Is it time to replace your old wedges? Well, if one or more of your wedges look like the wedge in the left of the picture, it is time for an upgrade. The worn wedge is a Mizuno forged wedge that was played for at least 6 months by a college player. He used it, and his 60 degree extensively in practice sessions as well as tournament play and started noticing that it became more difficult to get shots to stop on the green. That is because the grooves had worn to the point of dropping spin from a normal 10,000 rpm to more like 8,000 rpm. This made it difficult to stop the ball precisely when doing a check shot.
Now if you are playing cast wedges (stock wedges from Callaway, TaylorMade in sets like the XR, Steelhead, M1 or M2), these faces are so hard you will probably never have to replace them. That is because the cast material is literally 10 times harder than the soft carbon steel in a forged wedge (Mizuno, Callaway Mack Daddy Forged, Miura, PXG, etc.). The rule of thumb is to replace your wedges after 50 rounds if you are playing forged wedges. If you use your wedges a lot in practice, just take a look at the face and you will be able to tell visually when the grooves are worn. You will also know it is time to replace your old wedges when your ball does not check as well on chip shots and runs past your target.
So what should you pay attention to when replacing your wedges?
Bounce: Do you have low enough bounce for tight shots from the fairway or heavy wet sand? Conversely to you have enough bounce for sliding through fluffy sand or deep rough. See our bounce guide here…
Loft Separation: If you play 4 wedges (Pitching, Gap, Sand and Lob) we want no more that 5 degrees loft separating the wedges. So you may have a 45 degree Pitching wedge, a 50 degree Gap or Approach wedge, a 55 degree Sand Wedge (maybe 56 bent to 55), and a 60 degree Lob wedge. We see a lot of players moving to 45, 50, 54 and 58 to get a little more distance out of their higher lofted wedges.
Sole Grind: This is a little more dependent upon your playing style, and more important for higher lofted wedges like 54 through 64. If you like finessing your shots in the sand by laying the face a little more open, make sure the grind on the sole is beveled to allow you to do that without adding a lot of bounce.
And, the basics: Length, Lie, Shaft Flex and Swing Weight: It is not uncommon for new to see players replace their wedges by going to a box store or online and getting stock wedges. These will typically have very heavy steel shafts like Dynamic Gold S400 shafts. If you are playing lighter weight shafts in your irons, you may feel uncomfortable and lose a lot of distance with your wedges. In general, your wedges should have the same length, shaft weight, and shaft flex as the Pitching wedge in your set. Swing weights should be very similar to your irons with the exception of your Sand and Lob wedge which could be a little heavier.
Wedges make up an extremely important part of your game so make sure that they are custom fit, custom built and perfectly matched to the rest of your set!