Golf wedges are used for approach shots and are designed with modified soles, to help with shots through the rough or sand. Also known as scoring clubs, wedges have the greatest loft which enables them to produce spin. Spin and loft allow the ball to rest gently on the ground, hence helping the golfer to attack the flagstick without any obstacles. Wedges comes in different types and can be made of soft forged carbon steel or soft nickel coating or firmer cast stainless steel.
The shape of the grooves in most of the wedges shouldn't be given much consideration as the ball makes contact with only the front 4 or 5 thousandths of the top of the groove. The remaining part of the groove works as a medium to remove different variables like dirt, grass, water, etc that come in the way during the shot. So whether they are 'U' or 'V' shaped, it actually doesn't matter.
One of the important things that should be considered while buying one is a uniform conversion form of the grooves to the flat face of the wedge, i.e. there should be a sharp edge on each groove to generate spin on the ball. The grooves over the past number of years have improved a lot, as earlier they were cast from molds into the club face, but now the manufacturers have started to machine cut them.
Types of Golf Wedges
The pitching wedge is an extension of the 9-iron in design, and is included in the standard set of golf clubs (3 iron - PW). It has a loft somewhere between 45 and 50 degrees, and increased swing weight and bounce angle in the sole. It is mainly used for sand, longer approach, chip, and longer bunker shots. It is used by many amateurs and beginners.
Gap wedges are used to bridge the gap between pitching and sand wedge. In place of striking a hard sand wedge (approx 80-90 yards) or a soft pitching wedge (approx 110-125 yards), which are difficult to do consistently, you can have a full swing that can be easily strike with a gap wedge. These wedges don't come with the set of irons, hence you have to purchase them separately.
Sand wedges have a loft of somewhere between 53 and 58 degrees. They help break away from the sand traps and other hazards on the course. They have a pretty high level of loft which helps launch the ball with a high trajectory towards the target. Sand wedges have a shorter shaft than the other clubs. Due to this, players usually swing at the ball with an extra upright swing.
Lob wedges are highly beneficial in situations with obstacles between the golfer and the green. These wedges are best known for their flop shots and can have a loft increased up to 64 degrees. These high lofted lob wedges are reserved for scratch golfers or highly skilled golfers. These wedges strike the ball extremely high in the air with an attempt to drop the ball softly on the green with little or no roll.
Golf wedges come in a variety of finishes which are used to reduce any glare from the sun. Some players believe that rusted wedges can provide extra spin, hence producing more grip. Each wedge varies in loft and satisfies a specific role. Irrespective of the type of wedge you select, each wedge should fit into the set you choose to play i.e. the length, bounce, swing-weight and shaft flex have to be considered.