Choose your lofts wisely

Choose your lofts wisely

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Your new-rule wedge set: Add a 64° x-wedge [far left] to the rest.
Leonard Kamsler

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.

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