Three Club Monte may sound like the witty moniker for the club pro that refuses to carry a golf bag, but it is actually the name of a style of golf that involves using only three golf clubs during play. While the format makes for a fun and interesting twist on a round of golf, it is nonetheless challenging, restrictive, and recommended only for golf experts and show boaters looking to spice up their game.
Luckily, you don't have to choose your three favorite clubs before hitting the links. One of the best aspects of golf is the ability to fill your bag with clubs designed for the varying situations you're likely to run into on the golf course.
While most intermediate and high-handicap golfers have a good grasp of the different functions that their woods and irons provide, a lot of players are unaware of the many benefits that carrying different types of golf wedges have to offer. In fact, it is not uncommon to find many golfers toting a single wedge in their bags — usually the pitching wedge.
So what is the difference between golf wedges? The answer is more than you may realize. Let's go over the four most common types of wedges available today to find out.
What Are The Different Types Of Golf Wedges?
There are four different golf wedges commonly found on the market today, all differentiated by one key element: loft. Golf wedge loft is the primary factor that plays into wedge shot trajectory. A wedge with a higher degree of loft from another will get the ball up in the air faster, while maximizing the spin that's essential for short-game play.
Let's evaluate the four different wedges in golf, starting with the wedge providing the lowest degree of loft.
Pitching Wedge. The wedge that every golfer is already likely to have, the pitching wedge is commonly used for approach shots that are too close for a 9-iron but too far away for a wedge with a higher degree of loft. Pitching wedges come in most golf club sets, and vary in loft from 44 to 49 degrees. One of the most common mistakes made by beginner golfers involves using a pitching wedge for all of their short-game shots that aren't on the green. Pitching wedges are usually best from over a hundred yards out, not ten. That's why other wedges are available that better handle shorter shots.
Sand Wedge. Next up on the wedge loft chart is the sand wedge. Although the sand wedge was originally developed to get golf balls out of sand traps efficiently, its usefulness can be applied to several aspects of your game. The sand wedge usually boasts a loft between 54 and 58 degrees, giving golfers another option when hitting within a hundred yards from the green. Sand wedges are also perfect for getting the ball stopped quickly, landing golf balls as close as possible to their intended target and keeping them there.
Lob Wedge. So your ball is lying in the rough just a few yards away from the hole, and there's no way you're putting this one. You don't want to send the ball sailing over and across the green, either. That's where the lob wedge comes in. Lob wedges are a step up on the loft scale from sand wedges, boasting lofts of 59 to 65 degrees, making it the club type with the highest degree of loft possible - anything higher and you'd be sending your golf ball straight up into the stratosphere. Lob wedges are great choices for fringe shots and small plays close to the green where maximum backspin, high altitude and precision are crucial.
Gap Wedge. You may have noticed a gap in the given loft degrees between the pitching wedge and the sand wedge. The stated gap in loft between these two clubs is the space the gap wedge is intended to fill. Gap wedges come in lofts from 50 to 54 degrees, making them a viable option for shots hovering around a hundred yards out. If the pin is too close for the pitching wedge, but not quite close enough to bring out the sand wedge, then the right gap wedge should do the trick.
Showing up close to the green with a putter and a pitching wedge may mean carrying a lighter load, but you're also more likely to carry more strokes on your scorecard back with you to the clubhouse. Knowing the difference between wedges is crucial to improving any serious golfer's short game. With a wide variety of wedges available today ranging in lofts that cover every distance between your 9-iron to your putter, you should have no problem finding the perfect wedges to help tighten up your short game.