The final step in our evolution as amateur club builders is building a wedge. So far, we’ve built a 3-wood, a putter, a full set of irons, and a junior set, but a quality wedge set is arguably the most important series of clubs in your bag. You need your wedges to help you score.
There’s just one problem – wedges are the hardest clubs to hit straight. The increased loft makes them easier to hit offline, which is why establishing proper length and lie is so important if you want to achieve maximum directional control. With increased loft also comes increased spin ratio, and a wedge has a spin rate somewhere in the neighborhood of 4,000-6,000 RPM.
A full set of wedges includes a gap wedge, a sand wedge, and a lob wedge. Ninety-percent of the guys on the PGA Tour carry a full set because it makes it easier to dial-in specific distances, and Tour players are always hitting to an exact yardage. The other consideration is bounce – the angle between the leading edge and the trailing edge of the sole of the golf club. The right bounce for your game is largely determined by the region in which you’re playing.
If you’re in Arizona where the lies are tight and the sand is hard, you’re probably going to want a club with a little less bounce that digs more. Too much bounce may force the club to (literally) bounce into the back of the ball, causing you to skull it over or across the green. If you’re playing in Michigan where the grass is thicker and the sand is softer, you’re probably going to want a club with a little more bounce to glide through the turf or sand.
The heaviest club in your bag will be your sand wedge because the extra weight is needed to get through a wide variety of lies and conditions. The key when building your wedge set is keeping all of your wedges the same length. Here is the step-by-step process of building a wedge:
1.) Who is it for? This helps determine the flex you will choose
2.) Select 52, 56, or 60 degrees
3.) Cut the tip of the shaft – shafts have specific tip-cutting instructions
Regular flex = cut 2.5″
Stiff flex = cut 3.5″
X-flex = cut 4.5″
4.) Pure the shaft
5.) Abrade the tip of the shaft – so the epoxy will adhere
6.) Install the ferrule
7.) Cut the butt end of the shaft – we cut our wedges (with the club head loosely installed) to 35″ and then adjusted the swing weight accordingly. Length is most important since want all of our wedges to be the same.
8.) Epoxy the club head to the shaft – let dry for five minutes
9.) Install the grip
10.) Double-check your specs – length, flex, loft, and lie