Lowering our golf score is the primary goal of most golfers. Everyone likes to talk about how they conquered the course on a particular day, but for some of us those days are rare. For example, over the past two golf seasons, I recorded 117 rounds of golf at Golf Canada. Although I did not record all my rounds for various reasons, this number is a good sample for our discussion. Of those rounds, 53% or 63 rounds were in the 70s. Of those, 1 was under par, 1 was par, and 4 were 1 over par. So the number of spectacular rounds worth discussing, in my view, is very small.
These numbers may seem impressive but in reality, the consistency of my game is due to two factors, using the correct wedge around the green and consistent putting. I can say that my improved putting is a direct result of playing the ball closer to the pin after an errant approach shot. Choosing the correct wedge around the green is the focus of this article.
How many times have you heard the question – should I replace my 5 wood with an extra wedge. In 1980, Tom Kite first pro to put a 60 degree wedge. 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 is in the February 2013 edition of Golf Illustrated has all the details. That unlikely team changed the face of golf.
Ultimately, there really is no right answer. Previously I wrote on this same topic. The response I received was 50/50 of using either club. I originally felt that higher handicappers should use the 5-wood and lower handicappers the lob wedge. I still stand by that assessment, however, my logic seems to have a bit of hole in it.
Many of the pros are carrying the 5 wood and an extra wedge! They are removing their 3 iron. The reason for this change is the dramatic increase in the use of hybrids. The first hybrid golf club was the Rescue by TaylorMade in the late 1990s. Designed to deliver the precision of an iron with the ease of hitting of a wood. Personally, I recommend hybrids because they add a dimension to an amateurs game that allows for options when choosing between the two.
Choosing between a 5-wood and wedge is a tough decision. I recommend that you experiment with carrying each separately and carrying both in a round. I suggest that you play at least 3-5 rounds with each configuration to ensure an accurate sample group. Make sure that you keep track of how often you use the club and that is your answer.
I use a wedge vice 5-wood. On a side note, I also use 3,4,5 hybrid. This combination works best for me.
What is in your bag? 5-wood or extra wedge or both?
I am a grateful golfer. See you on the links.
The lob wedge is one of the toughest clubs in anyone’s golf bag. This 60 degree monster is not tamed easily and has a tendency to cause more problems than to solve them. Regardless, for players who want to lower their handicap, having a lob wedge in your bag is vital.
Highview Golf course – 25 feet from the pin, 12 feet from the fringe and 7 feet below the green.
The following is an excellent example of why a lob wedge is required. Playing a 4-person scramble golf tournament at Highview Golf Course yesterday, we found ourselves shorted on the pin side of the green only 12 feet from the fringe. The ball as laying 7 feet below the level of the green and the pin was only 15 feet on the green. As you visualize this shot, you will quickly realize that a lob wedge is the right club.
As the four of us stepped up to hit, the following was the result. One person used a lob wedge and chili dipped their shot. One person used a pitching wedge and and sculled it 5 feet from the pin. One person used a sand wedge and hit the ball 20 feet past the pin. Finally, one person (me) used a lob wedge and landed it 4 feet from the pin. Yes, player ability had something to do with the result, but the percentage of success was greatest with the lob wedge.
I aligned the lob wedge with my lead heel (my left heel as I am a right-handed player). I took a few practice swings until I had felt comfortable with the speed of the club. As a point of note, this 25 foot shot should be played like a 30-35 foot shot because of the elevation of the green. Next. I ensured I kept my head down through contact and only looked up after a count of one. This aspect of the golf swing was very important because moving you head during a swing, especially with a lob wedge, will produce very poor inconsistent results. Because of the clean contact, the ball only released 3 feet after hitting the green. Overall, I was extremely pleased with the result and hope to duplicate the shot.
The lob wedge is important in your bag. The most asked question is which club to remove to only carry 14 clubs. Personally I removed the 5 wood. I hit it about the same distance as my 3 hybrid so I have not lost anything. Others have remove their 3 iron…ultimately the decision is driven by your golf game.
Golf season is here and I am happy I can loop around any course. I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!