Golf Wedge Fitting – Where to Start
Golf Wedges

Golf Wedge Fitting – Where to Start

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Golf Wedge Fitting – Where to Start

“How do I find the right wedges?” 

It’s a question we get asked a lot. 

The simple (probably too simple) answer is to get fitted.  

Thank you for coming to my Ted Talk. Enjoy the rest of your day. 

Also, good luck with that. 

An image of Mizuno and Vokey golf wedges

For my money, a wedge fitting is the single most impactful of any club. I’d wager golfers who get properly fitted for their wedges will see immediate improvement.  

Unfortunately, it’s not easy to find a competent wedge fitter (or even an incompetent one, for that matter). 

As a result, wedges are among the least fitted clubs in the bag (hybrids could probably give them a run for their money) and that’s kind of sucks when you consider that, short of your putter, you’ll hit more shots with your golf wedges than any other club. 

With improperly fitted wedges, you’ll hit even more. I think that’s what they call “getting your money’s worth.” 

The takeaway from all of this is that golf wedge fitting is important. 

Unfortunately, in addition to the lack of fitting opportunities, wedge fitting info is in short supply and what’s out there is confusing. 

A closeup of a 60-degree Vokey M Grind wedge

I wish I could tell you I’m going to demystify everything for you but as, with our recent golf ball fitting guide, if we’re going to have an honest conversation, it needs to start with an acknowledgment that wedge fitting is complicated and to spin it any other way would be a disservice.  

Bounce, grinds, swing type, course conditions. I get that pulling it all together is a challenge. 

In a perfect world, you’d have a fitter right down the road who could handle the nuance for you. 

Failing that, it would be nice if we could experiment with any golf wedge from every lie condition, hit some bunker shots … the whole 9.  

But this world of golf wedge fitting isn’t perfect—not even close. I once drove an hour to demo a new wedge only to have the sales guy wrap the sole and face in duct tape. 

True story. 

So, yeah, I get there are obstacles. 

Having acknowledged the complexity, I’m going to (hopefully) give you a different perspective, change your thinking and maybe even provide some sensible guidance on how an average golfer without access to world-class fitting facilities can go about finding the right wedges. 

Wedge Fitting – Where to Start 

Two Callaway golf wedges

Whether you’re fortunate enough to work with a fitter, a knowledgeable sales guy or you’re flying solo, wedge fitting starts with an honest conversation (it’s OK to talk to yourself … sometimes). 

The fundamental question you need to answer is: What am I trying to achieve with each wedge?  

With a driver, the answer is easy. You probably want to hit it long and straight. If not, seriously, what ARE you trying to achieve? 

With wedges, you really need to think about course conditions, the type of shots you play with each wedge and understand that wedges aren’t copy-and-paste. 

You need to understand that what’s true for your gap wedge very likely isn’t true for your lob wedge. 

We’ll get to all of that but first I want to run through a quick list of things you might need to do differently. 

Stop Thinking of Wedges as One Thing 

Don't think of your golf wedges a set. Treat each one independently

Erase the phrase “set of wedges” from your vocabulary

Whether you carry two, three or four, golf wedges aren’t a package deal. Each wedge in your bag should be thought of as an individual tool. While there will be some overlap, what you need from your lob wedge likely isn’t what you need from your gap wedge. Choose accordingly. 

You may have heard the terms digger, driver and sweeper. They were coined to simplify wedge fitting but, like a good bit of other golf club fitting info, they oversimplify to the point of detriment. 

Your full wedge swing isn’t your every wedge swing. There are guys on the PGA TOUR who take deep (digger) divots on full swings but barely brush the grass around the green (sweeper). I’d wager that in this respect, most of us are like Tour pros. 

This is why it’s important to think about the shots you need to hit with each wedge. 

Also consider that, regardless of how you deliver the club, the course is guaranteed to deliver a range of conditions: soft, firm, fluffy lies, tight lies, buried lies, etc.  

So, even if you’re a hardcore sweeper, the course will never care. You need an assortment of wedges that give you the versatility to tackle whatever the course throws at you. 

Rethink Your Lofts (maybe) 

Three TaylorMade Hi-Toe mid-bounce wedges

I’d wager many golfers still buy the same lofts they’ve always played because, well, those are the lofts they’ve always played. 

Circular logic sucks. It might be time to rethink some things.  

Chances are your irons are stronger than they were five years ago and way stronger than they were 10 years ago. With that, the old “standard” wedge progression of 52, 56 and 60 degrees may not make sense for you anymore. 

I’d bet that, for most golfers, moving to a slightly stronger 50-, 54-, 58-degree progression would better align with the rest of your bag. 

A photo of a Callaway JAWS Raw wedge

Stop Trying to Hit High Wedge Shots 

It’s almost counterintuitive, given the emphasis on hitting high iron shots with more stopping power, but the physics of wedge play are such that you’ll generate more spin and increased stopping power with lower-flying shots. 

That’s how I’d define “control” in the short game. 

I suspect many recreational golfers are conditioned to want to see towering wedge shots but Tour players will say there’s no such thing as a properly struck wedge that flies too low. 

Don’t Obsess Over Spin 

A closeup of wedge grooves

Spin is obviously important in the wedge game but it’s certainly not the only thing that matters.  

I’m not suggesting you buy a low spinning wedge but a couple of hundred rpm here or there probably shouldn’t be the deciding factor.  

Also, keep in mind that there’s no guarantee that the golf wedge that spins the most in a demo bay will still spin most after a few hundred shots. 

Stop thinking You’re Not Good Enough to Get Fitted for Wedges 

I believe every golfer can benefit from a wedge fitting. Unlike most golf clubs in the bag, a wedge fitting isn’t as much about maximizing every possible variable as it is dialing in consistent contact while ensuring you have the versatility you need to hit whatever shot you need to hit. 

With that out of the way, let’s tackle what is likely the most confusing element of golf wedge fitting. 

Wedge Bounce 

The toe of a Vokey F grind wedge

You’ve probably heard of both “bounce” and “grinds.” Bounce has been an industry-standard talking point for wedges for as long as I can remember.  

What is wedge bounce? 

Bounce is the angle created between the leading edge of the wedge and the lowest point on the sole or trailing edge. 

Does that help? I’m guessing not much. 

Going back to that stuff I just told you to forget about—the idea is that if you’re a digger (steep attack angle, big divots), you need a high bounce wedge. 

Sliders are shallower into the ball and require less bounce. 

a pair of Mizuno mid-bounce wedges

Wedge bounce isn’t a bad starting point but it’s not so much the bounce angle that matters so much as it is the shape of the sole. Bounce is certainly part of the sole equation but you also need to think about things like camber (is the leading edge basically flat from heel to toe or is there a bit of curve), and relief (areas of the wedge that have been removed to create specific performance attributes) to tune the playing characteristics of wedge. 

Bounce really is just a number and that’s before we get into measured bounce versus effective bounce and the fact that there’s plenty of variability in how the various manufacturers arrive at a bounce number.  

Bounce is a starting point but not much more. 

Wedge Grinds 

A collection of Vokey golf wedge grinds

The grind, which we can very simply define as the shape of sole, is what dictates how the wedge moves through the turf.  

The grind is what works with your swing to provide consistency, versatility and, to an extent, forgiveness. The grind, not the bounce, provides the most complete picture of the performance attributes of a wedge. 

Case in point: Vokey’s L and T grinds have stated bounce angles of four degrees. So does the higher lofted W grind, for that matter. The thing is, the shape of their soles is different and because of it, they play quite differently. 

The point I’m trying to reinforce is finding the right wedge isn’t as much about finding the right bounce as it is about finding the right grind. 

With that said, let’s again acknowledge this wedge stuff is complicated but if you’re still with me, I’m hoping we can simplify things just a bit and perhaps give you some practical advice. 

Finding the Right Wedges (in any golf shop in the world) 

a pair of wedges

Finding the right wedges is easy.  

Walk into any golf shop, grab a few wedges, walk out the back door to the pristine outdoor practice facility and test the wedges in the fairway, rough, bunkers and whatever else you need. 

As I said, good luck with that.  

The good news is there’s a lot you can figure out indoors. We’ve already written about the Vokey Wedge Fitting App and we’d certainly recommend you take advantage of it if your fitter has access. 

If that’s not possible, no worries. There’s still plenty you can do on your own. 

Here’s how to find a better wedge. 

Start by grabbing three wedges. I’d recommend starting with a single manufacturer and make sure you grab a mix of grinds.  

Titleist, Callaway, TaylorMade … It doesn’t matter and I don’t care. The idea is to get a variety of grinds (high, mid, low bounce) in your hands and start to see which ones work better. 

Cool. How do I define better as it relates to wedges? 

A Foresight screen capture showing data collected with golf wedges

Good question. Wedges aren’t speed clubs and, assuming the lofts are the same, they’re going to go damned near the same distance. 

What you’re looking for is consistency. To be clear, this shouldn’t be an opinion. Keep an eye on the standard deviations (the smaller numbers under the big numbers on nearly every launch monitor), they’ll tell you which wedge is producing the most consistent results. 

Even though we’re not playing home run derby today, the standard deviation of ball speed is still a really good indicator of the consistency of the strike. Launch and spin consistency are also worth keeping an eye on.  You’re looking for small numbers here. Even off a mat, you can get a solid idea of which grind allows you to strike the ball most consistently. 

Don’t be afraid to test how you play 

You’re probably not going to be able to hit out of sand but you can do things like open the face. See how the leading edge sits. Deloft the club if that’s the kind of thing you do on the course. 

You be you, play how you play and see what the numbers have to say.  

When you think you’ve got it figured out, don’t be afraid to grab a similar grind from another manufacturer to see if you can do better. 

You’re going to need to repeat the process for each loft because, again, what works—what allows you to hit the shots you need to hit—with a gap wedge is likely different than what works with a lob wedge. 

They’re different clubs. Treat them as such. 

Many golfers will find it takes a mix of grinds (and bounce angles) to ensure you can handle whatever shot the course gives you. 

The Vokey T Grind is an example of an exceptionally low-bounce wedge

What If I Can’t Tell the difference in wedge grinds? 

Maybe you can’t tell the difference or maybe you don’t have a place to try anything. That’s not ideal but in those cases, I’d recommend a fairly basic grind without a ton of relief—the stuff typically labeled “mid bounce.” 

Focus on Trajectory 

Again, we’re definitely not looking for the highest flight. With a wedge, higher flight is indicative of grooves not doing their job. 

As a rule of thumb, you’re looking for the launch angle to be 50 percent of the loft. That means a 54-degree wedge should launch at about 27 degrees.  

For sure, not everyone is going to be able to get the ball down that far (I struggle) but you want that flight as low as you can reasonably get it. Short of blading it, you’d be hard-pressed to hit your wedges too low. 

Get It Wet 

Adding moisture can decrease spin on wedge shots significantly

If you get a chance, splash a bit of water on the face and compare the results to your dry numbers. That’s where you’ll see more spin separation. In our testing, we’ve seen massive drops in wedge spin when moisture is added to the equation.  

This is also not ideal. 

To reiterate an earlier point, spin is important but the right wedge isn’t always one that spins most. 

What About Wedge Gapping? 

Your first wedge should be an extension of your iron set. That is to say, the loft progression should flow such that you’re maintaining a 10- to 15-yard gap between clubs. My advice is to continue that progression until you reach a wedge that you don’t take full swings with very often. 

I flow from a 45-degree pitching wedge to a 50-degree gap wedge into a 54-degree sand wedge. I’ll take a full swing with my lob wedge maybe twice a year so the gap from my sand wedge isn’t particularly important.  

With that, I jump from a 54 to a 60-degree lob wedge. There’s some risk with the higher loft but also some benefit.  

How Do I know When it’s Time To Replace My Wedges? 

a photo of a rusty golf wedge. FYI, rust doesn't add spin.

The hard truth is that groove deterioration is unavoidable and it starts almost as soon as your new wedge goes into play. 

It absolutely boggles my mind that guys have 10-year-old wedges in the bag. You’re killing me. 

I get that a new driver is always tempting and, yeah, putters are temperamental bastards that sometimes need to be put in time-out but your wedges, particularly your sand and lob wedges, should be your most frequently replaced clubs. 

I’ll say that again. Your wedges should be the most frequently replaced clubs in your bag. 

As the grooves wear, they don’t grip the ball as well. When that happens, the ball slides higher on the face resulting in higher launch, lower spin and reduced stopping power. 

These are not good things, people.  

an address view of a Callaway wedge

If you can, get some baseline launch and spin numbers each time you put a pristine new wedge in the bag.  Recheck periodically. When you see the numbers slipping appreciably, it’s time. 

If you can’t do that, Vokey suggests you replace your sand and lob wedges every 75 rounds. 

You can hold on to your gap wedge and a non-set-matched pitching wedge (if you carry one) a bit longer. 

A simple approach to knowing when to replace is to never regrip your wedge. If you play frequently, when it’s time to replace the grip, it’s time to replace the wedge. Trash that sucker or donate it to someone you don’t like.  

A Vokey F grind wedge

What about Shafts? 

There are a handful, if not more, of specialty wedge shafts that promise enhanced spin and more control. They may be worth looking into when you have the option but, in most cases, you’ll be fine matching your wedge shafts to your iron shafts. 

It’s not absolutely necessary but you may want to consider buying a flex softer in your sand and lob wedges (your partial shot clubs). For example, I play Nippon Modus 120X in my iron shafts but at the fitter’s recommendation, I play 120 S in my sand and lob wedges. 

A Quick World About Lie Angles 

If you’re working with a fitter, they’ll handle the lie angle details for you. If you’re flying solo, you’ll want to see how the lie angle of your irons compares to your wedges. It’s not uncommon for wedges to be a degree or two flatter than irons, especially on the higher-lofted wedges. 

How Important is Wedge Forgiveness? 

Cleveland CBX wedges are larger and more forgiving than conventional golf wedges.

The short answer is that it’s less important than with other clubs. 

The longer answer is that when it comes to wedges, there are a few ways to think about forgiveness. 

The conventional approach comes via larger shapes, perimeter weighting and higher MOI. That can be particularly important for golfers who play super game-improvement and even game-improvement clubs.  

The Cleveland CBX and Mizuno S23 are a bit larger than most and can be confidence-inspiring for higher handicap golfers. 

While they do offer a little bit more mis-hit protection, it’s important to understand that the practical value of MOI diminishes as loft increases. That is to say, higher MOI is more meaningful on a 5-iron than it is a wedge. 

The Mizuno S23 is more forgiving than traditional golf wedges

Fundamentally, forgiveness is consistency. With that in mind, spin consistency is part of the forgiveness equation as well. A good bit of spin consistency is driven by impact consistency but we sometimes see significant differences in wet versus dry conditions.  

If you play in the morning, it’s important that a wedge can maintain its spin in wet conditions. PING’s Glide series does this better than most and we’ve found that some wedges will lose as much as 50 percent of their spin when moisture is introduced. 

Finally, an element of forgiveness comes from the grind. The right grind is going to produce more consistent impact and nearly every element of forgiveness will flow from there. 

I suppose that brings us back full circle. 

A pair of Callaway JAWS wedges

Wedge Fitting: Not Easy, But Not Impossible 

As I said at the beginning, wedge fitting is complicated and not particularly accessible, which is probably why so few golfers have been fitted for their wedges. 

While it’s never going to be uncomplicated, we hope this guide gives you a better idea of what to look for in your next wedge and how you can find it if a proper fitting isn’t in the cards. 

Let us know how it worked out. 

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      10 months ago

      Where you play, is very important. How thick is rough? Wet, or dry. Clay or soft loam? You need different equipment for thick rough versus dry bare hardpan ersus pine needles.



      1 year ago

      Agree with Da Slammer, outside is the way to go. I prefer low bounce (6, 8), for shots 65yds in & 10 or so bounce for longer shots with a 54 – 56 wedge. I have played (not in order), Titleist Vokey, Callaway MD, Michelson Hi-Toe, Taylor, Mizuno T7, Cleveland Rtx, Ping, Cobra, Sub70 JBs’ & PXG V3s’ – they all can give you the results you’re looking for. But you have to learn how to hit the them, trust them/yourself. I prefer the feel of forged wedges, but have previously used others that were fine too. Pick ones that feel good to you & don’t forget to play various ball positions. One of the best videos I’ve seen on the Golf Channel, is the hour long instruction by Bernhard Langer, imo it’s excellent…


      Drew F

      1 year ago

      What a brilliant analysis of proper wedge fitting. As a fitter or over 30 years I’ve found out that very few fitters can fit wedge’s properly.
      Sadly few people get their wedges fit properly. Other than the putter, the wedge fit is the most important fit.



      12 months ago



      Steve S

      1 year ago

      Since I learned to play a million years ago; I only had a pitching wedge and a sand wedge. I learned how to use both by changing set-ups to hit different shots. Still do that today even though I’ve added a gap wedge. I have 2 pitching wedges. A “set” wedge for full shots from the fairway and a 46 degree Mizuno T7 for everything else(half/quarter shots, rough, chips, low punches, etc.) Don’t carry a lob. Since i never had one I learned how to flair the sand wedge into a lob, move it forward for high flops.

      Didn’t I see an article somewhere that said the grooves really help you under wet conditions or in rough? Not so much with “clean” shots. Thought they compared spin with a wedge with no grooves to a new one with grooves.


      Coble Thurman

      1 year ago

      Terrific article! Thanks for sharing such insightful knowledge. Personally I can’t carry enough wedges in my bag and buy some for specific course conditions only, currently carry four Vokeys plus the PW with my iron set…seems like the loosely used descriptions of Pitching, Gap, Sand and Lob are to generic & outdated as I use each one of my wedges according to the lie situation…thoughts on how better to describe or simply use the loft degree when discussing?


      Andrew the Great!

      1 year ago

      This seems counterintuitive, because I (think I) use my pitching and gap wedges more often than I use my lob or sand wedges. So setting an expiration date for L and S wedges rather than P and G wedges based on rounds played seems backwards:

      “If you can’t do that, Vokey suggests you replace your sand and lob wedges every 75 rounds. You can hold on to your gap wedge and a non-set-matched pitching wedge (if you carry one) a bit longer.”

      But THIS seems like perfect replacement-timing advice, for all wedges:

      “A simple approach to knowing when to replace is to never regrip your wedge. If you play frequently, when it’s time to replace the grip, it’s time to replace the wedge.”

      (Yes, I confess, although my Vokey wedges (48 52 56 60) look pretty good and I keep them clean…they are around 10 years old. Shoulda never changed the damned grips…)


      Da Slammer

      1 year ago

      “A simple approach to knowing when to replace is to never regrip your wedge. If you play frequently, when it’s time to replace the grip, it’s time to replace the wedge.” =

      That would be about once a month, which is what most Tour guys are doing. Yup, replace your wedge every month if you pay that much and need to maintain the groove sharpness


      Ben Hoagie

      1 year ago

      easy solution for low-mid-high handicap golfers… get the gw that matches the iron set and get a sw with 9-12 degrees of bounce. done. for example, i have jpx 921 forged gw at 51* and am using a TM 56*



      1 year ago

      Have you bent the GW? 921F it’s a 50 degrees.



      1 year ago

      Really good and informative article. I’m lucky enough to live near an outdoor Tru Spec fitting location and got fitted for wedges there 2 years ago. I would estimate it took 3-4 shots off my handicap. The brand I got fitted into surprised me, and to me, the turf interaction was what won out. Then having the fitters knowledge to recommend going to a 50/54/58 set up and tailor the bounce/grind in each to match up to how I’ll use them on a course was key. Then he recommended a shaft that would match nicely with my iron set. My wedge play quickly went from a weakness to a strength and I simply am able to get up and down more regularly than before from anywhere within 120 yards than before. Get fit! Do it!


      Antonio Vetrano

      1 year ago

      Bookmarked this immediately. Unfortunately none of this was considered or discussed at my first wedge fitting which was 1-2 years ago. Will definitely be taking this with me to my next one.



      1 year ago

      Lucky enough to live in Fort Worth, TX. Got on the wait list and did a fitting with the fine folks at Artisan. The 3hour fitting alone was worth the price of the wedges. It was like going to Wedge University. I learned more in that time about executing short game shots and why each wedge in your bag should serve specific purposes than I ever did taking a lesson. It totally changed the way I looked at wedge play. Excellent article. Very well done. Great reminder of what’s important when filling out your bag.



      12 months ago

      However, if you take the advice of the article, you’re going to need to drop $350 for a new head every time you need a grip change. For me, that’s 3x per season. My short game may improve. But I’d be divorced…and broke. ;-)



      1 year ago

      What about full face grooves vs. traditional grooves? Pros and cons. A section as to the benefit or lack thereof would have been a helpful addition to the article.


      Kevin Garvey

      1 year ago

      Very in depth and useful article. Thank you! Surprised no mention of shaft weight though. Just as your fitter is recommending a softer flex, everyone is recommending a heavier shaft. Softer and heavier in wedges – thats the golden rule on wedge shafts. That’s why the S400 is so popular on tour with guys playing 130 gram x stiff shafts and moving to 132 gram stiffs. It might be prudent for a Modus 120X player to look at softstepping a wedge with an 8 iron shaft to at least maintain weight, or going to to a specialty wedge shaft at 122 grams


      Da Slammer

      1 year ago

      Not true at all.
      Rors uses PX7.0 at 130 in his irons and 6.5 in his wedges.
      Other players use 6.5 in irons and 6.0 in wedges. Softer, yup, but lighter shaft in their wedges.
      So, it’s not always the rule.
      And again it depends on the flight and spin you’re seeking and the feel and touch around the greens, coupled with the “swing-ability” as in how you like to swing it overall


      SMIB Golfer

      1 year ago

      with my last wedge upgrade I went with this philosophy of thinking of each wedge separately. Swapped 52 GW for 50 so smaller gap with PW. Went with high bounce 56 to deal with fluffy sand bunkers. Have lower bounce 60 for tight lies around greens and firmer bunkers. Set up has worked well for me but am debating for next upgrade whether to go 54 and 58.



      1 year ago

      I set my lofts for those same reasons, only I did go 50-54-58 because I felt the 58 gave a bit more control and consistency.


      Joe L

      1 year ago

      Wow! Great, in-depth article that I am bookmarking & printing for reference. Tons of good information to digest.


      Da Slammer

      1 year ago

      Just don’t do it indoors on a simulator. It’s completely pointless


      Tony Covey

      1 year ago

      Interesting take. The wedge guys I spoke with for this piece disagree.


      Da Slammer

      1 year ago

      Of course they do, they’re SELLERS, SALES PEOPLE trying to make a living SELLING!!!
      As long as their products move off the shelf, what do they care how you play? lol
      Ask any Fitter if they would do it without commission. Nope. They’re the same as any “Used Car Salesman” to use the stereotypical classic character label.
      99% of the time, when people are told that a player like Seve used only a 56 wedge with may be 10 degree bounce and a thin sole OPENED it to create more loft and bounce, they have no idea what that means, and can’t execute that shot anyway


      1 year ago

      Da Slammer,
      I think the concept of the fitting through an indoor simulator is to remove external variables: wind, uneven turf, varied turf compositions, etc.
      This is much like a “standardized” test environment to rule out as many uncontrolled variables.

      Great article MGS team!


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    First Look
    Jun 12, 2024
    Want a Personal Shopper? Try Short Par 4
    Jun 11, 2024
    Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke Ti 340 Mini Driver
    Jun 11, 2024
    Triple Black Evnroll 38 Tour Spec Putters