rule of thumb to have your wedges all the same length as your 9-iron just be aware of what other elements of your wedge you may be changing at the same time.
“Golfers can just about get away with playing the wrong shaft flex, but getting the wrong weight can absolutely kill your game.”Club fitting expert talking, James MacNiven talking to Today’s Golfer
When it comes to the shaft type and lie angle on your wedges the advice from the club fitting community again seems to be generally agreed that you should have the same shaft and lie angle in your wedges as your irons.
The main reason for this recommendation is consistency and through this approach club fitters feel they can deliver irons and wedges to players which both ‘feel’ and ‘perform’ consistently.
Occasionally some club fitters will advise some players to have a slightly heavier – 10 grams only – shaft in sand and lob wedges to give more feel around the green and in bunkers but the general guide with respect to wedge shaft and lie angle is to keep things the same as your irons.
One thing that club fitters are united in however is the need to simply check your current wedges for length, shaft and lie angle.
All experienced fitters frequently tell stories of finding golfers who have never had these components of their wedges looked at and end up playing off-the-shelf lightweight 70-80 gram shafts in their irons but pro-version 120-130+ gram shafts in their wedges.
And they then wonder why they are not hitting their wedges well.
But after a simple test of shafts more aligned to their irons they suddenly find they can hit their wedges much better.
So wherever you are with your wedge choice it’s worth as a starting point simply getting the lengths, shafts and lie angles checked to see how different they are.
It’s easy to do with a club fitter and indeed if you simply lie your wedges alongside your 9-iron on a table parallel to each other and with the soles of the heads all lined up perfectly even (place a straight edge up against the soles until they are all touching) you can check whether their are any length differences yourself!
“… usually you want the same shaft, length and lie angle in your wedges as the irons to allow proper gapping. Most wedges off the shelf come with a shaft that for many golfers might be too heavy and stiff. Your wedges are extensions to your irons so they should 99 percent be set up the same for proper gapping and dispersion.”Nick Sherburne, founder of Club Champion, a 100 Best Clubfitter
Do All the Pros Have Matching Wedges?
I don’t know if there’s ever been any published research on how many amateurs buy a wedge simply because their favourite pro is using it but given the amounts pros are paid by brands to play their clubs you can bet it’s a high number.
But when it comes to wedges what can we actually learn from the set up of the top pros. Do they all have the same wedges? And if they do is that simply because they are being paid to do so?
Before we look at that question let’s first take a look and the wedges some of the best pros in the business are using. Check out the latest prices of each wedge on Amazon in the table below.
|PLAYER||PITCHING WEDGE||GAP WEDGE||SAND WEDGE||LOB WEDGE|
|Tommy Fleetwood||TaylorMade P7TF||Callaway MD5 Jaws (48° loft), 10° bounce, S-Grind, Raw finish||Callaway MD5 Jaws (52° loft), 10° bounce, S-Grind, Raw finish||Callaway MD5 Jaws (60° loft), 8° bounce, T-Grind, Raw finish|
|Sergio Garcia||TaylorMade P750||Titleist Vokey SM8 (52° loft), 12° bounce, D-Grind, Raw finish||Titleist Vokey SM8 (58° loft), 12° bounce, T-Grind, Raw finish|
|Dustin Johnson||TaylorMade P730||TaylorMade MG2 (52° loft), 9° bounce, Chrome finish||TaylorMade MG2 (56° loft), 12° bounce, Matte Black finish||TaylorMade MG2 (60° loft), 10° bounce, Matte Black finish|
|Si Woo Kim||Callaway Apex Pro 19||Callaway MD5 Jaws (56° loft), 10° bounce, S-Grind, True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400 shaft, Chrome finish||Callaway MD5 Jaws (60° loft), 8° bounce, C-Grind, True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400 shaft, Chrome finish|
|Rory McIlroy||TaylorMade P7MB||TaylorMade MG2 (52° loft), 9° bounce, Chrome finish||TaylorMade MG2 (56° loft), 12° bounce, Chrome finish||TaylorMade MG2 (60° loft), 8° bounce, Chrome finish|
|Justin Rose||TaylorMade P7MB||Titleist Vokey SM8 (52° loft), 12° bounce, F-Grind, Raw finish||Titleist Vokey SM8 (56° loft), 8° bounce, M-Grind, Raw finish||Titleist Vokey SM8 (60° loft), 6° bounce, K-Grind, Raw finish|
|Justin Thomas||Titleist Vokey SM7||Titleist Vokey SM8 (52° loft), 10° bounce, F-Grind, Raw finish||Titleist Vokey SM8 (57° loft), 14° bounce, F-Grind, Raw finish||Titleist Vokey Wedgeworks (60.5° loft), 4° bounce, T-Grind, Raw finish|
|Tiger Woods||TaylorMade P7TW||TaylorMade MG2 (56° loft), 12° bounce, TW Custom Grind, Raw finish||TaylorMade MG2 (60° loft), 11° bounce, TW Custom Grind, Raw finish|
On the whole our analysis showed the vast majority of the pros played the same brand of wedges but with them a lot of them being paid by the manufacturers it is hard to be convinced this gives us any fixed guide to follow.
According to Golf.com while some pros use wedges of all the same length as their short irons others use wedges that are 1/2 inch shorter than their irons.
Another group of pros also make each of their wedges progressively 1/4 shorter.
When it comes to shafts Golf.com also noted a 60/40 split on the PGA Tour between those who dropped to softer flex shaft wedges and those who kept the same flex of shaft as their irons.
As for the hot topic of wedge grind and bounce a wide variety across the pros bags was clearly evident with none we could find opting for an entirely common bounce and grind set up across all their wedges.
To add further complexity to the mix also many pros have ‘custom’ grinds on their wedges which are unique to them and you will not find in any pro shop.
What does this all tell us, the lowly amateur?
In my opinion not a huge amount other than the choice of wedges for any player can end up being a highly personal thing particularly amongst elite golfers.
Remember that whatever wedge set up you see an expert pro golfer has on tour chances are that could change next week as they swap wedges in and out of their bag to suit the conditions of the course they are playing on that week.
When choosing your wedges stick to assessing your own game, regular playing conditions and distance gapping and you will get a far better set of results than simply buying the same wedge spec that your favourite player is using.
One the dangers I find with all the talk of the different types of wedges available on the market today is that some amateurs can think there is now a magic formula that you put into a computer to select them.
And once the formula tells you what wedge you need all that’s then required is to set the club down beside the ball and it will do the rest from there.
There is no question that knowing the wedge in your hand is vital to good wedge play but never forget it’s more about how well you use it than what wedge you actually have.
Good wedge play is a blend of good wedge technique and choosing the right wedges but the former will always be the dominant partner in that relationship.
And you are not weird or different if you have 3, 4 or even 5 wedges of a mixture of brands, grinds, bounces and finishes!
If they deliver good results and you have fun using them who cares!
Wedges mentioned in this article:
- Callaway Jaws MD5 wedges [Worldwide Golf Shops link]
- Cleveland RTX Zipcore wedges [Worldwide Golf Shops link]
- Ping Glide 3.0 wedges [Worldwide Golf Shops link]
- Taylor Made Milled Grind 3.0 wedges [Worldwide Golf Shops link]
- Titleist Vokey SM8 wedges [Worldwide Golf Shops link]
Other articles related to this topic:
- How Far Should You Hit Your Wedges?
- Should Your Wedges Match Your Irons? Consistency is Key
- Should You Have the Same Grips on All Your Golf Clubs?
- Should Your Driver Match Your Woods? Don’t Waste Your Money!
- Should I Play Blades or Cavity Back Irons? Use Your Head
- How Much Does a Golf Club Fitting Cost? Is it Worth it?
- Can You Get Your Existing Golf Clubs Custom Fitted? Complexity = Cost
- What Wedges Do the Pros Use? Top 100 PGA Tour Player Analysis (2021)