[Series] How to set up a Wedge shot – Lob or Sand?

When you’re playing on the green you’ll often need the wedge shot, which is why it’s so important that you learn how to get it right. When setting up for the wedge shot on the practice range, you’ll need an extra club while you’re setting up as well as your wedge. When it comes to your ball position and grip we’ll get to that later. Right now we’re just going to concentrate on setting up. It doesn’t matter which club you use as the extra. So before learning anything new, you’ll need to know exactly what’s going on with your wedge.

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Lob or Sand?

There’s also a good possibility you’re not using the right wedge. Knowing you’ve pulled the right club might seem instinctive but there are often times when you’ll see a significant improvement in performance just by changing wedges. It’s a common misconception that you’ll likely only ever need a sand wedge. If you don’t have a lob wedge don’t worry but it’s a good idea to look at getting one as it can make a difference in just how close your ball can get to the hole.

You can “cheat” by opening the face of your sand wedge to play like it’s a lob wedge, with a little forgiveness and bounce, but it’s not ideal. Just as you can use a 7-iron instead of an open-faced 5 from 140 yards it doesn’t mean you should. It’s easier to hit the ball more accurately with a club that is square-faced. Successful wedge shots are about 75% face and only 25% direction of the head, but your shot can vary anywhere between 15-30% head direction and still be successful.

Lob wedges are easier to use when it comes to a higher trajectory because of their loft. Most successful wedge shots rely on a low trajectory which is why the lob wedge isn’t a club many bother with. However, if you want to be able to take a wedge shot over a higher obstacle, tucked pins, or on a super-fast green then you’ll need a club that can get you the height needed.

If you’re a high-handicapper you’re probably thinking pish. The fact is that even with a high handicap you’ll still need a lob wedge. If you’re missing a lot of greens you need this club. Even professionals need a lob wedge to hit high shots that have sufficient backspin to stop near the hole. If you need a shot that is high but soft use a lob wedge. Everyone that wants to master the wedge shot needs a lob wedge as well as a sand wedge.

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Don’t be afraid to use your irons on a play that needs a bigger loft. Most irons have a lot more loft than wedges and this can mean you’ll get a higher shot without all the distance if you’re still using the mechanics of a wedge shot.

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