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When it comes to wedge shafts, most people just grab whatever option they find at their local golf shop. A lot of wedges come standard with a “wedge” flex, which is fine for a lot of people, but it might not be the best choice for others.
The best choice for most golfers is to use the same shafts in their irons and wedges. Having the same flex and weight throughout your set will give you a consistent feel, which as a result, should perform more consistently.
There are a few exceptions to this though, which we’ll cover in the next section. You also need to consider what type of shaft material you’ll be using and how long the wedge should be. Before we start, here are some resources if you’re in the market for a new wedge or two:
Graphite vs Steel Wedges
The first thing you’ll need to figure out is what type of shafts you’ll use in your wedges. Most people are familiar with steel shafts on their wedges, but you also could go the graphite route.
It really comes down to what you’re already using. For most golfers, I’d recommend using the same type of shaft that you have in your irons. If your irons are steel, use steel wedges. If your irons are graphite, use graphite wedges.
The main difference really comes down to how they’ll feel. Graphite shafts will still come with the same flex as steel shafts. However, they’re going to feel much lighter than steel shafts.
If you’re playing with steel irons and try to use graphite wedges, they’ll probably feel very different. If you play with graphite irons and try to use steel wedges, they’ll probably feel very heavy.
This is why I’d recommend keeping the type of shaft consistent throughout your bag.
If you’re wondering about performance, most people won’t see much difference. I was able to do a test between two sand wedges, one with a steel shaft and one with a graphite shaft.
It wasn’t the perfect test because the clubs weren’t the same, but they both had stiff shafts, equal bounce, and the same length. I noticed that the graphite wedge hit the ball higher, giving me a bit less distance.
Distance really isn’t that important when it comes to wedges though because they’re scoring clubs. Also, having a slightly higher ball flight could help you stop the ball quicker on the green.
The main reason I see people switch to graphite shafts is to gain club speed. Having lighter shafts makes it easier to swing. This could be ideal for people with slower swing speeds.
I’m actually going to be switching to graphite wedges soon. I had a wrist injury a number of years ago, so having a lighter club that vibrates less (at impact) should cause me fewer issues.
Wedge Shaft Flex & Weight
The next step is to figure out what flex and weight your shafts should be. The majority of people just walk into their local golf shop and grab a “wedge” flex club. It’s a convenient thing to do, but in a lot of cases, it won’t perform the best for you.
You might be thinking, what is “wedge” flex? Wedge flex is essentially the same as stiff flex. The idea is that having a stiffer flex will keep the club stable throughout the swing, which should improve accuracy.
In theory, that should work, and if you already use stiff flex shafts then you’ll be okay. However, a lot of golfers use senior and regular shafts, so jumping from that to something stiffer might not transition well.
You also have to think about shaft weight. Most off-the-rack iron sets come with 85-110 gram shafts while most wedges come with 120+ gram shafts. It may not seem like a lot, but it can cause problems.
I think this is one of the reasons why you see average hackers take 2-inch deep divots or top the ball 20 yards over the green. Having a club that’s much heavier will make you feel like you have to put in more effort to swing the thing. It’s probably the opposite of what we want.
I think the best thing to do is look at what professionals do. Here are the two most common setups you’ll see in a pro’s bag:
- Using the same shaft is their irons and wedges
- Using a softer shaft in their wedges
In most cases, you’ll see the same shaft in their irons and wedges. If they play stiff shafts in their irons, they’ll play stiff shafts in their wedges. The weight is usually the same as well, but sometimes you’ll see it 10 grams heavier or lighter.
I think this is the best option for most weekend players because it’s simple. Simple is usually good in golf. You’ll have a consistent feel across your clubs and the ball flight should be similar.
The second thing you’ll see (which is the opposite of what you’ve been told) is softer shafts in their wedges. Rory Mcilroy, for example, uses a slightly softer (more flex) in his wedges. The benefit of this is that you could generate a bit more spin on your shots.
If a golfer goes this route, you’ll usually see softer shafts in their wedges that aren’t used for full shots. Most people use their pitching wedge and gap wedge to hit full shots, and if that’s the case, you’ll probably want to match your irons.
If you rarely hit full shots with your SW and LW, you might want to consider using a softer shaft. It could give you a bit better feel around the green and can generate a bit more kick and spin on your shots.
Most golfers should put their iron shafts in their pitching and gap wedges and then put softer shafts in their sand and lob wedges.Bob Vokey
Just a side note, most golfers actually use too many wedges or have the wrong degrees of loft. If you want to know how many wedges average golfers should carry, check out our guide here.
In terms of weight, you’ll see different things on tour. Some people will use the same weight, some will use lighter shafts (Rory Mcilroy), and others will use heavier ones. As long as the weight is somewhat similar to your irons, you should be good.
The weight you decide to go with depends on your tempo. If you have a really fast swing, using a super light club probably won’t work. The opposite is true if you have a super slow swing.
The easiest thing to do is to just use the same weight throughout your wedge set. If you want to go lighter or heavier, the general rule is that you should only change the weight by 10 grams. For example, if iron shafts are 110 grams, your wedge shafts should be 100-120 grams.
Just to sum up everything we talked about, here are the general recommendations and what seemed to work the best for me. Just note, what works for me won’t work for everyone. The simple method is to play the same flex and weight as in your irons. To fine tune things, you can adjust the flex and weight:
|Same Flex||You’ll have a consistent feel across your clubs. This is the recommended for the majority of golfers because of simplicity.|
|Softer Flex||I noticed that my shots went a bit higher and helped me get a bit more spin on my shots. I’d only consider doing this on my SW & LW.|
|Same Weight||This will give you a consistent feel throughout your wedges. Again, it’s simple and recommended for most weekend players.|
|Heavier Weight||I noticed that I was able to feel where the clubhead was a bit easier on short chips. I’d only consider doing this on my SW & LW.|
|Lighter Weight||I didn’t like how this felt compared to the same weight as my irons or something slightly heavier. A lot of people prefer this though.|
Wedge Shaft Length
The final thing to consider is how long your wedges should be. As a general rule, your wedges should be no longer than your 9 iron. This means that they could be the same length as your 9 iron, they could all be a bit shorter, or they could gradually decrease in length.
I’d imagine that 90% of people reading this use varying wedge lengths, meaning their PW is the longest while their lob wedge is the shortest.
This is probably the most common thing on tour as well. That said, some pros use wedges that are all the same length, just a bit shorter than their 9 iron. On the other hand, Bryson DeChambeau uses wedges that are the same length as his 9 iron.
I don’t think there’s a right and wrong answer here. It more comes down to what you’re comfortable with. For me, I prefer my wedges to be a shorter length.
I’ve never tried wedges that were the same length as my 9 iron (for a standard iron set) so I can’t comment on that. I have one-length irons though and have tried the other two options.
One-length irons are as long as your 7 iron. I’ve tried standard-length wedges that decrease in length and I’ve tried one-length wedges (they are 7 iron length as well).
With the one-length wedges, I liked them when it came to shots from the fairway. The problem came when I was close to the green or in the bunker. The extra length was just a bit awkward and didn’t seem to perform as well.
I like being able to choke up on a club or open the face in the bunker. That’s why I prefer using shorter-length wedges. I just go with the standard length that they come in. That said, your longer clubs are probably too long.
If you were wondering, here is a chart that gives some basic recommendations for wedge length. It really comes down to personal preference, but most people will fall into these categories:
Note. This article is part of our series on how to pick the right wedge for your game. If you want to learn more about wedge bounce, grind, and a number of other things, be sure to check that out.
You Might Also Like:
- What Degree Of Bounce To Have On Your Wedges?
- What Is Wedge Grind (And How It Impacts Your Game)
- How Far You Should Be Hitting Your Wedges
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