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Dumping My 3 Wood for a 4th Wedge: Crazy or Genius?

BigJim13

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Aug 13, 2006
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You should spend more time at the range with two wedges and more time putting instead of thinking of things like this.

Keep your 3 wood. You'll need it for those days when the driver goes south.

Drop one wedge and carry two. Then pick up a 5 or 7 wood instead.

You can do more with a 53* and a 58* wedge than you can deciding over 3 different wedges that are seperated by 4 yards.

R35

Normally I would agree with this wholeheartedly, but Jayhawk is making some good arguments for 4 wedges. Personally I think thats just way to much to try to make a decision, i have since added a gap wedge though and like it well enough.

On another note, I dont think Tiger carries more than a sand and lob wedge, unless you count the PW. I could be wrong though.
 

Pa Jayhawk

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On another note, I dont think Tiger carries more than a sand and lob wedge, unless you count the PW. I could be wrong though.
I guess it would be a matter of what I interpreted it to mean. Actually, if not counting the PW, I would likely agree that most carry only 2, including the others I mentioned in my prior post. Actually Phil may be one of the few that carries 3 wedges other than the PW at times. I also doubt I would argue to much that one should carry a Lob Wedge. Although it is invaluable for me, and specifically on my home course, you do need to learn when not to use it or it will cost you strokes IMO. You also need to have a great feel for a LW, which I feel I do. My old LW, which was lighter, was very costly to me and I took it out of my bag for several years until I moved up here.

As far as a PW, GW, and SW. I would be a fool not to carry all three. I would likely drop any club in my bag other than my putter, prior to leaving my GW out. If I had to give up one of the 3 it would likely be my PW. In the end though, I do use my LW more than a 3w or a 5i. If I play safe, I would likely opt for my 2i rescue over my 3w. My driver is more consistent than my 3w. I hit my choked down 4i as well as a 5i in most cases, so I would likely go without a 3w and 5i prior to giving up my LW. Although I will be reshafting my 3w this winter. I do agree the LW cost me alot of strokes in the beginning, although it rarely does anymore and I opt for it from in between 25 and 75 yards more than any other club on my home course which has small greens. I can simply throw darts with this club within those distances, and the way I play, I find myself in those distances alot. I think someone who plays to a single digit may have a hard time understanding the frustration of a 40-50 yard shot, as it is unlikely they find themselves in that position often. For me it is not a matter of bad course managed, but instead poor ball striking that I find myself in that position. Although with the confidence I now have in my LW, it is not something I dread.
 

Pa Jayhawk

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Here is an all to common shot on my home course. That is a postage stamp green up there where if your ball does not stop, you will face the same shot again if you hit any of the 75% that is surrounded by that hill. Tell me how to hit a SW with bounce off the faiway and stop it on that green, and I would consider it. I know if I practice and practice I can do it by generating alot of spin or flopping the ball, but my LW will likely require less practice.
 

Pa Jayhawk

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FYI, Here is the approach to that green, so if you do not crush a driver take a look at that tree and tell me how you will play it up. I guess you could chip up 25-40 yards to the 100 yard mark, and pray you hit a solid wedge to the green, or you can take a chance on the hill. On a bad tee shot, you have to play up and hope you take the tree out of play. That is the 150 yard mark in the fairway. So you can commonly get it to 140-150, but this is your view. This is not from the tee, but simply the normal line to the green. The first picture is from the bottom and that is the shadow of the tree.

Edit 1 - Plays 352 from the whites. If you are to far left, or outside of maybe 110 yards you get the tree. Trees and bunkers line the right side of the fairway, so it is not an easy tee shot to give you and easy shot at the green.
 

BigJim13

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I guess it would be a matter of what I interpreted it to mean. Actually, if not counting the PW, I would likely agree that most carry only 2, including the others I mentioned in my prior post. Actually Phil may be one of the few that carries 3 wedges other than the PW at times. I also doubt I would argue to much that one should carry a Lob Wedge. Although it is invaluable for me, and specifically on my home course, you do need to learn when not to use it or it will cost you strokes IMO. You also need to have a great feel for a LW, which I feel I do. My old LW, which was lighter, was very costly to me and I took it out of my bag for several years until I moved up here.

I agree that the LW can be quite useful, the thing is is that it takes alot of practice with it to get comfortable with it. I definitely lost a few shots with it but have since gained some confidence with it. I did add a GW to and found it to be more versatile than you would imagine. I can actually hit a flop shot of sorts with it...i guess it all depends on the course you play. If you play one like the one in the pics, than a LW wouldnt be such a bad thing...to each his own...
 

LyleG

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Aug 10, 2006
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I carry a 54 degree SW, with 8 degrees of bounce. Good off tight lies and out of the rough, actually its good from almost anywhere. I also carry a 60 LW with 8 degrees of bounce (wanted 6 but couldnt find one available in LH). My course is very hilly around the greens (small, smaller and smallest) with tight lies, and very firm sand traps. Low bounce and high loft makes these shots much, much easier.

At the end of the day, to each thier own. Just hit what works as the outcome is all that matters.
 

BigJim13

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Low bounce and high loft makes these shots much, much easier.

quote]

Agreed, i have found that regardless of Loft, the amount of bounce is almost more important. I like low bounce, 6-8*. WIth a low bounce angle I found that a 56* wedge opened up is almost as good as a LW...
 

demon

Hybrids are for girls
Oct 29, 2006
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FYI, Here is the approach to that green, so if you do not crush a driver take a look at that tree and tell me how you will play it up. I guess you could chip up 25-40 yards to the 100 yard mark, and pray you hit a solid wedge to the green, or you can take a chance on the hill. On a bad tee shot, you have to play up and hope you take the tree out of play. That is the 150 yard mark in the fairway. So you can commonly get it to 140-150, but this is your view. This is not from the tee, but simply the normal line to the green. The first picture is from the bottom and that is the shadow of the tree.

Edit 1 - Plays 352 from the whites. If you are to far left, or outside of maybe 110 yards you get the tree. Trees and bunkers line the right side of the fairway, so it is not an easy tee shot to give you and easy shot at the green.
I would play this hole right down the center with a 2 Iron (250 yards) off the tee, then pull out the 60* and sky it.
 

JoshinWA

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Aug 31, 2006
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Just thinking about loft diffs between the clubs, if your PW is 45deg (or even 49deg) and your next wedge is 58deg, that is between 9 and 13 deg gap, which is huge. Typical gap between irons is 4deg for about a 10 yard distance diff., so if you have a 2-3x gap, you are looking at 20+ yards between the wedges. The only way I can see getting around this is if you put in a lot of time at the range practicing shorter swings, opening up face, etc. The other thing to consider if the sand wedge bounce, as has been mentioned. If you have a high bounce SW, you will have a lot of problems hitting from fairway/tight lies... I plan to have at least 3 wedges, and maybe 4. Otherwise, I will have to work on dif. swing lengths and gripping down to shorten additionally...

Just my 2cents, which is barely worth a peso :emot-ange
 

Pa Jayhawk

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Low bounce and high loft makes these shots much, much easier.

Agreed, i have found that regardless of Loft, the amount of bounce is almost more important. I like low bounce, 6-8*. WIth a low bounce angle I found that a 56* wedge opened up is almost as good as a LW...
My old LW was a death trap because of the bounce, and the main reason it came out of my bag and I did not even consider another until I moved up here. The bounce would cause it to bounce off the fairway and blade the ball in many cases. It was also way too light. After moving up here, I ground down the bounce to see what it would do and got O.K. results, enough so that I would reconsider getting one. I picked up a heavier 8* model, as I too could not find any lower in the stores. I also went with Ping Tour's as it was visually less than the 8* bounce on the Cleveland 588's, which was in fact my first choice. 8* is nice for a 60*, I would likely not play any more of a bounce on a LW.
 

Pa Jayhawk

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I would play this hole right down the center with a 2 Iron (250 yards) off the tee, then pull out the 60* and sky it.
I would love to be able to hit any club consistently 250 yards down the fairway. Unfortunately my driver is not always consistently the 265 yards I can hit it on a good shot.

250 is about what you need to be able to hit any kind of club over that tree. Although if you are 250 down the right side you have a clear shot at the green. Unfortunatly I am usually about 230 and right behind the tree which gives me a shot that plays more like 140, trying to hook it around the tree and still hold the green which is not an easy task. Slamming it into the top bank and trying to run it up the hill with a hybrid is sometimes a better option. I would say well over 1/2 the golfers end up at the bottom of the hill on their second shot.
 

BigJim13

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My old LW was a death trap because of the bounce, and the main reason it came out of my bag and I did not even consider another until I moved up here. The bounce would cause it to bounce off the fairway and blade the ball in many cases. It was also way too light. After moving up here, I ground down the bounce to see what it would do and got O.K. results, enough so that I would reconsider getting one. I picked up a heavier 8* model, as I too could not find any lower in the stores. I also went with Ping Tour's as it was visually less than the 8* bounce on the Cleveland 588's, which was in fact my first choice. 8* is nice for a 60*, I would likely not play any more of a bounce on a LW.

I had an old Nike SW that had like 16* of bounce on it, just crazy, i bladed so many shots it wasnt funny. As soon as i got enough to get a new wedge, i got a 56* with one dot (Cleveland CG10) i think thats 8* of bounce.

What did you do to grind off bounce? what did you use? just curious...
 

ezra76

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Feb 5, 2006
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The thing that thows it all out of whack is the PW's being made these days. I have a set of players cavities and still the PW is 47* and a bit clunky. Some of these game improvements are down to 44-45*, that's 9iron. I've noticed the gap between my 50 and 54 is not all that much. I could probably just go 52 and 56 or 57. Actually bending the 58-08 to a 57-07 would not be a bad idea. I hate a lot of bounce.
 

BigJim13

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The thing that thows it all out of whack is the PW's being made these days. I have a set of players cavities and still the PW is 47* and a bit clunky. Some of these game improvements are down to 44-45*, that's 9iron. I've noticed the gap between my 50 and 54 is not all that much. I could probably just go 52 and 56 or 57. Actually bending the 58-08 to a 57-07 would not be a bad idea. I hate a lot of bounce.

You have hit the nail on the head with that. I mean my Hogan PW is 46, and every Hogan PW except for the blades is 46*. MOst Mizuno cavity PW's (meaning Mp-60, Mx series) is at highest 47*. You wonder why most people cant hit a 3 iron? Its because it has roughly the same loft as some older 1 + 2 irons. So in reality my gap wedge is really a PW, its just not called a PW anymore....
 

JoshinWA

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Aug 31, 2006
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The thing that thows it all out of whack is the PW's being made these days. I have a set of players cavities and still the PW is 47* and a bit clunky. Some of these game improvements are down to 44-45*, that's 9iron.

Yeah, this is what Wishon calls "Vanishing loft disease". He shows a great chart in the "Search for the Perfect Golf Club" in which you can see that a 3i in today's set is similar in loft to a 2i or even 1i of the 60s/70s. This is part of the reason that long irons are no easier to hit now with all the "great technology", and it also explains why the Gap Wedge came into existence (SW loft didn't change much, usually around 56-58 deg, PW loft decreased to around 47deg, so now need ~52-54 deg GW)...

Also, this explains some of the claims of "longest hitting irons ever"... Marketing gimmick, distance increases due to stronger lofts... Sorry, long hitters that think that you picked up 20 yards with the new set vs. the older set -- it is likely due to the loft dif, not your "increased strength" or "technology".
 

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