I’ve been playing golf for over 40 years now and there are now a load of things looking back I wish I had paid more attention to.
And one of those things was simply putting a bit more thought into my golf equipment choices and how the various clubs I’ve bought over the years complimented each other.
Yes, I’ve always looked after my clubs pretty well and regularly managed to play off single figures but there are certain things looking back which I now see would have helped me improve if I’d just given a bit more thought to them.
And one of those things is how much my wedges should match my irons.
Shaft, length and lie angle are key to keep consistent between the wedges and irons of the average golfer. This ensures proper distance gapping and better shot dispersion. It is not critical the brand and type match but all final club decisions should be based finally on what gives the best results.
The fact also that there are so many more wedge options today in terms of shafts, bounces, grinds, grips etc makes the question of how much your wedges should match your irons even more important simply because it’s now easier to make more mistakes.
And with an increasing number of the younger pros on the PGA Tour choosing speciality pitching wedges in preference to the pitching wedge that comes with their iron set this question of matching wedges to irons is taking on yet another dimension.
Watch Your Weight When it Comes To Wedge and Iron Shafts
When it comes to the question of whether your wedges should be the same as your irons it’s important to firstly remember that the huge advance in golf equipment in the last few decades has meant the definition of ‘the same’ has changed.
In the modern game for irons to be the same as wedges we now have to consider all the following components of a golf club – brand, type (i.e. cavity back, muscle back or blade), length, lie angle, weight, shaft and even grip.
All these elements are now easily changeable between clubs and so for your wedges to ‘match’ your irons there are a lot of things that need to be same.
Golf club decisions are therefore much harder than they used to be simply because there is so much more choice.
“It makes no sense, for example, to be playing a light weight 70 to 80 gram graphite shaft in your irons and stock off-the-shelf 130+ gram True Temper S330 or S400 shaft in your gap, sand and lob and expect them to feel and perform the same. These stock wedge shafts will play stiffer and could cause a loss of distance and lower ball flight than expected.”TrueFitClubs
Thankfully however when it comes to how much your wedges and irons should match golf club fitters are very much aligned particularly when it comes to whether your wedges should have the same shaft as your irons or whether they should be stiffer or softer.
Clubfitters recommend golfers have the same shafts in their wedges and irons. Different shaft flexes & weights can lead to loss of distance, greater shot dispersion and different ball flight than expected. Better players can however select softer flex shafts for high lofted wedges for more control.
One key thing to remember also when it comes to matching shafts between your irons and wedges is to consider weight ahead of flex.
Although you will likely hear far more discussions about shaft flex than weight it is the latter which is more important when it comes to shot results.
A big change to the weight of a golf club can lead to big differences where golf shots end up and the shaft is the main way amateur golfers can change the weight of their clubs.
Club fitting experts however often comment about how frequently they find that the wedges and irons of regular players that they test have very inconsistent shaft flexes and weights from manufacturer to the next so it’s an important thing to pay attention to.
If like me you’ve built up your set over the years buying different irons and wedges over the years you could have by accident rather than design ended up with irons and wedges which are so different that they are sending your shots to very different places than you are expecting.
That could very well be down to your technique of course but if your wedge and iron shafts are inconsistent that won’t be helping you either for sure.
Length and Lie Angle Counts When it Comes to Wedges & Irons
When it comes to golf club length golfers typically talk about it in relation to the comparison between their driver and fairway woods.
Much more rarely is the subject discussed when it comes to irons and wedges but it is equally as important for those clubs both in terms of performance and feel.
Once again however the top club fitters tend to be generally agreed when it comes to the subject of the length of wedges compared to irons.
The consensus is that the almost all amateur golfers should have wedges which are the same length as their shortest iron which in most circumstances will be the 9-iron.
There is of course the usual caveat when it comes to golf equipment questions ‘that every player is different’ and there are never hard and fast rules for all golfers.
That is definitely true but this is a good rule of thumb and one which is it worthwhile all amateurs at least should use as a starting point to test their existing sets of irons and wedges against.
So grab your 9-iron, lay it out flat on the table and check to see if it and your wedges are all the same length.
If they are not make sure that’s because you definitely want them that way and that delivers the best results for you rather than because it’s just happened as a result of you buying different clubs over the years.
“We do a wedge fit with every iron and bag fit. We have a lot of people tell us their wedges are fine and they are about ‘feel’. But wedges are a critical scoring club that the public need to put more stock in …. Golfers also need to understand feel isn’t always real. You need data to drive results.”Nick Sherburne, founder of Club Champion, Golf Digest 100 Best Club fitter
Having different lengths of wedges compared to irons is of course an option and there are numerous examples of players that have that set up.
It’s just important that you are aware of what happens when wedges are different lengths to your irons and the consequences for your shots.
Again as a general rule of thumb shorter clubs will fly lower and not as far as longer ones and as a result you will often find good players in particular having their shortest wedges – their sand and lob wedge – a ¼ or even a ½ inch shorter than their 9-iron.
Other good players meanwhile opt for making their wedges incrementally ¼ inch shorter as their wedge lofts increase (i.e. their sand wedge is ¼ shorter than their gap wedge which is in turn ¼ inch shorter than their pitching wedge).
The reason for this is that they feel this gives them more control over their shots in and around the green.
Whatever you decide to do though, and as always what wedges and irons you end up with should always be based on what gives you the best results individually, just remember altering the length of your wedges compared to irons will affect how you hit those clubs whether that be by accident or design.
And what about lie angle? Should your wedges have the same lie angle as your irons or should they be flatter or more upright?
The vast majority of amateur golfers should have wedges with the same lie angle as their irons to give consistent feel and results. Alongside matching iron and wedge shafts and club lengths, this produces better loft and distance gapping between your clubs which is critical for short game shots.
Do Club Brands and Types Matter Between Wedges & Irons?
With the top club fitters in agreement that amateur golfers should almost always have the same shaft, lie angle and length between their wedges and their irons the question then obviously moves on to the rest of the components of these clubs.
Should the brand of these clubs be the same? If you have cavity back irons should you also have matching cavity back wedges? And what about the grips? Do those matter?
When it comes to brand we would definitely be of the opinion that whether you have the same brand wedges as your irons does not matter.
Assuming of course that you are not being paid to play a certain manufacturers clubs the key thing when it comes to what wedges and irons you should use always come down to results.
What clubs give you the most confidence and deliver the best shots?
If the ones that do are made by different companies then so be it.
The majority of regular golfers build their golf sets over time and it simply is not a cost effective strategy to consider brand as a key decision factor when it comes to wedge and iron decisions.
Whether you stick with the same ‘types’ of clubs between your wedges and irons is by comparison a slightly more delicate balance.
And the reason for that is because to hit any bladed club, and especially full-swing wedges, is not an easy thing to do.
As such even though there are dozens and dozens of blade-wedge options that doesn’t mean that all golfers should be considering using them.
In our opinion virtually all amateur golfers should use cavity back irons instead of blades and when it comes to your wedges we would extend that thinking especially when it comes to wedges where you use a ‘full swing’ more often than not.
“I think it is more challenging for the average player to swing a bladed wedge full. As such, we will tend to go with cavity-back wedges or the wedges that match the iron set model the customer purchased to allow the player to have consistency with their clubs and distance gaps. We then will add one blade wedge for use out of a bunker or around the greens.”Craig Zimmeran, Golf Digest 100 Best Clubfitter, Redtail Golf Centre
3/4 or half shots are the hardest of all shots to play and so the average golfer should be aiming to have as many clubs as possible which allow them to cover as many of the distances they need to hit with a ‘full swing’.
In practice that means your lower lofted wedges – the pitching wedge and lob wedge – are the most likely to be used for ‘full swing’ shots chances and therefore having a cavity back wedge for those clubs together with your irons will make the most sense.
When it comes to the highest lofted clubs in the bag however – the sand and lob wedges – which will be used most often for shots in and around the green and to get you out of trouble – the rule of thumb to keep the same type of wedge as your irons becomes less stringent.
For these wedges feel free to test out more of the options available and not feel the need as much to use as your starting point the same type of club as you use with irons.
Just remember though simply because there are blade wedge options doesn’t mean you should use them. If cavity back wedges which match your irons deliver the best results for your game then stick with them.
If you feel though you want to experiment a bit more with your shot making around the greens to give yourself some more variety of shots then don’t let your choice of irons constrain your thinking.
Simple ensure all your irons and wedges deliver good loft and distance gapping and let the results rather than the brand or type of club speak for themselves.
“I can’t hit a blade. It’s too difficult, and I’m a pro golfer. I think a blade goes shorter. Off-center hits aren’t going to perform as well as cavity-backs. I don’t see a reason why you would want to play a blade. I really don’t. I played blades in my early 20s, maybe one year – when I was dumb. But I’m wiser now and play a cavity back.”4-time PGA Tour winner, Kevin Na
The final and often forgotten element of choice also when it comes to matching your wedges with your irons is the grip.
I don’t know about you but it’s almost always an afterthought when I come to looking at a new wedge and it’s relation to the grips on my irons and woods.
But grips like clubs in general have evolved hugely over the years and multiple combinations of size, material and firmness are now available.
So it’s hardly suprising that many amateurs will today have a mixture of grips across their wedges and irons after buying a wedge here and there.
Well your choice of grips obviously matters as they are the only point of contact between you and your clubs so don’t just forget about them.
The majority of golfers do select the same grips to give a consistent feel but there is no evidence that having the same grips on all your golf clubs gives an advantage to all golfers.
A varying combination of grip on your irons and wedges is therefore a legitimate option but only of course if it’s based on testing which showed that combination worked best for you.
Remember also that grip size is the most important factor when selecting a grip and that at the very least should be consistent between your irons and wedges.
Having a grip which is ‘too small’ can cause your hands and wrists to become too active, and lead you to tense your forearm muscles too much, during your swing as you strain tightly to hold on the club.
As a result you release the club head too early making you much more likely to hook or pull your shots more.
Go with a grip that’s ‘too big’ by comparison and the opposite is more likely to happen.
Do the Pros Match Their Wedges with their Irons?
I must confess I am always skeptical when it comes to making any golf club decisions these days based principally on what the pros are doing.
Not only do they play a different game on what seems like a different planet to us regular amateurs they also have armies of club fitters following them around on tour ready to make shaft, loft, weight, lie angle etc adjustments at a moments notice.
In addition strike the right deal with the right manufacturer and a pro will change their clubs for contractual rather than playing reasons.
Here is a summary though of the iron and wedge setups used by some of the top pros.
|PLAYER||IRONS||IRON SHAFTS||WEDGES||WEDGE SHAFTS|
|Tommy Fleetwood||TaylorMade P7TF||Project X 6.5||Callaway MD5 Jaws (48-10, 52-10, 60-8)||True Temper Dynamic Gold S400|
|Sergio Garcia||TaylorMade P750||Nippon NS Pro Modus 3 Tour 130X||Titleist Vokey SM8 (52-12D, 58-12T)||Nippon NS Pro Modus 3 Tour 130X|
|Dustin Johnson||TaylorMade P730||True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100||TaylorMade MG2 (52-9, 56-12, 60-10)||KBS Tour 120s shaft|
|Si Woo Kim||Callaway Apex Pro 19||KBS Tour V 125 S+ shaft||Callaway MD5 Jaws (56-10, 60-8)||True Temper Dynamic Gold S400|
|Bernhard Langer||Artisan CB (4, 5), Adams Idea Pro MB (6), Artisan MB (7-9)||Hogan Apex 4||Cleveland 588 RTX (50-10, 56- 10), Titliest Vokey SM7 (60-10K)||True Temper Dynamic Gold S400|
|Rory McIroy||TaylorMade P7MB||Project X 7.0||TaylorMade MG (52-9, 56-12, 60-8)||Project X 6.5|
|Justin Rose||Mizuno MP-20||Project X 6.5||Titliest Vokey SM8 (52-12F, 56-8M, 60-6K)||Project X 6.5|
|Justin Thomas||Titleist 620 MB||True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100||Titliest Vokey SM7 (52-10F, 57-14F), Wedgeworks (60.5-4T)||True Temper Dynamic Gold S400|
|Tiger Woods||TaylorMade P7TW||True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100||TaylorMade MG2 (56-12, 60-11)||True Temper Dynamic Gold S400|
Although generally skeptical as I say when it comes to pros equipment a couple of positive things do pop up when looking at their set ups when it comes to wedge and irons.
As we have already noted club fitters are generally agreed that the best approach for amateurs when it comes to their wedges and irons is to make the shaft, lie angle and length the same.
And looking at bags of the tops pros they too in general go along with that approach and only with minor adjustments where they do happen.
According to Golf.com many of the pros on have all their wedges measure the same length as their short irons.
And for the pros that don’t the differences are small with some using wedges a half inch shorter than their irons and others opting for a progressive change of 0.25 inches between each wedge.
When it comes to shaft 40% of pros opt for the same shafts in all their wedges according to True Temper with the other 60% favouring slightly softer flexes in their wedges.
Whist clearly not an exact match this analysis does suggest the pros don’t move too far from the general consensus of keeping shafts, length and lie angles the same between wedges and irons.
Looking at the make up of two-time Masters champion Bernhard Langer’s bag also it seems pretty clear that matching wedges and irons by brand doesn’t matter.
He carries 5 different brands of club when it comes to his wedges and irons alone!
When it comes to choosing the best wedges and irons everyone is of course different and there are never any hard and fast rules.
For every golfer who finds that an exact match up of their irons and wedges across all components delivers for them you’ll find another who finds the opposite approach works wonders.
You will always find examples of golfers who have successfully done things differently.
If you’re interested in finding out whether your own wedge and iron set up is right for you start however simply by analysing your current set, especially if you have always bought off-the-shelf and added various clubs over the years.
If you are playing graphite shafts in your irons and steel shafts in your wedges for example you’ll more than likely be finding some problems in terms of distance and trajectory.
Check how your wedges and irons match up and if there are any obvious discrepancies head along to your nearest golf club fitter to find out a bit more and go from there.
If you’re playing well however at the moment don’t touch a thing!
More top articles related to this topic:
- Should All Your Wedges be the Same? Focus on Gaps & Variety
- Should Your Driver Match Your Woods? Don’t Waste Your Money!
- Should You Have the Same Grips on All Your Golf Clubs?
- Are My Golf Clubs Too Old? It’s Performance Not Age That Matters
- Are My Golf Clubs Too Heavy? Trust Your Feelings
- Should I Play Blades or Cavity Back Irons? Use Your Head
- How Much Does a Golf Club Fitting Cost? Is it Worth it?