Fully Equipped mailbag: Adding this club to the bag could elevate your game
Welcome to another edition of the Fully Equipped mailbag sponsored by Cleveland/Srixon Golf, an interactive GOLF.com series in which our resident dimplehead (a.k.a., GOLF’s managing editor of equipment, Jonathan Wall) fields your hard-hitting gear questions.
If you’re a mid-handicapper, are you better off adding a fourth wedge or having more options from long distances?
I’m going to assume this question is connected to the story about Lucas Herbert removing a 5-iron from his bag to make room for a fourth wedge. What’s interesting is Webb Simpson did something similar this year when he made a host of changes — including removing a 6-iron — to acquire another wedge.
I don’t recommend copying what the pros do with their setups, but it does bring up an interesting question about the best way to optimize a gear setup to match your needs.
Removing random irons and bending clubs without a certified fitter by your side is a recipe for disaster, but there is value in analyzing the benefits of removing a club elsewhere and adding another wedge. The average golfer carries three wedges — pitching wedge, sand wedge and lob wedge — so I’m talking about removing a club from up top and adding a fourth scoring tool.
According to True Spec Golf’s vice president of tour and education, Kris McCormack, a majority of golfers would be better off adding a fourth wedge, as opposed to being top-heavy with additional fairway woods and hybrids that might not see much action.
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“If you’re top-heavy with extra hybrids and woods in the bag, it’s just an opportunity for them to miss more greens,” McCormack said on GOLF’s Fully Equipped podcast. “Now they wish they had those extra wedges. It’s more about getting a go-to club at the top, maybe a 5-wood, 7-wood or hybrid — something you can get airborne and keep in play. You don’t want to hit it out of bounds and waste shots.”
Determining the best wedge setup for your game isn’t something that happens overnight. A fitter will help you analyze your yardage gaps and determine the best loft setup that allows you to hit full shots into the green. As much as mid-to-high handicap golfers want to believe they can execute those half and three-quarter wedge shots, the higher percentage play is to always take the club that affords you a full swing. (The only exception is with the lob wedge.)
“You want to go heavy in the scoring zone,” he said. “You think about it, you want those guys to have the ability to take full swings more often. So if you have a wider spectrum of wedge lofts, now they can take those full swings going into the greens. The amateur player, the mid or high handicap player, isn’t going to go pin-hunting outside of about 160 yards.”
If you constantly find yourself struggling to wedge it close from inside 130 yards and in, it might be time to take a closer look at how you use your wedges and determine if a shakeup is necessary to shave strokes off your scorecard. Who knows, a fourth wedge might be just the thing you need to turn your approach game into a strength.
Want to overhaul your bag for 2021? Find a fitting location near you at GOLF’s affiliate company True Spec Golf. For more on the latest gear news and information, check out our latest Fully Equipped podcast below.