You might have asked yourself, “Is a wedge and iron the same type of swing?”
It’s a good question, since the clubs are so much different from one another. Wedges are lighter and more difficult to hit, while irons are longer and more difficult to hit. But is it really necessary to change your entire swing.
The short answer is no but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t change a few things at address position. Keep reading to find out the basics of each shot so that you feel more confident with every club in your bag.
Wedges Swing vs. Iron Swing – The Fundamentals
If you’re ready to play your best golf, let’s get into the fundamentals of hitting irons and wedges consistently. Both can be used to learn basic golf swing principles. Before getting into the differences between the two, let’s address some of the things the two types of clubs have in common.
Grip and Grip Pressure
These clubs share one thing: your grip and grip tension.
Nothing should change in your grip from shot to shot, whether you’re hitting a driver, 7 iron, or gap wedge. You must have a solid grip, and it should be maintained with every club in your bag.
You don’t need a weak grip with irons and a strong grip with wedges. To be more confident when standing over the ball, stick with your usual grip.
Don’t be too proud of the club
Whether you’re hitting a sand wedge or 6 iron, one core move of the swing needs to happen – The golf club is shallow. This is where the golf ball will be compressed to allow you to swing under the plane.
Sergio Garcia is an excellent example of someone who can learn to shallowen the club.
He can make incredible contact with the ball, especially with wedges and irons, because of his insane lag. But the good news is that you don’t need to be Sergio to get these types of results. The PlaneMate swing trainer from Tour Striker is one of the best ways to lower the club.
This is the best training aid on the market! Why?
Because it teaches how to swing the club more outside, on the backswing. can shallow and create lag in the downswing. It can be used at home or on the driving course with wedges and irons as well as your driver.
This powerful tool is described in detail in our review Here.
Now, let’s get into the differences between hitting wedges vs. hitting irons.
Difference #1: Position
The first big difference between wedges & irons is ball position.
With your wedges, it’s pretty much the same position for every wedge in your bag – the middle of your stance. Whether you’re hitting a 46 degree PW or a 58 degree LW (this is for a full golf swing wedge shot, not chipping/pitching) it should be directly underneath the buttons on your shirt.
However, if you want to hit the ball extra high, you might move the ball up in your stance. In my own experience shifting theBall position up and moving more weight forward makes it easier to hit it higher and land softer.
Conversely, you might want to move it an inch back in your stance for a lower ball flight. You can hit it lower with less spin by maintaining a middle-ball position and having a shorter followthrough. This will allow the ball to fly lower and reduce spin.
With irons, the ball should be positioned more in front of you. The more you move the ball forward, the longer the iron. You should not go beyond the logo on your left side, as this will cause you to bottom out in the swing.
Only fairway woods and drivers will use the ball position left of your left foot.
Difference #2: Width Of Stance
Your stance will also change, in addition to your irons vs. your wedges.
Since wedges are meant for short range distances, you don’t need as wide of stance at address compared to hitting a mid to long iron. Setup with your feet closer together as your golf swing won’t be as long or as fast.
But that doesn’t mean your feet should be too close together either. Amateur golfers often set up too narrowly, making it difficult to properly transfer their weight and rotate their shoulders.
When using wedges, your feet should be no more than shoulder width apart.
If you have irons, your shoulders should be spaced apart. Mid-long irons will require a slightly larger stance. A driver should be at least shoulder width apart in order to create a wide stance that allows for maximum distance.
Difference #3: Weight Distribution
Your weight is the third thing you need to change during setup.
Since you need to hit down on your wedges more so than your irons, it’s beneficial with shorter clubs to have more weight forward. A shorter swing will result in better contact and results if you have more weight forward (about 60%).
Irons should be balanced between your feet, especially if you have longer irons. This will allow for more shoulder turn and ensure that you have the right weight distribution when you are downswinging.
#4: Swing length
Once you have the three adjustments above made at setup, let’s talk about the swing itself. You should have the same swing with both wedges and irons, don’t think you need a separate one for each. This will leave you feeling overwhelmed and confused.
Instead, the only thing that should be considered when judging the swing’s length is its length. The goal of wedges is to hit a controlled shot onto the green, hopefully as close as possible to the pin. It’s not about trying to hit a wedge as far as it can go.
You want maximum control of wedges so that the leading edge meets the turf in just the right spot. To do that, you don’t need a swing as long as your driver, woods, or irons. You don’t need to take it back to parallel length at the top of your backswing and is actually counterproductive.
This is how it works: shorter clubs have higher loft and require a shorter backswing. To get it consistent and close, move the club back to parallel position. This will give you maximum control and allow for better wedge shots.
Remember that the backswing is longer the longer the club is.
Difference #5: Swing Speed
While your swing length shouldn’t be as long, your swing speed should change as well. You can hit your irons 130-230 yards depending on how fast you swing and what club you are using. You need to be faster because speed equals distance.
That’s why you see the best guys in the world swing their driver at 110+ mph and their wedges a fraction of that. Take a look at the swing speed of PGA Tour players with different clubs. Trackman:
- Driver = 113 mph
- 5 iron = 94 mph
- 8 iron = 87 mph
- PW = 83 mph
As you can see, the PGA Tour shows that the club shorter will result in a decrease in total swing speed. While having a faster swing speed is crucial with woods and longer irons, it’s not as important with shorter clubs.
Instead, you should establish a consistent pace to ensure maximum control when hitting shorter clubs in your bag.
Consistently using your hitting tools
Great wedge players have a few things in common, let’s take a look at them below to help you become a wedge wizard.
The Right Wedges
First, you must choose the right clubs to help you become a great wedge player. Amateur golfers make the biggest mistake of choosing wedges that are not suited to their swing.
For example, many golfers prefer lightweight, cavity-backing irons that are 4-PW. But then they add in hard to hit, heavy wedges like the Titleist Vokey because they think it’s the key to a better short game. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a phenomenal wedge, but it’s not going to help a high handicap golfer.
You should instead choose clubs that are similar to your irons. Cavity back wedges are best for cavity back irons. This will allow for more forgiveness and distance in your wedges, and it will make it easier to switch to shorter clubs.
Don’t forget about the shafts in your wedges too. Another mistake made by many golfers is playing a shaft too heavy in their wedges in comparison to other clubs in their bag.
Instead, use wedge shafts that match the weight of your game or are slightly heavier. If you play a 100 gram shaft with irons, use 100-115 gram wedge shafts… not a standard 130 gram shaft which might be too heavy to swing consistently.
It’s the little things like playing the right equipment that can make a massive difference in your ball striking.
Here is a list of our favorite wedges if you don’t carry a tour card!
You can choose from a variety of bounces
While having the right type of wedges is important, it’s also vital that you have different amounts of bounce too. To make your shot easier, you may need to use different wedges for different shots.
For example, if you have a tight lie, you wouldn’t want to use a wedge with 12 or 14 degrees of bounce. This would cause the leading edges to not contact the turf or ball properly. Instead, you would want to use your wedge with less bounce as it’ll make the shot easier.
You might need to hit harder on soft, fluffy sand. That’s why it’s a good idea to carry a wedge with low bounce, mid bounce, and high bounce. This wedge setup will make it easy to hit any shot in any situation.
Hit More Distance Control Wedges
If you watch some of the best wedge players in the world like Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson, you’ll notice they love to hit controlled distance shots. They rarely hit hard wedges as they spin too much and don’t lead to consistent results.
These guys, along with Lee Trevino, hit controlled, flighted, half-swing shots. By choking up and hitting more than enough club, it’s easier to make a smooth, controlled, consistent swing. Plus, it’ll likely lead to better results as you know that you have enough club to get close to the green.
Know your Distances
You need to know how far each club can carry you in order to play well on the golf course. This will make it easier to make contact with your wedges and irons on full swings. By knowing your carry distance with every club in the bag (don’t forget your long game too), you won’t try to over swing or have any doubts on the golf course.
This will help you find the center of the golf club face, slow down, and start the ball in the right direction. Plus, better distance control in your golf swing so you have better misses that aren’t as difficult when you do miss the green.
Practice their wedge game
You can improve your wedge play and short iron shots by working on them more. Most golfers prefer to hit shots using longer clubs and more tee shots on a driving range. You can improve your contact and score lower in your own game by focusing more on the short game.
You must be comfortable with different shots at the driving range. Hard work and testing are the best things.
FAQs about Wedges vs. Irons
Do you have questions about how to get the best out of your driver, wedges, or irons? We have the answers.
Should you swing your wedges full force?
This is more a personal preference than anything. Some players feel confident swinging full swings with wedges, while others prefer to use a knockdown wedge.
In general, I think taking a full swing with a wedge is fine but you should never try to “kill it” with a short club. It’s not your driver, there’s no need to try and swing out of your shoes. If you watch golf on TV, you will notice those guys are super smooth and don’t have an overly aggressive wedge swing.
A more comfortable approach is to hit a shot which is not aggressive, but is still comfortable. Here’s why…
It might spin too fast if you swing hard at a wedge. The shot might hit the flag, but then it may suck back to the green. A three-quarter knockdown shot would have hit and stopped easily without any backspin.
However, if you swing hard, and hit it badly you can easily thin it or cut it short. Either way, you will end up with big numbers on your scorecard that could be avoided.
Don’t swing a wedge you don’t feel comfortable with. It’s easy course management choices like this that will make a huge impact on your total score.
Do you hit a pitching stick like an iron?
The PW is kind of in between the wedges and short irons as it’s a little bit of both. Most players use a pitching tool that matches their irons. Elite players may use a harder-hitting PW to maximize shot shaping.
What can you do then?
Play it more like an iron than a wedge since it’s a longer, more of a full swing type shot. If you want to hit it at your maximum distance, you will need to have the right setup. However, you should still have a smooth, controlled swing to maintain your swing length.
Is your driver swing the same as your iron?
No, your driver swing will be very different from your irons because of a variety reasons.
The first reason is that your driver is only hit off a tee (unless you’re one of the few people who can successfully hit it off the deck). This changes the way you swing because the ball is teed up very high.
To promote spin and launch with a driver, you need to hit the ball high. With wedges and irons, you can hit the shot down and through even if the ball has been teed up.
Your setup when hitting driver vs. irons or wedges is another change. Your setup should be very different since you want to hit the golf ball with an driver. To encourage an upward swing, your back shoulder should touch your lead shoulder. Weight should be 50/50.
With irons and wedges, you want your shoulders level (unless you’re hitting from an uphill or downhill lie) to compress the ball. These changes will become more automatic the more you play golf.
But if you’re just starting out, you might need to remind yourself as setup and weight position both play a big role in helping you make consistent contact with any club in the bag. This Video by Mr. Short Game Golf on Youtube does a great job illustrating the setup changes from wedges and irons.
What are some good drills to use?
You want more options to enhance your practice sessions. No problem, we have you covered.
This Video from Me and My Golf has a great drill to help any type of golfer. Use a launch monitor to hit different distance shots so you can feel the feel of each wedge.
Here’s how to do it even if you don’t have a Trackman launch monitor.
- Grab your wedges, and warm up for approximately ten minutes.
- Make it a goal not to hit the same shot twice, but instead aim to hit random distances between clubs. For example, let’s say you hit your LW 75 yards and your SW 90 yards.
- For the first ball, aim to hit a shot at 80 yards. Before you check the numbers on your launch monitor, take a guess at how accurate you were.
- Then, you can see how close it was with your original distance on launch monitor.
- Next, calculate the distance between your SW-GW and then repeat the process.
Keep hitting shots that are within the wedge distances of the hole so you can hit different shots at the range. This will help you feel a different type of swing, which should translate into better golf on course and hopefully bring you closer the hole.
You should now have a better understanding of how to hit the approach shots with both irons and wedges.
Remember, the swing itself doesn’t change as much as the setup, which ultimately impacts some of the swing. But you shouldn’t have a “wedge swing” and an “iron swing” but instead, set up differently at address position. This will do all the heavy lifting so you don’t have to think about mechanics on the golf course.
You can keep your grip the same, but change some settings to hit the ball correctly using wedges or irons. You need to hit longer shots with irons so you should aim for a wider setup and a longer swing. You want to concentrate on distance control with wedges and not total distance. You should aim for a smooth swing and a less than 100 percent swing.
Also, don’t forget that the right equipment and plenty of practice will turn you from a pretty good player to a great one.