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should wedge shafts match irons

Wedge Shafts: The Same as Iron Shafts?

When it comes to equipment, wedge shafts are not the most discussed topic.

Instead, most golfers focus on their driver shaft as it plays such a big role in distance and accuracy. Or, thier irons which also have a big impact on your mid range game.

Heck, even putter shafts have had some updates in recent years including ones that are part steel, part graphite.  But the right wedge shaft can also help your shot dispersion and overall performance with shorter approach shots.

Today we’ll break down wedge shaft flex, weight, and how to find the right one for your swing speed. 

Wedge Shafts

Before replacing a sand wedge or getting a wedge fitting go through this full guide to learn the essentials of wedge shafts.

Key Takeaways

  • Wedge shafts are an important part of equipment to improve accuracy and control from inside 125 yards.
  • Almost all iron sets come with a pitching wedge and will use the same shafts as your irons. Some sets also allow you to add on matching gap wedge, sand wedge, and even lob wedge sometimes. 
  • Wedge shafts should be softer in terms of flex and slightly heavier than irons for more control from shorter distances. 
  • Most players should have at least three wedges (PW, GW, and SW) or four wedges including a lob wedge. 

Keep reading to learn more about wedge shafts to optimize your short game. 

Wedge Shaft Flex

Let’s start with the flex of the wedge. If you’re like a lot of golfers chances are you think to play the same flex throughout your set. 

For example, if you’re a faster swinger and play stiff flex in driver, woods, and irons, you should do the same in the wedges. While it makes sense, there is one big difference between wedges and other clubs in your bag – swing speed.

Wedges have shorter shafts than irons and more loft. Distance is not the goal with wedges – control is the main objective.

Which is why most club fitters suggest going down a flex if you’re above average swing speed. For example, a lot of professional golfers use X-Stiff (or TX, Tour extra stiff) flex in their woods, hybrids, and irons. But play a stiff shaft in their wedges.

Why? 

Because they want a softer shaft to provide more control. They don’t swing ultra-aggressive with wedges and instead use a smooth tempo type of swing. This leads to more consistency in terms of contact and more predictable spin. The iron swing and wedge swing differ because of this.

You do not want a wedge shaft that is stiffer than the rest of your irons. This will make it harder to control and not help your short game. 

Most everyday golfers should play the same flex in irons, woods, and wedges. Faster swinging golfers might need less flex.

But there are some other things to consider. 

What Degree is a Pitching Wedge

Pitching Wedge Shaft 

The club that can confuse a lot of golfers is a pitching wedge as it’s part of almost every iron set. Most iron sets are 3-PW, 4-PW, 4-GW, or 5-GW. 

If your pitching wedge comes with your iron set you don’t need to change the shaft. Since a pitching wedge is used for more full swing shots than a GW or SW it makes sense to play the same shaft.

However, some golfers – typically lower handicappers – might opt for a PW that matches their other wedges. For example, if a player has Titleist Vokey GW, SW, and LW in the bag they might like the PW too. 

In this case, players generally play the same shaft as their other wedges.  

But for most golfers I wouldn’t recommend this as there might be a big distance between your PW and 9-iron. If you buy a custom wedge make sure it doesn’t create a huge gap as it can make scoring a lot more challenging. 

Defining Wedge Flex

If you go buy a gap wedge (sometimes called approach wedge), sand wedge, or lob wedge from top manufacturers it’s common to see wedge flex. But what does that mean?

In general, it’s just a stiff flex shaft.

For example, the stock shaft in the Titleist Vokey SM9 is a True Temper Dynamic Gold S200. This is 130 grams, stiff flex, and low launch which is not a great choice for the everyday golfer.

Imagine playing a 70 or 80-gram steel shaft in your irons then trying to swing a shaft that is nearly twice the weight! It’ll feel like a brick and can make it challenging to hit punch spin wedge shots.

More Lofted Wedges 

However, it might make sense to opt for a softer shaft in your SW and LW. For example, Rory McIlroy and other pros use Project X 7.0 in his iron shafts and a 6.5 flex in his wedge shafts. 

What Loft is a Sand Wedge

Wedge Shaft Weight 

Now that we’ve covered the flex, what about the weight of each shaft? This is where things can get confusing for the everyday golfer.

In general, you want your wedges the same weight or heavier than your irons. But not a lot heavier, which is a common mistake most golfers make.

Start by identifying your iron shaft weight and go from there. 

Graphite vs. Steel Shafts   

When it comes to irons you can choose from graphite or steel shafts.

Slower swinging golfers can benefit from graphite shafts as they’re lighter and easier to swing faster. This can help add distance and confidence with approach shots.

Faster swinging golfers benefit more from steel shafts as they’re heavier and easier to control. Paired with the right flex, these shafts can play a big role in distance, accuracy, ball flight, and more. 

If you’re playing graphite shafts now, it might make sense to play them in your wedges as well. Another option is to play a lighter weight steel shaft too.

The main thing to remember is that you don’t want a drastic weight difference from wedges to irons. This can throw off your tempo and timing a lot.

Same Shaft as Your Iron Shafts

For a lot of golfers it makes sense to play the same shafts in your PW and GW as your irons. Otherwise, you might lose out on distance and hurt your overall performance.

True Fit Clubs elaborated on this point perfectly. 

“It makes no sense, for example, to be playing a light weight 70 to 80 gram graphite shaft in your irons and stock off-the-shelf 130+ gram True Temper S330 or S400 shaft in your gap, sand and lob and expect them to feel and perform the same. These stock wedge shafts will play stiffer and could cause a loss of distance and lower ball flight than expected.”

Heavier Wedge Shafts  (Sand Wedge, Lob Wedge)

However, if you’re using steel shafts in your irons it might make sense to play a slightly heavier shaft in your SW or LW depending on your swing speed. 

For example, a lot of lower handicap golfers who use steel shafts play a wedge shaft that is 10–15 grams heavier. This allows them to control trajectory and optimize spin better than a lighter flex shaft. 

But they typically only use heavier shafts in the SW and LW as they’re more feel clubs. It can also help with chipping, bunkers, and other short game shots. 

What is an approach wedge

Now that you know more about different wedge shafts let’s review a few of the favorites.

  • KBS Hi-Rev 2.0: This shaft has an active tip section that increases the loft of the head for high ball with more spin.
  • True Temper Dynamic Gold Spinner: This 115 gram lightweight steel shaft is a mid launch, stiff flex shaft that is a great choice for mid to low handicappers.
  • True Temper Dynamic Gold: This is a very heavy steel wedge shaft that is popular among lower handicaps and professional golfers.

Consider a Wedge Fitting

As you can tell there’s a lot to think about when it comes to the proper shaft for your wedges.

If you need help with the process it’s a good idea to consider a wedge fitting. You can do this as part of your iron fitting to get new wedge shafts or set this up as a separate custom fitting.

During your appointment with a club fitter you can test out lighter shafts, heavier shaft weight recommendations, or ask any question about a wedge specific shaft.

FAQs About Wedges

Do you have more questions about dialing in your wedges? If so, keep scrolling through our most frequently asked questions and answers now. 

Do you need a stiff shaft in wedges?

It depends on your irons… Stiff shafts are a popular choice in iron shafts among faster swinging golfers. This will typically lead to stiff shafts in wedges as well.

Is wedge flex stiffer than stiff flex?

Wedge flex is typically a stiff flex. When buying new graphite wedge shafts or steel always check the specifications on the website as they’re not always listed on the shaft.

Do pros use graphite shaft on wedges?

No, most golf pros use steel shafts in their irons and wedges. With their wedges specifically they tend to use heavier shafts than irons as the extra weight allows them to hit more “flighted” shots. 

Pros don’t hit a ton of full wedges as it can lead to a lot more backspin, which is hard to control. Instead, you’ll see a ton of them hitting smooth ¾ wedges for maximum control and predictable spin. 

Should I use heavier shafts in my wedges?

Yes, it’s generally advised to use slightly heavier shafts in your wedges than your iron set. A heavier shaft will make it easier to control your distances and hit more knockdown shots.

Plus, distance isn’t the goal with wedges, it’s about control. A heavier shaft should help you hit them straighter and hopefully find more greens. 

Graphite vs Steel Shafts

Should I get graphite or steel shaft on wedges?

It depends on your swing speed and shafts in your irons. If you’re playing lightweight graphite shafts in a set of cavity back irons it’s a bad idea to go with a heavy steel shaft in wedges.  

My Experience

Playing with the right equipment can make the game a lot easier. I’ve tinkered with nearly every aspect of my clubs – including lie angle, different weight of shafts, adjusting clubheads, and more. 

As a faster swinging golfer (about 110 mph with driver) I found that playing stiff flex works great in wedges. Since I don’t try to hit a lot of hard wedges I don’t need them as stiff as my irons or woods. 

Heavier shafts definitely help with wedges too. As an example my irons are 120 gram steel shaft and my wedges are 130 grams. With a softer shaft it’s a perfect setup to hit a lot of knockdown wedges. 

My biggest tip with wedge shafts is to make sure you don’t make a drastic shift from iron to wedges.

So many golfers play lightweight graphite shafts then try to swing a heavy steel wedge shaft. This makes it hard to get your timing right and likely isn’t the best choice. 

Final Thoughts to Improve Your Wedge Game  

 Finding the right shafts is key to optimizing your wedge game. Remember your shafts should seamlessly change weight throughout your set.

Driver and fairways woods are the lightest, then irons, and wedges are the heaviest. This is based on the length of each club, loft, and swing speed. 

If you’re playing lightweight graphite shafts in your irons, don’t add in heavy steel wedge shafts. Instead, opt for heavier graphite wedge shafts or lightweight steel shafts.

If you’re playing steel irons, you can play the same shafts as in your irons. Or, opt for a slightly heavier shaft or one with a softer flex shaft (this is more personal preference).

In general, most golfers should play a similar shaft to their irons or a stock wedge shaft. But sand and lob wedges tend to be heavier shafts and sometimes softer as well.

If you’re going to spend money on aftermarket shafts, do it in your driver or fairway woods, not wedges. 

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