When selecting a sand wedge, there are a number of different things a golfer should look for. Like any other club, the sand wedge should be tailored for the individual. A perfect sand wedge for you could be totally unsuitable in another golfer’s hands.
Just because a club is called a sand wedge by the manufacturer, don’t automatically assume they all have the same loft. Some manufacturers will set their sand wedge loft at 54 degrees with other brands setting the loft at 56 degrees.
This is important because some golfers will require more loft than others. In general terms, the golfer should be looking at increasing the amount of loft the sand wedge has. If given the option between a 54 degree and 56 degree sand wedge, most players would be better selecting the higher loft. This makes hitting high, floating shots from the sand much easier to accomplish.
Most specialized sand wedges will have the loft stamped on to the club head. However, sand wedges bought as part of a set may not. Always check with the store or manufacturer for the exact loft, it could save you shots.
The amount of bounce varies from sand wedge to sand wedge and it’s important to select the correct angle for your needs. The amount of bounce on a sand wedge could determine if your sand shots stay in the bunker or escape on to the green.
Bounce angle is created when the rear edge of a club’s sole is lower than the leading edge. This difference in height allows the rear edge to guide the club up through the sand and not allow the front edge to dig into the ground.
Players known as ‘diggers’ who take lots of sand or big divots when using the sand wedge would benefit more from having a wedge with a large bounce angle; about 12 to 14 degrees.
Players who take little sand or shallow divots, ‘skimmers’, would benefit more from a sand wedge with low bounce angle; about 6 to 8 degrees of bounce.
When selecting the amount of bounce angle, always consult with your professional to ensure you get the most from the club.
There are a plethora of materials and finishes used in the construction of sand wedges and finding the correct combination is important.
Some players will achieve a greater amount of spin with some materials than others so some experimentation is required. In general, most players will suit a heavier sand wedge when compared to their normal irons. This added weight can help players get through the sand more consistently lifting the ball on to the green. Soft forged steel generally gives the greatest amount of spin but the steel can have different finishes. Some wedges have a chrome plate finish which prevents the club head from rusting over time. Other wedges have a ‘gun metal’ finish which blackens the wedge to reduce glare. Some wedges have no finish at all which causes the wedge to rust which some players prefer.
Whichever wedge material and finish the golfer prefers they must ensure the wedge grooves remain clean and sharp. This will help ensure the maximum amount of spin is imparted on the ball.
Players selecting the perfect sand wedge first have to work out what loft, bounce, weight and finish suits their needs.