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Do I Really Need a Sand Wedge in My Golf Bag?

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If you’re a golfer, then the answer is an unequivocal yes! A sand wedge is a very versatile club that can be used for a number of shots around the greenside bunkers.

If you find yourself in a bunker, then your sand wedge can be used to get you out of trouble and back onto the fairway. It can also be used for chip shots and pitch shots when you need to stop the ball quickly.

Sand bunkers can be notoriously difficult to get out of, so having a sand wedge in your bag will give you the best possible chance of getting up and down.

Why Do You Need a Sand Wedge?

Golf Lesson

As a beginner golfer, I thought that the sand wedge is only used for getting out of sand traps. I was predominantly using my pitching wedge for the golf shots around the green and it wasn’t until I started to play more that I realized the importance of having a sand wedge in the bag.

When you play a shot with a sand wedge, the ball will stop quicker than it would with any other club. This is because of the loft in the club. The more loft you have, the more spin you can impart on the ball, and the quicker it will stop.

I find it easier to hit a full swing sand wedge shot than to try and hit a half shot with my pitching wedge. That’s why I use a sand wedge for most of my shorter approach shots.

What Degree is a Sand Wedge

A sand wedge typically has 54-56° of loft, which is much more than your standard pitching wedge (which has around 46°). When getting fitted for your approach wedge, you might find that you need more or less loft depending on your swing speed.

Some golfers prefer to have a higher lofted sand wedge (56°-58°), as they find it easier to get the ball out of the sand trap. If you struggle with getting the ball airborne, then a higher lofted sand wedge could be the answer.

If you are playing on a course with lots of sand bunkers and elevation I recommend looking into getting a set of wedges. The three wedges that I carry in my bag are 52° gap wedge, 56° sand wedge, and 60° wedge.

Should You Use a Sand Wedge for Chipping?

Tee-Shot

Sand wedges can also be used for chip shots. Using a sand wedge allows you to put the ball very close to the pin and anticipate quick movement within the pin.

Most golfers would be hitting the highest lofted club to get the ball close to the pin with their normal swing. Other wedges are great too but it depends on the lie of the ball and the shot you are trying to achieve.

I generally use my sand wedge for most of my chip shots around the green, as it gives me the most control and accuracy. The lob wedge and gap wedge are other clubs that you could use for chipping.

I find using sand wedge for short approach shots and chipping gives me the most confidence. This is because I can control the ball more accurately with a sand wedge than with a lob wedge or gap wedge.

Pitching Wedge vs Sand Wedge

The pitching wedges are typically 46 °, while the sand wedges are typically 56°. This means that the sand wedge has 10 degrees more loft than the pitching wedge.

Pitching wedges are not ideal for sand shots as they don’t have enough loft to get the ball out of the sand and onto the green. They also get more bounce and therefore travel further after landing on the green.

Pitching wedges are better suited for long approach shots, while sand wedges are better for shorter approach shots and getting out of bunkers.

Should I Use a Sand Wedge on The Fairway?

Golf Balls

A sand wedge can also be used for chip shots and pitch shots from the fairway or fringe. When playing a shot from the short grass with a sand wedge, you should use a full swing just as you would with any other iron.

The high loft of the club will help you to get the ball in the air quickly and the trajectory will be similar to that of a pitch shot. The main difference is that you will have more control over the ball with a sand wedge than with a pitching wedge.

Can I play Without Sand Wedge?

Yes, better players and tour pros often do. They have the skill to hit different types of shots with their pitching wedge and 9-iron that can get the ball close to the hole.

For the average player, it is much easier to get up and down from around the green with a sand wedge. Golfers who don’t carry a sand wedge often find themselves in situations where they are just off the green and have a tough shot to get close to the hole.

The bounce angle of a sand wedge is specifically designed to help the club glide through the sand and prevent it from digging too deep. This makes it much easier to get the ball out of a bunker and onto the green.

While you can get by without carrying a sand wedge, I would recommend having one in your bag. It will make it much easier to hit shots around the green and will help you to lower your score.

Know Your Distances

Knowing the distances of your lob wedge, sand, and gap wedge as well as other clubs in your bag is key to playing well. You should know how far you hit each club so that you can make the correct club selection.

Whether it’s soft sand or hard ground, you should know how each club will perform. For example, a soft 60-degree lob wedge will not travel as far as a hard 56-degree sand wedge.

The bunker shots are not particularly easy but once you master the technique, you will be able to get the ball close to the hole more often than not.

I can hit a sand wedge between 80 to 100 yards on a good day and practice my wedge and sand shots typically twice a week. Of course, the distance is important too but it is the confidence that we golfers quite often lack and make mistakes on the golf course.

Golf Sand Wedge Techniques

Golf Bag

There are many ways to hit a sand wedge and it really depends on the situation. I will give you 3 of the most common techniques that are used by golfers.

The Open Face Technique

This is probably the most popular technique for hitting a sand shot. It is also known as the bladed sand shot or explosion shot. To hit this shot, you need to open the face of the sand wedge and take a big swing.

The main reason why this technique is so popular is that it is very forgiving. Even if you don’t make perfect contact with the ball, you will still get it up in the air and close to the hole.

To hit an open face sand shot, you need to take a big swing and make contact with the ball on the upswing. This will ensure that the ball gets in the air quickly and doesn’t dig too deep into the sand.

The main downside of this technique is that it can be difficult to control the distance of the shot. If you don’t make perfect contact with the ball, it will travel further than you intended.

The Closed Face Technique

This technique is also known as the splash shot or flop shot. It is a high lofted shot that is used to get the ball over a hazard and close to the hole.

To hit this shot, you need to close the face of the sand wedge and make contact with the ball on the upswing. This will ensure that the ball doesn’t travel too far and stays close to where it lands.

The main downside of this technique is that it can be difficult to control the distance. If you don’t make perfect contact with the ball, it will travel short of the target.

The Punch Shot Technique

This is a low lofted shot that is used to get the ball under a tree branch or other hazard. To hit this shot, you need to take a shorter swing and make contact with the ball on the downswing.

This will ensure that the ball doesn’t travel too far and stays close to where it lands. The main downside of this technique is that it can be difficult to control the distance. If you don’t make perfect contact with the ball, it will travel short of the target.

While there are many different techniques that you can use to hit a sand shot, these are 3 of the most common. Experiment with each one and see which one works best for you.

Conclusion

So, do you really need a sand wedge in your golf bag? The answer is yes – having one will make it much easier to hit shots around the green and will help you to lower your score. Knowing the distances of your lob wedge, sand, and gap wedge as well as other clubs in your bag is key to playing well.

You should also be familiar with the different techniques for hitting each type of shot. Experiment with each one and see which one works best for you. With a little practice, you’ll be hitting sand shots like a pro in no time!

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