Question: I carry only two wedges – a pitching wedge and a sand wedge. That’s probably not enough. Any advice on what the proper wedge setup is for a middle-handicapper?

Answer: Wedges are a complicated but important part of your overall set make-up. You want to get it right, but there’s a lot to consider, including how many wedges to carry, the proper loft gaps between those wedges, deciding whether to use a pitching or gap wedge that matches your irons or your sand and/or lob wedge, figuring out the bounce, lie and grind options best suited for your type of swing, etc.

Everything you need to know about wedge lofts

Let’s start with the number of wedges. If you’re not carrying at least four different wedges, you should consider adding some. Most everyday players don’t hit very many greens in regulation. This means you’re using a wedge of some sort on nearly every hole. Having options for those type of shots can be useful. This might involve adding a gap wedge or two (often the club or clubs between your pitching wedge and highest lofted wedge). These clubs are typically used as full swing clubs as well as for chipping in some circumstances. A complete wedge set for an average player likely would include a pitching wedge (45 or 46 degrees), a 50-degree wedge, a 54 or 55-degree wedge and a 58 or 60-degree wedge. This setup covers you from short range to greenside for any type of shot.

The truth about wedge bounce is staring you in the face

A quality clubfitting can really help golfers with their wedge setup. “I fit people all the time who have non-standard length and lie angles in their irons but buy wedges off the rack,” says Scott Felix of Felix Clubworks in Tennessee. “For becoming consistent through the bag, this makes no sense.” If you don’t have access to a quality fitter, several of the larger equipment companies have online fitting tools to get you as close as possible to the proper fit and help you navigate the loft/bounce/grind options.

Bounce is another key part of the wedge equation: nine out of 10 golfers don’t use enough bounce, he says. Golfer swing types tend to fall into one of three buckets: 1) There’s the digger who is steep and aggressive in the downswing – somebody who takes a big divot. This describes many everyday players who need wedges with a lot of bounce (10 degrees or more) even on a higher degree wedge like a 60-degree. 2) The sweeper is somebody who really picks or sweeps the ball off the turf. This person needs a wedge with a low amount of bounce (4 to 6 degrees) because it allows the club to get down into the ball so that the person makes better contact. 3) The slider is between the other two. This type of golfer takes more of a $10 note-type divot and might mis-hit thin or fat. A moderate bounce angle in the 7 to 10-degree range is typically best. For a full rundown on bounce, click here.

Grind vs Bounce: A pair of important wedge concepts, explained

Finally, don’t neglect you’re the shaft choice. “Most players benefit from heavier shafts in their wedges,” Felix says. “This helps provide more control. You want to reduce the role of the hands on these kind of shots. It’s like a counter-balanced putter – the more weight, the less chance a golfer can fudge it up.”

Isn’t that the entire point of wedge play?