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Is the 60º wedge really that hard?


BostonSal
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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!

Edited by Franc38
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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.

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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. 

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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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Nah, what you really need instead of a 60°, is a 55° Sand Hybrid...

s-l1600.jpg

s-l1600.jpg

 

 

LOL

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I've carried a 58* for the past few seasons and once I dialed in my yardages with it. 1/2, 3/4 and full, it has really come in handy and a club that I am confident with.  

I see some people say that they don't use it for full shots and I really do not understand that.  I find it best for full shots.  Granted not to the very max distance I can hit it as spin can be a bit more difficult to control at that point, but I think a flop shot is harder to control in all honesty.  Getting the consistent height and distance is tougher for me that other shots.  Luckily it's not that often that you truly need a sky high flop shot.

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I was fitted recently in CA for all my clubs except for the wedges which was dumb. My GW is 35.75" length and 49 degree loft with a 65 degree lie and a D3 swing weight. I am going to buy two wedges a 54 and a 58 or 60 . What length in the aerofiber shaft should they be and what swing weight. I am using a standard golf pride multi-compound grip. I am on Guam and will not travel to CA until the summer. Thank you

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I think playing a 60 degree just depends on the person. Some people carry a 60 just to say they have a 60 and other actually utilize the club for a purpose. To me my 60 is my best friend around the greens but I also spend of my time at the range with it. I know or understand how the ball will come off the club in different situations.

Although my confidence is sky high with my 60 I know that there are certain shots where I would have more room for mistake if I used a different wedge. For EX. say I have a 30ft chip shot. I know I can carry the ball with my 60 about 20ft (depending on the green conditions.) I could also grab my PW or 52 and hit a bump and run shot that will carry 10ft and roll up to the hole. 

For me on paper the PW/52 bump and run makes more sense but I happen to lose focus when I have "X" room for error. With my 60 I know I have to focus more on what I need to do to execute a shot. 

This is something I am actively trying to work on in my short game.

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If it’s inside 95 yards and normal conditions, I’m using my 60. I carry 5 wedges and have a few different bounces and grinds to keep my options open. My 60 is a K grind with 14 degrees of bounce. I find it just as easy to hit full shots with as any other wedge. Arccos says I’m more accurate with it than any other wedge: I’ve got total confidence in it. Would I play a flop of a tight lie with it? No,  but I wouldn’t play a flop in 99% of situations.

 

 

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I carry a 54° and 58°. The 58° is great for flops, short sand shots, and a perfect 75 yard shot into the green with a dead stop.

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The original comment is also the answer. The average golfer practices driver more than wedges.  The 60 is easier to blade or not get enough impact and the ball rides up the face. This is often either screaming across the green or pops straight up far short of the target.  Using the club not every week with no practice is a recipe for misadventure.  

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At 75, golf is more about fun for me and am pretty happy playing from the senior tees.  Guess if I played this wonderful game for a living and hit thousands of golf balls to perfect my game might carry more lofted clubs in my bag.  A 58.12D SM7, which I use for my sand wedge and 60 yard and in shots is the highest loft in my Titleist bag.  Guess to answer the question, it is all what we are comfortable with, how the club feels in our hands and performs, but it takes a lot of practice with those specialized shots and we have to ask ourselves do we really take the time to practice with them.  When I go to the driving range, most people are not practicing wedge shots.  Just sayin'.

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3 hours ago, ChuckZ said:

At 75, golf is more about fun for me and am pretty happy playing from the senior tees.  Guess if I played this wonderful game for a living and hit thousands of golf balls to perfect my game might carry more lofted clubs in my bag.  A 58.12D SM7, which I use for my sand wedge and 60 yard and in shots is the highest loft in my Titleist bag.  Guess to answer the question, it is all what we are comfortable with, how the club feels in our hands and performs, but it takes a lot of practice with those specialized shots and we have to ask ourselves do we really take the time to practice with them.  When I go to the driving range, most people are not practicing wedge shots.  Just sayin'.

I'm a senior with you, Chuck, and I know what you mean.  I've played high loft wedges since they emerged in the late 70s, however, so they don't require any more practice for me than anything else.  Which is a good thing, because my dedication to practice isn't huge.  If I feel physically up to swinging clubs, I play!

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