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

Rockford35

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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.

He doesn't. And neither does Annika.

If you hit your PW 160 yards, that would make more sense to spread out your wedge gaps. But if you hit it 125, you're just increasing the overlap.

I play a low bounce 53* that I play about 110 max and a low bounce 60* that I can hit about 70 yards and that I can open up for a flop. I really can't see any need for anything beyond that. I had a 56, never used it. I rarely use my PW at any time. It's easily the least used club in my bag, even less so than my 3 or 4 iron.

R35
 

ezra76

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Feb 5, 2006
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Tiger is also playing a blade PW, probably 48*. I know there was a big difference when I had the 690MB's, no need for a GW. I've got a Miura combo set on the brain now. Thanks a lot guys.
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Pa Jayhawk

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He doesn't. And neither does Annika.
Interestingly enough, you will also find it is the LW, and not the GW that is the prefered extra wedge of most pros, which leads me to the next comment.
If you hit your PW 160 yards, that would make more sense to spread out your wedge gaps. But if you hit it 125, you're just increasing the overlap.
I think we are losing site of the difference between "short game" and "Short Irons" here as well. I think refering to the distance gap is ignoring the value of wedges for a large part of their intended use. Granted, I only have a 10 yard gap between my pw, gw, and Sw. It does fit its name in simply giving me another iron. But my chipping and sand game would be in the tank if not for my GW, and sometimes my LW. I also play alot of bunkers that are not real fluffy, and my SW is not the ideal sand club because of the bounce. My gap wedge is by far my ideal chipping club, again small, faster running greens, and is ideal for harder greenside bunkers where I still need to carry the ball a ways. I will use anything from a LW to a hybrid. On bigger greens I like chipping with an 8i, but do not usually have that luxury. Granted, you can practice with a SW or PW for the same result, but it is limiting my options and again taking away from the scoring part of my game. I hit 3.5 greens per round, that translates to alot of chipping. I even find value in the LW for longer flying chips, and can generate better spin. And cutting through horrendous tall crap and getting the ball back into play. Putting this into perspective of how far the club can be hit is simply ignoring the fact of what the club was designed to do. Personally I never take a full swing with a LW, as that is asking for trouble, and my GW is likely the second most used club in my bag, even though I likely only take a full swing with maybe a couple times a round. If I could hit as many greens as many of the better players I would have little use for a GW or LW, but as a 20 handicap, this is not the case. Personally I see less value in a variety of wedges for a single digit handicap that likely hits half the greens, and puts their ball within a couple yards of their intended target. If not for the pros playing out of 3 inch rough and garbage around the green, I think it is unlikely any would even have a need for anything more than a SW. For me a 3w, and even my 5i serve only one real purpose, and the reason one will likely be on the side for all my rounds, my wedges just provide much more use and are much easier to master IMO. In the same sense, it requires very little athletic ability to sink a 30 foot chip or putt, and probably the reason I will continue to concentrate on that aspect. In the same sense, if I hit the ball like Phil, I would likely better understand why he felt the need to carry 2 drivers
 
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All i can say is i wouldent want to play a round without my GW. I use it often from the fairways, and often around the greens.

It's a scoring must for me.
 

Pa Jayhawk

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I play a low bounce 53* that I play about 110 max and a low bounce 60* that I can hit about 70 yards and that I can open up for a flop. I really can't see any need for anything beyond that. I had a 56, never used it. I rarely use my PW at any time. It's easily the least used club in my bag, even less so than my 3 or 4 iron.

R35
Just one question on this. If you played out of the sand as most mid to high handicap do, and had a problem hitting out of fluffy sand as many mid to high handicaps do, which of your two wedges would you give up to add the required higher bounce model? And at what expense to your game?
 

BigJim13

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Aug 13, 2006
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Interestingly enough, you will also find it is the LW, and not the GW that is the prefered extra wedge of most pros, which leads me to the next comment.

I think we are losing site of the difference between "short game" and "Short Irons" here as well. I think refering to the distance gap is ignoring the value of wedges for a large part of their intended use. Granted, I only have a 10 yard gap between my pw, gw, and Sw. It does fit its name in simply giving me another iron. But my chipping and sand game would be in the tank if not for my GW, and sometimes my LW. I also play alot of bunkers that are not real fluffy, and my SW is not the ideal sand club because of the bounce. My gap wedge is by far my ideal chipping club, again small, faster running greens, and is ideal for harder greenside bunkers where I still need to carry the ball a ways. I will use anything from a LW to a hybrid. On bigger greens I like chipping with an 8i, but do not usually have that luxury. Granted, you can practice with a SW or PW for the same result, but it is limiting my options and again taking away from the scoring part of my game. I hit 3.5 greens per round, that translates to alot of chipping. I even find value in the LW for longer flying chips, and can generate better spin. And cutting through horrendous tall crap and getting the ball back into play. Putting this into perspective of how far the club can be hit is simply ignoring the fact of what the club was designed to do. Personally I never take a full swing with a LW, as that is asking for trouble, and my GW is likely the second most used club in my bag, even though I likely only take a full swing with maybe a couple times a round. If I could hit as many greens as many of the better players I would have little use for a GW or LW, but as a 20 handicap, this is not the case. Personally I see less value in a variety of wedges for a single digit handicap that likely hits half the greens, and puts their ball within a couple yards of their intended target. If not for the pros playing out of 3 inch rough and garbage around the green, I think it is unlikely any would even have a need for anything more than a SW. For me a 3w, and even my 5i serve only one real purpose, and the reason one will likely be on the side for all my rounds, my wedges just provide much more use and are much easier to master IMO. In the same sense, it requires very little athletic ability to sink a 30 foot chip or putt, and probably the reason I will continue to concentrate on that aspect. In the same sense, if I hit the ball like Phil, I would likely better understand why he felt the need to carry 2 drivers

Jeez, there you go making sense again...

Anyway I couldnt agree more, I currently carry a gap, sand and LW along with my PW of course. The Sand wedge isnt good more shots much more than 90yds for me. I dont know why and dont understand it since i see pros avg around 100yds and most can hit it 130 if need. If i swing as hard as i can it just goes higher and shorter. Thats why i bought the gap, so i have a club for the 100-115 range. The LW doesnt come out of the bag until I am at least 50yds from the green, since i can't seem to hit a full shot with this club more than 50yds. I do however do a lot of chipping with it...I guess my point is this, I dont hit my wedges a mile like some, they are for accuracy and I am comfortable hitting at least 3-4 different shots with all my wedges. As soon as i Learned to do that, my short game got noticeably better...
 

cypressperch

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Jun 24, 2006
681
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Toledo Bend Lake, Louisiana
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The last thing you want to consider is putting

the clubs in your bag that YOU think are best for YOUR game. WE are here to help you solve your problems. Just kidding, of course. I personally believe that narrowing all the possibilities down to the required 14 clubs is one of the hardest aspects of this game. From all the responses, it is obvious that each game is different and will require a different answer. I am not sure if you want a new approach or just confirmation of what you may have already decided. Nothing wrong with that. Recently, I wanted confirmation of my preference of Titleist irons over Mizuno, and surprisingly I allowed my mind to open a tad, and dang if I haven't ordered the MP-67's! But I do believe my final decision is a good one.

Certainly, the pitching wedge is a wedge. Somewhere along the line, we have been taught that a sand wedge is a must have club and that a 56* wedge is the ultimate sand wedge. Also, the sand wedge needs a lot of bounce. Then we have been told that the lob wedge is a must have club and it should have less bounce. And now, good grief, we must have a gap wedge! Does anyone remember the Dual Wedge which was a pitching wedge-sand wedge all in one club? You had to do stuff like that if you were going to carry a two iron and a two wood and perhaps a one iron. Now we have hybrids! Getting pretty hard to choose again.

I think a pitching wedge needs about 48* or so of loft. If you go from there to a 53 or 54* lofted wedge, the gap is not such that a gap wedge is really necessary. If you go from there to a 58* wedge, again there is no really large gap. You do not have a 60* wedge, but so what? It is somewhat easier to hit full shots with a 58* than a 60* wedge. Also, if your shaft is close to vertical at impact with the 58*, it is going to be a very high, soft-landing shot. Controlling the angle of the shaft at impact is not that hard a skill to get comfortable with. Also, concerning that nice hole that went uphill to a small green. That slope will turn a 58* wedge into way over a 60* wedge, and I seriously doubt if a lot of loft is a major factor.

On some courses, it would make more sense to leave the driver out than to leave out the three wood. I understand those of you who have more confidence in a hybrid, and the hybrid gets pretty good distance. If you follow that logic completely, then you might want to leave out both the driver and the three wood. This might be exactly what a person should do, if they are certain that they will never be able to hit a driver and/or a three wood as consistently well as the hybrid. Two hundred yards in the fairway IS better than 275 in the hazard, trees, or OB. Having said this, if you go down such a path, you will never have the experience of hitting great shots with the driver which is one of the great things about this game. Without the three wood and driver, there goes the eagles on par fives. Distance is over-rated, but the other extreme does exist and that is to under-rate distance. Also, anyone who wants to play golf, with practice, can hit any club that is available. I am no divinity, but I have been known to hit a one iron, and 2 irons are even easier. (Yes, I have gone to a hybrid over the two and three irons. My point is that we need to have more confidence in ourselves because we can hit drivers and three woods and our lowest potential scores will require those two clubs.)

For those who have trouble with the driver, try one with more loft.

I would recommend Driver and three wood at one end and three wedges on the other end, fairly evenly spaces according to loft and with a moderate amount of bounce if we are going to go with the same clubs to different courses with different conditions, especially turf conditions.

In between, I would have at least one hybrid. The main thing about a hybrid to me is that somehow you can control how far you hit them more easily than with a wood or an iron.

The best of luck to you with your game and your decisions. Sincerely, Cypressperch
 

cypressperch

Well-Known Member
Jun 24, 2006
681
3
Toledo Bend Lake, Louisiana
Country
United States United States
The last thing you want to consider is putting

the clubs in your bag that YOU think are best for YOUR game. WE are here to help you solve your problems. Just kidding, of course. I personally believe that narrowing all the possibilities down to the required 14 clubs is one of the hardest aspects of this game. From all the responses, it is obvious that each game is different and will require a different answer. I am not sure if you want a new approach or just confirmation of what you may have already decided. Nothing wrong with that. Recently, I wanted confirmation of my preference of Titleist irons over Mizuno, and surprisingly I allowed my mind to open a tad, and dang if I haven't ordered the MP-67's! But I do believe my final decision is a good one.

Certainly, the pitching wedge is a wedge. Somewhere along the line, we have been taught that a sand wedge is a must have club and that a 56* wedge is the ultimate sand wedge. Also, the sand wedge needs a lot of bounce. Then we have been told that the lob wedge is a must have club and it should have less bounce. And now, good grief, we must have a gap wedge! Does anyone remember the Dual Wedge which was a pitching wedge-sand wedge all in one club? You had to do stuff like that if you were going to carry a two iron and a two wood and perhaps a one iron. Now we have hybrids! Getting pretty hard to choose again.

I think a pitching wedge needs about 48* or so of loft. If you go from there to a 53 or 54* lofted wedge, the gap is not such that a gap wedge is really necessary. If you go from there to a 58* wedge, again there is no really large gap. You do not have a 60* wedge, but so what? It is somewhat easier to hit full shots with a 58* than a 60* wedge. Also, if your shaft is close to vertical at impact with the 58*, it is going to be a very high, soft-landing shot. Controlling the angle of the shaft at impact is not that hard a skill to get comfortable with. Also, concerning that nice hole that went uphill to a small green. That slope will turn a 58* wedge into way over a 60* wedge, and I seriously doubt if a lot of loft is a major factor.

On some courses, it would make more sense to leave the driver out than to leave out the three wood. I understand those of you who have more confidence in a hybrid, and the hybrid gets pretty good distance. If you follow that logic completely, then you might want to leave out both the driver and the three wood. This might be exactly what a person should do, if they are certain that they will never be able to hit a driver and/or a three wood as consistently well as the hybrid. Two hundred yards in the fairway IS better than 275 in the hazard, trees, or OB. Having said this, if you go down such a path, you will never have the experience of hitting great shots with the driver which is one of the great things about this game. Without the three wood and driver, there goes the eagles on par fives. Distance is over-rated, but the other extreme does exist and that is to under-rate distance. Also, anyone who wants to play golf, with practice, can hit any club that is available. I am no divinity, but I have been known to hit a one iron, and 2 irons are even easier. (Yes, I have gone to a hybrid over the two and three irons. My point is that we need to have more confidence in ourselves because we can hit drivers and three woods and our lowest potential scores will require those two clubs.)

For those who have trouble with the driver, try one with more loft.

I would recommend Driver and three wood at one end and three wedges on the other end, fairly evenly spaces according to loft and with a moderate amount of bounce if we are going to go with the same clubs to different courses with different conditions, especially turf conditions.

In between, I would have at least one hybrid. The main thing about a hybrid to me is that somehow you can control how far you hit them more easily than with a wood or an iron.

The best of luck to you with your game and your decisions. Sincerely, Cypressperch
 

HighTopFade

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Sep 1, 2006
520
12
I use a 48 degree pitching wedge and use a 54 which fills in the gap 6 degrees between my pitching wedge and my lob. I can totally understand if someone with a 45 degree pitching wedge wanted to close the gaps.

Like Phil Mickelson on the final round of the US Open. He had four wedges and sacrificed his 3 wood.
 

BigJim13

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Aug 13, 2006
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Like Phil Mickelson on the final round of the US Open. He had four wedges and sacrificed his 3 wood.

Yeah, and that worked out well for him...LOL. Where did he go after the us open anyway?
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Rockford35

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Just one question on this. If you played out of the sand as most mid to high handicap do, and had a problem hitting out of fluffy sand as many mid to high handicaps do, which of your two wedges would you give up to add the required higher bounce model? And at what expense to your game?

60* lob wedge, no question. I've reiterated that it's worth 4 shots a round to a mid/high handicapper that doesn't practice with it enough. Most guys "think" they can hit it, but I'd be willing to place a bet that in most cases a bump and run 8 iron would get them up and down more efficiently.

Two (or one, in the case of your question) would allow me to spend more time hitting my 4,5,6,7 and 8 irons more at the range and keeping the ball out of the sand in the first place.

Isn't the source of the problem of being in the sand more important to your short game initially? I mean, some guys can't hit the ball worth a damn and it makes sense for them to carry as many weapons to help them out of the shit they get into. But if alot of them quit pissing around with 3 or 4 wedges, mastered one or two and then practiced more, it'd be worth their time.

R35
 

Pa Jayhawk

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Nov 15, 2005
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60* lob wedge, no question. I've reiterated that it's worth 4 shots a round to a mid/high handicapper that doesn't practice with it enough. Most guys "think" they can hit it, but I'd be willing to place a bet that in most cases a bump and run 8 iron would get them up and down more efficiently.

Two (or one, in the case of your question) would allow me to spend more time hitting my 4,5,6,7 and 8 irons more at the range and keeping the ball out of the sand in the first place.

Isn't the source of the problem of being in the sand more important to your short game initially? I mean, some guys can't hit the ball worth a damn and it makes sense for them to carry as many weapons to help them out of the shit they get into. But if alot of them quit pissing around with 3 or 4 wedges, mastered one or two and then practiced more, it'd be worth their time.

R35
Makes sense to a degree. Although on alot of courses, bump and runs are not options, I would side that if it is then it is likely the better option. It was my go to shot in my old area, unfortunately more times than not it is not an option up here. I think the part that gets me the most is that the use of wedges regarding the handicap, you are talking about clubs that do not require athletic ability, require far less fundamentally sound talent or practice to use or control than a full swing, yet many feel they are condusive to lower handicaps, which makes little sense to me. It seems as though it has gone from this being the case with a LW, to this being the case with anything more than 2 wedges. To me it is far easier to use clubs that do not require fundamentally sound athletic ability. Probably why I am better at short game.

You are limited by the space between your ears, and as I have always said, you need to know when not to use the club. In the same sense I agree, you need to know how to stay out of bunkers. This is a mental talent, and yet another aspect of the game that may be seperater from handicap. I am not a terrible sand player, but I know that in most cases I would rather be faced with a long putt at the expense of finding myself in the sand. Again, this the mental side of the game which you can control. Being able to hit the ball worth a damn is a talent I have found difficult to master in this game. So just because I know I don't want to be in the sand and try to avoid it, doesn't mean I will not end up there simply because of my ball striking. I find it much easier to master the creative and mental aspects of the game, which to me comes with less skill requirement and practice. To me it is all about feel, and it would seem you are saying that to have a feel for this game you need to have a low handicap. To me, to be able to hit a ball 300 yards down the fairway, and reach par 5's in two you likely have good fundamentals and a lower handicap. I would concur that you are certainly a better golfer than I, but I would be the first to question if you were to say in having a lower handicap, you could chip, putt, hit a flop shot, or even get closer to the pin within 75 yards of the green in any given circumstance. I think you would find us to be pretty evenly matched. I would further venture to say because of my naturally ability to put myself in bad situations because of my ball striking, I have far more practice. Having time to go to the range and greens to practice is nice, I haven't been to a driving range all year, they just have lousy practice facilities in this area, but having to do so on the course day after day because I did not go to the driving range is no less practice than what I give my driver. Short game is much easier and convenient to practice and see results. In the years I have been doing so I can say I have certainly better mastered my 4 wedges than I have my driver and 3w. Actually a big reason my 3w is now out of my bag is it would end in a penalty 50% of the time over the last 2 years. Law of averages tell me any of my 4 wedges are more dependable.

I certainly agree with the just of your comments, knowing what clubs cost you strokes, and getting them out of your bag is a big part of scoring well. I just think that this is dependant on the golfer, regardless of handicap. For me it is my 3w, followed by my 5i. I just use other things to accomplish those options with less chance of penalty, like a choked down 4i. In the same way you manipulate a wedge to give you the results of a 56* wedge.
 

Pa Jayhawk

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.... thinking even more about this from recent experience, I can not even remember all the times I have holed shots with my wedges in one way or another. It took me almost 6 years to do so with an iron, and did so for the first time yesterday. Really makes the game worth coming back, probably just different aspects of what makes the game fun.
 

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