How many wedges do you carry in your golf bag? Think about it. Probably a pitching wedge, a gap wedge, a sand wedge and maybe a lob wedge. Your wedge setup and wedge gapping are absolutely important to your game.
For most golfers, they use their wedges more than any other non-putter club in the bag. You're using them inside of 100 yards for most any kind of shot. These are the most precise shots in golf, and they're the ones that can help you slash strokes off your handicap. That's why knowing how many wedges you should carry and precisely how far you hit them -- a concept known as wedge gapping -- is so important.
Most golfers carry two or three wedges beyond the pitching wedge, which typically comes in at about 47-48 degrees of loft. The standard-issue wedge setup would be in 4-degree increments, with 52-, 56- and 60-degree wedges. However, four factors should tell you how many wedges you should carry and in what lofts:
How many wedges should you carry and what lofts?
- How far do you hit your pitching wedge? It's crucial to know how far you hit your PW. That's a great starting point for your wedges. If you're hitting your stock pitching wedge 125 yards, then you need to be able to gap down about 50-70 yards in full shots with the remaining wedges you carry. If you're carrying just two extra wedges, that's a lot of ground to cover, leading to a lot of partial-swing shots. If you're not comfortable with that, then get rid of a long iron or two and step into wedges.
- What club do you hit 100 yards? As it turns out, the club you hit 100 yards may not be your pitching wedge. However, it's important to know which club you use to hit 100 yards as that is the most common lay-up number for golfers on par 5s and when they get in trouble. Your number may be different, so you need to know which club you use to get to your layup distance. If you're using a 52-degree wedge to hit a 100-yard shot, given our example, then a 4-degree gapping works for you. If you're hitting a 50-degree wedge for a 100-yard shot, then perhaps you hold on to the 4-degree gapping but go with 50-, 54- and 58-degree options.
- How do you play your home course? If you play one golf course overwhelmingly more than others, you should set up your bag in accordance with how you play that course. If you find yourself hitting a lot of 75-yard wedge shots on your home course, then you need a wedge where you feel comfortable hitting a 75-yard full shot. If you're always hitting from 110 yards, you need that shot. Figure out how you play your home course and see if you have a consistent type of shot that you need to master.
- How often do you hit flop shots? A lot of golfers want to carry a lob wedge -- 60, 64, even 72 degrees. However, it's not always practical. Think about how often you need to hit a flop shot. If you're hitting one maybe 1-2 times in a round, you may be wasting one of your 14 clubs on the lob wedge. After all, a good lob wedge sticks the club in the turf. A lot of players, particularly pickers of the ball, don't normally do that. It may turn out that having tighter gapping with your wedges is a better play, going with a 50-, 52- and 56-degree gapping.
Of course, once you've figured out the loft of the wedges that you carry, then we can talk about the grinds of wedges to carry, including bounce lofts. But that's another conversation for another article. Getting your wedge gapping where you want it is an important step in better course management and lowering your scores.