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I'm going to have to disagree with Phil Mickelson....

43 posts in this topic

I can't remember exactly where I read it, but it stuck with me. At some point Phil was quoted saying something along the lines that he laughs at newer golfers/amateur golfers using a 64 wedge.

When I wanted a lob wedge I asked my father in law if he had an extra i could practice with, assuming he had a 60 degree around. Well he handed me a 64 and said I could keep it. I was intimidated...I knew what Phil and other people thought about the 64. Many people believe it's very difficult to become consistent with it.

The first week was rough, many shots were hit thin, many shots were flopped very high...but went like 5 feet. After putting in the hard work though and having used it a month+....it is now my favorite club. I think the trick for a newbie is to not open up the club face at all, you don't need to. Just accelerate through the ball and you can get a high arc...back spinning golf ball. Practice enough and I firmly believe that most golfers will have no problem putting the ball where they want it. The trickiest part I find is deciding how I need to hit the ball on different types of lies. Other than that, I'm loving it.

So basically, don't be scared, just put in the work :-D

Edit: I don't ALWAYS keep the face close, I open it up a bit for some sand shots and perhaps depending on the lie and pin position I'll open it up a bit.

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I want to believe it's a practice thing with a 64 - I spend a lot of time with a 60.

A 64 in theory should be easy -- no opening or closing.

Just set it up square, put it forward in the stance, weight forward, and let the club do the work. If I practiced as much with the 60 as I do a 64 -- at the same time, it is another club in the bag -- I'd probably use it on huge undulating or crowned greens when you must stop the ball.

That's 64...

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What is the bounce on the club? There is not a lot of forgiveness in a lob wedge that shallow. I can only use my 60 degree if it is far back in my stance in deep rough. Fairways and approaches are okay, but there is really only one shot I can do with it. I have to leave the club face more neutral for sand, I feel like I can't hit that far under it and pick up only about 1/2" of sand below the ball.
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What is the bounce on the club?

To be honest I'm still very unfamiliar about bounce. :8) An instructor at my academy explained bounce to me for the first time the other day.

I want to believe it's a practice thing with a 64 - I spend a lot of time with a 60.

A 64 in theory should be easy -- no opening or closing.

Just set it up square, put it forward in the stance, weight forward, and let the club do the work.

Exactly, I really think it is a practice thing. Have to make sure to keep that weight forward and accelerate. I also choke down on the club quite a bit, I don't know if that's what you're "supposed" to do but it gives me a better feel and more consistency. I find that I love the 64 from anywhere 50 yards and in. Putting a nice big swing on a 50 yarder and watching the ball soar into the atmosphere is so much fun.

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No idea in what context Phil's statement was intended. But my own opinion is I see too many high handicap golfers trying to fly short shots to the hole when they should be rolling it up with a less lofted club. When I watch pro golf I see a lot of head high pitch shots. On the course I see guys hitting it high enough to knock it over a house with little accuracy. Sure it drops dead but who cares if it's 50 feet from the hole. I used a 62 for a while and found it was tough to control distance. I could take a full swing and pop it straight up 25 yds on one shot and with what felt like the same swing fly it 50 yds the next shot. I suspect inconsistency with where on the face the club made contact with the ball played a part. Kind of tough to judge coming out of the rough too. If I didn't account for the grass holding the ball up I slid the club right under the ball a few times. I'm sure it works for some but I prefer to keep it simple around the greens.

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No idea in what context Phil's statement was intended. But my own opinion is I see too many high handicap golfers trying to fly short shots to the hole when they should be rolling it up with a less lofted club. When I watch pro golf I see a lot of head high pitch shots. On the course I see guys hitting it high enough to knock it over a house with little accuracy. Sure it drops dead but who cares if it's 50 feet from the hole. I used a 62 for a while and found it was tough to control distance. I could take a full swing and pop it straight up 25 yds on one shot and with what felt like the same swing fly it 50 yds the next shot. I suspect inconsistency with where on the face the club made contact with the ball played a part. Kind of tough to judge coming out of the rough too. If I didn't account for the grass holding the ball up I slid the club right under the ball a few times. I'm sure it works for some but I prefer to keep it simple around the greens.

From what I remember, Phil's statement was basically that only pro's should bother with the 64.

I hear what you're saying with everything else though. I practice with my SW, PW, and 7 iron all over the greens as well. Like if I'm 10 yards off the green and have plenty of green to work with, there's no way I'm taking out the 64.
But anytime there's a tight pin position I find that the 64 has become extremely useful. I also practice w/ multiple clubs at 50 yards in and 50 yards +. I've found that I can get it more consistently close to the pin when using the 64. I don't have to worry so much about the hardness/softness of the greens. I throw the ball right at the pin and it will generally roll out just a couple feet.

I definitely agree that it's more risky though, it's a lot easier to miss hit a 64. But so far I'm enjoying it and it's working. I have to throw it out there that I've only had the chance to use it on indoor artificial greens. I'm curious as to how the ball react in the spring on softer greens. I may have to go back to SW a lot more.

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I hear what you're saying with everything else though. I practice with my SW, PW, and 7 iron all over the greens as well. Like if I'm 10 yards off the green and have plenty of green to work with, there's no way I'm taking out the 64.

But anytime there's a tight pin position I find that the 64 has become extremely useful. I also practice w/ multiple clubs at 50 yards in and 50 yards +. I've found that I can get it more consistently close to the pin when using the 64. I don't have to worry so much about the hardness/softness of the greens. I throw the ball right at the pin and it will generally roll out just a couple feet.

I'm not trying to be mean, but why would a high handicapper be shooting at tight pin positions in the first place?  And aren't there much better places to spend practice time for a high handicapper than learning to play specialty shots?  Are you sure that if Phil saw you hitting the 64 he would not be laughing at you?  Again, I am not trying to be mean, just trying to bring a realistic perspective.  The way to lower handicap is working on the basics, not the fancy stuff, IMO.  It is like a tennis player who has trouble hitting solid forehands spending practice time working on backhand touch drop volleys.

PS:  when was the little guy actually born?  Your first, I assume?  Life changer, isn't it?

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If it works for you, go for it.

Personally, For every Hollywood shot I've hit with a lob wedge, there's been plenty that would make horror movies. Its a high reward if hit well but its too high a risk for me. The most loft I have in the bag is 56*.

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If it works for you, go for it. Personally, For every Hollywood shot I've hit with a lob wedge, there's been plenty that would make horror movies. Its a high reward if hit well but its too high a risk for me. The most loft I have in the bag is 56*.

I'm thinking the same thing. I haven't bladed my 60 for a while, but a 56 would be much more comfortable.

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I'm not trying to be mean, but why would a high handicapper be shooting at tight pin positions in the first place?  And aren't there much better places to spend practice time for a high handicapper than learning to play specialty shots?  Are you sure that if Phil saw you hitting the 64 he would not be laughing at you?  Again, I am not trying to be mean, just trying to bring a realistic perspective.  The way to lower handicap is working on the basics, not the fancy stuff, IMO.  It is like a tennis player who has trouble hitting solid forehands spending practice time working on backhand touch drop volleys.

Why wouldn't a high handicapper be shooting at tight pin positions? That's how you learn to get it close. There's plenty of times on the course where i put the ball in a spot that a chip and run leaves me with a 15-20 footer. Whereas a flop in the same spot leaves me with a 5-10.

Oh I'm sure Phil would probably laugh at me if he saw me hitting anything :-P and yes I'm sure he'd laugh at me more hitting the 64. The one place where I have to disagree with everyone about the 64 is that it doesn't have to be fancy! Sure Phil's flops are ridiculous high arcing masterpieces, but that's not the only way to hit a 64 in my opinion. Plenty of my stock 64 shots don't get any higher than my head and that's because I don't open or close the face. This keeps it more consistent. I suppose you could say my shots are more of a chip/flop rather than one or the other. If that makes any sense. Perhaps I could film it sometime and post it here, or maybe I can find a youtube vid of it. But so far it's very repeatable.

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This is sort of what I'm talking about. I don't know which club he's using but this looks a little bit more like how I use my 64, rather than the really crazy flops that the pro's do. I'd say the only difference is that the golf ball looks like it's shooting off the face faster for this guy than it does for me. Mine's more like a floater/chip. But still more chippy than a Phil flop.

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For that kind of shot I use a 50/10 or 54/14.

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Nothing wrong with practicing all sorts of shots with all sorts of wedges and nothing wrong with practicing them all a lot. It's a better way to spend time around the house than sitting on the couch watching TV.

(I actually almost always do both at the same time). :-)

The key is to know when to use which technique or which club, and when a favorite technique or a favorite club is better left in the bag.

Nothing is more valuable to me in the short game than knowing how to use the bounce, except knowing when the lie doesn't allow those shots that depend on it.

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I can't count how many times I have seen someone a couple yards off the green and 30+ feet of uphill green in front of them with no break to the hole pull out a 60* or 64* wedge and either chili dip the damn thing or blade it to the other end. What is more troubling about these clubs is not the difficulty they present but the fact most golfers have no clue how to use them and probably don't even need anything more than a 56* for the courses they play. A knowledgeable player hits flop shots when he has to not because they look cool.

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I can't count how many times I have seen someone a couple yards off the green and 30+ feet of uphill green in front of them with no break to the hole pull out a 60* or 64* wedge and either chili dip the damn thing or blade it to the other end. What is more troubling about these clubs is not the difficulty they present but the fact most golfers have no clue how to use them and probably don't even need anything more than a 56* for the courses they play. A knowledgeable player hits flop shots when he has to not because they look cool.

I agree with all of this. The more I practice the more I realize what I can do with the lie and green I have to work with. I never suggested that I use a 64 for every shot within 75 yards, I just wanted to point out that with practice it's a very useful club...and currently my favorite :) I haven't bladed a 64 in a long time. you have to respect the club and not use it to look cool. I have no intention to do anything other than get the ball closer to the hole.

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I can't count how many times I have seen someone a couple yards off the green and 30+ feet of uphill green in front of them with no break to the hole pull out a 60* or 64* wedge and either chili dip the damn thing or blade it to the other end. What is more troubling about these clubs is not the difficulty they present but the fact most golfers have no clue how to use them and probably don't even need anything more than a 56* for the courses they play. A knowledgeable player hits flop shots when he has to not because they look cool.


^^^Yep. Intelligence is probably as big a factor in short game success as ability.

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For that kind of shot I use a 50/10 or 54/14.

I get too much run out right now with those clubs to be consistent. Perhaps I need more practice. With the 64 I can just aim 5-10 feet in front of the hole (depending on distance) and let it trickle to it.

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I get too much run out right now with those clubs to be consistent. Perhaps I need more practice. With the 64 I can just aim 5-10 feet in front of the hole (depending on distance) and let it trickle to it.


It's not foolproof but you may want to check out the rule of 12 method and work on that.

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