Not many golfers really dig into the technology behind the clubs they swing and swear by. I mean, they look different, they are labeled and an experienced hand knows just which one to pull out of the bag and exactly when to do so. Is that not good enough, right? Who needs to know what angle the pitching wedge is? Well, believe you me the lofts in your wedges are probably messed up due to manufacturers attempts at a stronger loft over decades and this is a question that needs your attention. After all, a good craftsman knows his craft well and his tools even better and that is why professional golfers will have in their bags up to three or four different types of wedges because they know what to fish out when the course is sandy and rough, when it is soft or when they want a soft landing in a far off green.
Basically, golf is a game first played in Scotland in the fifteenth century and requires players to strike a ball into a hole using a club with as few strokes as possible. It has been improved over the centuries and now entails a series of nine or eighteen golf holes. It is a game of tact, it is a game of mind and unlike other games, it takes into consideration the player, the equipment and their entire mood combined and this is why the angle of your club, trivial as it might seem to the eye, is of great significance.
There are a variety of clubs used in golf, each specifically designed to achieve a different desire and to suit different players which is why it is equally important to know your swing before proceeding into the technology of your club to know where yours falls. But first, the basics; A club has a shaft with a grip at one end and a head on the opposite. Based on material, it can be iron, wooden or hybrid.
Our focus is categorization using the loft. The loft, to begin with, is the angle the face of the head lies relative to the shaft (and not the ground as many might think). It ranges from eight all the way to sixty four. The variations from one to the other are quite small but bring a whole lot of difference as we shall see. This gives us the following types of clubs.
The driver has the least angle followed by wood clubs, the iron and the wedges have the most loft (in degrees)
The loft is what determines the ascending trajectory of the ball. As a rule of thumb;
- The height of the trajectory is directly proportional to the loft
- The distance covered by the ball is inversely proportional to the loft
Simply put, among the wedges, the pitching wedge, having the smallest loft, will project your ball highest but will land it about eighty yards from you while the lobe wedge will run it to more than a hundred and ten yards at a lower height. But also remember that the higher the loft, the less the roll and the more the control.
The table below breaks it down for you while the figure gives a pictorial aspect.
|Pitching wedge||46-50||Less than 80 yards|
|Gap wedge||51-54||80-90 yards|
|Sand wedge||55-59||90-110 yards|
|Lob wedge||60-64||110-140 yards|
- LW– lob wedge
- SW– sand wedge
- GW– gap wedge
- PW– pitching wedge
The most ideal loft for you depends on; your swing speed, your angle of attack and experience will a long way in pointing you to it.
The bounce angle
The bounce angle refers to how much the trailing edge of the sole is lower compared to the leading edge. This should always be the case to ensure there is reduced resistance especially when you have a ball in a banker since the sand will reduce amount of impact thus a poor strike. This can be appreciated better by trying to hit some shots from a banker with the pitching wedge that has less bounce angle as compared to the sand wedge.
When in address position, you will notice this angle quite clearly as some space between the club’s leading edge and the ground. The angle ranges from two to eighteen degrees. Low bounce wedges (pitching and gap wedges) are most ideal when making from tight lies with firm turf conditions. We need to get our leading edge under the ball which is quite difficult to achieve with a high bounce. Standard bounce wedges are the best for all-round playability in all conditions for many players. If you have a steep attack angle, then the high bounce wedges are the best for you. They are also a good choice in sand bunkers.
This is the most preferred for beginners majorly due to the fact that it is very versatile. Traditionally, its loft was at forty eight to fifty four but has been reduced to forty five to fifty which is similar to the older 8-iron club. Majority, however, have a loft close to fifty. It is the next after 9-iron in size of loft and is borderline between irons and wedges falling into either category (which explains its being referred to as 10-iron). This explains why it is so multi functional. It is in most cases used by golfers when they are trying to hit the green. The ball achieves a high trajectory yet covers a short distance and as such does not roll so far on the green.
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It bites with a little or no roll at all after initial impact.With an abbreviated ‘ chipping motion’, it can deliver a short ‘approach’ or ‘lob’ shot.
Note that there are no two different pitching wedges have the same angle due to a slight variation among the manufacturing companies.
Also called the all wedge. The name is probably due to the fact that it fills the “gap” between the pitching and the sand wedge. With the second least loft among the wedges, it comes in handy in the event of shots that give a headache if using the pitching wedge especially with length issues given that it is longer than the pitching wedge.
When struck properly. The ball ought to fly high and cover up to a hundred and ten yards. You probably will have to purchase it separately since you might not find it with your standard pack. When selecting, ensure its angle falls between that of your pitching and sand wedge. Given that most players will try to achieve the four degrees ideal difference, the standard gap wedge is fifty two degrees.
The intention as the name suggests was for hitting the golf ball from sand or bunkers, with a fifty five to fifty nine degree loft, the sand wedge is however still versatile enough for you to use on a fairway or rough a rough one. It will be the shortest in your pack at thirty three to thirty six inches (eighty four to ninety one cm) which is instrumental in pitting a spin on the ball for a bunker play.
Another unique thing on it is its very wide sole that makes it have the greatest bounce, not to mention the fact that it’s sole is also at an angle to ground to ensure the clubs leading edge is lifted from the ground when swinging.
These features are pertinent in ensuring that it will not dig into the sand but rather glide through, the modern one. It is the heaviest in the set which again comes with the advantage of greater momentum compared with the rest.
As is the case with the sand wedge, the lob wedge will be missing from your standard pack. With the most amount of loft, it will send your golf ball flying high .they come in handy when the ball is in the green and you want a precise shot or there is an obstacle like long grass. It will enable your ball stop quickly without so much spinning given the almost vertical landing achieved; this one if well calculated should end the game.
What is very cool about the lob wedge is that you are at liberty to play it in different ways. You want give it a flip out of your stance or swing out of it to gain more height? Either way, the distance achieved will be less than eighty yards.
As a rule of thumb, there should be a four degree loft gap between wedges for a standard set. It may seem quite technical but a good grip of the underlying mechanisms behind your club could just be what you had been missing to plummet that score or could be your way to an informed spending of money and time since you will now put everything into perspective.
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