Yesterday I was lucky enough to be taking a class of new golfers.
There were 7 golfers in the group, with a handicap range of between 8 and 14.
As I often do with new students, I asked if I could take a look at the clubs in their bags.
The first thing I noticed was that each golfer had a selection of 4 wedges.
Pitching wedge, 51 or 52 degree, 56 degree and a 60 degree wedge.
To me this was a little strange.
So I questioned the group as to why they all had so many wedges, the response was slightly odd, but it was the same for each golfer.
Well, we need a 52º wedge to sit between the pitching wedge and the sand wedge, this made sense.
But the next two reasons didn´t;
1 – I have the lob wedge to play out of bunkers
2 – I have the lob wedge to get over bunkers
Ok I can understand why some golfers may feel a shot over a bunker is easier with a higher lofted club, but the same result can be achieved with a sand wedge.
But playing out of a bunker with a lob wedge doesn´t sit too well with me, I find it harder to control, yes you may be able to get the ball up faster, but again the sand wedge can be manipulated to achieve the same result.
The first reason for this is a lob wedge is designed to be played, principally, from the grass.
The second is far more obvious, a sand wedge, hence the name is specifically designed for the purpose of getting out of a sand trap.
Now, I have many clients that have a similar configuration of clubs in their bags, which is fine, but I want to challenge the way of thinking.
Unless you have an incredible, Phil Micklenson-esque short game, or tour type long there is little need to carry more than a pitching wedge, sand wedge and a gap wedge.
Instead, by ditching the additional wedge and replacing that with an additional fairway wood or hybrid, your game would improve.
The extra wedge, usually the lob wedge is not necessary, it is just a club that may get you out of trouble once in a while, but the odd shot you may require it for, can easily be played with your standard 56º sand wedge.
However, the addition of an extra fairway wood or hybrid will help you far more.
It may bring in range long par fours or even short par fives.
Par threes may be easier to negotiate as you no longer have to force a club the distance.
You may even find that a hybrid or fairway wood can help your chipping from the fringe of the green.
A lob-wedge is, for the average amateur golfer a wasted cub in the bag. Regardless of how good you are with it; the sand wedge can play the exact same role.