With the way golf club lofts have changed in the last few years, it’s important to consider what wedges you have in your bag and if they are the right fit for your game. A sand wedge is essential for not only getting out of the trap but also for pitching chips and pitches around green.
My sandwedge is my favorite and I wouldn’t take it out. However, not all golfers feel that way. Let’s take a look at some reasons why you may want to keep your sand wedge and some reasons you may want to let it go.
Table of Contents
- The Case for Carrying a Sand Wedge In Your Bag
- The Case AGAINST Keeping a Sand Wedge in Your Bag
- These are the Types of Players who SHOULD Have a Sand Wedge
- The Types of Players Who SHOULDN’T Carry a Sand Wedge
- Alternatives to Sand Wedge
The Case for Keeping a Sand Wedge in Your Bag
I’ll let you know right from the start that my case for carrying a sand wedge will be stronger than my case against carrying a sand wedge. I think it’s an important club. A sandwedge is an excellent tool to have in your bag for three reasons: versatility, control, and loft.
The sand wedge is an easy club for amateur golfers to put backspin with. You must be able stop them if you are chipping shots at the green. Control is key, whether you’re working on short approach shots or from a greenside bunker.
The sand wedge can be used to control distance and spin the ball. Once you understand how the sand-wedge works, you will be able hit shorter shots such as 20, 30, 40, or 50 yard shots. This will allow you to become more accurate.
The versatility of the sand wedge is amazing. While many people think the sand wedge is just a club for hitting out at the sand traps with, it is so much more. When you get near the green, a 56-degree sand wedge is your best friend.
The sand wedge’s bounce angle, smooth leading edge, and trajectory make it a great choice for many shots. If you open the face of the sand wedge, it’s possible to hit a flop shot. If you close it slightly, you can get a lower ball flight and a bit more roll.
Golf clubs are becoming smaller and lighter. Distance is the reason. These lower-lofted clubs are best for those who require distance. Golfers can still hit the ball high with the help of center of gravity advancements, repositioning, and other techniques.
I love having the sand wedge in my bag because it’s a little more loft than the gap wedge and a little less than the lob wedge; it fills a gap in my bag that I need to fill.
The Case AGAINST Keeping a Sand Wedge in Your Bag
Now that you have a better idea as to why a sand wedge is so important, we have to address the elephant in the room here, the golfers that can’t stand the club and don’t keep it in the bag. This is usually a high handicapper or beginner golfer who struggles with the short game.
If you take the sand wedge from the bag every time you play and it results in a shot which is chunky or skulled across a green, then it is likely that it is not helping to keep the club in its bag.
As a professional golfer, my belief is that anyone can learn to use any type of club that suits their game. I also understand that certain clubs can cause mental issues, like the sandwedge.
Sometimes, the way the sand wedge is set up can be a bit intimidating. It can make players believe that they must lift the ball from the ground to propel it into the air. Of course, that isn’t the case, but it can take some time to figure this concept out.
The sand wedge is not always easy to handle, especially if you’re struggling with it. In fact, it’s pretty unforgiving, especially in the blade style wedge. Alternatives to the sand-wedge could be a good choice if you are looking to simplify your short game.
These are the Types of Players who SHOULD Have a Sand Wedge
Mid to low handicappers, as well as those who are confident in their chipping strokes, are all good candidates for a sand wedge. The sand wedge is also a good choice for golfers who want more loft, easier launch out of sand traps, or more workability in their shots.
Professional golfers and low-swingers have incredible control over the ball’s movement around the green. They are able to do this partly because they feel the ball and partly because of the equipment they use.
This type of player will benefit from a Titleist Vokey S9 wedge. It has lots of greenside spin to keep the ball off the green and past the pin.
The sandwedge is useful for those with average handicaps or middle handicaps. They can get out of trouble and move around the course easily. The type of golf course you play will determine the likelihood that you could have trouble around the greens.
Mid handicappers often have enough confidence to swing a full swing with a wedge and use it for an approach shot into a green.
Most mid-handicappers use some form of game-improvement tool with a lower lofted pitching stick. The sand wedge can be added to the game for more versatility and loft in bunker shots.
You might have thought that beginners and high handicappers should not be allowed to carry a sandwedge. I don’t think this is true. But, as a high handicapper, or beginner, it is important to have a basic understanding of what it takes for a solid chip shot with the sand wedge.
You can decrease your score and get up and moving if you can get a sense of what a great shot with the club feels like.
Because it takes some time to learn how to use a sandwedge, beginner sets don’t include one. You can learn the skills if your time is dedicated.
The Types of Players Who SHOULDN’T Carry a Sand Wedge
The following golfers should not carry a Sand wedge: Those who skull, chunk, or even shank the sandwedge every time they take it out. I have taught thousands of lessons over my career and can tell you that this player is real.
Sometimes the higher lofted wedge doesn’t work for some players. They struggle every time the club comes out. There are good and bad news.
The good news is that most of your chipping around the green can easily be done with other clubs. The bad news is that you still need a lofted golf club.
Alternatives to Sand Wedge
If the sand wedge is throwing you off, there are a few clubs that you can use. You should remember that greenside shots can be nearly impossible if your pitching wedge has a loft higher than the pitching wedge.
If they don’t want to use the sand wedge, the pitching wedge is what most golfers use. Pitching wedges are a great way to get a shorter swing, but still have good results.
Pitching wedges are less lofty than sand, so the ball will roll a bit more once it hits the green.
A chipper is basically a combination of a wedge and a putter. The chipper is a shorter version of a putter club that allows you to perform a smaller chipping stroke.
It’s almost like taking a putt with a club with a bit more loft and standard wedge grooves. The loft of a chipper is low, and it’s best for bump-and-run shots.
A chipper’s forgiveness is impressive. There is little chance of snagging or chunking this shot.
Lob Wedge (Bunker rescue club)
As I mentioned, if you don’t have the sand wedge in the bag, you still need something that provides a higher launch. High launch clubs are great for getting out of bunkers or on the green if you’re short-sided.
Some clubs are designed for golfers who struggle with traditional sand wedges. They are high-lofted wedges like the xE1 designed specifically to get you out of the bunker in one shot.
If you are going to remove the sand wedge because it causes too many inconsistency, make sure that you have a plan for when the golf ball ends in the bunker.