One thing you’ll notice if you spend any time in the custom club assembly operations at some of the best major manufacturers recently is how often orders for a set of new irons are being combined with an order for new wedges. This isn’t accidental. Titleist, Ping and Mizuno have incorporated into their clubfitting routines for irons and software systems a section devoted to matching new wedges to the irons you’ve settled on. It’s an idea the best fitters embrace, too.
Says Nick Sherburne at Golf Digest 100 Best Clubfitter Club Champion, “We do a wedge fit with every iron and bag fit. We have a lot of people tell us their wedges are fine and they are about ‘feel.’ But wedges are a critical scoring club that the public need to put more stock in. The scrambling stats/bunkers stats on the the major tours should show golfers that if they just focused on 60 yards and in they would rapidly get better. Wedge fitting is part of that. Golfers also need to understand, feel isn't always real. You need data to drive results.”
Sherburne pointed to several keys that players should be focusing on with their wedge setup. The first is to understand the loft of the shortest iron in your chosen set, usually the pitching wedge. He suggests building the lofts of your wedges from that club’s loft, with a separation of 4 to 6 degrees of loft for the remaining clubs in your bag. He advises more clubs in this section of the bag (three or four depending on how low the loft is on your iron set’s shortest iron or pitching wedge). This gives golfers more full-swing clubs as opposed to clubs where you’re making abbreviated swings to match the required distances inside 120 yards.
One other key, says Sherburne: consistency. Though the highly skilled player might think about slightly softening the flex or flattening the lie angle on some of his higher lofted wedges to improve feel and playability (Jordan Spieth has done that with his Titleist Vokey wedges), that’s not generally the best approach for the vast majority of average golfers.
“Always have wedges that match the spec and set up for your iron set,” Sherburne says. “Now this assumes your irons are fitted correctly, but usually you want the same shaft, length and lie angle in your wedges as the irons to allow proper gapping. Most wedges off the shelf come with a shaft that for many golfers might be too heavy and stiff. Your wedges are extensions to your irons so they should 99 percent be set up the same for proper gapping and dispersion.”
At the very least, make the wedge heads match each other, he says. “We see so many golfers come through with a bouquet of brands of wedges,” he said. “Remember they all have their own twist on material, grooves, face roughness, etc. These factors will also have an impact on ball speed and spin, and those two factors have a lot to do with the distance you hit a wedge. Having a consistent wedge brand setup will neutralize that and leave you with better gapped wedges that go the distances you need them, shot after shot.”