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Is the 60º wedge really that hard?


BostonSal

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I've seen many posts where someone or other was quoted as saying that the average recreational player doesn't need such a lofted wedge.

Having experimented with the sixty since it was first introduced and eventually adopting it as a regular inclusion, I would opine that it depends on the sixty.

 

A low bounce sixty is for playing a somewhat skilled shot from forward in the stance.  

It's not a regular golf swing.  It has an exaggerated follow through and requires actually learning a specialty shot.  

I play the shot despite not being near scratch level, but I've played it for a long enough time to not get nervous or quit on it.

So maybe the low bounce sixty isn't for everybody.

 

A higher bounce sixty is played more like a regular wedge shot.

The ball is back in your stance.

Your hands are well in front, effectively delofting the club.

Once you get past the apprehension that you're swinging a little harder than you feel comfortable swinging for the length of the shot, it becomes just another club.

 

That's my take on the sixty.  If you don't play the sixty with bounce, it's mostly because it's not one of your 14 most needed clubs, not because it's particularly hard.

If you don't play the low bounce sixty, it's just because you're not interested in learning that shot or don't need it enough to worry about it.

Neither one is absolutely necessary to play with.  Either one can be played with practice.

 

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Or maybe because:

  • you usually don't need that much loft, unless you play on a course with hazards everywhere around most greens
  • starting online is just easier with a lower lofted club because it's a shorter swing, e.g. a 9i vs a 60º
  • hitting thin with a 60º results in the worst outcome vs another loft (way long)
  • with a fluffy lie, the danger of going under the ball and hitting off the top of the face results in the worst outcome vs any other loft (way short) - often compounded because most players use a 60º when short sided going over a bunker, water, etc. that you're now in, defeating the original purpose

If you make your 60º your go to club for all chipping, and practice with it more than any other wedge, it could indeed be more versatile. That would lessen but not eliminate the mishit pitfalls. It is a harder club to get good at because of the high loft, no matter what bounce.

Because I have room in my 14 club limit, I carry a 60º low bounce (and a 56º high bounce) and I have had some great results with it when short sided, but I've had enough mishits that I won't use it unless it's the only choice. I use it less than once a round, a true special purpose club for me. YMMV

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Not all 60* wedges are the same.  

I've carried a 60 on and off over the years, and found the sole and bounce are key for me.  I do a little less well with the Tom Watson Scoring System 60*, it doesn't have a lot of bounce.  The Maltby Design 60* I got from GolfWorks is much better.  It has a low bounce angle, but a wider sole, which increases the effective bounce.  I've found it works well in chipping and the like.  

That said, I've found I can generally get away with even a moderately high bounce 56* with no higher lofts in my bag.  I'm able to open the club to do what I wish to for shorter shots, and use a form of the Pelz clock theory for short to mid range pitches.

I expect my results may not apply to all.  😉
 

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13 minutes ago, NRJyzr said:

Not all 60* wedges are the same.  

I've carried a 60 on and off over the years, and found the sole and bounce are key for me.  I do a little less well with the Tom Watson Scoring System 60*, it doesn't have a lot of bounce.  The Maltby Design 60* I got from GolfWorks is much better.  It has a low bounce angle, but a wider sole, which increases the effective bounce.  I've found it works well in chipping and the like.  

That said, I've found I can generally get away with even a moderately high bounce 56* with no higher lofts in my bag.  I'm able to open the club to do what I wish to for shorter shots, and use a form of the Pelz clock theory for short to mid range pitches.

I expect my results may not apply to all.  😉
 

Agree. The 58/60 was a wedge I struggled with for a long time when I first started out and even up until maybe 5-6 years ago. I used it for full swings which was part of the problem. Second when I had lack of short game knowledge it was one that could easily be bladed or chunked when trying to chip and pitch with it.

Once I learned to stop full swinging it and how to use the bounce on shorter shots my results started to improve. Even more so when I stopped the ball back, hands forward method.

Once a person learns how to use the bounce of wedges it’s a game changer 

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I keep it in my bag for sand. Vokey wedge. Also good for hacking out of tall grass or a blade edge strike out of the rough around the green. 

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I carry a 50, 54, 60. It’s no more difficult to hit well than a driver. You have to learn the proper technique and practice, just like any club. 

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On 10/4/2021 at 8:08 AM, NRJyzr said:

Not all 60* wedges are the same.  

I've carried a 60 on and off over the years, and found the sole and bounce are key for me.  I do a little less well with the Tom Watson Scoring System 60*, it doesn't have a lot of bounce.  The Maltby Design 60* I got from GolfWorks is much better.  It has a low bounce angle, but a wider sole, which increases the effective bounce.  I've found it works well in chipping and the like.  

That said, I've found I can generally get away with even a moderately high bounce 56* with no higher lofts in my bag.  I'm able to open the club to do what I wish to for shorter shots, and use a form of the Pelz clock theory for short to mid range pitches.

I expect my results may not apply to all.  😉
 

Agree that not all 60º wedges are the same.  I struggled in the past, but the sole grind makes all the difference for me.  My goto club around the green is my 60º Callaway PM Grind designed by Roger Cleveland for Phil Mickelson.  It has a C-grind sole that allows me to hit the 12º bounce club off tight lies.  Like any club, it takes practice to hit it consistently.  When I head to the range to practice, I always hit pitch shot to the pitching green and hit chip shots off the fringe onto the putting green.

So, my answer is No... if you have the right 60º for the job and practice any shot you would use it for on the course.  If you don't practice, of course it's hard... but so is the driver!

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I’m not sure the reasoning you give for carrying a 60 jives with your contrary take on the advice that people give against carrying one. 

You said that you need to play a 60 differently from other clubs. Sometimes forward, or sometimes back, forward presses, delofted, exaggerated follow throughs, etc.… I don’t know, it just doesn’t seem like the kind of thing the average player needs to learn when a 56 or even a PW and 8 iron and a basic balanced setup would do just as well for 99% of shots around the greens the average golfer plays on.

Also it’s rare to find any 60 degree wedges anymore with less than 8 degrees of bounce anyway. They are mostly stock at higher bounces nowadays.

I think the advise is pretty good honestly. To be fair, I now stop at 57 as of last year. I haven’t yet encountered any shots I thought I more loft would have made a better result.

 

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I play a 58, but even then, rarely use it. Mainly for greenside bunkers, high lofted lob shots (probably 1 every 2 rounds) and that’s about it. Use the 54 for most other things. Saying that, I wouldn’t take it out in place of anything. 

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If you think hitting a 69* wedge is hard, wait until you try a 64*. I have both. I'm rather good with the 60*, but the 64* for some reason takes about twice as much work to get the hang of it. Same make and model, just much harder to use the 64*. 

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7 minutes ago, IONEPUTT said:

If you think hitting a 60* wedge is hard, wait until you try a 64*. I have both. I'm rather good with the 60*, but the 64* for some reason takes about twice as much work to get the hang of it. Same make and model, just much harder to use the 64*. 

I'm at the moment gaming a 62 which has been in and out of my bag, depending on the other wedges being bagged.

Hitting a hard full shot with it is dicey, that much I can verify.  I've in fact stopped trying.

Little greenside lobs seem to be similar to a 60°, though.

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There was a time I could not hit a 60' to save my life.  Now my 60' is a part of my 14. 

1) It is amazing how easy it is to hit once you take lessons,

2) understand what the instructor is saying and

3) learn to execute those instructions.

I feel 1,2 and 3 are the keys to playing golf well.  Learning to play with siblings and friends is great but lessons with 5-6 hours of practice per lesson is such a key.

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Very interesting topic. I am a 12. I have 50, 56, 60 in my bag. I play public and private. So 56 is 14 bounce and 60 is 8 bounce. It has worked really well for me. However I find as I am getting better opening the face… the 60 is used less and less. What’s the strategy difference between those that carry a 52or54&58 vs 56&60?

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I had one once, a Vokey about 25 years ago and I liked it but now my gap in the bag has shifted to the top end due to my age. I am comfortable using my 56, 52, and 48 degree wedges.

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I’m an old fart and grew up 100 yrs before utility wedges … I was taught to open my sand wedge varying degrees or bump & run a choked down 8 iron. I bought a 60* 2 yrs ago and love it because it doesn’t release as much from 20 yds in … or just drop in a full 50 yd shot. The biggest issue I have is the impulse to have my hands in front of the ball which de-lofts the club. Keep in mind that I do not have enough head speed to stop short pitches, but I have developed a feel for gauging the small release I get. Does that make sense? I do believe the key is a bounce that fits your course’s firmness and your swing. I’ve tried 60s I can’t hit well. But maybe that’s just because I took the time to get comfortable with my Calloway PM grind … a club I’ve never seen anyone else using 🥴

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On 10/2/2021 at 11:37 AM, Middler said:

If you make your 60º your go to club for all chipping, and practice with it more than any other wedge, it could indeed be more versatile. That would lessen but not eliminate the mishit pitfalls. It is a harder club to get good at because of the high loft, no matter what bounce.

 

... When I first started playing I hit waaaaaaay too many bad shots with my 60* so I was deterred to make it my go to club around the green and used it for every shot. I figured once I became proficient using it, I would develop other shots like 8i bump and runs. After 2 years of constant use and even more practice I became very efficient using only my LW and never did go to other shots. Served me well for 35 years in the soft midwest conditions but moving to the hard fast desert courses in Phoenix with Bermuda grass, that philosophy came back to haunt me. Sticky Bermuda grain has grabbed the leading edge when hitting a millimeter behind the ball, which would be fine back in Chicago but actually stops the clubbed like ABS brakes. Grain also makes high lofted pitches either release down grain or grab into the grain, something a low running chip does not have to deal with. It has taken me a year but I am getting much better at a variety of shots around the green. So where you play can have as much effect as how you play when using a LW.

... My experience teaching and playing with higher index golfers is they don't have the trust or feel required to use a LW. Taking a longer swing and blading a LW over the green leaves scar tissue and the LW almost demands longer swings than most Am's are comfortable making. Obviously having the right bounce for the conditions you play or the shots you like to hit is very important, but the margin for error is so great for high and some mid index players and if they don't practice like they are on tour, a LW is probably best left out of the bag. And while taking longer swings with short shots, full shots are almost always better with 1/2 or 3/4 swings. I can hit the ball farther with a 3/4 swing than I can taking a LW to parallel. It is a unique club in that those using it well don't see any problem with a LW and those using it poorly curse it's very existence. 

... I played with a low index senior golfer a few weeks ago that surprised me by using a "chipper" around the green. He was very good with it and again showed me why they make so many different clubs that can all do the same thing. 

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Carried a 60 for many years but never felt comfortable with the club. I could hit it but just did not like the outcome. Had the 52/56/60 combo but then went to 50/54/58 to better align with my PW loft. My 58 is my go to club 90 yard and in for most shots.

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I've carried a 60 on and off. I have found my best results--sand, anything requiring finesse around the green, shorties from the secondary fringe when short sided can be accomplished better with a 58 degree with 10-12 degrees of bounce.  Have left too many in the greenside sand with the 60 !

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Not if you practice, and not if you get the right grind.  That being said less loft is usually less risky, I prefer a 58*, with some bounce, with my technique, 60* is just overkill.  I find it hard to get the ball to the hole, and I find 58* to be plenty of loft for almost all situations.  

 

In my mind commit to a lob wedge somewhere between 57 and 62*. make sure your gapping is good for your swing and that it's good from 50 yards in.  Err on the side of less loft.  

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I've played a 60 (or a 58) for most of my golfing career. I've heard time and again things like "amateurs shouldn't play that, it's too hard"... But then I remember, a few years ago, finding a video of Luke Donald (may be the absolute grand master of the 60, sorry Phil) explaining that different type of players, strokes and all could lead to different type of "easier to play short club". And he carried on to suggest that we should take a high lofted wedge (60, 58... ) a lower lofted wedge (48, 50, 52) a short iron (8i or 9i) and the putter, and try multiple situations around the green, go 4 or 5 balls with each of these 4 options and see what worked the best for us.

To me, that was an eye opener, despite what my coach and loads of people were saying I had much better success with 2 clubs, the 58 or 60 and the putter. So now, I use "lobbers" or putters for everything within 30 yards of the pin, 58 or 52 between 30 and 90 yards, 52° outside of that. I can carry my 58 to about 110 yards but when I hit full swings with it I end up having too much dispersion both in depth and width, so I much prefer a "partial 52".

That might ultimately be the reason why some say the lob wedges are "impossible" or "hard" to play for amateurs : full swing shots with them are difficult, minute variations in strike quality can change significantly the outcome and the margin for error is a bit thin. Then again, if I was playing longer 58 shots more often, I'd certainly control them better!

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Bottom line with any WEDGE, or any club for that matter is that you need to "Practice" with the club to learn how to make it work for you. 

Reading some of the posts here, it seems that a lot of you recommend a LW for shots inside 50 yards or so. That makes me wonder How Far do you hit you LW?  For me, I hit my 60* wedge 90 yards with a full swing. IF I take me hands back to waist high, like with a 9 o'clock position, I hit my 60* 50 yards. If I go back to 10 O'clock I get 75 yards  carry with it. What about you? Because I hit the ball 90 yards with my 60* wedge, I tend to use it for most of my shots under 90 yards and it. It's the club I practice with most, so it's the one I'm most comfortable using. What about you? 

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14 minutes ago, Franc38 said:

I've played a 60 (or a 58) for most of my golfing career. I've heard time and again things like "amateurs shouldn't play that, it's too hard"... But then I remember, a few years ago, finding a video of Luke Donald (may be the absolute grand master of the 60, sorry Phil) explaining that different type of players, strokes and all could lead to different type of "easier to play short club". And he carried on to suggest that we should take a high lofted wedge (60, 58... ) a lower lofted wedge (48, 50, 52) a short iron (8i or 9i) and the putter, and try multiple situations around the green, go 4 or 5 balls with each of these 4 options and see what worked the best for us.

To me, that was an eye opener, despite what my coach and loads of people were saying I had much better success with 2 clubs, the 58 or 60 and the putter. So now, I use "lobbers" or putters for everything within 30 yards of the pin, 58 or 52 between 30 and 90 yards, 52° outside of that. I can carry my 58 to about 110 yards but when I hit full swings with it I end up having too much dispersion both in depth and width, so I much prefer a "partial 52".

That might ultimately be the reason why some say the lob wedges are "impossible" or "hard" to play for amateurs : full swing shots with them are difficult, minute variations in strike quality can change significantly the outcome and the margin for error is a bit thin. Then again, if I was playing longer 58 shots more often, I'd certainly control them better!

 

15 minutes ago, Franc38 said:

I've played a 60 (or a 58) for most of my golfing career. I've heard time and again things like "amateurs shouldn't play that, it's too hard"... But then I remember, a few years ago, finding a video of Luke Donald (may be the absolute grand master of the 60, sorry Phil) explaining that different type of players, strokes and all could lead to different type of "easier to play short club". And he carried on to suggest that we should take a high lofted wedge (60, 58... ) a lower lofted wedge (48, 50, 52) a short iron (8i or 9i) and the putter, and try multiple situations around the green, go 4 or 5 balls with each of these 4 options and see what worked the best for us.

To me, that was an eye opener, despite what my coach and loads of people were saying I had much better success with 2 clubs, the 58 or 60 and the putter. So now, I use "lobbers" or putters for everything within 30 yards of the pin, 58 or 52 between 30 and 90 yards, 52° outside of that. I can carry my 58 to about 110 yards but when I hit full swings with it I end up having too much dispersion both in depth and width, so I much prefer a "partial 52".

That might ultimately be the reason why some say the lob wedges are "impossible" or "hard" to play for amateurs : full swing shots with them are difficult, minute variations in strike quality can change significantly the outcome and the margin for error is a bit thin. Then again, if I was playing longer 58 shots more often, I'd certainly control them better!

I totally understand what you are saying about what some coaches have to say about what to use. I remember a time I was playing a round with a local golf instructor, and I had about 25 yards to the flag and in deep rough. I pulled out my 60* wedge and set up to play a Flop shot, and the instructor told me to stop and play a regular Pitch shot instead, as it was a "Higher Percentage Shot". I told him "Not if it's what I practice the most". I went ahead and played my Flop shot with the face wide open and made a pretty big swing. Ball landed a few feet from the flag and left me with a simple "TAP IN" for birdie. That's when he told me it was pure LUCK and I could do it again. So I dropped another ball and did it again, only to have the ball end up inside 3 feet for another easy putt. That's when I told him a second time it's NOT a low percentage shot when it's the shot I practice the most. Needless to say, he didn't tell me what type of shot to play around the greens after that. 

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On 10/2/2021 at 2:22 PM, BostonSal said:

I've seen many posts where someone or other was quoted as saying that the average recreational player doesn't need such a lofted wedge.

Having experimented with the sixty since it was first introduced and eventually adopting it as a regular inclusion, I would opine that it depends on the sixty.

 

A low bounce sixty is for playing a somewhat skilled shot from forward in the stance.  

It's not a regular golf swing.  It has an exaggerated follow through and requires actually learning a specialty shot.  

I play the shot despite not being near scratch level, but I've played it for a long enough time to not get nervous or quit on it.

So maybe the low bounce sixty isn't for everybody.

 

A higher bounce sixty is played more like a regular wedge shot.

The ball is back in your stance.

Your hands are well in front, effectively delofting the club.

Once you get past the apprehension that you're swinging a little harder than you feel comfortable swinging for the length of the shot, it becomes just another club.

 

That's my take on the sixty.  If you don't play the sixty with bounce, it's mostly because it's not one of your 14 most needed clubs, not because it's particularly hard.

If you don't play the low bounce sixty, it's just because you're not interested in learning that shot or don't need it enough to worry about it.

Neither one is absolutely necessary to play with.  Either one can be played with practice.

 

comes down to how many wedges do you really need in a bag, learn different ways tohit a 56deg and you don't need the 60 deg, likewise for all the other wedges

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Some of it is just mental.  If you got a 60 and a 56 with the same bounce and grind, they would hit the same.  I have 60-56-52-48-PW in the bag.  Why 5 wedges?  Because I am interested in scoring and they keep jacking the PW lofts (so really 4 wedges and a 9I from the year 2000).  

I hit a 60 the same way I hit any of the wedges so I have more options in the scoring zone (inside 125 yards).   There is no reason that you can't hit a full shot with the 60 the same way you would a 56 or a 52.  What is the difference?

It is really an issue with the 14 club limit.  If there was no limit I would carry 20 clubs.  Use the right tool for the right job.  But there is a limit.

So, how many times do you really hit a 3 iron round?  How many times do you to exactly hit it 200 yards and land it within 10 feet?  I know we all want to.  Plus a 60 has a few more specialty shots (cut lob, short sided bunker, etc.)  Those specialty shots do take technique and practice.  Read Dave Pelz short game bible and it makes the case for more wedges.  I have several pitches and chips and adding another club multiplies the options.  I could go with 58-54-50 PW and save a club but again, do I really need the 3 iron or 2 hybrid plus 5 wood?  My margin for error in those clubs that I can realistically expect is measured in yards not feet.  With most short game shots, I am trying to get inside a makeable putting distance (10 feet).  If I don't, my likelihood of saving a stroke is very low. (less than 10%), and that's the point.  Saving that one stroke when you don't hit the green!

I also agree about learning about bounce and having a few options in your wedges for different situations.  SW (56) with 12 deg of bounce and 60 with 8-10.   taking a good lesson about using the bounce as well.

Don't be afraid of the 60, it is just a 56 with more loft.

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I had an aha moment about 15 years ago hitting a 60* wedge and it helped me breaking 80.  

1) You have to hit the 60* about twice as hard as the distance looks like you would need to swing.

2) You have to turn through the shot with your hips and shoulders, even if it is just a small turn.  When you don't turn your hips and shoulders the tendency is to swing all arms and decelerate.  I find that the harder I swing the the more distance gets lost to height.  

I have seen a few people saying they don't want the hands forward in the stance.  I hope that they are still soling the club flat which tilts the shaft forward, you still need to have the grip in the center of your stance but the club will be soled back in your stance.  I see lots of people opening the face to about 80* because they want the head in the center of their stance it rarely works out for them.  

I was recently in Myrtle Beach where the Bermuda grass and it's long roots made hitting my 6* wedge crazy hard to hit.  I tried it on the first day and it was a nightmare for 9 holes.  At the turn I went to the car and got a 12* bounce lob wedge and after a few shots to adjust my feel I started to hit my normal excellent wedge shots.  On tight woven Bermuda grass a higher bounce wedge with a wider sole is very helpful in preventing digging.

Driver: Titleist TSR 3 10* Accura TZ6 M3 65g

Fairways: Callaway Rogue 15* & 19* Matrix Ozik TP 6 HD stiff 

Hybrid: Titleist TSI 4 & 5 Hybrids Mitsubishi Tensi AV 65 HY X stiff   

Irons:  KZG Forged III 6-P Accura iS7 (Refinished and regrooved)

Wedges: Cleveland CBX  50*, Taylormade MG 3 Tiger grind 56 bent to 54/10 & Taylormade MG 4 Tiger grind 56 bent to 58/14

Putter: Positive Putter's Custom P2 (think Edel putter meets Heavy Putter)

Ball: Callaway Chome Tour                        

All clubs have Winn Dri-Tac Wraps oversized

 

 

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23 hours ago, chisag said:

Great insight! And I play Chicago 80% of the year. I have gotten confident enough on the range to hit my wedges in buckets…. But throw a drought and lie into the equation and your +3-4 pretty quick! Playing drought Chicago, Variation of Midwest parkland/links and AZ. I think I may go 54&58 to manage the variation. 🙂

... When I first started playing I hit waaaaaaay too many bad shots with my 60* so I was deterred to make it my go to club around the green and used it for every shot. I figured once I became proficient using it, I would develop other shots like 8i bump and runs. After 2 years of constant use and even more practice I became very efficient using only my LW and never did go to other shots. Served me well for 35 years in the soft midwest conditions but moving to the hard fast desert courses in Phoenix with Bermuda grass, that philosophy came back to haunt me. Sticky Bermuda grain has grabbed the leading edge when hitting a millimeter behind the ball, which would be fine back in Chicago but actually stops the clubbed like ABS brakes. Grain also makes high lofted pitches either release down grain or grab into the grain, something a low running chip does not have to deal with. It has taken me a year but I am getting much better at a variety of shots around the green. So where you play can have as much effect as how you play when using a LW.

... My experience teaching and playing with higher index golfers is they don't have the trust or feel required to use a LW. Taking a longer swing and blading a LW over the green leaves scar tissue and the LW almost demands longer swings than most Am's are comfortable making. Obviously having the right bounce for the conditions you play or the shots you like to hit is very important, but the margin for error is so great for high and some mid index players and if they don't practice like they are on tour, a LW is probably best left out of the bag. And while taking longer swings with short shots, full shots are almost always better with 1/2 or 3/4 swings. I can hit the ball farther with a 3/4 swing than I can taking a LW to parallel. It is a unique club in that those using it well don't see any problem with a LW and those using it poorly curse it's very existence. 

... I played with a low index senior golfer a few weeks ago that surprised me by using a "chipper" around the green. He was very good with it and again showed me why they make so many different clubs that can all do the same thing. 

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On 10/15/2021 at 3:00 PM, IONEPUTT said:

If you think hitting a 69* wedge is hard, wait until you try a 64*. I have both. I'm rather good with the 60*, but the 64* for some reason takes about twice as much work to get the hang of it. Same make and model, just much harder to use the 64*. 

8 hours ago, dlygrisse said:

Not if you practice, and not if you get the right grind.  That being said less loft is usually less risky, I prefer a 58*, with some bounce, with my technique, 60* is just overkill.  I find it hard to get the ball to the hole, and I find 58* to be plenty of loft for almost all situations.  

 

In my mind commit to a lob wedge somewhere between 57 and 62*. make sure your gapping is good for your swing and that it's good from 50 yards in.  Err on the side of less loft.  

Agree with this summary - it is a different technique than a gap wedge. Without skill, blading and riding too high on the face will make for alarming results as an infrequently used club. The reputation is earned but a skilled golfer can use it effectively. 

Titleist TSR 11 degree, HZRDS Red R 44.75 LH

Titleist TSR-1 5/7 Woods LH

Titleist TSR-1 23 Hybrid LH

Titleist T200  7-48 - T350 6 Tensai AMT Red LH

 Titleist SM9 50-54-58 TT AMT Red LH

Scotty Phantom X 7.5 RH

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Couldn't do without my 60 degree. I'm a 2.1 index playing a typical James Braid designed course with plateau greens guarded with bunkers. Barely a round passes without my having to use it on a flop shot or bunker shot. I don't keep stats but I reckon it must save me 30 -40 shots a season in up-and-downs. Trust in the loft and commit to the shot and you can't go far wrong. As for full shots - forget it! 

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