How many times have you heard the question – should I replace my 5 wood with an extra wedge. In 1980, Tom Kite was the first pro to put a 60 degree wedge in his bag. He and Dave Pelz, a former NASA physicist, worked on creating the lob wedge to fill a gap determined by Pelz’s research. It is a famous story and if you want more details the story check out the February 2013 edition of Golf Illustrated. That unlikely team changed the face of golf.
In 2012, I replaced my most beloved Callaway Warbird 5-wood for a 60 degree Titleist Vokey wedge. It originally started as an experiment, but has turned into a sure thing for my golf game. This decision fit my game well as it continues to evolve; yet sometimes I think that there might be a different solution!
Until recently, I had a gap in my club selection by trading distance for accuracy. For quite sometime, the want of distance overshadowed my desire to lower my golf score. It was a bit of an ego trip I guess, but I felt that hitting the ball as close to the green as possible was the key to lower golf scores. But, I can say with certainty, that thought process was folly.
My recent purchase of a 3 hybrid filled the distance gap left when I removed my 5-wood. I do not hit my new 3-hybird as far as my 5-wood, but the actual difference is about 5-10 yards. So, instead of being 20 yards from the green, I am 30 yards from my intended target. Nothing my wedges cannot handle.
My Titleist Vokey wedges are as follows: Pitching Wedge, 48 degrees; Gap Wedge, 52 degrees; Sand Wedge, 56 degrees; and Lob Wedge, 60 degrees. These clubs cover the distances from 110 yards and closer to the green. Of importance to note, my decision to replace my 5-wood with my 60 degree wedge filled the distance gap from 60 yards and closer around the green. It also added the versatility to flop the ball over hazards with greater ease.
By adding the extra wedge, my golf scores are consistently lower. I find that the extra wedge allows for more flexibility in my course management, club selection and scramble ability. Effective use of wedges and putting are where the real scoring in golf occurs. Most players can get to the green in a reasonable number and then the real scoring begins.
Make no mistake, a great golf swing is important. But I submit to you that a strong short game, through the use of wedges, can make up for a less than stellar golf swing. I practice my short game constantly. I believe that my quest to be a scratch golfer is based on a solid foundation of wedge play. I do not neglect my golf swing, but I do spend most of my time honing my short game.
I continue to practice my short game regularly. I actively search for tips and drills to help me improve my wedge play. I also experiment with drills and modify them to fit my requirements. My ultimate goal is to improve my wedge play by recreating game conditions.
Wedge play is the key to lower golf scores. Understanding the give and take when deciding which clubs to use is a personal one. I recommend that before you make any decision to change equipment, you think through why you are making the change. If you are unsure, I recommend you focus on your wedges!
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!