Are Your Wedges Costing You Strokes? 

Are Your Wedges Costing You Strokes? 

By Scott Sackett

As many of you may know, I spend the summers as director of instruction at Park Meadows Country Club in Park City, Utah. Each summer, I do on average four golf schools. The schools are three days, with 18 holes of golf each day and a maximum three-to-one student teacher ratio. This past summer, I partnered with short game legend Stan Utley and put on two short game only schools in Park City. This was as much of a learning experience for me as it was for any of my students and it got me thinking about a lot of the areas of the short game that may be costing a player strokes.

One of the things I kept circling back to was lie. The lie on a player’s wedge has a tremendous impact on distance control, spin, and consistency. We can all agree a club which is too upright for a player will launch the ball left and produce a left axis tilt on the ball (this is assuming center contact and a zero club path). Conversely, a club with is too flat will launch the ball right and produce a right axis tilt on the ball (this is again assuming center contact at zero club path). The question becomes, what impact does lie have around the greens?

It’s true we encounter a wide variety of scenarios when missing the green. The ball could be buried in the rough, fried egg in a bunker, or sitting pretty on the fringe. You could have grass growing into you, away from you, or a ball sitting up on top of the grass as if it’s on a tee. When you introduce the need to use the club’s bounce or open the face to add loft, the actual lie on the wedge becomes even more paramount.

Overall, you always want to err on the side of the wedge being too flat versus upright. Typically, 1 to 1.5 degrees flatter. When you start accounting for all the greenside situations, a club that is too upright is going to by grabbed quicker by longer grass, sand, or firm ground. In longer grass, you’ll have increased difficulty controlling the distance and how the ball comes out. In the bunkers, a club that is too upright will heel dig, making it almost impossible to generate high rates of spin and friction.

The moral of the story is to pay attention to your wedges around the green and consider tweaking them a little flatter than the rest of your set. You’ll better be able to utilize the bounce, giving you more versatility. This little change can have a dramatic impact.





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