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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

What You Can Learn from Rickie's Wedge Setup

Today I want to do something different and take a look at the clubs of THE PLAYERS winner -- specifically, I was interested in Rickie's wedge setup. Rickie has long considered his wedge play the strongest part of his game. It's hard to argue that, especially after he birdied the 17th a mere five times last week. (And one par. We don't want to forget that.)

Fortunately Golf Digest posted that info on Monday. (They give the entire setup in the article, not just the wedges.) And as it turns out, Rickie has changed his wedge setup this year.

Rickie wedges another one close

No doubt most of you know that a 4-wedge setup is one of the most common on Tour these days. That typically includes a 60-degree lob, 56 degree sand, 52-degree gap, and 48-degree pitching wedge. You've also no doubt been told that those 4-degree gaps are the best way to go.

Rickie only carries 3 wedges. The article mentions the pitching wedge and lob wedge, so I'm assuming the 3rd wedge was a sand wedge rather than a gap wedge. (The difference, of course, would be the heavier sole on a sand wedge.) And the article says that Rickie's pitching wedge originally had 47 degrees -- which is fairly standard -- and his lob wedge had 62 degrees, apparently as a compromise between a regular lob wedge and a 64-degree wedge. That's the one he's so deadly with.

Clearly Rickie had more than 4 degrees between his wedges! A 55-degree sand wedge would have fit there nicely, giving him roughly 8 degrees between each wedge -- twice the recommended amount.

In the new setup that he changed to just before the Masters he went to a 51-57-62 spread. That way he kept the lob wedge which he clearly uses very well while making it easier to get more height with each of the other two wedges. Yes, he lost distance by going from the 47-degree pitching wedge to the 51 but distance doesn't seem to be a problem for Rickie. Wedges are for accuracy, after all. He can hit a knockdown 9-iron if he needs more distance than the pitching wedge provides.

He still has around 6 degrees between each wedge, not 4 degrees, and that's what I want to bring to your attention. Your wedge setup should fit the way you play best, not a formula designed by someone else. And if you have a specific wedge you hit better than the rest, don't change it! Adapt your setup around it.

It's just common sense and it works for Rickie. It can work for you as well.

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