58 vs 60 Degree Wedge: What To Choose?
Not that long ago a 56° wedge was probably the most lofted club in your bag but with iron set lofts decreasing, more and more players are turning to specialist wedge companies to offer some options at the shorter end of their bag.
Some players are regularly using 64° wedges and even a 73° wedge was released at one point.
Should you be looking for a lob wedge and if so should you go for 58° or 60°?
How Many Wedges Do You Need?
Iron sets used to be sold as 3-iron to 9-iron plus a pitching wedge and a sand wedge. There would have been a 4° difference in the lofts of each club which should have given you a fairly consistent distance gap on full shots. The pitching wedge would have been 52° with a sand wedge at 56°.
Over the years in an effort to make people think they were hitting the ball further, manufacturers gradually strengthened the lofts on irons so that pitching wedges had lofts of 48° or even less. This left a large distance gap between your pitching wedge and sand wedge so the gap wedge was born to fill the space.
So with most modern sets of clubs, you will probably utilize three wedges. Do you need to fill the gap?
Choosing wedge lofts really comes down to gapping. You need to try to have consistent gaps between your clubs. Let’s use the lofts of the Ping i59 irons as an example. The clubs are available in 3 different lofts.
The additional wedges you choose would depend to some extent on the clubs you already have.
|Club||Loft||Power Spec||Retro Spec|
So if you currently have the standard loft i59 irons you might be best to have just 2 additional wedges (52°, 58°). If you have the Power Spec model then you might also go for 2 additional wedges (52°, 60°). Finally, if you chose the retro spec lofts then you might prefer to go for 3 extra wedges (52°, 56°, 60°).
Why Do You Need A Lob Wedge?
A lob wedge has a little bit of extra loft to help you play higher shots, particularly around the green where you may need extra elevation to clear a bunker or some mounding while still needing to stop the ball fairly quickly.
It reduces the need for you to play half shots as you should be able to find a distance that you can repeat with a full swing.
When chipping it saves you from having to open up the face of your sand wedge in order to get a higher flight. This might be particularly useful for higher handicappers who lack confidence in adapting clubs to different situations.
How Far Do You Hit A 58° Wedge?
Depending upon your swing speed you will likely hit this around 5 yards shorter than your sand wedge with a full shot. Players that can hit the ball greater distances will notice a larger difference.
For example, if you have a 15-yard gap between your irons then you’re probably looking at around a 7-yard gap between your sand wedge and a 58° lob wedge.
How Far Do You Hit A 60° Wedge?
On full shots, you’d expect the club to be 10-15 yards shorter than your sand wedge. You’d expect to see a similar gap as you get between your other irons.
Remember however that not everyone likes to use a lob wedge on full swings. It tends to be reserved for short pitches and chips around the green or for bunker shots.
If you have a club head speed of 85 mph then in theory you should be carrying your 60° wedge about 75 yards. If you have a club head speed of 115 mph then you will be looking at around 105 yards of carry.
In reality, most ordinary handicap golfers won’t see much difference between the distance they hit these two clubs. It’s more likely that poor strikes and swing errors will mean that the distances overlap.
How Does Loft Affect Launch Angle?
Launch angle is primarily dependent on the loft you present at impact or dynamic loft. Your lob wedge is going to be the most lofted club in your bag so will create the highest launch angle.
Bounce Is Very Important
The amount of bounce you have on your wedges is as important as the loft. As a general rule, most amateur golfers would probably benefit from having more rather than less bounce.
However, course conditions might dictate otherwise as well as the way you swing.
For example, Bob Vokey, who knows a thing or two about wedges, points out that low bounce models (4°-6°) can be ideal for firm turf and bunkers with coarser or harder sand. They also tend to suit players with shallow angles of attack who take minimal divots.
There is an argument to make for having at least one high lofted low bounce wedge in your bag for those days when you’re playing a course where the conditions dictate. Unless of course, you’re able to swap out all of your wedges to suit where you’re playing on the day!
58 vs 60 Degree Wedge: What To Choose: Conclusion
I think the decision to pick a 58° or 60° wedge really comes down to individual preference and your current set makeup. Try to keep distance gaps the same. Although some coaches recommend that most players shouldn’t bother with more than 58° of loft (Butch Harmon).
I personally found my 58° degree wedge took a bit of getting used to but it is very useful out of steep pot bunkers and when extra height is required if I’ve short-sided myself.
Frequently asked questions [FAQ]
Does a beginner need a lob wedge?
I think there are other skills that a beginner needs to work on before worrying about high tariff shots around the green.
A sand wedge should be sufficient for a basic bunker technique and wherever possible beginners would be better off trying to keep the ball low to the ground when chipping.
Is a 60° wedge hard to hit?
In theory, it shouldn’t be any harder to hit however it may be more difficult to be consistent due to the extra loft.
As with any club, you need to strike the ball accurately to achieve the best results.
How far do you hit a 58° wedge?
Players on the PGA Tour are hitting lob wedges in the region of 100 yards. Whilst slower swinging amateurs are more likely to be in the 75-90 yard range.
Remember it’s not a case of hitting the ball as far as possible with any iron, you should be more worried about achieving a consistent distance for each club as that will help you get your scores down.