One of the great tools of modern golf is the lob wedge, or L wedge for short. A lob wedge features between 58 and 64 degrees of loft and is effective for short chips and pitches when landing the ball softly is a must.

lob wedge 1

Because it has so much built-in loft, the lob wedge doesn't require the golfer to open the clubface or make major swing adjustments to hit a high shot. Most lob wedges have very little “bounce” on the sole, so they slide easily under the ball -- even on tight lies.

Here are some situations where the L wedge comes in very handy:

• Short pitch shot over a bunker to a pin tucked just behind the sand.
• Pitch shot from a hardpan lie.
• Chip or pitch from thick rough.
• Bunker shot that must clear a high lip.
• Short bunker shot which must stop very quickly after landing.
• Full shot of 50-75 yards that must carry a hazard and land softly.
• Shot over a tree.
• Full pitch shot downwind over a hazard.

Practically every tour pro carries a lob wedge. It's a wise investment for amateurs, too.

For more information on Irons and Wedges:

Under the rules of golf, you only get to carry 14 clubs in your bag during a round.

Lob Wedge is a Versatile Club for Many Different Shots

While that might sound like a lot, those slots are filled quickly. An experienced golfer knows that it is important to get the maximum possible value from each and every one of those spaces. If you are only going to use a certain club on a rare occasion, for example, it might be a better idea to substitute a different club, one which will see more frequent action.

If you decide to carry a lob wedge as one of your 14 clubs, you shouldn't have to worry about extracting maximum value from that spot. The lob wedge is a club with many different uses, even if it can be a bit intimidating for the average player at first. There is a learning curve involved with the lob wedge, so don't give up on it after just a few uses in practice. Once you learn how to use this club effectively, it is likely to become one of your favorite options in the bag.

In this article, we are going to highlight the many different ways in which you can put a lob wedge to use. We'll not only explain the kinds of shots you can hit, but we will also provide some tips to help you succeed with those shots. Again, there is a learning curve here, so you'll need to be patient. This is not going to be the easiest club in your bag to hit, especially not at first. Only the golfers who are willing to put it plenty of effort during practice will be rewarded on the course.

All of the content below is based on a right-handed golfer. If you happen to play left-handed, please take a moment to reverse the directions as necessary.

The Shot List

The Shot List

As you know, a lob wedge is a highly-lofted wedge which is usually used to hit high, short approach shots, as well as short game shots from around the green. However, despite its extreme loft, this is a club which offers surprising versatility. If you fall into a pattern of thinking that the lob wedge can only do one or two things, you'll be missing out on a big opportunity.

In this section, we are going to provide you with a list of different shots that you may want to try with your lob wedge. Of course, you will need to practice these shots before you attempt to use them on the course. Also, there may be even more shots possible with the lob wedge than those represented below, so this should not be considered an exhaustive list.

  • A full swing approach shot. You can use your lob wedge just like you would use any of your other irons to hit an approach into the green. Of course, with its extremely high degree of loft, you probably aren't going to get much distance out of these shots. But that's actually a good thing – using a lob wedge will let you make a comfortable full swing while bringing the ball in on a high trajectory. It should be pretty easy to stop the ball quickly when using a lob wedge for an approach, and you might even be able to spin the ball back toward the front of the green slightly. The exact distance that this club will provide is going to vary from player to player, so be sure to observe how far your shots are flying and respond accordingly. Later in this article, we will offer some tips on how you can improve your ball striking with this club when hitting full shots.
  • A standard chip shot. Again here, we see another shot that can be played with a variety of different clubs. When you find your ball resting just off the side of a green, you can use your lob wedge to play a chip shot up toward the hole. The lob wedge is a nice chipping option because of the height it can provide to this shot. You may want to use your lob wedge when you need to carry the ball over some rough before letting it land on the green and run the rest of the way. Or, you might choose the lob wedge because you want to carry the ball over a slope in the green that is between you and the target. There are any number of reasons you may want additional carry on your chip shots, and the lob wedge can provide just that. As you may know from experience, chipping with a lob wedge is a little more difficult than chipping with something like a nine iron or pitching wedge. It's harder to make clean contact, and some golfers find it harder to judge their distance correctly. So, if you are going to use this shot on the course, make sure you have invested plenty of practice time in advance.
  • A flop shot. When you think about the lob wedge, a flop shot might be one of the first shots you think about. While the flop shot can be an effective tool in the right situation, it is also one of the most difficult shots in the game to pull off. To play a flop shot, you will need to open the face at address and make a big swing. When executed correctly, the ball will pop high up into the air, travel a short distance, and land softly on the green. It looks impressive when it is done right – but it can also go wrong in a hurry. For instance, if you hit the shot thin, the leading edge of the club will send the ball shooting off into the distance. While it is tempting to reach for the flop shot anytime you want to stop the ball quickly, this shot should really be more of a last resort than anything else. When you just don't know what else to do in a certain situation around the green, you might decide that hitting a flop shot is the best available choice. It's worth some practice time to have this shot available in the back of your mind but try not to lean on it as a main short game technique.
  • A bunker shot. Yes, you probably have another club in your bag called a 'sand wedge'. And yes, that is the club you'll likely use most of the time when your ball comes to rest in a greenside bunker. However, there are going to be plenty of situations where the lob wedge will actually be a better choice than the sand wedge for an explosion shot. The additional loft that the lob wedge offers can help you get out of deep bunkers, and it can also help you stop the ball quickly after it lands. Ideally, you will be comfortable using both your sand wedge and your lob wedge for bunker shots, so you can simply pick the best one for the job in each individual circumstance.
  • A 'belly' shot. This is an interesting option that can come in handy from time to time. When your ball comes to rest up against the rough around the green, you might be able to 'belly' the ball up toward the hole with your lob wedge. To clarify, we are talking about a lie where your ball is resting on the fringe of the green, with the rough immediately up against the back of the ball. This kind of lie is relatively common when the ball trickles just off the green and down a slope toward the rough. If the ball doesn't have enough momentum to make its way into the rough, it will just stop up against the edge. If you've ever encountered this lie in your own game, you know it can be tough to hit a solid shot. A typical chip shot is likely to see the club get hung up in the rough, making it nearly impossible to strike the ball cleanly. To belly the ball toward the hole, you are going to use your lob wedge while employing your putting technique. You'll line up the leading edge of the club with the middle of the ball and rock your shoulders back and through. If you pull it off, the ball will roll away just like a putt, and the rough behind the ball will have little effect on your swing. Obviously, this is something you will have to practice before it can be trusted on the course.

As you can see, there are plenty of ways in which you can put your lob wedge to use during a round of golf. In fact, the list above is just a starting point, as it's likely you'll find even more ways to use this helpful club.

Full Swing Tips

Full Swing Tips

For some golfers, the idea of using the lob wedge for a full swing is a bit intimidating. Even though these same players are comfortable using this club for short game shots, they may shy away from putting it into action for a full swing. There is something about looking down and seeing the significant amount of loft that makes it hard for some players to have confidence in this club. They feel like something is going to go wrong at impact – either they'll swing right under the ball, or their hit it fat and the ball will only move a few feet toward the target. If you have these kinds of fears regarding your lob wedge, you'll need to brush them to the side as soon as possible in order to get the maximum benefit from including this club in your set.

To make sure you can use your lob wedge just as effectively from the fairway as you do from around the green, let's review some simple tips.

  • Play the ball in the middle of your stance. This is a great place to start, and it is a point where many golfers go wrong. When hitting a standard lob wedge shot with a full swing, try setting up with the ball in the middle of your stance. You may be tempted to play the ball farther back than the middle – thinking that will help you hit down on the shot – but putting the ball too far back is going to create a steep downswing. In other words, you'll be much more likely to hit the ball fat when you make that adjustment. Instead, keep the ball in the middle of your stance and focus on maintaining your balance throughout the swing.
  • Don't help it. The lob wedge is designed with 58* or 60* of loft for a reason. This is a club which is meant to hit the ball high in the air, meaning it doesn't need any help from you to get the shot airborne. At impact, don't use your hands actively to 'scoop' the shot off the turf – that's what the loft is for. Instead, just swing through cleanly, with your hands slightly in front of the ball. As long as you trust the club to do its job, you should see the ball climb skyward each and every time.
  • Take it easy. You don't need to make an aggressive swing when hitting a full shot with your lob wedge. If you feel like you need to swing extra hard in order to reach the target, you are probably using the wrong club. When you swing too hard, it will become difficult to make clean contact at impact. And, even if you do manage to strike the ball cleanly, your spin rate will be sky high and the shot will be hard to control. Make a balanced, smooth swing to see the best possible results.

In the end, there really isn't anything different that you need to do when swinging a lob wedge as compared to your other irons. You should be hitting down slightly at impact, you should be using a smooth tempo, and you should trust the loft of the club to do its job. As long as your technique is sound, the only thing left to do is practice. Hit a few full swing shots with your lob wedge during each range session so you can gradually build up your self-belief in this part of the game.

Short Game Tips

Short Game Tips

Switching gears, we are now going to offer you a few tips for how you can get great performance out of your lob wedge around the greens. This is really where the lob wedge comes into its own, as it can help you get out of some tricky situations that you may not be able to handle with any other club. As you practice your short game skills with the lob wedge, keep the following tips in mind.

  • Feel free to manipulate the loft. You don't have to keep the face of your lob wedge in a square position for all of your short game shots. In fact, you will probably want to open it or close it slightly for most of your shots, depending on the circumstances. Opening the face slightly can add height to your shot and help it to stop quicker. Closing down the face will flatten the chip shot and cause less spin to be created at impact. Experiment during practice with various club face positions so you can accurately predict how they will perform when you use them on the course.
  • Two basic techniques. You would be wise to develop two different techniques to use when chipping with a lob wedge. One technique is going to look a lot like your putting stroke, where your rock the club back and through while keeping your hands quiet. This is a pretty basic chip shot, and one that should serve you well in many situations. The other shot is harder to execute, but it can be handy from time to time. This shot is played mostly with your hands and wrists, as you 'flip' the club through the hitting area. You'll get the shot up into the air quickly this way, but you need great feel in order to make solid contact.
  • Big swing in the bunker. If you are going to use your lob wedge to play an explosion shot from the sand, you will need to make a big swing. Due to the significant amount of loft on the club, it is going to require a big swing to move the ball far enough forward to get out of the trap. It might be a little uncomfortable at first to make such a big swing when you are so close to the green, but you'll get used to it with practice.
  • Favor less loft. Yes, a lob wedge is a helpful club to have available in the short game. Should it be the club you reach for most often when around the greens? Absolutely not. Ideally, you will be able to keep the ball closer to the ground on most of your short game shots, as low chip shots tend to be more reliable and repeatable. As you walk up to the ball for a short game shot, first look for options to keep the ball down. If you can't play the shot low and reach the target successfully, start to look higher and higher until you see a path that makes sense. Favoring low short game shots is going to save you strokes in the long run.

The best short game players are those who have a wide range of shots at their disposal. You should be able to play low shots using less loft, and you should be able to play high shots using your lob wedge. If you can bring together a well-rounded short game through consistent practice, your scores are almost certain to move in the right direction.

Shopping for a Lob Wedge

Shopping for a Lob Wedge

When it comes to equipment, you probably think more about your driver and other long clubs than you think about your wedges. That is understandable, but you need to make sure that your wedges get plenty of attention, as well. When shopping for a new lob wedge, for instance, there are a couple things you should think about before making a purchase.

  • Which loft will work for you? Generally speaking, golfers consider clubs with either 58* or 60* of loft to be lob wedges. Which one is right for you? Well, you should take a moment to think about your game in order to answer that question. Do you need the extra distance on your full shots that you would gain from having two-fewer degrees of loft? Or do you need the extra height on your short game shots that would be enjoyed with a 60* wedge? There is no right or wrong here, so think about the needs of your game.
  • Think about bounce. The bounce angle on a wedge is the amount of bulge you see when looking at the sole of the club. A wedge with a high bounce angle is going to stay on top of the turf easier, which is a nice feature on soft ground. However, it can be trouble when playing on firm turf. For those who play most of their golf on hard ground, a wedge with low bounce is best.

All golfers should know how to use a lob wedge effectively. This is a great club for getting out of trouble, and it can help you hit accurate second shots on short par fours (or third shots on par fives). With the ability to provide value in the full swing and short game categories, there is a lot to like about adding a lob wedge to your set. We hope the tips in this article will help you use your lob wedge effectively in your very next round. Good luck!