23 handicap, 2 wedges? 3? 4?

My short game is the weakest part of my game. After carrying 3 and even 4 different wedges and doing poorly with them, I have started carrying just a P and 54 degree wedge and trying to get better with just those two. I am just trying to simplify things.

Thoughts on this approach??


I am a big fan of simplifying your game. Depending on how often you need to take something off a pitching wedge, you may want to consider a gap wedge. But I don’t see a reason to have something more lofted than 54 if you don’t feel comfortable hitting it. As you advance in the game you can add more wedges.


I’d agree simplification is best… but depending on how far you hit each club, more wedges to have decent gapping isn’t a problem. Simplify with what you use around the green. Pick a club and get good with it.

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At a 23 handicap, your goal should be to get on the green when you are around it… not holing chips, not putting it close… just getting it on the green. You can do this with a 54 wedge… as long as you can use it to get out of the sand, one wedge is fine.

As you get better at getting it on the green, your shot selection can change and improve… but at this point, get it on and two putt.


I used to carry pw loft 45 gap 50 sand w 55 and lob 60. I don’t bother with the gap wedge anymore and hardly ever use the lob wedge. I can hit my 3/4 pw around 100m and a full sw goes around 90m. 90m in my sand wedge play has improved massively by taking less back swing and accelerating through impact.

Spot on. I struggled mightily trying to hit to specific distances until a pro told me I was doing it backwards.
Take an observer to the range, hit 5 with a half-shot, but do not watch where they go. That’s the observers job. The important thing is what feels comfortable and repeatable to you. For me it’s arms to about 8 o’clock, but you need to find your half-shot. After 5 solid, get your average carry. Repeat for 1/4 and 3/4 shots (you’ll rarely use full rip with a wedge). Even with only two wedges, you now have six comfortable distances!
The next step is to head over to the chipping area to get a sense for rollout for each of those six. I find it easier to remember as a % of carry, say for example a half 54 carries 50 paces then rolls 25 paces is 50%.
Granted, there’s a myriad of factors affecting a specific shot but now you have a baseline to work from.
Hope this helps!


This is something I’m going to try to do on a simulator soon… just figure out my comfortable stock non full swings, make sure the distance is consistent and then figure out how far it goes on the course.

At 20 hdcp. I’m a big proponent of simplify. PW & 54° are good all day long. People might tell you lofts don’t match up, need at least 3 wedges, use 5 wedges and never need partial swing, etc., etc. Stick with your 2 wedge plan for a full season, I think you’ll be pleased with outcome.


I actually lost my 60 degree and have had to focus on getting ‘good’ (for me) with the SW (54 degree). My short game has improved immensely as a result and I am learning to manipulate the face to produce a range of shots depending on lie and desired outcome.


I’m also a 23 hdcp and use PW, 52 and 56 the most. 60 degree as needed, rarely. PW and 56(SW) the most, but I often have 90 to 100 yard approach shots that the 52 degree is my best option. Today I had two of these back to back and was a combination of a fat shot and toe dig deep. I’m not sure this is something very common or not. I have not read this problem before.

I do want to thank Jon and Adam for their work on this website, forum and Sweet Spot podcast. It has changed my game more than you know. I just need to get passed some poor wedges and mental break downs after some bad shots Today I started with 3 pars and 5 bogeys until I topped my driver for a final score of 7 to finish front. Started back 9 with great drives on first 2 holes but toe’d the wedges, doubling one and pulling out bogey on the next. Trying to make up for the bad holes I made some bad decisions on the next 3 holes. Pulled it together with 3 bogeys and a par for last four holes. Just need to get thru some mental mistakes still. Getting there and not letting it get me down.

Any ideas on the heavy toe divots, they sometimes a little fat too.


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You may want to check you lie on the clubs. If you are fairly upright in your swing, you may want to have them bent up a degree or two. That could eliminate toe divots.


Good point, my 52 and 60 were purchased off the rack before I got fitted for my irons. So I will definitely have this checked out. Thanks TSmith!

I’m +1 on lie myself…as I have a fairly upright swing. Hope it helps!

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For the longest time, golfers only carry the PW and the SW in their bag.
You can rotate the different SW into the bag depending on the golf course you’ll be playing and the condition of the rough and the sand in the bunkers.
More is not better, just like taking more trip to the buffet line will not be a good choice since you only have one stomach.
I can’t understand why people tell me that they can only hit their golf club a certain distance. I’d say hit 10 shots, or maybe 20 shots and let’s see if any two will be close together ? That myth being popped, then, learn to hit the wedge or any other club in the bag for different distance.
We used to play a game on the driving range, pick a target , any distance but under 120 yards will be better for the most of the golfers.
We’ll try to hit the 100 yard marker with 5-PW . The more you practice, the better you’ll get. This will also get you in touch with eye-balling the distance and translate that to how you should execute the shot.
If one only try to hit the 7 iron at 150 yards marker ( and the success rate is 50% at best ), It’ll be much easier going back to the 7 iron after trying to hit the 150 marker with a 5 iron.
We have a practice green between the holes in the back nine and often golfers will take a shack-bag full of old golf balls to practice distance control. Sam Snead’s method of hitting a 9 iron in a corn field and pace it off the distance is much too tough.

Mine are. Depending on how we define “close together.” And I’m not good.

Is my caddy standing in one spot, a la the Hogan stories? No. But am I hitting individual full mid iron shots to within 1-2 yds of each other, in the vicinity of the desired target even if the dispersion is greater? (A lot greater. Remember that whole ‘not good’ thing.) Sure.

Similar thing is true, IME, for ‘finesse shots’ (Pelz definition) around the ground. I will and have bounced 10 or so, 3/4, 1 choke down, finesse PWs to landing points within 2-3 feet or less of each other. Often less. It may not be where I wanted them to land, but it’s consistent.

The whole point of the multiple-wedge, multiple-swing, multiple grip matrix is that we human beings are pretty consistent when we don’t think about it—all of the unconscious dynamic attractor states that work in unison—but when we do think about starting the same way each and every time. More wedges, more exact-ish numbers on that range matrix, and fewer long clubs we can’t hit for s%/t anyway.

I do like the idea of training your body to feel different distances with each club though. Goes to that control Adam Young (I need a clipboard keystroke here to paste his name; I type it here so often) mentions of controlling strike location and low point. No reason we can’t unconsciously learn what, e.g, a 140 low, running shot feels like from a 7 iron. Just so long as we don’t confuse ourselves.

Laser rangefinder. Which I still haven’t bought, despite our host’s excellent Christmas sale on them.

Definitely want one for non-driving range finesse shot work. Know that the target in that park is 43 yards away, and that last pitch went 40. Wouldn’t mind one for full swing range work either. “How far is that tree again?”

The point was, we’re trying to justify to achieve fine tuning ( precise distance with variable weapons ) with the imperfect means ( human).

ever since Tom Kite won the U.S. Open with an extra wedge, all of the sudden, everyone wants the extra wedge. The broadcast commentator mentioned numerous times during the Telecast that "the extra wedge " must be the secret which gave Kite the winning edge.
Equipment companies welcomed this idea, of course. All of the sudden everyone carry at least 3 wedges in the bag.
I could never get along with the 60 degree wedge not to mention the 64. All it’s good for me is probably a shut face chipping around the green. However, I do fine with the PW and the SW. The extra loft cause addition possibility for error.
So far I don’t know anyone personally, who could utilize the 60/64 degree wedge away from around the greens. 58 degree will be pushing the limit of my ability to handle it.
As for hitting shots close, it shouldn’t be difficult to get within 10’ -12’ of well executed shots. We’re not professionals who has the talent and the time to practice, those guys can get most their short irons within a 10’ circle. Lots and lots of practice.
Ben Hogan’s ability came from practice, as he said it himself that he knew he didn’t have the best of golf swing, so he needed to practice more than the next guy.
And he went broke the first couple of times trying the tour. We all know the story, he almost went broke trying the 3rd time and it could have been his last try before giving up and return to be a club professional the rest of his life.

Point is, really, more is not necessarily better. Learn to refine the hands that swing the golf club because the golf club will not swing itself.

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I always believed simpler was better and to have just a 54 or 56 SW and get good with it, but now I believe there can be other ways. That said the “other ways” still need to be simple to use.

Those wide soled 60-65* wedges are super easy to use from bunkers and other places if that’s an issue for you. It still may take a little practice time to figure them out, but honestly they work really well and can get you on the green. You can play them square faced all day and they are more forgiving when you chunk it.

My 22-24 handicap golf buddy dropped his 60* and added a Cleveland chipper of sorts and did really well with that this past year. We won a big alternate shot playoff tournament and he left me tap ins several times with that club. Some other buddies make fun of him for carrying it, but not me. He likes that he can just basically use a putting stroke with it.

The Gap wedge is a maybe IMO. If it actually fills a yardage gap for a full swing then yes you should probably get it. In that case though I consider it a short iron in your set just like the Pitching wedge. It doesn’t matter what they’re labeled, but just what yardage they can give you. It can be difficult if your PW goes 120, but your SW maxes at 80 and they are a good 10* apart in loft.

I don’t think “specialty” clubs are necessary, but I wouldn’t discount them if you don’t have a lot of time to practice. I tried a few different things, but ultimately just got better with a 56*. Now I use the 60* from almost anywhere inside 80 yards though. I just got better with that, but I’ll also chip with other clubs if I want to run the ball more. Our club’s greens are mostly small and fast so chipping with a 7i doesn’t come into play much if ever. Look at where you play mostly and try to figure out what would help you get out of trouble and onto the green.


How long did you owned and used the 60 degree wedge that you use exclusively now ?
Lots of practice ? Everything should fall into place with enough practice, right ?
My 54 degree wedge is everything I use inside 95 yards including the bunker.

I added a wide sole low bounce 60 just for bunkers probably about 15 years ago. I used a 56 pretty much everywhere else, but I had struggled with it from bunkers. It had too much bounce for hardpan bunkers that most of my buddies putted out of.

I pretty much only used it from bunkers until 5-6 years ago when I joined a club and was struggling with heavy rough around faster greens. The 60 cut through the rough better and allowed me to hit a softer shot onto harder greens. These days I use the 60 as much as if not more than the 56.

You definitely need to spend some time practicing if you’re going to add a 60* wedge. I was going to add a 64*, but I just didn’t put the time in with it. It was easier to try not to shortside myself as often.

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