Lob Wedge vs Sand Wedge
The best players in the world have lob wedge and sand wedge in the bag.
I am using my sand wedge a lot as a beginner, would it pay off having the extra investment in the bag? We look at the pro’s and con’s of when to use the sand wedge, and what would the lob wedge difference look like?
Quality questions on each scenario determine the learning for the golf beginner, firstly the Lob wedge is different from the sand wedge in the following ways.
Lob Wedge is Different to Sand Wedge (Physical)
- The club is not different in length
- The loft is extra 3-4 degrees (58-64 degrees)
- Leading edge is more pronounced
- Sole Bounce may be same or greater
Scenario #1: You Are 65 Yards From The Pin (Fairway)
- Attack the pin, using a lob wedge instead of sand wedge will keep the ball from releasing too much.
- The full swing of a lob wedge will not carry as far as sand wedge
- Chances of a birdie on this hole are greater than with the higher spin shot
Scenario #2: You Missed The Fairway With The Driver, Tall Tree Stands Between You And Fairway Lay-Up (Rough)
- Lob Wedge will be great for clearing high trees and get out of rough lies
- Hitting bunker like explosion shots will get out buried rough lie trouble
- Take your medicine, the Sand Wedge may not have cleared the height of the obstacle because of too little loft
Scenario #3: You Missed The Green, You Have Minimal Landing Room (Rough)
- Practice your flop and your chipping with your lob wedge as you would with the sand wedge
- The lob wedge gives the ball the necessary check to reduce the ball rolling out
- Especially the slope on the greens that are fast, taking the lob wedge chip minimizes the ball from running away
Scenario #4: You Found The Penalty Area, The Shot Must Clear Trouble Of 35 Yards And Check Before Running Away
- The lob wedge with provide the necessary height and spin compared to the sand wedge
- The drop area and lie will determine the contact, swing easy as the club does not need to be forced.
- Setup with the ball inside the left foot for higher ball flight with the lob wedge
Scenario #5: Your Second Shot On Par Five Leaves You An Uphill 20 Yard Chip Shot
- The elevated chips will run out more because of the steep arrival from below.
- The lob wedge is better than sand wedge in this condition, as the higher spin will prevent the chip from running off past the pin back of the green
- Chipping with the lob wedge requires practice, and the carry distance of 25 yards, maybe the limit before the swing becomes more of a pitching action
Scenario #6: You Are Plugged! Short Sided Deep In The Greenside Bunker
- Using the lob wedge in this scenario ensures more sand is caught between club and ball
- Plugged lies could go nowhere, and using the open face in this scenario may not be enough to get out of the bunker trouble
- Make sure you understand your setup, and that a full lob wedge swing must be balanced on the front foot
Scenario #7: Medium Distance From Fringe Of Green
- Problem here is that the chip needs to carry about 15 feet, but needs about 10 feet of release
- The sand wedge may have released out more than 15 feet upon landing
- The lob wedge with a modified stance leaning the shaft, the chip will create a bump and run characteristic like the sand wedge, but the ground condition made you decide on the confidence club of choice
Scenario # 8: The Long Bunker Shot
- The hardest shot in golf, long carry can be anything from 30yards to 50 yards
- The lob wedge (if the lie is not plugged) could scooped sandy ball with the correct full swing sequence, and the shot that you pulled off in scenario #1 maybe the better option here compared to the sand wedge
- Don’t forget to keep the face open when executing the sand save!
Scenario #9: Practice On The Range
- Taking the lob wedge and the sand wedge to the range will create important differences in launch height especially when designing a wedge chart of your carry distances
- Know your carry distance (Too many beginners have big dispersion patterns with the full swing)
- Full Swings will generate more spin, and the half swings produce good low spin trajectory in windy conditions
- Choking down on the wedge increases the launch height (some say this is good for being in the rough...yes...but carry distance could end up the same)
- Try not shape your wedge from 50-80 yards, the lower body does not rotate like the longer and middle iron swings. (Imagine setting up for high fades for better wedge scoring)
Knowing when to use a lob wedge or a sand wedge will make your golfing journey more manageable.
When practicing at the range, with your lob wedge, use the grass areas if possible.
A lob wedge showed up as being a complementary club to the bag rather than to replace the sand wedge. The television may show great examples of a player assessing his lie a lot better before deciding which of the two clubs he is holding will be used to execute.
To have the tools necessary when dealing with the different shots, I would recommend the lob wedge and sand wedge together in your allotted club selection.
From 35 yard through to 70 yards, you do not need the additional confusion as part of your pre-shot routine.
It would be a great exercise to watch some of the pro’s visualize and make the scenario’s shared in some of their masterclasses online.
The skill that some of these pros show around the green, will raise awareness of the lob wedge. The options that exist, and creativity that this additional club will bring might be of dramatic difference.
Be patient, and remember that some of the scenario’s mentioned come up randomly, and with most golfers, to welcome the above scenario’s shows maturity in their learning, and having the equipment to get vital feedback is part of the long term strategy to improvement.