Are Your Wedges Costing You Strokes?

Scott Sackett
Director of Instruction
McCormick Ranch Golf Club
Scottsdale, AZ

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As many of you may know, I spend the summers as Director of Instruction at Park Meadows Country Club in Park City, Utah. Each summer, I do on average 4 golf schools. The schools are three days, with 18 holes of golf each day and a maximum of 3:1 student teacher ratio. This past summer, I partnered with the Short Game Legend Stan Utley and put on two short game only schools in Park City. This was as much of a learning experience for me as it was any of my students and it got me thinking about a lot of the areas of the short game that may be costing a player strokes.

One of the things I kept circling back to was lie. The lie on a player’s wedge has a tremendous impact on distance control, spin & consistency. We can all agree a club which is too upright for a player will launch the ball left & produce a left axis tilt on the ball (this is assuming center contact and a zero club path). Conversely, a club which is too flat, will launch the ball right & produce a right axis tilt on the ball (this is again assuming center contact at zero club path).  The question becomes, what impact does lie have around the greens?

It is true we encounter a wide variety of scenarios when missing the green. The ball could be buried in the rough, fried egg in a bunker or sitting pretty on the fringe. You could have grass growing into you, away from you or a ball sitting up on top of the grass as if it’s on a tee. When you introduce the need to use the clubs bounce or open the face to add loft, the actual lie on the wedge becomes even more paramount.  

Overall, you always want to err on the side of the wedge being too flat versus upright. Typically, 1 to 1.5 degrees flatter. When you start accounting for all the greenside situations, a club that is too upright is going to be grabbed quicker by longer grass, sand or firm ground.  In longer grass, you’ll have increased difficulty controlling the distance and how the ball comes out. In the bunkers, a club that is too upright will heel dig making it almost impossible to generate high rates of spin and friction.   

The moral of the story is pay attention to your wedges around the green and consider tweaking them a little flatter than the rest of your set. You’ll better be able to utilize the bounce, giving you more versatility. This little change can have a dramatic impact. 

Scott Sackett, GOLF Magazine Top 100 Teacher the past 14 years. Voted as one of Golf Digest’s Best Teacher in the State the past 21 years. Trackman Master Certification. Titleist Certified Club Fitter. Director of Instruction at Park Meadows CC in Park City, Utah and while in Scottsdale teaches private lessons at McCormick Ranch Golf Club and conducts all Scott Sackett Signature Schools at SunRidge Canyon Golf Club. If you would like to reach Scott, you can contact him through his website at