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Which wedges are right for you?

Short game accounts for more than 50 percent of our score. Here’s how to make sure you have the right club in your hands.

Sure, we all want to grip it and rip it. But if you watch any Tour pro on the range, he or she is likely to hit twice the amount of wedges than any other club.

Depending on who you listen to, shots 100 yards and in can account for roughly 50 to 60 percent of our total score. Yet, many golfers get fit for their irons, their putter, and dial in their new adjustable driver, while few actually get fit for their wedges.

“Time and again, we see golfers walk in, pull a wedge off the rack and head to the register without really considering the length, lie, shaft, or especially the bounce,” said Kevin Kahle, Cleveland Wedge Expert at the Roger Dunn Golf Shops Superstore in Santa Ana, Calif. “I don’t think golfers realize how important wedge play is and how it can affect their scores.”

Titleist Vokey wedges in S, M and K grind
Titleist Vokey wedges in S, M and K grind

So where does the average golfer start? Kahle recommends working with an experienced club fitter to help you find the right wedge for your swing.

“There may not be as many variables in wedge selection as say a driver, but there are still some key factors to consider,” Kahle said.

For instance, do you prefer a blade or cavity back? Do you prefer a forged or cast head? Are you playing steel or graphite irons?

While these factors will influence your wedge play, perhaps the most important aspect is the bounce.

Simply put, the bounce of a wedge is the angle from the leading edge to the trailing edge on the sole of the club.

In the Cleveland line of Rotex Wedges, for example, bounce can vary from 6 degrees all the way up to 14 degrees. As an experienced club fitter will tell you, bounce affects turf interaction and ball reaction, which is related to the angle of attack (how steep you swing) and the turf conditions where you typically play (firm or soft).

“I see most golfers playing too little bounce,” Kahle said. “That’s because most golfers tend to take a lot of turf and hit it fat as opposed to skulling it where they take no divot.”

The final pieces to the wedge puzzle are lie and shaft type.

If your irons are upright, most likely your wedges should be, too. If your irons have graphite shafts, you may want to choose graphite for your wedges as well because of the weight difference.

“Next time you shop for wedges, consider getting fit,” Kahle said. “You may see lower scores because of it.”