10 different ways to effectively use your wedges, per top 100 teacher

With the help of GOLF Top 100 Teacher Kellie Stenzel, you can learn 10 different ways to utilize your wedges on a variety of shots

Understanding how to use your wedges in a variety of ways will help lower your scores.

Getty Images

Having a variety of wedges in your golf bag is important, but with so many different options, it can be difficult to decide which one’s the best for a certain shot.

To avoid any confusion, I’m giving you 10 ways to effectively use the lob wedge through the pitching wedge, helping you make the most informed choice to see great results.

Try these 10 things to expand your wedge shot arsenal

Different wedges perform in different ways. But this list walks you through the steps you can use to hit a variety of shot types no matter what wedge you decide to go with.

1. Lob wedge: High pitch shot without an open face

The lob wedge is typically 60 degrees of loft, meaning a full swing doesn’t always go very far — unless you’ve got world-class swing speed.

Since your shot isn’t likely to take off on you, the lob wedge is a great option on smaller pitch shots when you want to get it into the air without much roll. To do this, set the club at its effective loft — in other words, flat on its bottom — avoiding opening the clubface. Now just take your normal swing and play this like a small pitch shot around the green.

2. Lob wedge: Short bunker shots

Having the ability to control distance from greenside bunkers can be tricky, but a lob wedge will help. The clubface has enough loft that, even if you setup relatively square and take sand, the ball flight tends to be higher and shorter. This often provides you with a bit more control than something like your 56-degree wedge.

3. Sand wedge: Medium to long pitch shots

Your sand wedge can be a great option for pitch shots when you need more carry than roll. The club has enough loft to carry and hold, and the bounce built into the club will help it glide across the turf or sand. But remember, your swing size will control distance for a basic pitch shot, so adjust your backswing length when using your sand wedge.

4. Sand wedge: Greenside sand shots

Other than for high clubhead speed golfers or for short-distance sand shots near the green, the majority of bunker shots will be hit using the sand wedge. With 56 degrees of loft, it’s enough to launch the ball high while still allowing for reasonable distance from the sand.

On longer bunker shots, even if the lip may have some height, I like to use the sand wedge. In most cases, it will launch high enough to clear the lip, so the most important priority is the added distance from this club over a lob wedge.

5. Sand wedge chip: half carry, half roll

It’s not often the first choice, but you can still certainly chip with your sand wedge. To do so, use a fundamental setup by gripping low on the handle, narrowing your stance, keeping the upper body slightly leaning towards the target, and using a smaller swing motion that just brushes the grass.

For chip shots with short-to-medium distance, you should expect about half carry and half roll when landing on a flat putting surface.

6. Gap wedge: Long greenside bunker shots

Gap wedges are typically between 50-52 degrees of loft, so it’s a fantastic club choice on longer greenside sand shots. Assuming you don’t lean the shaft to deloft it, the club’s bounce will still glide through the sand.

Given its loft, the gap wedge can still clear most bunker lips, and with less loft, you’re able to make it travel farther. So if you’re a player with lower clubhead speed, this can be a good option when you’re just trying to get the ball out of the bunker safely.

7. Gap wedge: Longer pitch shots

Given the gap wedge’s loft, it’s one of my favorite clubs to use on longer pitch shots. Instead of trying to max out your sand wedge, using a gap wedge has enough loft to launch and hold the green. So even if your swing isn’t full size or full speed, the club’s rounded bottom will help glide it across the turf.

8. Gap wedge: Chip shots with more roll than carry

On chip shots from medium distances that need a bit more roll than carry, a gap wedge can be a pretty good choice.

When using a relatively centered ball position, you can expect about 40 percent carry and 60 percent roll — as long as you’re using the proper setup and swing speed. By placing the ball position back just slightly, you’ll create a higher percentage of roll.

9. Pitching wedge – not for pitching

Since the standard pitching wedge has between 43-46 degrees of loft, it loves to roll. But because of its lack of bounce, you won’t technically ever pitch with a pitching wedge — confusing, I know. (Pitch = to travel in the air and stop; chip = to travel in the air and on the ground.)

However, you will chip with this club, and if I could choose just one club to chip with for most golfers, I’d always suggest a pitching wedge. It’s easy to hit, and doesn’t require many adjustments at setup, so you can confidently address your ball and go, expecting about 33 percent carry and 67 percent roll.

10. PING ChipR Wedge

If you’re looking to hit safer, more productive shots from around the greens, you might want to try PING’s ChipR Wedge — which looks like a wedge, but is actually built to look more like a less-lofted putter.

Similar in loft to a 7-iron, the ball will roll at a high percentage, so, in many cases, you should land the ball short of the green and allow it to trickle on up to the putting surface.

For those who struggle with chipping, this club can be a valuable asset — as long as you make more of a putting stroke.

If you need help with your short game, I always recommend watching videos from The Short Game Chef, Parker McLachlin, who does a great job of explaining the nuances of shots from near the green.

Looking for more golf content? Give me a follow on Instagram to get tips and playing advice.

PING s159 Custom Wedge

With the addition of two grinds and new lofts, the tour-style s159 wedges are available in 25 loft/grind combinations to match a wedge to your playing conditions and technique while ensuring a properly gapped set. Extensive testing with top PING tour players helped create wedges that will appeal to golfers of all abilities. The new WebFit Wedge app provides a quick and easy way to determine the s159 grinds that best fit your game. Tour-Proven Design The tour-inspired 8620 carbon steel head features a soft feel and clean shape with a straighter lead edge for improved results on full shots. Two performance-enhancing finishes (Hybropearl 2.0 Chrome and Midnight) are available in all loft/grind combinations. More Grooves. More Spin. Wheel-cut grooves are precision-milled to varying dimensions, depending on loft. The 46-to-52-degree wedges are milled to maximize groove volume for greater control on full shots. The 54-to-62-degree options feature more tightly spaced MicroMax grooves to impart more spin, especially around the greens.
View Product
generic profile image


Nick Dimengo

Golf.com Editor