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Why don't more good players use their iron set wedges?

post #1 of 37
Thread Starter 

Hi All,

 

You don't really see "good" (or golfers who play alot) use the G/A, S and L wedges from their iron set.  After reading LSW and thinking about it, I thought the forgiveness would be important to still hitting middle of the green with the longer wedge shots.  Obviously i realize the book says get fitted for wedges, but assuming that isn't an option, why don't more players use their iron set wedges? 

 

I took my Mack Daddy 2 wedge and a used X-hot iron sand wedge to the course for some testing yesterday.  The x-hot iron sand wedge was very good and the forgiveness was really nice.   I also pick up about 4-7 yards from the iron set wedge over the mack daddy wedge.  

 

My 60* was way better for chipping / pitching around the green than the iron set wedge, but I'm strongly considering replacing my mack daddy wedges with the gap and sand wedges from my iron set.  The forgiveness is nice, and they are more consistent.

 

Is there anything I'm missing? Why don't you ever see anyone use these clubs?

 

Thanks,

 

John

post #2 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnclayton1982 View Post
 

Hi All,

 

You don't really see "good" (or golfers who play alot) use the G/A, S and L wedges from their iron set.  After reading LSW and thinking about it, I thought the forgiveness would be important to still hitting middle of the green with the longer wedge shots.  Obviously i realize the book says get fitted for wedges, but assuming that isn't an option, why don't more players use their iron set wedges? 

 

I took my Mack Daddy 2 wedge and a used X-hot iron sand wedge to the course for some testing yesterday.  The x-hot iron sand wedge was very good and the forgiveness was really nice.   I also pick up about 4-7 yards from the iron set wedge over the mack daddy wedge.  

 

My 60* was way better for chipping / pitching around the green than the iron set wedge, but I'm strongly considering replacing my mack daddy wedges with the gap and sand wedges from my iron set.  The forgiveness is nice, and they are more consistent.

 

Is there anything I'm missing? Why don't you ever see anyone use these clubs?

 

Thanks,

 

John

Good question, I've recently been contemplating switching out my pw and aw from the iron set I have with other wedges and the answer to this will make up my mind probably.

post #3 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnclayton1982 View Post
 

Hi All,

 

You don't really see "good" (or golfers who play alot) use the G/A, S and L wedges from their iron set.  After reading LSW and thinking about it, I thought the forgiveness would be important to still hitting middle of the green with the longer wedge shots.  Obviously i realize the book says get fitted for wedges, but assuming that isn't an option, why don't more players use their iron set wedges? 

 

I took my Mack Daddy 2 wedge and a used X-hot iron sand wedge to the course for some testing yesterday.  The x-hot iron sand wedge was very good and the forgiveness was really nice.   I also pick up about 4-7 yards from the iron set wedge over the mack daddy wedge.  

 

My 60* was way better for chipping / pitching around the green than the iron set wedge, but I'm strongly considering replacing my mack daddy wedges with the gap and sand wedges from my iron set.  The forgiveness is nice, and they are more consistent.

 

Is there anything I'm missing? Why don't you ever see anyone use these clubs?

 

Thanks,

 

John

I don't think you can really say that getting fitted for wedges isn't possible. You can go get fit at any Golfsmith, Golf Galaxy, or any local club retailer as well. For me personally, I wanted the perfect fit in terms of grind, weight, topline, sole, etc. and I searched like hell to find the perfect wedges that instill the most confidence and perform well. For me, I found Scratch to be the best wedges for me. I love the turf interaction and feel. Wedges are very personal in my opinion and since they're relied upon heavily in terms of your scoring (approaches being more important than putting in my opinion), I wanted to be sure that I had the best tool for my game. I do use my PW and GW that came with my Titleist set, but never from within 100 yards that I can remember. They just don't promote confidence or the spin/results that I'm accustomed to with my Scratch wedges.

post #4 of 37

If you look in the bags of a lot of really good players you will generally find a variety of clubs and rarely a "complete" full set. My interpretation is that they use what works for them, or what feels good to them, or what they are sponsored to play (either paid to play those clubs, or gifted the clubs to play them). It would be possible for someone to use a full set of a single manufacturer, and there might be a few players to do just that, but if you extend your question to include all the clubs in the bag then I think it comes down to the better players just using what works for them (which changes fairly often for most or at least many of them). Check someone's bag of clubs at the start of their season, then again at the end, and you will probably find changes.

 

I like looking at the What's In The Bag reviews of tournament winners just to see the variety of clubs they use.

 

If the wedges in your iron set work for you then enjoy them, nothing wrong with that at all.

post #5 of 37
Probably comes down to lack of grind/bounce options in the stock wedges. Better players tend to play a variety of shots with wedges. Stock wedges are often just slight variations that extend the iron set, soles get a little wider bounce increase is minimal. If that set happens to be cavity backs that could be a factor too if the wedges are cavity backs.
post #6 of 37

Most of the "players" sets of irons don't matching wedges. The Mizuno MP line only goes to PW, and I suspect that's the case for most other manufactures with their low-handicap targeted sets. Plus, you can have way more touch with traditional style wedges, than any that would match a set. Mostly, imo, because the faces are too hot for shots around the green. Personally, I'm inching closer and closer to dropping my matching Gap (50 degree) wedge for something with a less hot face, and more traditional. I'm sure I'll prefer the matching for full shots, but it's much tougher to control on shorter pitches and half shots.

post #7 of 37

I think in a lot of cases it's way simpler than you guys think.  Most stock sets, although they offer sand wedges and lob wedges, don't come standard with them.  So if you go to Golfsmith or online and want to buy Ping i20's, for example, the standard set makeup is 4I-UW.  They offer a SW and an LW and even a 3 iron, but people usually just but the standard set.  Then you go to the "wedges" section and start searching around and all you see is the "specialty" wedges.  You're not going to find i20 sand wedges and lob wedges in the wedges section at the store.

 

Of course, another extension on the answer is that we do that because the pros do that as well.

post #8 of 37

I find "traditional" wedges much more esthetically pleasing and that can breed confidence. For most of us mere mortals, wedges are the only "blades" we can handle without putting ourselves at a severe disadvantage. Some of my buddies have cavity backed wedges that either came with their sets or were added, I don't like the look of them and feel I would play worse with them simply for mental reasons.

post #9 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by anthony View Post
 

Most of the "players" sets of irons don't matching wedges. The Mizuno MP line only goes to PW, and I suspect that's the case for most other manufactures with their low-handicap targeted sets. Plus, you can have way more touch with traditional style wedges, than any that would match a set. Mostly, imo, because the faces are too hot for shots around the green. Personally, I'm inching closer and closer to dropping my matching Gap (50 degree) wedge for something with a less hot face, and more traditional. I'm sure I'll prefer the matching for full shots, but it's much tougher to control on shorter pitches and half shots.

 

I was just contemplating this myself. I have using a choked down PW to make 125 yard shots but since I got my new irons, the normal swing for that has turned into a 130-135 shot.

 

I may just go with a 52 degree vokey instead of getting the GAP for my set...

post #10 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ernest Jones View Post
 

I find "traditional" wedges much more esthetically pleasing and that can breed confidence. For most of us mere mortals, wedges are the only "blades" we can handle without putting ourselves at a severe disadvantage. Some of my buddies have cavity backed wedges that either came with their sets or were added, I don't like the look of them and feel I would play worse with them simply for mental reasons.

 

The Mizuno JPX wedges are cavity backed, and look pretty good. In fact, that's the 50 degree I have my eye on.

post #11 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by anthony View Post
 

 

The Mizuno JPX wedges are cavity backed, and look pretty good. In fact, that's the 50 degree I have my eye on.

Yeah, it's very much an individual thing and very subjective. To each his own. 

post #12 of 37

When I played X20 irons, I tried the stock AW and SW and really didn't care for them. I had real distance control problems with the AW.

 

When I switched to X20 Tours, PW was the only wedge made for the set. So, I got some Cleveland CG14s which worked better for me. For sand wedges it's always been a tie between the older Callaway X.Forged 56°/15 C.Grind and the Cle CG14 56°/14.

 

Also, with a little practice I got better touch out of non-stock wedges for G, S and L wedges. For partial wedges, I can often do better than hit "center of green." (If I could only get the long clubs under control).

 

It also depends on one's wedge strategy. I know better amateur players who are "plain vanilla" on wedges: they line up the shots with a square clubface (or a degree or two open), and just vary the length of backswing. They don't try any fancy manipulations on their partial wedges.

 

But, these players often will make adjustments in wedge sole grind and bounce for usual turf conditions and their individual swings. This is where the specialty wedges come into play.

 

Other wedgeurs who perform greenside magic tricks like the different sole grinds and loft combos not available in stock iron set wedges.

 

An interesting development is iron models which have a PW and GW/AW, but that's it. Some samples. 

 

Titleist AP1.714*

P  44°

W  48°

Titleist AP2.714

P  46°

W  50°

Miz JPX 825 / 825 Pro

        JPX EZ; JPX EZ Forged

PW  45°

 

GW  50°

 

Calla Apex Pro

PW  46°

AW  51°

Calla X2 Hot Pro

PW  45°

AW  50°

* Also has W2  52° not available in 712 model.

 

Teaching pros and clubfitters I've talked to suggest that PW and GW are the wedges most likely to be hit for full shots, so players may be more likely to buy them with iron set than SW and LW.

post #13 of 37

JMO but it seems the players with a higher handicap just feel more comfortable looking down at wedges that look and feel like the rest of the set.

You can't really open them up, you play more straight shots with them so for the person starting out nothing wrong with that.

 

I have always played the wedges that were part of the set I had in my bag, up until a few months ago. I now play SM5 wedges,  they have more options with my shots, as well as more options in the offerings that are available  that fit my swing better, but they do play different. I hope at some point I will get a complete fitting with say Edel?

But for now I am happy learning with what I have.

post #14 of 37
Thread Starter 

Thanks to all for the great replies. I liked the book Lowest Score Wins because it made me rethink alot about how I manage the course and how I pick my equipment - it just leads you to challenge what you assume to be true about the game.

 

One offshoot of hitting my driver much more (which I have started to do since reading the book) is that I am now hitting shorter clubs out of worse lies. This is where I think it is advantageous to have the "iron set" wedges b/c they have alot more forgiveness and quite frankly they go further. If I have a 49* iron set wedge that goes about 125 yards for me, thats better than the 50* "real" wedge that goes 120, IMO. Distance is better.

 

Quote:

 Plus, you can have way more touch with traditional style wedges, than any that would match a set. Mostly, imo, because the faces are too hot for shots around the green. Personally, I'm inching closer and closer to dropping my matching Gap (50 degree) wedge for something with a less hot face, and more traditional. I'm sure I'll prefer the matching for full shots, but it's much tougher to control on shorter pitches and half shots.

 

See, this is kindof why I posted.  I think people think they have "more touch" with the regular wedges, but I think the opposite is actually true.  I took it to the course a few days ago as I said in my original post to do the "spheres" the book talks about, and my iron set wedges were way more consistent and not that much further from the hole.  I saw zero advantage to the "blade" style wedges, at least from the 49* and 54* wedges from the fairway and light rough.  I hit one similar bad shot off each of the 52* mack daddy and the 54* xhot SW, way out on the toe.  The mack daddy lost about 20 yards, the xhot lost about 8 yards!

 

Quote:
 The Mizuno MP line only goes to PW, and I suspect that's the case for most other manufactures with their low-handicap targeted sets.

 

This is kindof what I'm questioning.  I'm a good player (about a 4-5 handicap most of the time), and since reading LSW I've been questioning whether these low-handicap targeted irons / wedges are actually better.  My SGI irons plump on the middle of the green a whole lot, and it seems that the extending the set into the distance wedges (note: not the greenside wedges) makes sense, especially since hitting it to the middle from 110-130 (my 49-54 degree range) is pretty good.  I also have a set of "players irons" and they were shorter and less consistent than my SGI X-hots during the sphere drills.  Could be I'm just not "good enough" to take advantage of players' clubs, but in actual testing they seemed shorter and more error-prone.  Especially since I am trying to hit a fade on every shot since reading the book, "workabilit" doesn't seem all that important...

 

Quote:
 For most of us mere mortals, wedges are the only "blades" we can handle without putting ourselves at a severe disadvantage.

 

Why don't you think it puts you at a disadvantage?  Less forgiveness, less distance...

 

Interesting stuff.  I think hitting driver alot more and then using the iron set wedges to get on the green in good spots makes alot of sense.  Just throwing it out there for discussion.  i'm pretty pleased with my decision to keep only my 60* utility grind wedge for within 80 yards of the green and in and the rest just like my other irons, with the aim point middle of the green.  Was just curious why nobody else uses these clubs (I think a +2.4 hdcp - phillyk? - was actually called out in another thread for being worse than his handicap *because* he didn't have wedges seperate from his iron set wedges as tho a good player would never do that).

post #15 of 37
Sadly, I don't fall into the "better players" category, but when I started back into golf after quite a lot of years away from the game I bought a set of Ping G20s with their full set of wedges, PW, GW, SW, LW. ("Standard" club sets at places like Golfsmith are simply what they think people want, not necessarily what the manufacturer suggests.) After a few months I swapped out the LW for a series of different aftermarket wedges looking for the perfect set of qualities while still using the PW, GW and SW for full shots only. I finally ended up with a SCOR lob wedge and it did what I wanted whenever I did my part.

When I moved to my AP1s I packed the bottom of the bag with SCORs. Each is good for both full swing shots, but more importantly, for "pitch shot" swings as well. It gives me a lot of flexibility around the green, which is good because I seem to get a lot of wedge opportunities. So, for me, it is this added flexibbility that explains the aftermarket wedges. I presume it is the same, perhaps to a greater degree, for good players.
post #16 of 37

Interesting question.  I think the general reason is a combo of people doing what everyone tells them good players do (use fancy SW, LW, plus GW if you use one), and what @Golfingdad suggested: players iron sets generally come 3i-PW, or at most 4i-GW, so everyone who buys those kinds of sets has to use separate SW and LW.  

 

I'm intrigued by the differences in performance though.  The only set wedge past PW I've ever used was the SW that came with the crap RAM box set of clubs (Driver-SW) I bought when I first started playing.  I'm quite certain that my CG15 SW is much better than that box set SW.  But I'd be interested to compare a set of solo "good" SWs against a SW from a really good set of cavity back clubs that can be ordered through SW.

post #17 of 37

In no order at all…

  • Psychological - When your AW looks like your 5I, you don't have the "stick it close" approach or mentality to them.
  • Versatility - You ask your wedges to do a lot more than your 5I. It needs different grinds, possibly different shafts, etc.
  • Manufacturers - They don't often include more than just the pitching wedge, so people have to get two or three other wedges elsewhere anyway.

 

I could have sworn I had a fourth. It was just here a minute ago… :D

 

P.S. The second is the big deal.

post #18 of 37

For me, the bounce is too high. I simply cannot flop, chip or pitch with my sand or lob. Sure, full out swings are great but delicate shots require a much different grind.

Another thing is the grooves. I can really produce more/better spin with my Callaway wedge vs. the Ping G10 in my set. Just take a look after a shot and see how much ball residue you have on the club face. Grooves matter.

For me the most versatile wedge has been the original Ping Eye 2 sand wedge at 58 degrees. I can't really explain it but there is just something about the leading edge, grind and bounce together (not to mention no glare off the patine d BeCu head) that simply works for me.

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