Having the correct wedge in your bag is clearly important, but here we will look at one aspect that is sometimes overlooked.
Sure, you may spend time thinking about the brand, the grip, where the center of gravity lies, and how easy it is to control the shot. But what about the degree?
In this instance, we will compare the 56 degree against the 60 degree wedge. The reason? To help you decide which version is best for your game.
So, let’s check them out.
The Role of the Wedge
First, let’s go over the role of the wedge.
This club is used for those short approach shots to either get the ball on the green, or to get yourself out of trouble. They have the highest loft angles of all clubs along with the shortest shaft and the heaviest weighted club head.
They help with accuracy and offering you greater control over your shot. The aim is to get height on the shot rather than distance, so you won’t be knocking a lot of yardage out of this club.
The difficulty is the fact that several wedges exist, and they all come with different degrees of loft. Not only that, but the design of the club head is very specific. You can have a pitching wedge, gap wedge, sand wedge and lob wedge.
With the range of wedges, the sole is designed in such a way to allow the club head to move with ease through sand or the rough. It glides through allowing you to make a clean connection.
The loft is also important. It gets the face of the club under the ball getting it up into the air almost immediately. That’s why a wedge is so adept at getting you out of trouble.
However, you still need to know which one to use. In this instance, we plan on looking at two suggestions. The 56 degree wedge, and the 60 degree wedge.
The 56 Degree Wedge
So, what about the 56 degree wedge? Well, it clearly has 4 degrees less loft than the 60 degree version, but it has a very clear role to play in and around the green.
A 56 degree wedge is also known as a sand wedge. It’s capable of getting the ball high up in the air in little time while it also tends to lead to the ball having something of a soft landing. However, it also uses something called bounce, but more of that later.
The way in which it can get the ball up off the ground makes it perfect for bunker shots, hence it being the sand wedge, while you will find it can make a difference when in the rough around the green.
When it comes to a distance, this club can work for around 60 yards while some can push that up to 80 yards. It also means this sand wedge works well for bunkers set back from the green and where you need that extra bit of distance to your shot.
Typically, this wedge has the widest sole of all the wedges. This helps it to create more bounce and this means it glides through the top of the sand instead of it dragging. Ultimately, it leads to a cleaner connection while the loft helps you get under the ball and get it up into the air.
This point about bounce becomes even more important when you find yourself in soft sand. It also helps when in the long rough whether around the green or to the side of the fairway. In that sense, the 56 degree wedge can play almost like a rescue club of sorts.
You also generally find the 56 degree wedge is the heaviest club in your bag while it also often has the shortest shaft as well. For some, this gives them greater control over the shot and better feel, leading to added accuracy.
Who Should Use the 56 Degree Wedge?
The 56 degree wedge should be used by absolutely everyone. There’s no doubt you will end up in a sand trap at some point, so having the club to get you out of there makes a lot of sense.
It’s also just a good club to have in your bag for your short game when you land in any type of rough. It glides through the rough, or sand, while offering you a clean connection and the ability to get the ball up off the ground.
This wedge is easy to control and when used properly, it’s going to deliver results. No bag should be without one, and that applies no matter your handicap or general experience of the game.
The 60 Degree Wedge
The 60 degree wedge is also known as the lob wedge, so it’s obvious as to where this club will come into its own.
This lob wedge will be a wonderful club for getting the ball high up in the air while the added loft angle makes it easier to control the ball and get it to stop dead on the green. Here, accuracy is key in your shot because that ball won’t generally run too far after it hits the ground.
You will also find this club helpful if you land in a bunker around the edge of the green. With limited space to play with, you want that angle to get the ball up out of the sand and stop dead.
But here’s a surprising fact about the lob wedge.
If you have a version with a higher clubhead speed, then the ball can fly over 100 yards. If you notice pros hitting from around this distance and killing the ball stone dead, then you can bet your bottom dollar they used a lob wedge.
However, hitting a lob wedge that distance isn’t the type of option available to the average golfer. Instead, we recommend you keep the 60 degree wedge for shots closer to the green if you tend to struggle with power and generating enough speed with your swing.
Who Should Use the 60 Degree Wedge?
A number of golfing experts suggest only experienced golfers should use a 60 degree wedge. This is due to the possibility of making a mess of the shot. There’s every chance the mishit would lead to your round falling apart.
Control over the shot isn’t easy. That’s why those with a high handicap should avoid using this wedge. You can also use a 56 degree wedge for most of the shots that you may align with the 60 degree. If you lack the skills, then taking a risk by using this wedge makes no sense.
When that’s the case, then why use up a space in your bag just to include this wedge?
However, if you do have a low enough handicap, then this wedge can be a wonderful addition to your bag. It makes it easier to kill the ball dead on the green, so if you have just laid up for that pitch to the pin, then the 60 degree wedge could be the ideal solution.
So, Which One to Use?
So, out of the 56 or 60 degree wedge, which one should you use? Well, this is where it gets tough. Both have a key role to play in the game, and selecting a club isn’t easy.
However, as we said earlier, the 60 degree wedge only applies to the more serious golfer, and in particular those that are perhaps down near single figures with their handicap.
For that reason, we suggest having the 56 degree wedge in your bag, and forego the 60 degree unless you have direct experience of using that particular club. It makes more sense from a general shot perspective.
Any golfer should actually look at having more than one wedge in their bag. This is especially true when staying out of trouble is an area where you have some difficulty. Having more than one option to choose from, depending on how tough your lie is, does make a significant difference.
But here’s something important to remember.
There are several different wedges out there to choose from including a pitching wedge and a gap wedge. Most people find them easier to control, and less chance of screwing up their shot. It’s perhaps wise to consider using one of those wedges, along with the 56 degree wedge, in your bag.
So, what’s our conclusion?
Both wedges can make a difference, but whereas the 56 degree wedge helps everyone, the same cannot be said for the 60 degree wedge.
It’s better to invest in a quality sand wedge instead of splitting the cost between both of these clubs. You will get substantial more use out of the 56 degree, so go for one that is well balanced, weighty, and with a nice sweet spot.
Trust us when we say that a single club alone can help your entire game improve and help get you out of so much trouble in and around the green.
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