Expert says only golfers who can do this should carry a high-lofted lob wedge

lob wedge fully equipped

Parker McLachlin joined Fully Equipped to discuss the short game, including the lob wedge.

Getty Images

Why do you need this club? This is a question Parker McLachlin typically asks his amateur students when the conversation turns to set makeup and gapping, because as much as someone might think they need to carry 14 clubs, there are certain situations where a maximum of 12 might do the trick.

The same goes for the lob wedge, a club we’ve discussed extensively on this site in recent years. The general consensus from experts polled is that mid-to-high handicappers should remove anything with 60 degrees of loft (or more) from the bag. The club is designed for golfers who have better-than-average hands and know how to consistently deliver the head at impact. For the rest of the population, the club typically comes with more headaches than it’s worth.

In most cases, something with 56 or 58 degrees of loft is far more reliable — it’s easier to play a high-percentage pitch shot with less loft — than a full-blown lob wedge.

As the short-game instructor revealed on the latest episode of GOLF’s Fully Equipped podcast, McLachlin typically uses driver distance to determine set makeup, as well as the possible inclusion of a lob wedge.

“If you don’t hit the ball longer than 270 yards off the tee, there’s no reason to have anything more than a 60 degree,” McLachlin said. “If you hit it 240 yards, I’d probably want you to have a 58 as your highest-lofted wedge. How far you hit the ball is an important factor, because that’s how we’re going to back you into how high your highest-lofted wedge should be.”

To be clear, this isn’t a hard-and-fast rule. If you hit it 260 yards, there’s nothing that says you can’t play a lob wedge. What’s important to keep in mind is the length of course you typically play and how often you actually use a lob wedge during the round. In some cases, it might make sense to add another club at the top of the set and go to a three-wedge setup.

TaylorMade Milled Grind 4 Tiger Woods Custom Wedge

The unique grind on each sole was designed by the artful hands of Tiger Woods. The 56° wedge is a dual sole with heavy heel relief, while the 60° has an extremely high bounce on the leading edge with a shaved heel. This makes it possible to open the face for flop shots, while still providing relief on the leading edge for better performance on tight lies. Designed for ultimate versatility, this setup allows Tiger to take on any shot, on any course, anywhere in the world. IMPROVED SPIN IN WET CONDITIONS Spin Tread technology utilizes laser etching to channel away moisture and help retain spin in wet conditions. The same way that tire treads help your car stay connected to the road, Spin Tread redirects water at impact and creates more friction between the club face and golf ball to impart more spin than prior generations. REFINED SHAPING MG4 features refinements in shape and visual appeal with a focus on what players perceive at address. Details from the hosel blend, offset and leading-edge straightness were all inspired by the insights and preferences of the best players and most experienced designers. Compared to the previous MG3, MG4 showcases a slightly larger footprint that provides players with a sense of roundness, smoothness and improved ease of use. RAW FACE & NEW FINISH There’s a reason raw wedges are preferred by the game’s best players. The unplated material will rust over time to preserve consistent spin while also delivering better performance in wet conditions. A new refined finish with a slightly darker tint minimizes glare and blends seamlessly with the raw face for a unified appearance.
View Product

“If you hit it short, you’re going to want to include more high-lofted clubs. You’re not necessarily going to want a 64 degree,” McLachlin continued. “For someone asking about the 60 degree they need to get, I’ll normally tell them we should start with clubhead speed and ball speed to see where they’re at. If we can start there, you may not need a 60. You might want a 58, 57 or 56 as your highest-lofted wedge. If you’re shorter [off the tee], you need clubs to hit it further. Further will be your friend.

“Maybe you go down to a driver with 7 degrees and learn to hit up on it. Then you add a 12 or 13 degree — maybe a mini-driver or 2-wood — and a 5-wood on the stronger side. You want to stack the high end of the set, but it leaves less room for the wedges. That’s a good thing for someone who struggles with length. If you can address that, then we can address the wedges. Because you might need only three wedges.”

The next time you head to the course, pay attention to not only the number of times you pull a lob wedge from the bag but also the number of times you execute a successful shot with the club. If getting up and down feels like a coin flip with a lob wedge, then it might be time to take a closer look at the set makeup.

Want to overhaul your bag for 2023? Find a fitting location near you at True Spec Golf.


Jonathan Wall Editor

Jonathan Wall is GOLF Magazine and’s Managing Editor for Equipment. Prior to joining the staff at the end of 2018, he spent 6 years covering equipment for the PGA Tour. He can be reached at