If you want to score better you need more wedges. Carrying a pitching wedge and maybe a gap wedge plus a sand wedge is not enough.
Mid to high handicap players average close to one wedge shot per hole. It could be an uphill 100 yards to a tucked pin or a long sand shot or a flip from greenside rough or a pitch and run after missing the green.
The obvious goal should be whenever you have a wedge in your hand to take no more than three shots to get in the hole…and sometimes maybe just two.
That’s effective scoring improvement and to help do that you should at least four wedges especially since with only two or three there’s too big a difference in the distance you hit them. Ask yourself how many part swing shots are you faced with in a round? How many wedge shots while trying to hit them an “uncomfortable distance” come up short? How many rocket over the green because you had to swing too hard?
Here’s the logic and a real life example. The iron set in my bag has a pitching wedge with 46 degrees of loft and it “comfortably” flies 120-125 yards. Knowing shots requiring a partial swing are harder to execute and that I want about 10 yards difference in carry distance, my next wedge is a 50 degree gap wedge which I play from 100 to 110 yards. Then there’s another gap wedge (a gap-gap wedge?) of 53 degrees for under 100 yards and a sand wedge of 56 degrees but the sand wedge rarely gets a full swing. The reason is simple since for example, a 60 to 70 yard shot can be played in several different ways with several different clubs. From a low spinner with lots of back spin to a high shot landing as Sam Snead said, “Like butterfly with sore feet,” you need the versatility of several different loft wedges to hit those scoring shots.[slideshow_deploy id=’21719’]
Think of it as though every time you take a wedge out of the bag you’re playing a short par-3 and you want to make a par or birdie.
As far as the bounce (i.e., the amount the leading edge of the sole is raised above the rear edge) on your wedges is concerned if you are a “digger” and take big deep divots more bounce is better. If you are a sweeper usually creating thin divots then less bounce will work. The lower the loft of a wedge the lower the bounce should be. The 46 degree pitching wedge in my bag has 8 degrees of bounce, the 50 has 10 degrees, the 53 12 degrees and the 56 degree sand wedge has 14 degrees.
One additional factor to consider. If the course you play most often has soft turf more bounce will help and the opposite is also true. Firmer conditions call for less bounce just as fluffy sand is easier to hit out of with a high bounce wedge and packed sand requires less bounce.