Many new golfers either fail to appreciate or take a while to understand the value of the short game. While most concentrate on driving and putting skills, improving your short game is one of the easiest and fastest ways to lower your score. It all starts with finding the best club for chipping around the green.
- A Bit About Wedges
- Do Beginners Need The Full Range of Wedges?
- The 5 Best Clubs For Chipping Around The Green
A Bit About Wedges
Wedges are generally the shortest clubs in your bag and they have the highest lofts. They are used for approach shots around the green. You want wedges with accurate distance and control.
These days, they are often not defined by a specific name but rather by the loft.
This is an important factor in wedges and refers to the “bounce angle”. Essentially, this relates to the turf interaction of the club. More bounce will help you in certain lies and help you get out easier.
Good bounce prevents the wedge from digging in too much and is useful in a range of situations around the green.
What To Look For In Wedges and Short Game Irons
Before you even get started, it is important to understand the various options available. In the past, it was fairly simple but club design has progressed and there are now a number of options for chipping around the green.
Much will obviously depend on the distance you need to achieve but spin and control are also important.
If your approach shot is 120 yards or less, for the average golfer, you will need a higher lofted club, in other words, a wedge. There are four main types of wedges available so let’s take a look at each one and what they offer.
This is generally the lowest lofted wedge so it will still hit a good distance. This is the wedge most golfers are most familiar with and generally use on approach shots to the green. The average golfer will hit a pitching wedge 110 to 140 yards. They typically have a loft around from 42 to 46 degrees.
Although this club is designed to get you out of the bunkers it is often used on shorter approach shots. It typically has a loft of 48 to 56 degrees and is used for distances of 80 to 100 yards. It is helpful out of the rough around the green and offers good control.
This is a high lofted wedge for very short or high and sharp chips around the green. It generally has a short roll and good control. They generally have a loft of 60 to 64 degrees. They are designed to give height without too much roll on the green.
As wedges have evolved over the years, a “gap” has been created between the pitching wedge and the sand wedge. Pitching wedges have come down in loft and become more powerful with greater distance.
The gap wedge is also known as an attack or approach wedge.
The gap wedge (sometimes called an approach wedge) has been designed to fill that void. For the average golfer, it gives good control over distances of 90 to 110 yards. It offers a bit more distance than your sand wedge but somewhat less than the pitching wedge.
Many golfers find a gap wedge to be extremely useful to fill that distance gap. It allows them to still play a full swing but with better distance control and more precision around the green.
Do Beginners Need The Full Range of Wedges?
Most beginners can get away with a pitching wedge and a sand wedge. Once you have greater control and consistency with your swing, speed, and distance, the other wedges may become more important. It is not essential for beginners to carry the full range of wedges.
Once you get the basics right and know your average distance it might be time to look at more specific wedges.
When Do You Use a Wedge?
This will largely depend on your swing speed and strength but in general, one would use a wedge for shots 110 to 140 yards or less.
Shorter distances will require either a higher lofted wedge or a reduced swing speed. It is always easier to hit a full swing with the correct loft than reduce your swing.
Obviously, when hitting over an obstacle such as trees you want a really high loft to get you out of trouble.
The 5 Best Clubs For Chipping Around The Green
The muscle back or blade design might intimidate you initially but remember you are after precision and control. This wedge delivers both. It is a consistent wedge that offers great spin and control.
The micro-milled Rotex face with deeper grooves pushes the USGA boundaries yet is perfectly legal and acceptable.
The Tour Zip Grooves have been refined over the generations of this club and the improvements are evident. The micro-roughness allows for more texture and increases consistency.
Cleveland has a reputation for quality wedges and the 588 RTX 2.0 is no exception. One of their unique advantages is the 3-dot system. This allows golfers to match the bounce rate to their swing style.
Forgiveness is not the main thing most golfers look out for in a wedge but the 588 RTX delivers such great forgiveness that you will be sure to appreciate it.
The head is large with a large sweet spot so that on those occasions you mishit slightly you will not suffer too badly. The ball will still travel relatively true and proud.
If you want great control and stopping power, even from the rough, this wedge will provide it. High lofts are available (up to 62 or 64 degrees) on these wedges so select carefully to ensure you cover any gaps in your short game.
If you are looking for a quality wedge but have a tight budget, this is a great option. They are very popular and highly rated by those that have used them.
You cannot deny the great value for money these wedges offer. They are classic blade-style wedges with a high polish finish that looks professional and functional.
They are True Temper steel irons which makes them durable and reliable. The sole grind is designed to improve accuracy by opening the clubface for high shots that stay on target.
The grooves are designed to optimize spin around the green although some find the spin a bit lacking. The modified bounce angle is designed for control and a quick stop while offering versatility from a range of lies. They can be played from the fairway, the rough or the sand.
Most golfers find the Wilson Harmonized Golf Wedge to be extremely forgiving and accurate. They look good, perform well and are highly affordable. Better golfers might want more control and spin but for most players, they are functional and effective wedges.
Bob Vokey is a rather famous name at Tetelist and in golf equipment circles. He is a master wedge maker and has helped to put Titleist wedges on the map.
The SM7 wedges were introduced in 2017 replacing the SM6 wedges. They have proved to be extremely effective and popular.
If you are looking for something with a bit more spin and control this is a great option to consider. While these wedges are popular with leading players they are still extremely effective for higher handicap players. They are extremely versatile.
They use a progressive CG or center of gravity. This makes the wedges more consistent and precise. You can have great control over your trajectory and distance with these leading wedges. The CG positioning is optimized according to each loft, grind, and bounce. This gives the wedges a consistently good feel.
The groves have been spin milled for higher precision and better control. The spin and control are further enhanced by the parallel face texture.
The SM7 Vokey wedges are available in 3 attractive options, Jet Black, Tour Chrome or Brushed Steel. Most golfers agree that they are extremely good looking wedges.
The stock shaft is the True Temper Dynamic Gold however a range of other options are available. These include the Dynamic Gold Spinner and the KBS Hi-Rev 2.0. There are 6 grind options.
Here are the loft options for the various wedges:
- Lob Wedges -58-62 degrees
- Sand Wedges – 54-56
- Gap Wedges – 50-52
- Pitching Wedges 46-48
While it is great to have so much choice and freedom it can be a bit overwhelming. Take the time to understand the options and determine the best combinations for your needs.
This is a well priced and highly versatile wedge that has a lot to offer if you are looking for a great all-rounder. They are not only versatile for a range of chips around the green but will work for a wide range of golfers from beginners to better players.
They have a sleek black satin finish. The 8620 Carbon Steel is plated in Demonized Black Metal. Not only does it look amazing but it is also extremely durable.
The grooves are effective and offer good spin with great control and consistency. The faces are 100% CNC milled and work across the face of the wedge. This allows for variable face roughness to optimize the spin and allow for better control. This is what you want when chipping around the green.
Cobra has used progressive spin technology. The lower lofted wedges have grooves that are wider and shallower while the higher lofts are more tightly spaced. This makes them more consistent and predictable between lofts.
You can choose between a Classic, a Versatile or a Widelow-3 wedge grind. This will allow for a range of distances and help you get out of some tricky lies around the green.
In terms of loft angles, you have a choice of 50, 54, 58 and 60 degrees. The steel shafts are True Temper Dynamic Gold S200s.
This is an extremely popular and highly rated wedge that is also amazing value for money. While best known for their drivers and fairway woods, TaylorMade makes some fine wedges.
These are extremely forgiving wedges that will be game improvers for many players. While distance is not the main priority in a wedge, the M2 has it to offer when it is needed.
As with other clubs in the M2 range, the wedges are easy to launch, deliver good distance and are highly forgiving. They have a low CG which is what helps with trajectory and ball speeds.
The Face Slot makes them extremely forgiving. When you mishit you will still get decent distance and not lose too much accuracy. The rib design allows for a faster thinner face with more flex. This again helps with distance and forgiveness.
Most golfers enjoy the looks, sound, and feel of these wedges. There is a range of loft and shaft options available.
While we have strived to present a range of top-quality wedges to suit different needs and budgets, the Cleveland 588 RTX 2.0 Standard Bounce Wedge stands out as the best wedge option for a number of reasons.
The deep precise grooves on the micro-milled Rotex face give you precision, consistency, and control. It is highly forgiving and should help most golfers shave points off their score by improving their short game.