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From a Fitter: Everything you need to know about wedge shafts

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This is such a dark corner of the golf industry that I truly believe needs a lot of work. Hopefully, this article can shed some light on wedge shafts for you.

I will mention some standards, explain some of my experience, and hopefully, help you make some good choices.

Linking back to the first article on aspects of a wedge that I target when fitting, I place a lot of weight on the style, bounce, grind, and loft/lie/length to get my wedge fitting started. As we move into shaft options, I look at crossing T’s and dotting I’s to ensure a player enjoys their new wedge setup.

We carry a bunch of shaft options built into different heads. As yet we do not have a consistent way to swap shafts in wedges during a session that still allows them to play at a reasonable swing weight and perform as we would like. Moving forward, I will be looking to explore this area to see if we can deliver better service and experience.

Generic standards for wedge shaft setup

  • Dynamic Gold “wedge flex”
  • Matching exactly the same shaft in your irons to your wedges
  • A slightly heavier shaft in your wedges
  • Putting an 8-iron shaft in your wedges
  • Using a wedge-specific shaft

During an iron fitting, we see a lot of variables in flight and feel, this is mainly because we use 6-irons as our demo clubs. When clients are hitting 6-iron shots, they are often looking for max carry, flight, and shot-shaping ability. This leads to hitting a lot of full swings and placing the shaft under a decent amount of load, therefore, we see some notable changes when we swap shafts. This will not show up as drastically in wedges as we are not always trying to hit the full shot. 

As we get into wedge fitting, I discuss with my clients in-depth what they use each wedge for, how far they hit them, what is the most common shot they play, what are the most common bad shots, how does the ball react on the green and what shots do they feel they need in the bag. Basically, trying to get a good overview of their game in a short period. In very few cases do players mention the ‘full shot’ lets them down? Often players say they are more comfortable hitting “softer shots” or 3/4 swings, this gives them the flight/shot that they require on a regular basis and the niche shots and consistency lets them down.

Logic here says to me, you probably do not want exactly the same shaft in the irons all the way down to the lob wedge when you are hitting soft shots 95 percent of the time. When I look at shaft specs, I am trying to build a shaft that can easily put up with the stress of a full shot and handle a softer shot without feeling blunt (for all clubs in the bag).

When I merge this process into wedges, the only wedge a “matching iron” shaft seems to be applicable (for the majority) is the gap wedge or the wedge that is predominantly a full-swing club. This is the club you hit full and maybe knock-down shots with, but you’re rarely trying to hit “flicky” spinning shots. (Those shots are why you also have a sand and/or lob wedge in the bag).

It would then make sense that if you are rarely hitting any full shots with your sand wedge or lob wedge, you probably want a softer golf shaft in those (as they are not trying to put up with your “flat out” swing), still ensuring the shaft does not feel ‘blunt’ or hard work to play around the greens with.

This is not a one size fits all theory, but I think a lot of players would have success even thinking about their wedge shaft layout in this way.

As an example: Personally, I am playing True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue 120g X100 flex iron shafts. I hit a lot of full shots with my 50 and 54, so I have chosen to play the DG 120TI X100 shaft exactly the same way in those two clubs. My 60-degree however, I rarely hit the full shot, so I feel need it a little softer in stiffness, but I need the weight to get my tempo correct and to give me more control to hit lower shots. For this club, I play the Dynamic Gold S400 Tour Issue. I chose this shaft as the profile is very close to my iron shaft but it is 13g heavier and has a slightly softer tip section, which I feel gives me a little better response.

Please see the S3 shaft profile comparison below

(I am very lucky to have the S3 shaft data, it gives me an apples-to-apples comparison of shaft profiles and weights and make wedge shaft selection a lot easier).

I also wanted to capture some data to highlight the difference wedge shafts have as simply as possible. Below is a graph showing a PGA pro’s shot grouping with a few shaft options. His 6-iron speed is about 94mph, and he has a sharp back-swing to down-swing ratio. This would put him at the quick end of people I fit. This generally means the player enjoys stiffer shafts, stiff style profiles, high swingweight, high total/shaft weight (and again not in all cases).

He tested three shafts all in the same wedge head, with the same length, loft, and lie.

Please see the grouping below

The three shafts tested were: Nippon Modus 105 Wedge specific, Dynamic Gold Wedge flex and Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400.

In no way am I trying to demonstrate the DG S400 is the best shaft for wedges, but in this group of data all that shows up is, the stiffest profile, heaviest shaft (of the test group) gave the player the tightest grouping for his 55-degree wedge shot. His explanation was that he felt the club’s position in the swing better and the strike through the turf was much more consistent, producing more consistent land zones with the DG S400. This small test shows that the wedge shaft alone has an impact even for a skilled golfer.

There are however always exceptions to theories (especially in golf!)

When I have a player using, for example, C-Taper 130 X or Dynamic Gold X100 in their irons it is tough to find a profile that matches closely that is heavier and not any stiffer. In these cases, I tend to have them play the same shaft all the way down to their LW, but I try to increase swing weight and decrease FM in the niche shot wedges (SW and LW). This can just mean adding head weight to soften the shaft a little, or sometimes soft-stepping the product to get some ‘feel’ back. 

The key take-away points

  • Think about the shots you play with your wedges most and how hard you hit them
  • Think about linking your shafts to your irons, but they do not always have to match
  • Test options and measure: grouping, turf interaction and flight consistency
  • Try and break down if the ‘”feel” of stiffness or weight help or hinder you making a consistent swing/strike
  • Don’t just settle with the shaft the wedges come with… unless they match in with your setup!

Getting all the information in one article is always tough, and I hate generalizing, so feel free to shoot me some questions—I like to try to help and also hear your experience and ideas when I can!

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Jack Gilbert is currently a Master Club/ Putter Fitter and Builder at Cool Clubs Australia, with 10 years experience in the industry. Day to day he is fitting and helping players from beginners to Major winning golfers and everywhere in between. Jack helps produce specific Putter Studio designs, alongside R&D for club fitting technology. He has played in the U.K and U.S.A as a Collegiate Golfer. In the last decade he has worked out of London, Gold Coast, Sydney and Melbourne and has been publishing content for Cool Clubs Australia since the company's inception. His content focuses on club fitting, club/shaft design and technology advancements.

25 Comments

25 Comments

  1. bl

    Feb 11, 2020 at 5:12 pm

    Great article!

    But…. that test seems fishy. You tried a really poorly fit shaft vs. an okay shaft vs. a properly fit one to prove the properly fit one is better?

    • Jack

      Feb 13, 2020 at 10:10 pm

      Hi BL,
      This was to prove my point that you do need to think about a wedge shafts.
      Do not just grab anything. Make an effort to get something that helps you get better results.
      This article is not about the shafts that were selected, it is demonstrating there is a variable here.

  2. Marc Boghosian

    Feb 7, 2020 at 8:03 am

    Jack – might be a stupid question but what kind of affect would hard/soft stepping the shafts have? ie hard stepped shafts in irons, with the same shaft soft stepped in wedges

    • Jack Gilbert

      Feb 13, 2020 at 10:14 pm

      Definitely not stupid.
      HS or SS give the player the option to play the same weight shaft slightly stiffer or softer than maybe they are playing.
      My experience as a general rule is: Too soft and the player may loose strike consistency and dispersion widens up…. Too stiff and it can feel a bit “blunt” / there can be implications on spin.

  3. Chris

    Jan 23, 2020 at 11:07 pm

    Great article Jack. I play X100 in my irons 4 thru Gap wedge, and was recommended the Modus Wedge 125 last year. I noticed a great improvement, hitting the ball closer to the hole and able to control my trajectory much better throughout the year. My question is why did you use the Modus Wedge 105 shaft with your pro player in the example, and not use the heavier 115 (122g) or 125 (133g) options. Also wondering which iron shafts your pro player is using in his set. Thanks.

    • Pg

      Feb 1, 2020 at 11:52 am

      He cherry picked a lightweight shaft to prove his point.

    • Jack Gilbert

      Feb 13, 2020 at 10:16 pm

      Hi Chris,
      I was not trying to demonstrate the performance of a specific product in this segment, just trying to highlight that there is a reasonable difference in wedge shafts that can have positive and negative effects.

  4. Rickey Di Dio

    Jan 21, 2020 at 10:48 am

    While I appreciate what you are trying to do, there are a few things I would like to point out. Your data size is too small and your data has to been “cleaned”. There are 3 shots in your chart that would be classified as outliers. Remove those and the charts get very similar. I work with players on bag analysis and club gapping. If we are hitting 7 irons and a player hits one fat that only carries 110 yards, that shot is thrown out of the “probable average carry distance”.

  5. Lars Mountgoaschen

    Jan 20, 2020 at 4:22 pm

    I was not aware that the X100 profile was like the S300/S400 profile as you seem to indicate in your EI graph….(?) I thought the s300/s400 has a stiff tip & softer butt compared (relative to profile) of the X100. In fact I still have the EI data by inch increments somewhere.

    You seemed to contradict yourself by choosing a heavier shaft in your wedge, you state you need the weight for your tempo(?) – why would you choose such a significantly heavier shaft to maintain your tempo?

    Generally with wedges the most sure bet is to use an 8 iron shaft and soft-step. This retains the same shaft profile ‘DNA’ for the player through the set and keeps weight within a tight parameter.

  6. Speedy

    Jan 20, 2020 at 1:11 pm

    For 56 and 60 wedges, I like S400, D4, Tour Velvet Midsize.

  7. golfraven

    Jan 19, 2020 at 3:29 pm

    I play the same shaft in my wedges as in irons (Modus 105 regular although 1/4 inch shorter, even down to the wedges). Works fine for me.

  8. Paddy

    Jan 18, 2020 at 11:37 pm

    Would you suggest Masterfit shafts for my Mizuno wedges?

  9. Mike

    Jan 18, 2020 at 5:52 pm

    i have always read that most pros use a stiff shaft, TT S400, which is softer than their usual X200 that they use in their irons, in their wedges. Yet almost all wedge shafts sold are the same S400 that is obviously stiffer than most golfers out there need. Most average golfers HAVE to use stiff shafts, even though the vast majority of golfers do not swing the club well enough to use stiff shafts. That is probably why everyone has a bunch of wedges in their garage that just did not feel right! I wised up and put a lightweight steel regular flex shaft in my forged Vokey and love it.

    • Josh

      Jan 20, 2020 at 8:22 am

      FYI Vokey wedges are not forged. They are cast.

      • MS

        Jan 20, 2020 at 4:51 pm

        Not true. I’ve been using forged Vokeys for the past 8 years. They are made only in/for Japanese domestic market, but can be easily delivered to the US via specialized online sellers. I’m in my 4th set of Vokeys now, worth it.

  10. MG

    Jan 18, 2020 at 5:37 pm

    Serious question: How can a “wedge flex” s200 play much different than an s400? It’s only a 3 gram weight difference. I don’t see how anyone except (maybe) a tour player could notice a difference.

    • Hugh B. Gnecks

      Jan 18, 2020 at 6:38 pm

      Say it with me……
      MAR-KET-ING!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Jack Gilbert

      Jan 20, 2020 at 3:22 am

      I do not believe there would be a wild difference.
      I just used a Tour issue S400 in my lob wedge because I could. I had the wedge as a head without a shaft, so I opted for the S400. If I had fit someone into DG 120 shafts I would have recommended “stock” dynamic gold wedge shaft as their most economical and best performing option.

    • Dan

      Jan 20, 2020 at 11:54 am

      Im a 45yr old former scratch player and I absolutely notice the diff between s200 and s400. Personally I couldn’t feel the head with an S400. Just my $.02

  11. JB

    Jan 18, 2020 at 3:36 pm

    I think you can go ahead and say that TI DG S400 is the best wedge shaft on the market. I thought Cleveland made a great decision when they made this the stock option in their RTX wedges.

  12. Alex

    Jan 18, 2020 at 3:07 pm

    X100 4-9 S400 46 50 55 59. Could probably go either way and used to have x100 in PW and GW. When I switched to all vokey wedges I just went S400 throughout cause they all look the same. I like the feel in them.

  13. 24Linc

    Jan 18, 2020 at 2:22 pm

    Great article by Jack. My take away is try different shafts for your wedges but keep the weight similar or slightly heavier than your iron shafts and use slightly softer shafts for wedges that’s used primarily finess shots. Makes great sense.
    My question would be do you see any benefit of using slightly lighter shafts in wedges? Also how currently many iron sets have stock steel shafts of around 90g but still use s200 as a stock wedge?shaft how that would influence the players since the s200 would be quite a bit heavier and also stiffer say comparing to the AMT Red s300.

    • Jack Gilbert

      Jan 20, 2020 at 3:33 am

      Thanks 24Linc,
      You’re right people that are playing 70g graphite for example probably need lighter shafts in their wedges, such as 80g. They would probably not enjoy a DG wedge shaft as it would be labored and probably feel blunt and hard to get “feel” from (I see this a lot when players getting great results with light graphite try to demo heavy steel wedge shafts). It’s all relative to the best iron shaft.
      I have not had much success with using lighter shafts in wedges compared to irons as the swing weight can be hard to balance correctly and the shaft is often a fair amount softer which can result in inconsistent striking.
      e.g playing 100g KBS Reg iron shafts – either play the same in the wedges maybe a Hi rev 115g but do not drop down to the KB90 as this will probably be too soft.
      There is no one size fits all formula and there are always anomalies (that’s why I do a bunch of testing with my clients) but I hope this helps.

  14. Brian

    Jan 18, 2020 at 1:14 pm

    Great article Jack, you’ve keyed in on something that has continued to bother myself as for getting fitted with wedges. Everyone preaches get fitted but everywhere I “get fitted” for wedges the default on shaft is ALWAYS the stock “wedges offering.” Seems to partially hurt the “fit process” of wedges in my mind.
    As a side question, and as it relates to you play of 120g X100 flex in your irons…….may I ask what are your typical 6 or 7 iron numbers? I ask as I’ve not been fit for my Modus 120 Stiff flex in my irons, my 6 iron trackman numbers are 91-93mph and have questioned the playing the same shafts you are playing currently.
    Great article and we thank you!

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Can a better player be held back by playing a set of irons that are too forgiving? – GolfWRXers discuss

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In our forums, our members have been discussing if an iron that is ‘too forgiving’ can be detrimental to the better player. WRXer ‘MaddMaxx’ asks WRXers if his game could be made worse by going overkill on forgiveness, and our members have been offering up their thoughts on the issue in our forum.

Here are a few posts from the thread, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.

  • Mitchell: “Totally depends upon how you deliver the club into impact, typical conditions faced, and sensitivity to bounce/sole width offset, etc. Play regularly with a group of 12 guys that are all 4 or better in handicap, and three of them use what would be classified as GI irons because help them reach preferred trajectory windows with good distance and spin for their respective speeds and deliveries.”
  • DJ17: “The entire point of irons is controlling distance, trajectory, and spin consistently. If you can do that, then it doesn’t really matter the type of irons you have.”
  • ProjectX: “Kenny Perry won 14 times on the PGA Tour with “Game Improvement” irons while hitting nothing but draws. Couldn’t hit a fade to save his life and that probably held him back at times maybe even from winning a major. But 14 wins on the PGA Tour and 10 so far on the Champions Tour I would say that’s your answer.”
  • Valtiel: “Really the only thing that would “hold back” a better player using those types of irons would be the inability to control either spin, trajectory, or distance due to strong lofts, offset, and certain types of face tech. But if they can control their spin/distance and aren’t losing strokes on approach caused by the aforementioned, then it is all good really.”
  • bsavy83: “I’m 37 and started playing at age 8. Handicap around 3. I have never used a game improvement iron. I have certainly been tempted, but for me, there is a lack of feedback. To me, irons are all about feedback. Without it, you are grooving a bad swing. I heard some pro way back in the day say he spent all winter hitting into a net in his garage and the shots felt great. Gets outside that spring and realized he spent 3 months grooving a duck hook. That’s why I like an iron with feedback. I know what I’m doing wrong so I can stop.”

Entire Thread: “Can a better player be held back by playing a set of irons that are too forgiving?”

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What GolfWRXers are saying about the best fade biased hybrids

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In our forums, our members have been discussing fade biased hybrids. WRXer ‘samrudin’ is looking to replace his 4-iron with a hybrid and is on the hunt for one that is easy to work left to right for the right-hander. Our members share their thoughts.

Here are a few posts from the thread, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.

  • VNutz: “I haven’t hit it, but there was lots of talk that the SIM hybrid was anti-left. I play the Callaway Apex 19 hybrid, and it was designed to be anti-left. It doesn’t eliminate the lefts for me, but that’s operator error.”
  • cw1209: “By most standards, the Titleist 818 H2 is already a pretty neutral hybrid. The nice part is that it is adjustable. Try the flatter lie and less loft settings first (B1, D1, C1 if you are right-handed). This will make the face angle more open and promote a more left to right shot. I would also position the heavy side of the removable weight towards the toe. If none of those things work, try a different shaft. The AD DI is a great shaft that doesn’t work for everyone. Myself included.”
  • Tour Spoon: “I would try the flatter lie approach before anything. If you want to try something cheap and proven, pick up a used Adams Pro or Pro Gold with the Matrix Ozik Altus shaft. I am still playing the Pro Gold and its definitely fade biased.”
  • jlukes: “Hard to find a more fade biased hybrid than the h2 with the weight in the toe, set to flat, and lofted down.”
  • J13: “Callaway Mavrik Pro is one of the best hybrids I’ve hit in a while and definitely anti-left. But with all glued heads, you have to make sure the lie angle is right for you.”

Entire Thread: “Best fade biased hybrids?”

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2020 TaylorMade P770 irons: Distance and precision redefined

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New 2020 TaylorMade P770 irons are here, and with them, a reminder that every club in your bag has a purpose.

A driver is designed to go as far as possible, wedges are designed to be versatile precision instruments, and iron sets are built for both. The new 2020 TaylorMade P770 irons from TaylorMade bring together the distance of the extremely popular P790 with the precision of a midsized player cavity to offer distance and control to an iron unlike TaylorMade has ever produced.

2020 TaylorMade P770

2020 TaylorMade P770 6-iron. Cavity view.

TaylorMade P770 irons: The origin story

The story of the P770 starts with two clubs—the P760 and the P790. Now, if my math is correct, the combination of the two clubs would actually create the 775, but in the world of irons, that model number was taken over a decade ago by another OEM, and if we’re being honest, 770 sounds better anyways.

2020 TaylorMade P770, TaylorMade P790 comparison.

2020 TaylorMade P770, TaylorMade P790 comparison.

Let’s start with the P790 and its ability to infiltrate the golf bags of players of all skill levels. According to TaylorMade’s fitting database, the 790 is a club that can be found in the bags of players from +4 handicaps all the way up to golfers looking to break 100.

What makes the P790 so functional and appealing to so many golfers starts with its looks and ends with its performance. The P790 has the clean appearance of a blade iron from the back, and from address, it maintains sharper line associated with a  players club.

But off the clubface, or should I say all over the clubface, you get ball speed and launch conditions normally reserved for a much larger game improvement club. This iron helped redefine what is now known as the “players distance” category, and whether you consider that title an oxymoron or not, it’s impossible to argue with its popularity.

Then we have the P760, TaylorMade’s first combo iron set, which combined the power of SpeedFoam-filled longer irons with the precision of single-piece forged short irons. These irons again found their way into the golf bags of mid-handicaps to players all over the professional tours thanks to their ability to offer extra forgiveness and launch in longer clubs while still maintaining a small player’s look and preferred feel.

Regardless of skill, one of the biggest factors in the playability of any iron relies on a golfer’s ability to create speed, launch, spin, and angle of descent—the below video featuring our own Brian Knudson testing the P790 Ti is the perfect example of how an iron with strong lofts, for example, can launch higher and descend at an angle to make them playable when you combine the right technologies.

The ultimate design goal of the P770 was to combine the best of both these irons into a small, fast, playable package using every technology available to the engineers and designers at TaylorMade. This iron is about precision without sacrificing distance.

If you are a golfer looking for maximum workability and shotmaking control that puts less of a premium on distance, then the P7MB or P7MC is probably more up your ally, but if distance is still a big part of your decision-making process for a set of irons, then buckle up.

The technology

A look inside the construction of the P770

A simplistic way to describe the P770 would be to call it a shrunk-down version of the 790, but doing that would not give justice to the actual engineering that went into this design. The reason is, you can’t just shrink down a golf club and expect it to perform the same as a larger club, because not only are the mass properties different, but trying to maintain additional ball speed would be like expecting a smaller trampoline to bounce you as high as a larger one with bigger springs—the physics don’t add up.

“Designed to deliver P790-like performance in a smaller package, the all-new P770 leverages forged hollow body construction to pack as much distance and forgiveness as possible into a compact player’s shape.” – Matt Bovee, Product Creation

From address, and looking at the sole and toe profile, the P770 has a much stronger resemblance to the previous P760 than the 790, but from the back and from a technology standpoint, its got the guts of the P790.

The key technologies are

  • A SpeedFoam-supported forged 4140 high-speed steel face attached to a soft forged 8620 carbon steel body. Since the hosel is part of the forged body, you get the full lie and loft adjustability of a forged club along with the ball speed of a larger one. The secondary benefit of SpeedFoam is it creates an iron that feels extremely solid while being a multipiece construction
  • The other part of the speed story is the Thru Slot in the sole which helps shots hit lower on the face retain more ball speed and helps create extra launch. This technology runs from the 3-7 irons.
  • Speaking of launch, the new P770 has 46 grams of tungsten in the 3-7 irons positioned as low and as far back as possible towards the toe to boost MOI and launch in the longer clubs while precisely locating the center of gravity.
  • The final piece of the puzzle that helps with both distance and distance control is the Progressive Inverted Cone Technology or IVT. It is positioned closer to the toe in the longer irons to help with common mishits and moves higher and more heel ward into the shorter clubs. This keeps ball speeds variances as consistent as possible through the set.

More photos and discussion in the forums.

Choose your own P700 Series adventure

This is the part where the whole iron series really excels. For a long time, it used to be OEMs would release a number of iron sets that catered to various golfers but didn’t really have any cross over potential as far as building combo sets because of the large differences between designs. To counter this, they would often design exclusive combo sets either catered to better players or to higher handicaps/slower speed players with game improvement irons paired with hybrid long irons.

From the beginning and by design, the entire P700 series has been built to be custom combo’ed for any golfer—an impressive design feat. This allows players of varying ability with different swing and player traits to get exactly what they need out of different parts of their set. They have even gone as far to make sure that no matter how someone is looking to build their set, they can get looks, offset, bounce, and performance to match up from club to club—they even have an easy-to-follow chart!

Pricing, availability, and specs

The TaylorMade P770 irons will be available for pre-order starting August 14th and will be be available in retail shops starting September 4th.

They will be available from 3iron to pitching wedge in right and left-handed with an A wedge option available to right-handed players only. An 8 piece set starts at $1399 (174.88 per club) with KBS Tour steel shafts and Golf Pride Z-Grip grey and black as stock.

P770 Stock Specs

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