Three-wedge or four-wedge setup? These are the questions professional golfers grapple with on a regular basis.
For Rory McIlroy, he ended up winning with both setups last year. Adding a fourth wedge leading up to the 2019 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach required McIlroy to remove his 3-iron to tighten the loft gaps from six degrees (48, 54 and 60) to just four degrees (48, 52, 56 and 60).
Playing a course that was just 7,075 yards, McIlroy felt there was more of a need for calculated distance control in the scoring clubs than an additional long iron at the top of the set.
The average golfer isn’t playing Pebble Beach every week, but instead of continuing on with the same 52-, 56- and 60-degree wedge setup, it’s probably worth taking a page from McIlroy’s wedge playbook and analyzing the courses you regularly play before making scoring club selections.
“It really depends on where you play,” McIlroy advises. “If your home course is on the longer side, maybe consider going with just three wedges, because you’d probably benefit from a hybrid or another fairway wood. The opposite would probably be the case for shorter courses where you’ll have more wedges in your hand.”
As for the professionals, a large majority carry four wedges most weeks. The setup usually consists of a pitching wedge, gap wedge, sand wedge and lob wedge. With distance not being as big of an issue for the longer players on tour, having an extra scoring club in the bag for shots inside 130 yards becomes far more important to hit specific numbers. The last thing a player of Rory’s caliber wants is to be in-between clubs.
So consider your usual course setup — or regular rotation of courses if you’re lucky enough to play more than one — before springing for new wedges. It’ll save you shots in the long run.