Your new-rule wedge set: Add a 64° x-wedge [far left] to the rest.
Leonard Kamsler
By Dave Pelz
Tuesday, January 26, 2010

If you're going to use new wedges this year that conform to the new USGA groove rules (as all PGA Tour pros must do), you're surely going to have trouble stopping your wedge shots on the greens. This is because wedges with the new-rule grooves will give you about 50 percent less backspin compared to your old wedges for shots hit from the rough, and about 20 percent less spin on fairway shots. (I say this assuming your new wedges will have the same loft angles as your old wedges.) The bottom line is this: If you want to have success around the greens, you'd better go out and get a new, higher-lofted wedge.

My advice is based on the fact that if you hit shots into greens on your normal trajectories, but give them 50 percent less backspin, there's no way they're going to stop before they roll over and off the green. The only way to stop these low-backspin shots near the pin is to bring them into the green on higher and softer trajectories than you're used to producing. And there are only two ways to hit higher and softer wedge shots: 1) open the faces of your current wedges and hit a flop/cut shot, or 2) get wedges with higher lofts. It's easier to hit shots straight and control the distance with a square clubface than it is with an open-faced cut swing, and thus my recommendation for your new high-lofted wedge.

Here are the four wedge lofts [see photo] I recommend that you carry this year: Extra-loft (XW) 64˚, Lob (LW) 60˚, Sand (SW) 55˚ and Pitching (PW) 49˚. Almost half of the PGA Tour pros carried a 64-degree wedge last year, and I'm sure even more will carry them this year (they're going to suffer from the loss of backspin just like you). And please, before you say you can't hit a wedge with that much loft, just try it with an accelerating swing through impact. It's a lot easier than constantly playing open-faced flop shots.\n

Twitter: dave_pelz

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