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hansmixer

How many wedges do you carry?

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Hi all,

I'm trying to get an idea about how many wedges to carry. I was reading David Pelz's Short Game Bible and noticed that he recommends players carry 4 wedges. His recommendations are: a very weak PW (50'-51'), SW (55'-56'), LW (60'), and XW (64'). When I watch golf programming (i.e., The Golf Channel or other broadcasts), I keep hearing that amateurs should not play a high lofted wedge (60+), but Pelz suggests using a 64' (assuming you can even find one).

Basically, Pelz argues that larger gaps in the woods/long irons will not affect your score as much as having more precision in the short game. Having more precision because of 4 (or 3) wedges gives you more options. But, playing a 64' wedge seems to go against all of the other "conventional" wisdom. Even playing a 60' wedge seems a bit out there. Any thoughts?

I play about 3 rounds of golf every two weeks and my goal this year is to spend 50-60% of my practice time on the short game. I'm a mid-capper (mid-high 80's) and I'd love to get any advice or thoughts on this 4 wedge idea - positive/negative or otherwise.

Any thoughts on this?
Hans.

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I have always carried 4 wedges if you include my PW (47'). See my signature for my other wedges. I use them all the time. My wedges are played as follows:
PW - 140 yds
GW - 125 yds
SW - 110 yds
LW - 95 yds

Also I use my LW for all shots around the green except bunker shots (SW). After some practice with my LW, I can hood it for chip shots, play it standard lie for normal pitch shots and open it up for flop shots. I am getting ready to replace my GW-LW with MPR wedges. I am really looking forward to playing forged wedges. Especially since they will match the feel of my MP-60 irons. Hope this helps with your decision.

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4. PW, Gap Wedge (52 bent to 50), 56 w an 8 degree bounce and a 58 with a 4 degree bounce.

The 58 is pretty much unplayable as our courses tend to be very soft and grass coverage not great (Finland) and hence it has a tendency to dig into the ground unless you hit it perfectly. I thought it was because I was crap but it works fine in the US where I also play a lot.

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I'm trying to get an idea about how many wedges to carry. I was reading

I think that goes both ways. Amateurs who don't know how to properly use a wedge shouldn't carry even a 60° wedge. But Pelz figures you know how to use it since you're reading his book.

Anyway, my take on it is this, and I am a "Pelz guy" with my wedges. I even printed and taped my yardages to the underside of my shaft. I carry a standard PW 48° because it matches up with my set. I occasionally hit a full shot with it. Then I carry two more wedges, a 54.10 and a 60.04. Both have a little less bounce than normal for two reasons: 1) we have firmer sand where I play, so I don't need much bounce, and 2) less bounce, particularly on the 60, lets me very easily turn it into a 64 by opening it slightly. I can still easily get under the ball, except perhaps from hardpan, which my course is also lacking... Anyway, you'll note the slightly stronger SW (54°) because it gaps nicely between 48 and 60. I never hit the 60 with a full swing, but occasionally I'll hit the 54 with a full swing. More often than not, I use my wedges with partial swings, though, and the 60 is almost always used within 20 yards of the pin. I'd have to take my 3-iron or my hybrid out to go to four wedges, and frankly, I'm not willing to do that. I've never encountered a situation a little adjustment to my setup to change the loft of one of my three wedges couldn't solve.
Basically, Pelz argues that larger gaps in the woods/long irons will not affect your score as much as having more precision in the short game. Having more precision because of 4 (or 3) wedges gives you more options. But, playing a 64' wedge seems to go against all of the other "conventional" wisdom.

See, that's it. I've gotten to the point where I don't think I can really get more precision from my 3 wedges, so I'm justified in keeping my hybrid or 3-iron.

I do like the Pelz system. I think it really inspires confidence because it removes doubt - the "how hard do I have to swing to get the ball to go 55 yards" doubt. With the 7:30, 9:00, 10:30, and full swing idea, you can hit 10 balls, write down the yardage, and you KNOW the yardage. For tweener yardages you know it's right between, say, 9:00 and 10:30.

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I currently carry 4 wedges but I just added the 4th this year (60 degree). The idea was that I'd get more use out of a 4th wedge than a 3 iron. I have a strong PW, which matches my set at 45 degrees and a gap wedge at 51, my SW is 56 and the LW is 60. Because I carry such a strong PW I really do need the gap wedge. Some days I like having 4 wedges and other days I'm not sure if it reallly matters because I can play the 56 a little open to hit a lofted shot. I can also take that same wedge and play it off my right foot and hit a low checker. Seems to me I sometimes try to get too cute with the 60 and throw shots away. I really do believe, maybe because it's what I have confidence in but when in doubt get the ball rolling. So I guess I'm still on the fence as to how many wedges to carry, 3 or 4. Like I said I pulled the 3 iron in favor of the 60 and there are days I'd rather just put the 3 back in.

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3. Pitching wedge at 48, a sand wedge at 56, and a lob wedge at 60. I tried to get a 64, but only Cleveland makes them, and I didn't like Clevelands. I hit the pitching wedge up to 130 yards, the sand wedge a hair under 100, and the lob wedge about 80. With the pitching wedge as strong as it is, I probably should get a gap wedge, but I don't know which club to toss, in order to get it. (I am thinking either the 3 or 5 woods, since I'm really unreliable with fairway woods.)

Of course, all of those are if I hit the ball hard. I know my pitching wedge well enough that I can hit anything within 130 yards with it by adjusting my swing power (a few lessons with the pro spent entirely on pitching and chipping). I only use the other wedges in special situations: sand wedge for buried lies in bunkers, lob wedge for flop shots or when I need the ball to stop on a dime, etc. etc. 9 out of 10 times, I'll use the pitching wedge and just adjust power accordingly.

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I think that goes both ways. Amateurs who don't know how to properly use a wedge shouldn't carry even a 60° wedge. But Pelz figures you know how to use it since you're reading his book.

Eric,

Thanks for the thoughts and information. I've found that I like Pelz's approach to putting and now the short game. The 3x3/3x4 idea makes sense and takes the guess work out. I'm not sure that I know how to hit a 60' wedge just now, but I'll work with my golf instructor this season to see whether 3 or 4 wedges is better for me. I currently have a 47' and 56' and am likely to add a 52' to fill in the gap. I'm figuring I'll get more immediate use out of a 52' than a 60' at this point. Maybe I'll try 3 wedges for a season and evaluate if I need a 4th - maybe even try 4 wedges next season to see if there are any noticeable benefits. If I decided to go with 4 wedges, I'm not sure what club I'd drop - probably a 5W. Again, thanks for the information. I'm glad to see that people actually use Pelz's ideas. I used to carry a small attached to my bag that listed the distances for each club. Maybe I'll need to do that again, but with the wedges.

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I carry three.

Standard PW (47 degrees)
Gap Wedge (52 degrees)
Lob Wedge (60 degrees)

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I'm intersted in watching the replies to this topic. I currently only have a PW of unknown loft and a 56* SW. I was thinking my next wedge purchase would be a 60* for when I'm close to the green and need to stop the ball quickly after it lands. However, after reading another thread here I had changed my thinking to that I need a 52* GW to fill the gap. I hit my PW about 115 or so and my 56* about 85-90 at full swing. The thinking in the other thread was that the 60* is difficult to hit and you are better off learning how to open up the face on the 56*.

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I carry a standard PW 48° because it matches up with my set. I occasionally hit a full shot with it. Then I carry two more wedges, a 54.10 and a 60.04. Both have a little less bounce than normal for two reasons: 1) we have firmer sand where I play, so I don't need much bounce, and 2) less bounce, particularly on the 60, lets me very easily turn it into a 64 by opening it slightly. I can still easily get under the ball, except perhaps from hardpan, which my course is also lacking...

i think thats the key for most people. dont get a 64 degree but pick up a 60 degree with low bounce and a bounce grind on it and you wont need to carry a 64 degree. i originally wanted to pick up a 64 degree but then i figured i dont want to lose my hybrid so i just ordered a ping tour 60 degree with the low bounce/l grind on it.

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Thanks for the thoughts and information. I've found that I like Pelz's approach to putting and now the short game.

Just so I'm clear, in no way do I like his putting approach or think it is the correct or best way at all. Absolutely not. In fact, I've taken very little from Pelz except the development of four swings for each wedge (and really, I never hit the 60 full).

I used to carry a small attached to my bag that listed the distances for each club. Maybe I'll need to do that again, but with the wedges.

As I mentioned earlier - and I think there's a picture/attachment somewhere on this site that shows it - I taped the yardages to the underside of each wedge. After a round or two or a little practice I generally know which is closest, and really, it's more about trajectory first, then distance. If I have 55 and need to stop it quickly, that's different than 55 that needs to then run a little.

I'm intersted in watching the replies to this topic. I currently only have a PW of unknown loft and a 56* SW. I was thinking my next wedge purchase would be a 60* for when I'm close to the green and need to stop the ball quickly after it lands. However, after reading another thread here I had changed my thinking to that I need a 52* GW to fill the gap. I hit my PW about 115 or so and my 56* about 85-90 at full swing. The thinking in the other thread was that the 60* is difficult to hit and you are better off learning how to open up the face on the 56*.

You could do as I did and just go 48/54/60. Nothing says the sand wedge must be 56.

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You could do as I did and just go 48/54/60. Nothing says the sand wedge must be 56.

Yeah, I already have and really like the 56 though - no plans on replacing it.

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I normally only carry 3 wedges; PW (47), GW (52/7) and SW (56/12). I hit the bulk of my chips with the gap wedge. I don't hit full shots with anything below the PW.

I do carry a 60 lob wedge occasionally when I know I'll be playing a course with very fast elevated greens and I likely will be hitting some chips that require a very short/high chip that stops very quickly. Most of the time I can lay the blade of the GW open and play a flop shot if that's what's required.

The extra club lets me carry an additional hybrid that overlaps my 4i for the same distance. We have a lot of 185-190ish par 3's on many of the courses I play and they give me the most troubles. Since it's usually very windy here I like being able to club for high, soft shot (hybrid) or a lower, boring shot (4i). I've just started doing this at the tail end of last year and this year and it seems to be working.

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I carry 3 wedges, 47 degree PW, 52 degree, 56 degree. I own a 60 degree but don't have the time to practice with it enough to take full advantage of it. I'm confident enough in chipping and pitching with my 56 around the green that I don't bother.

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I just want to also add that I find sand shots are wayy easier if your using a 60 degree compared to a 54 or a 56...

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I carry 4 wedges most of the time. Because I drive the ball straight but short I don't have the huge gaps that that longer hitters have if they drop a fairway wood. I almost never hit a full shot with a lob wedge and question whether golfers who don't play on US open speed greens need a 64 degree. A slightly open 60 hits the ball very high. Any deceleration on a 64 at all would be pure death. I do drop the lob wedge and add a five wood when it is very wet or very cold and windy. I do feel also that we older golfers often over estimate our gaps on middle irons. Many would be well served by strengthening the loft on their the 4 or 5iron drop one or the other and carry a 2 or 3 hybrid. Since Older golfers hit more fairway woods off the tee and even as layup clubs on par 5s this makes sense as a way to make room for a fourth wedge.

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I just want to also add that I find sand shots are wayy easier if your using a 60 degree compared to a 54 or a 56...

They can be yes, depending on the sand. I play out of softer stuff usually and find the added bounce on my 56 helps me, I've played a few links courses with some firmer sand and much higher and steeper faces and found the 60 degree to really help there.

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