When Should You Use Your 60-Degree Wedge?

One of the most common things I see with my students is the propensity to reach for their 60-degree wedge for every shot around the green.  It’s understandable, every time you watch golf on television, you see the pros hit these high soft flop shots that come down like a butterfly with sore feet.  Either that, or they hit low, flighted shots that look like they’re going to bound miles over the green, only to hit the brakes and stop on a dime next to the hole.

While the best players in the world can routinely hit some cool looking shots with their 60-degree wedge, the reality is that it’s a club amateurs should stay away from unless they actually need to hit it.

Ultimate-guide-to-golf-wedges

Yes, you should use your 60-degree wedge when you need to hit a high, short shot close to the green, typically from about 50 yards and in. It’s ideal for shots that require a steep angle and a soft landing.

Why Should You Avoid Using Your 60-Degree Wedge?

The key with any chip or pitch shot is to get the ball on the ground, rolling like a putt as soon as possible.  That means taking less loft, a smaller swing, carrying the ball a shorter distance, and letting it roll out to the hole.  In short, the more time the ball spends in the air, the more variables are at play, and the more things can go wrong. 

When you chip and pitch with a 60-degree wedge, the loft of the club is going to launch the ball high in the air.  These shots require a big swing and precise contact.  Even the slightest mishit or misjudgment in distance has the potential to leave worse off than you were in the first place.

The Less Loft You Can Use the Better

There’s a reason manufacturers make wedges with all different kinds of lofts.  And it’s not just so you can hit full shots from different distances from the fairway.  They’re meant to hit a variety of shots around the green.

It’s not just limited to wedges either.  When you don’t have to carry the ball very far and have lots of green to work with, there’s nothing wrong with chipping with a 6 or 7-iron. 

Another advantage of chipping with less loft is that there’s a lot more room for error.  When you use less loft, the swing is smaller, there are fewer moving parts, and making consistent contact is a lot easier than it is when you make a big swing with your 60-degree wedge.

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When Should You Use Your 60 Degree Wedge?

While taking less loft for your chips and pitches is always the best option, there are going to be times when you don’t have room to let the ball roll out, and you need to stop it with height.  This is where your 60-degree wedge comes in handy. 

A particular shot that amateurs struggle with is the short-sided one out of the rough, over a bunker to flag tucked close to the edge of the green.  Here, you don’t have the option to use less loft and let the ball run to the hole.  Instead, you’re forced to stop it quickly with height.  There’s no other choice than using your 60-degree wedge. 

When you’re faced with a shot like this, the first thing you need to accept is that you’ve made a mistake by hitting it here in the first place, and the last thing you want to do is compound that mistake.  The priority is to get the ball on the green and give yourself some sort of putt for par. 

The mistake most golfers make is leaving this type of shot short of the green.  When this happens, you’re left with a shot that’s just as difficult as the one you just faced. 

It’s important to remember that when you use more loft (your 60-degree wedge), you must take a bigger swing because the ball is going to fly higher and not travel as far.

Next time you’re faced with a short-sided shot without much green to work with, try aiming for the top of the flag.  Because the tendency is to come up short, aiming for the top of the flag will help ensure you at least get the ball on the green.

Final Thoughts

The best players in the world hit some sexy shots with their 60-degree wedges.  But they’ve also spent their entire lives working on these difficult shots around the green.  And the truth is, even they make mistakes with this club that end up costing them shots.

For amateurs, the fastest way to start shooting lower scores is to improve their short game.  And for the vast majority of shots you face, your 60-degree wedge isn’t the club you should use.  So, spend some time practicing using less loft and learning a variety of different shots with different clubs.  When you do, you’ll find yourself chipping the ball closer to the hole, shooting lower scores, and having more fun.

 

Paul Liberatore
Paul Liberatore

As the Founder of Golfers Authority Paul Liberatore Esq. has spent the last 7+ years writing about the best golf equipment or instruction from the top golf instructors in the world. He has been a contributing writer for Sports Illustrated Golf and GolfWRX. After graduating with honors from Purdue University, he realized that he had a passion for the golf business and the law. When he's not practicing law, or creating golf content on YouTube, he can be found on his syndicated Behind the Golf Brand podcast both on Apple and Spotify talking with the most prolific leaders in the golf industry. 

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