The lob wedge, known as an L-Wedge, is a crucial club in golf, famed for its high loft and precision.
It’s ideal for those shots with a high trajectory, typically used to get over obstacles and hazards.
Unlike other clubs, the lob wedge imparts minimal roll to your shot upon landing, and it can even generate backspin, if you have the skills.
History Of The Lob Wedge
Traditional golf iron sets didn’t initially incorporate the lob wedge.
Prior to 1931, golfers relied on a single wedge, similar to today’s pitching wedge, often referred to as a “jigger.”
The evolution of golf equipment brought about the sand wedge in 1931, and the lob wedge was first conceptualised by Dave Pelz.
Pelz recognised the demand for higher-loft wedges, particularly as putting greens grew more complex. Professional golfer Tom Kite embraced the lob wedge on the tour, inspiring others to follow suit.
The mainstream lob wedge, as we know it today, was introduced by Karsten Solheim, the founder of PING, and earned its iconic “L-Wedge” or “Lob Wedge” name.
Lob Wedge Design
Lob wedges are a subset of iron golf clubs, specifically crafted for high-arc, short-distance shots.
They have the shortest shafts and the highest loft angles within the golf club family.
Regular lob wedges often feature lofts around 58-60 degrees, while their extreme counterparts, the “x-wedges” or ultra lob wedges, can extend up to 64 degrees.
What sets them apart is the less pronounced flange on the sole, allowing for easier ball contact and a lower degree of bounce, typically ranging from 0–6 degrees.
This design tweak emerged from professionals’ necessity, as they found higher bounce sand wedges less conducive to achieving their desired spin, especially from tight lies.
Ultra Lob Wedge
The ultra lob wedge, designated as “UL,” takes the loft game to the extreme with an astonishing loft of about 64°
This specialised club is reserved for ridiculously high shots, such as those required when facing the “lip” of a bunker.
While some argue its redundancy, as other wedges can be “opened” for added loft, using this club demands high skill levels, particularly with precise distance judgement.
I’ve never met anyone who plays with one.
When Would You Use A Lob Wedge
Lob wedges come into play for a wide range of shots, from pitch and runs to pitching over obstacles, especially when a very high arc or ample backspin is required.
Pitching over obstacles becomes crucial when hazards like water, bunkers, or trees obstruct the line of sight to your target
By using a lob wedge, these high short shots send the ball really high in the air, which significantly reduces any roll upon landing, the ball usually comes to an immediate stop and skilled golfers can often rip the ball backwards with tons of spin.
This is useful when you’re faced with challenging pin placements and not much green to work with.
In the past, golfers had to resort to riskier techniques, such as a glancing blow with a wide open sand wedge or pitching wedge, to achieve a similar result before the lob wedge’s invention.
Should You Use A Lob Wedge
The decision to include a lob wedge in your golf bag isn’t a one-size-fits-all matter.
While it’s possible to achieve the desired loft using a sand wedge, many players find themselves uncomfortable with the open face of the club for soft, high shots.
The discomfort often arises when hitting off tight or firm lies, leading to less versatility in their shots.
But Lob wedges do have their merits, offering the advantage of versatility in challenging situations.
However, not all golfers believe that high handicappers should adopt the lob wedge, as it poses a higher margin for error compared to other wedges and demands precision.
With time and practice, most golfers can benefit from using a lob wedge, especially considering that modern wedges are more forgiving than in previous generations.
They can also add an element of fun to the game, when you can hit very high, precise shots, it’s a buzz, which making them great for those seeking to elevate their golf experience.
Ultimately, the decision to carry a lob wedge depends on your comfort level, skill, and your desire to explore new possibilities in your golf game.
What’s In My Bag
I am currently gaming a set of Callaway XR Pro irons and I have a Vokey Lob wedge in my bag.
I have a Callaway XR Pro Pitching Wedge & Gap Wedge, as well as alternating between using both a 56 degree Vokey SM8 Sand Wedge and a 60 Degree Vokey SM9 Lob Wedge but then sometimes taking them both out of my bag and just using a 58 Degree Vokey SM8