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BrokeLoser

Wedges: Why do so many bag a 52*, 56*, 60*?

108 posts in this topic

I'm in the market for a wedge set and I'm just wondering why the 52, 56, 60 degree seem to be so much more popular of a combo?

Since so many PW's loft right at or around 45* it seems to me that a 50*, 54*, 58* would be the right combo...no?

I'm now playing a G15 set of irons so my PW is 45*....am I missing something here?

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Originally Posted by BrokeLoser

I'm in the market for a wedge set and I'm just wondering why the 52, 56, 60 degree seem to be so much more popular of a combo?

Since so many PW's loft right at or around 45* it seems to me that a 50*, 54*, 58* would be the right combo...no?

I'm now playing a G15 set of irons so my PW is 45*....am I missing something here?

Wouldn't 45, 50, 55, 60 be the perfect combo? Am I missing something here with a 5 degree gap, then 4 degrees for the next two?

Personally I like to gap by yardages, not lofts.

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Originally Posted by sean_miller

Wouldn't 45, 50, 55, 60 be the perfect combo? Am I missing something here with a 5 degree gap, then 4 degrees for the next two?

Personally I like to gap by yardages, not lofts.

Most people don't have the luxury of playing all wedges in real life playing conditions to be able to determine the actual 'play yardage' of the club before purchasing...so degree of loft is usually all most can go on.....right?

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Originally Posted by BrokeLoser

Quote:

Originally Posted by sean_miller

Wouldn't 45, 50, 55, 60 be the perfect combo? Am I missing something here with a 5 degree gap, then 4 degrees for the next two?

Personally I like to gap by yardages, not lofts.

Most people don't have the luxury of playing all wedges in real life playing conditions to be able to determine the actual 'play yardage' of the club before purchasing...so degree of loft is usually all most can go on.....right?

No, not really. New players should (yes, i said should) start with a PW and SW and add one on either side as required. If they purchase forged wedges then can have them bent slightly to gain or lose a few yards. My Mizuno Pro 3 wedges set (from the early 1990s) say 52 (I), 56 (II) and 60 (III). They're bent to 53, 57, and the 60 is still 60. On a smooth swing they're 120, 100, and 80 yards respectively. I've tried to replace them with a 54/60 combo and now a 53/58 combo but the 3-wedge system keeps pulling me back in.

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I play 49, 55, 59.

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Originally Posted by BrokeLoser

I'm in the market for a wedge set and I'm just wondering why the 52, 56, 60 degree seem to be so much more popular of a combo?

Since so many PW's loft right at or around 45* it seems to me that a 50*, 54*, 58* would be the right combo...no?

I'm now playing a G15 set of irons so my PW is 45*....am I missing something here?

For my distances, a PW (TM's seem strong - mine has to be under 45°), 48, 53 & 58 work best .

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Originally Posted by BrokeLoser

Most people don't have the luxury of playing all wedges in real life playing conditions to be able to determine the actual 'play yardage' of the club before purchasing...so degree of loft is usually all most can go on.....right?

a laser (or GPS) is all you need to determine your on course yardages, then you can experiment with wedge selection.

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Originally Posted by sean_miller

No, not really. New players should (yes, i said should) start with a PW and SW and add one on either side as required. If they purchase forged wedges then can have them bent slightly to gain or lose a few yards. My Mizuno Pro 3 wedges set (from the early 1990s) say 52 (I), 56 (II) and 60 (III). They're bent to 53, 57, and the 60 is still 60. On a smooth swing they're 120, 100, and 80 yards respectively. I've tried to replace them with a 54/60 combo and now a 53/58 combo but the 3-wedge system keeps pulling me back in.

I hear what you're saying...but for me and most 'players' I presume, it's impractical to think that I would buy a wedge set, play it or hit them at a range, determine the exact yardage I hit each one consistently, then consult with a professional to determine what loft each club should have to close my yardage gaps, then send them away to be bent to achieve those lofts and be without my new clubs for weeks....Just seems far fetched for myself....heck, I'm not planning to join the tour anytime soon nor are my yardages consistent enough to take that extent of action.

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Originally Posted by BrokeLoser

Quote:

Originally Posted by sean_miller

No, not really. New players should (yes, i said should) start with a PW and SW and add one on either side as required. If they purchase forged wedges then can have them bent slightly to gain or lose a few yards. My Mizuno Pro 3 wedges set (from the early 1990s) say 52 (I), 56 (II) and 60 (III). They're bent to 53, 57, and the 60 is still 60. On a smooth swing they're 120, 100, and 80 yards respectively. I've tried to replace them with a 54/60 combo and now a 53/58 combo but the 3-wedge system keeps pulling me back in.

I hear what you're saying...but for me and most 'players' I presume, it's impractical to think that I would buy a wedge set, play it or hit them at a range, determine the exact yardage I hit each one consistently, then consult with a professional to determine what loft each club should have to close my yardage gaps, then send them away to be bent to achieve those lofts and be without my new clubs for weeks....Just seems far fetched for myself....heck, I'm not planning to join the tour anytime soon nor are my yardages consistent enough to take that extent of action.

I guess I can't speak for most players, but this is how it worked for me. In my second full season of playing I realized experienced players could hit shots I couldn't.  A 4 capper suggested getting a lob wedge.  Picked up a 60 degree Cobra Phil Rodgers - still the best wedge I've ever owned (stolen in 1991). It was soon obvious there was a yardage gap and I could stand to improve my bunker play. A 55 degree sand wedge fit the bill. New players think too much about symmetry and want to have every slot in the bag filled with clubs to give them the best opportunity to score. Back in my day,  people wanted to hit all different types of shots. Now they seem obsessed with lofts and yardages.

BTW - in my neck of the woods, getting a couple irons adjusted means hitting a few balls on a calibrated SIM and asking the tech guy for a quick bend, then hitting a few more balls, then if happy forking over ~ $5 per club. In about 20 minutes and for < $20 we can get your wedges adjusted.  It's a shame most players need to send them away - that certainly puts a damper on things.

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Originally Posted by sean_miller

I guess I can't speak for most players, but this is how it worked for me. In my second full season of playing I realized experienced players could hit shots I couldn't.  A 4 capper suggested getting a lob wedge.  Picked up a 60 degree Cobra Phil Rodgers - still the best wedge I've ever owned (stolen in 1991). It was soon obvious there was a yardage gap and I could stand to improve my bunker play. A 55 degree sand wedge fit the bill. New players think too much about symmetry and want to have every slot in the bag filled with clubs to give them the best opportunity to score. Back in my day,  people wanted to hit all different types of shots. Now they seem obsessed with lofts and yardages.

BTW - in my neck of the woods, getting a couple irons adjusted means hitting a few balls on a calibrated SIM and asking the tech guy for a quick bend, then hitting a few more balls, then if happy forking over ~ $5 per club. In about 20 minutes and for < $20 we can get your wedges adjusted.  It's a shame most players need to send them away - that certainly puts a damper on things.

You make some good points Sean and I really do want to take my wedge selection serious. I'll look more into the process here around me and see what I can come up with.

Thanks a bunch for engaging in this thread.

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I play 48, 54, 60.
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I carry PW 45*, AW 50*, SW 55*, and LW 60*
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PW used to be 47* and thats why people commonly had 52/56/60 because it was a fairly common spacing.  Now that lofts are getting stronger, some adjustment in loft is a good idea but a lot of people just stick with what they know.

I, for one, if I had a 45* PW would go with a 50/54/58 so that you keep that spacing.

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I've had quite a few sets of irons and only one had a 47 degree PW stock. 2003 Tommy Armour forged blades. The rest were 48 or 49, and one 46.

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Same here, setup seems to work well for me.

Originally Posted by iacas

I play 48, 54, 60.

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Originally Posted by GaijinGolfer

PW used to be 47* and thats why people commonly had 52/56/60 because it was a fairly common spacing. ...

This spacing arose from the popularizing of the LW and soon after the GW.

PW and SW formed the common wedge pair from Gene Saracen days until the 1980s. The high-loft lob wedge supposedly existed as a niche club in the 1950s, but didn't become popular until 1980 when short-game guru Dave Pelz talked Tom Kite into putting a 60* wedge into his bag. Kite won the PGA Tour money title the following year - and at least one tournament a year from 1981-1987. This helped popularize the high-loft wedge.

Pelz, in Short Game Bible (published in 2002), recommends a 4-wedge set of PW, SW, LW and XW (extreme wedge, 64* or so). Most players now drop the XW in favor of a GW.

The gap wedge emerged in the 1990s as a response to the ever-strengthening lofts of irons, and how it affected the wedges. Major manufacturer equipment tables (below):

9 iron PW
1974 45-48* 49-52*
Mid-1980s 43-46* 46-51*
2008-2010 + 39-42* 43-47*

+ Drawn from various OEM brochures

From 1974 through today the SW remained constant at about 55 - 56* in order to pop the ball out of bunkers.  The Gap Wedge came in to fill the increasing loft gap between PW and SW, sometime more than 8 degrees.

With the stock PW of iron sets averaging from 45 to 47 degrees, the PW / 52 / 56 / 60 mix is the unofficial standard for three-wedge sets. For others, PW / 50 / 54 / 58 is a popular mix. Quite a few golfers use a 3 wedge set - just look in the ST bag summaries to see examples.

Golfers should note that the iron set PW may end up hitting the ball either more or less than 10 yards longer than a specialty 52* GW. If the GW / SW / LW are part of an iron set, they may come closer to giving even distance gaps.

Club designer Ralph Maltby gives a breakdown on the five types of wedges: http://ralphmaltby.com/47

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