Do you know your pitching wedge loft? You might want to find out...
The Importance Of Knowing Your Pitching Wedge Loft
Do you know your pitching wedge loft? There's a good chance you have no idea. After all it says 'PW' on the sole of the club, so why does the loft matter?
Actually, it's crucial.
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Why Your Pitching Wedge Loft Is Important
Typically, a pitching wedge loft will be somewhere between 42° and 46° but they can occasionally vary either side of this range.
When you know your pitching wedge loft and how far you hit that club, you're then able to arm yourself with the right gap wedge, sand wedge and lob wedge; you avoid having two wedges that do the same job, and you avoid having large distance gaps in your bag.
It's an easy trap to fall into when you buy straight from the shelf without doing your research.
In this situation, you're making the game more difficult from 120 yards and in. If you have a distance you can't hit, often you'll end up hitting a club harder than you're comfortable with.
But when you're evenly gapped, your chances of shooting lower scores are greatly improved.
Before You Buy
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, the best advice we can give anyone about to purchase new clubs, is to go for a custom fitting. By doing so, you'll ensure you get the right set make-up.
If you are going to buy clubs straight from the shelf, make sure you do your research beforehand and make a note of your pitching wedge loft. You can find this out by visiting the manufacturers' websites and looking at the specifications.
The pitching wedge often comes as part of the set. Sometimes you'll also get a sand wedge, although this isn't always the case, and it's at this point you have some important choices to make.
Perfecting Your Wedge Set
Keeping in mind that you're only allowed a maximum of 14 clubs in the bag, it's now a matter of making sure each one has a purpose. The three wedge system is a popular choice for club golfers, as it leaves room for three fairway woods and/or hybrids, which is often more important for players who lack the distance tour professionals can muster.
If you go down this route, we’d recommend something along the lines of a pitching wedge at 46°, a gap wedge at 52°, and a lob wedge at 58°, which gives you an even 6° of loft separation, enough for all the shots you need.
If you're a longer hitter - so you're hitting it consistently further than 270 yards off the tee - you're likely to leave yourself more wedge shots. Having four wedges makes more sense, as it does for those golfers who aren't so comfortable hitting half wedge shots. With more options you can commit to full swing more often.
If the four wedge system sounds preferable, you're probably looking at something like a stock 46° pitching wedge, a gap wedge at 50°, a sand wedge at 54° and a lob wedge at 58°, which should equate to 8-12 yard gaps for the average golfer.
Choosing a Style
Wedges come in a few different shapes and sizes that perform in different ways. Most tour players use muscleback style wedges, which prioritise feel and versatility over forgiveness.
But amateur golfers might be better served using a cavity back style wedge more similar to their irons that offers an easier transition and more forgiveness both through the turf and on off-centre hits, like the Cleveland CBX 2 (opens in new tab) or Callaway Mack Daddy CB (opens in new tab).
You may think you lose out on creativity around the greens, but we've actually found they offer a surprising level of versatility.
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