The rules of golf allow you to carry up to 14 clubs when you play. Strategically selecting the best possible combination of clubs can really improve your score.
Don’t make a mistake before you even arrive at the golf course – pick the right 14 clubs.
Golfers often underestimate the impact golf wedges can have on your score. For our money, they are the most important clubs in your set.
During a round of golf, you hit your golf wedges more than any other club in your bag (with the exception of your putter).
Don’t believe us? Below we discuss:
- The types of shots that you play with your golf wedges
- Your options when shopping for golf wedges
- How many golf wedges should you carry?
Let’s get started!
5 Shots You Hit With Your Golf Wedges
Your golf wedges are the “swiss army knives” of your set – super versatile and used to dealing with many different situations.
#1: Approach Shots
Once you are 130 yards from the green or closer, your approach shots will be hit with a golf wedge.
Two things will dictate which wedge you decide to hit. How far you hit your pitching wedge vs sand wedge and how many wedges you have in the bag.
The easiest approach shot is when you can make a nice, full swing. You don’t have to try to reduce your power and a full swing puts more spin on the golf ball.
Let’s look at an example. You hit your pitching wedge 130 yards and your hit your sand wedge 100 yards.
Which club do you hit from 115 yards? What about 85 yards or 60 yards? If you only carry a couple of golf wedges you are forced to hit a bunch of half or 3/4 shots.
In other words, you have a gap in your yardages. You can fill these gaps by adding additional golf wedges to your set.
Sadly, sometimes we all miss the green. We are forced to chip from the rough, fairway, or fringe.
You will be hitting these chip shots with your golf wedges. The best way to keep your round going is to chip it close and 1-putt.
Try different shots when you practice your short game. There are two different schools of thought when it comes to chipping.
Use the same golf wedge all the time and manipulate the loft by opening or closing the face. Or let the club do the work and use a different wedge for different shots.
In other words, you might use a lob wedge on a short chip, but a pitching wedge for a longer one.
#3: Bunker Shots
Anytime you are trying to escape from a greenside sand trap you will be using a wedge.
The majority of the time you will want to use your wedge with the most loft (lob wedge or sand wedge), but you may use a pitching wedge for long shots.
Hopefully, you don’t have to play too often from a “fried egg”, but when it happens use the wedge with the most loft and swing hard.
The typical bunker shot will come out with some spin, but a “fried egg” will come out with over spin and will be difficult to control.
#4: The Flop Shot
You have to be brave to try the flop shot. A big swing to send the ball high in the air and let it land softly on the green like a butterfly with sore feet.
It is an amazing shot when done correctly, but if you catch it thin and blade it – disaster.
Do you want some inspiration? Check out this video of Phil Mickelson hitting flop shots.
To do this correctly, we recommend a lob wedge. Phil famously uses a 64-degree lob wedge.
#5: Belly The Wedge
The last shot on our list is an advanced play that you will want to practice before you give it a try on the course.
It is used when your ball is just off the green but in a thick lie or against the collar. Luke Donald does a great job explaining the shot in this video.
For this shot, you grip your wedge like you would your putter and take a putting stance. The goal is to hit the middle of the ball with the blade of your wedge.
This will help the ball get through the collar and roll smoothly on the green. Impress your golfing buddies with this “professional” shot.
The 5 Types of Golf Wedges
There 5 different types of golf wedges that you could include in your set of 14 clubs. The primary difference is the loft of the wedge.
They will travel different distances when hit with a full swing and can be used for different shots around the green.
Let’s take a closer look at each one to help you determine the types of golf wedges you want in your bag.
#1: Pitching Wedge
Your set of irons probably included a pitching wedge. A standard pitching wedge will have 48 degrees of loft. But when to use pitching wedge is often misunderstood.
It can be used to hit certain chips around the green, but it is primarily used for approach shots when you are between 115 and 130 yards from the pin.
The pitching wedge is the most common golf wedge and the vast majority of players carry one in their bag.
#2: Gap Wedge (Attack Wedge)
A standard gap wedge (attack wedge) has 52 degrees of loft. It is primarily used for approach shots but can be useful on longer chips that you want to run along the ground.
It can also be useful out of bunkers if you find yourself across the green from the pin.
Why is it called a gap wedge? It was designed to cover the yardage gap (when hit full) between your pitching wedge and your sand wedge.
A gap wedge will typically travel 100 – 110 yards depending on your clubhead speed.
#3: Sand Wedge
A golf sand wedge will have 56 degrees of loft and can be used for all wedge shots.
It can be used when chipping around the green, when playing from a bunker, and to hit full shots from the fairway when you are 90-100 yards from the pin.
It is typically the wedge used when trying the “belly” shot we discussed above.
#4: Lob Wedge
A lob wedge will have 60 degrees of loft and is used when you need to hit the ball and let it land softly.
You can hit it full from the fairway and it will typically travel 70-85 yards.
Over the last decade, lob wedges have become popular because they make it easier to hit bunker shots and flop shots.
#5: “Super” Lob Wedge
The final wedge on our list is the “super” lob wedge. They are a little harder to find and come with 64 degrees of loft.
You can hit them very high and get them to stop quickly. If you take a full swing, they will only travel ~60 yards.
“Super” log wedges are great for short bunker shots and flop shots. They are the least common golf wedge on our list.
How Many Golf Wedges Should You Carry?
Here comes the tricky part. If you could play with an unlimited amount of clubs, we would recommend you carry 5 golf wedges.
You would always have a nice full shot to the pin and you would have plenty of options around the green.
Unfortunately, you are only allowed to play with 14 clubs. If you have 5 golf wedges, you would have to take out other clubs.
The key is to think about how you play the game and how you manage the golf course. Which 14 golf clubs give you the best chance to succeed?
Let’s take a look at a couple of examples.
Player A enjoys playing shorter courses and hits their driver well. They tend to have a lot of short approach shots and wants option when they are close to the green.
Player A sounds like a player that should consider having 4-5 wedges. Driver, 3-wood, 4-hybrid, 5i, 6i, 7i, 8i, 9i, pitching wedge, gap wedge, sand wedge, lob wedge, super lob wedge, and putter.
This bag configuration may be perfect for Player A. They have fewer options from longer yardages but will be able to dominate once they are inside 125 yards.
Player B is a little wilder off the tee and plays longer approach shots. They are willing to hit more half-shots once they are inside 125 yards.
Player B might want to consider driver, 3-wood, 5-wood, 3-hybrid, 4-hybrid, 5i, 6i, 7i, 8i, 9i, pitching wedge, sand wedge, lob wedge, putter.
Consider how you attack the course and determine the best approach. At a minimum, we think most golfers would benefit from at least having 3 golf wedges in their bag.
If you agree, your decision will be between a gap wedge and a lob wedge. The gap wedge will help you on approach shots, but the lob wedge will give you more options when chipping around the green.
It is a personal choice. Try both and see which one you use more during a typical round.