Parker McLachlin joined Fully Equipped to discuss the short game, including the lob wedge.
Why do you need this club? This is a question Parker McLachlin typically asks his amateur students when the conversation turns to set makeup and gapping, because as much as someone might think they need to carry 14 clubs, there are certain situations where a maximum of 12 might do the trick.
The same goes for the lob wedge, a club we’ve discussed extensively on this site in recent years. The general consensus from experts polled is that mid-to-high handicappers should remove anything with 60 degrees of loft (or more) from the bag. The club is designed for golfers who have better-than-average hands and know how to consistently deliver the head at impact. For the rest of the population, the club typically comes with more headaches than it’s worth.
In most cases, something with 56 or 58 degrees of loft is far more reliable — it’s easier to play a high-percentage pitch shot with less loft — than a full-blown lob wedge.
“If you don’t hit the ball longer than 270 yards off the tee, there’s no reason to have anything more than a 60 degree,” McLachlin said. “If you hit it 240 yards, I’d probably want you to have a 58 as your highest-lofted wedge. How far you hit the ball is an important factor, because that’s how we’re going to back you into how high your highest-lofted wedge should be.”
To be clear, this isn’t a hard-and-fast rule. If you hit it 260 yards, there’s nothing that says you can’t play a lob wedge. What’s important to keep in mind is the length of course you typically play and how often you actually use a lob wedge during the round. In some cases, it might make sense to add another club at the top of the set and go to a three-wedge setup.
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“If you hit it short, you’re going to want to include more high-lofted clubs. You’re not necessarily going to want a 64 degree,” McLachlin continued. “For someone asking about the 60 degree they need to get, I’ll normally tell them we should start with clubhead speed and ball speed to see where they’re at. If we can start there, you may not need a 60. You might want a 58, 57 or 56 as your highest-lofted wedge. If you’re shorter [off the tee], you need clubs to hit it further. Further will be your friend.
“Maybe you go down to a driver with 7 degrees and learn to hit up on it. Then you add a 12 or 13 degree — maybe a mini-driver or 2-wood — and a 5-wood on the stronger side. You want to stack the high end of the set, but it leaves less room for the wedges. That’s a good thing for someone who struggles with length. If you can address that, then we can address the wedges. Because you might need only three wedges.”
The next time you head to the course, pay attention to not only the number of times you pull a lob wedge from the bag but also the number of times you execute a successful shot with the club. If getting up and down feels like a coin flip with a lob wedge, then it might be time to take a closer look at the set makeup.
Jonathan Wall is GOLF Magazine and GOLF.com’s Managing Editor for Equipment. Prior to joining the staff at the end of 2018, he spent 6 years covering equipment for the PGA Tour. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition to offering plenty of legroom, the E-Z-GO Express S2 is one of the company’s “ELiTE Lithium” vehicles, which means you can enjoy consistent power regardless of your level of charge, and charge any time you like, faster and more efficiently.
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Club Car’s Onward 2 is packed with useful features, including ergonomic seats, a spacious bagwell and a redesigned interior with more storage space for personal items. The cart even has you covered in bad weather with the “Monsoon Canopy” top that channels water away from passengers to the ground.
With a top speed of 19 mph, the cart is also street-legal, with standard LED headlights, turn signals and running lamps.
The luxe features of Garia’s Via 2-Seater include an ice box with drain integrated into dashboard, a storage box behind the seat, USB outlet in the dashboard, leather sports steering wheel with scorecard and pen holder, double cup holders in each side with rubber grip inserts, soft-touch automotive style dashboard and entry panels in brushed stainless steel.
A premium, lightweight design offers the perfect balance of power and comfort. With the ability to travel 38 miles on a single charge, the Yamaha Drive2 – ATV is a great option for use both on and off the course.
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As a four-year member of Columbia’s inaugural class of female varsity golfers, Jessica can out-birdie everyone on the masthead. She can out-hustle them in the office, too, where she’s primarily responsible for producing both print and online features, and overseeing major special projects, such as GOLF’s inaugural Style Issue, which debuted in February 2018. Her original interview series, “A Round With,” debuted in November of 2015, and appeared in both in the magazine and in video form on GOLF.com.
Your golf ball selection doesn’t have to break your bank.
Golf can get expensive, especially if you don’t budget your game accessories. Untrue to popular belief, golf isn’t only for frivolous spenders— there’s plenty of value options for budget golfers.
One important aspect to note is that it’s important to play a ball fresh from the sleeve or at least a relatively unused golf ball as often as possible. The good news? You don’t have to overspend to get quality golf balls. We’ve curated a list of the best value golf balls on the market. They’ll offer distance, feel, and durability, helping to improve your progress as a golfer without breaking the bank.
How to pick the right value golf balls for you
These balls don’t sacrifice quality for a lower price. This is a list of the lowest priced golf balls on the market that you can put trust to use in your game.
Many of the balls highlighted here promote greater distance. If you’re looking for a golf ball at a lower price point, these offerings can deliver some extra yards.
Playability and feel are important because as you improve your game from novice to mid handicapper to competitor, feel will supersede all other attributes. You’ll benefit from increased distance and feel around the greens, which is always a winning combination.
2-piece construction and high-energy core
HEX Aerodynamics dimple pattern for a longer ball flight with high launch
Ionomer cover and large offer sufficient greenside feel and control
Great distance off the tee or out of the fairway
Optimal ball flight increases distance in the air and via roll upon impact
Marketed as the “softest ball” in the TaylorMade line
Soft feel means enhanced greenside control
Better than average ball speed and resulting distance
Soft ball provides greenside feel and playability
FastLayer Core enhances feel at impact for increased distance
338 Speed Dimple design pattern
Higher trajectory adds carry distance
Low spin on full swing
Decent greenside spin and feel
Great price for a 15-pack equates to good value
Low spin on full swing shots translates to greater distance
Soft feel for an afoordable golf ball
Promotes greater lift on full swing shots
Provides longer distance
Maintains a soft feel
Aerodynamic dimple design means less in-flight drag for greater distance
Distance is optimized with high ball speeds and low spin on full swing shots
Explosive off the tee due to its ultra-low compression, higher energy core
Low compression core means more control and soft feel
312 large dimple pattern delivers added length off the tee and to full swing iron shots
Durable Surlyn cover allows you to use the ball for multiple rounds
Choose which value golf balls to compare
Use the dropdown boxes to choose 3 value golf ball options at a time to compare.
Value golf ball prices don’t have to mean high scores
It is too often the case that the price we pay for golf balls and equipment equates to our ability or scores. That’s a misnomer and should be rebuffed.
Golf is a game for all to play, regardless of bank account balance. The golf balls highlighted here help in many ways: distance, feel, and yes, price point. The vast majority of golfers could and should be using the more affordable balls highlighted here. You’ll enjoy the experience more knowing you were prudent in your shopping. More affordable balls are certainly sufficient and can still help you achieve the lower score you’d like to have.
What’s the difference between less inexpensive and more expensive golf balls?
Affordable golf balls usually provide greater distance with less of a greenside feel than what’s considered a more “premium” golf ball. The key to remember is that if you’re a novice and your greenside contact isn’t pure, you won’t reap the benefits from a premium ball yet anyway. Start with the less expensive ball, gain some distance and some confidence, and then progress your game to a level where premium balls will more benefit your golf game.
What golf balls are high spin and low cost?
The Mizuno RB566 golf ball offers low spin off the tee for greater full swing distance, and also more greenside spin, delivering a responsive impact on approach shots and those vital greenside scoring shots.
What’s the difference between a practice golf ball and a regular golf ball?
Practice golf balls are often constructed with reduced-distance attributes, whereas regular golf balls provide all of the advertised benefits, whether they be distance, feel, spin, or control.
Vinnie Manginelli is a PGA Professional in Kingston, New York. He’s a freelance writer and editor, golf blogger, and college golf coach with more than 20 years of golf teaching and administrative experience. He has a Master’s Degree in English from Southern New Hampshire University and has been able to marry his two loves – golf and writing.
Stefan Schauffele had a busy Ryder Cup Sunday morning.
ROME — As members of the U.S. Ryder Cup team faced questions from the assembled media on Sunday night, one hot-button question still hadn’t been fully answered:
What’s up with Patrick Cantlay’s hat?
It’d been a topic of conversation (plus songs, cheers and confrontations) since a report emerged Saturday connecting Cantlay’s caplessness to a movement for Ryder Cuppers to get paid. Cantlay had denied that he was making any sort of statement — “it just doesn’t fit,” he’d said — but it’d become a rallying cry for each side. Yeah, I know how strange that sounds. But it’s how we arrived at the point in the post-Cup presser that a reporter posed the latest hat conspiracy.
Cantlay was getting married on Monday, he’d heard, the day after the Cup’s conclusion. Had he stayed hatless to avoid an embarrassing tan line on his wedding day?
“Did you read that on Twitter?” The U.S. team cracked up. “Yeah, you did!”
But the reporter clarified his source. The tan-line theory had come, in fact, from Stefan Schauffele, who’d espoused it on a German radio show earlier on Sunday. Stefan is the father to Xander, Cantlay’s frequent Ryder Cup partner and closest friend on Tour.
Xander, who was sitting next to Cantlay, leaned forward into his microphone.
“I apologize for anything my father said,” he said.
The room burst into laughter.
AS IT TURNS OUT, Stefan Schauffele had been saying quite a bit.
It had been a charged 24 hours at the Ryder Cup. The report about the hat also included allegations of a rift in the locker room, and Stefan took those allegations personally. He felt the report was unfair and led to unsporting treatment from the European fans. Now he wanted to voice his own feelings on the matter.
Shortly before Xander’s singles match teed off, two other writers and I came across him near the practice green, where players finished preparations for the final few matches of the day. Stefan is easy to spot; the towering man known as “Ogre” can generally be found wearing a fedora, a linen shirt and a mischievous grin. He is his son’s swing coach and helps handle his business affairs — plus he’s never short on opinions. We were eager to get his take on the previous day’s events, given his son’s proximity to the report and to Cantlay. Stefan was eager to chat, too: he suggested we start recording.
The idea that players should get paid, he said, is “absolutely noncontroversial.”
Fans had focused their attention from the previous day’s report on hard-to-verify little details — Was the hat a specific point of protest? Had Cantlay and Schauffele been sitting in a different corner of the locker room? Did Cantlay attend the team’s gala dinner? — but the larger point stood unresolved. Had Cantlay been lobbying for player pay? Had others, too? Biggest of all, should players be paid?
After Saturday’s round, a reporter asked Cantlay that question directly. He’d declined to answer. “It’s not about that,” he said. “It’s just about Team USA and representing our country.” The subtext was clear: this wasn’t the time nor the place. “That’s all I’ve got to say about that,” he concluded.
But if Cantlay’s approach was to handle matters behind closed doors, Stefan (who we’ll reference by first name here, just for clarity) favored the opposite.
“I think if the PGA of America is a for-profit organization, they need to have the players share in that profit,” he said. “Instead of being so damn intransparent about it, they should reveal the numbers. And then we should we should go to the table and talk.”
As things currently stand, the governing bodies behind the Ryder Cup are not “for-profit” organizations. The PGA of America operates under the same 501(c)(6) status as the PGA Tour, while the DP World Tour is a “benevolent trust,” meaning both organizations are legally considered non-profits. A stipulation of that tax status requires all revenues generated by organizations to be redistributed to the organization’s members, which includes those 24 Ryder Cuppers. It is this same tax status that allows the PGA Tour to pay its players considerable sums while operating under the “non-profit” umbrella.
Similarly, the Ryder Cup generates hundreds of millions of dollars for the organizations behind it. The question here is about how those funds are being used. PGA of America head Seth Waugh told the AP that his organization operates “on a break-even basis” over a four-year Ryder Cup cycle and that the Cup helps fund its programs for PGA professionals and others. Presently, a negligible amount of the Cup’s total proceeds go toward player compensation. Is that the best use of the money?
“It’s not,” Schauffele said.
In exchange for playing in the event, Ryder Cuppers are given charitable donations of $200,000 each, and they’re able to direct that money to causes they see fit. The PGA Tour also receives 20 percent of Ryder Cup TV profits from the PGA of America; that money is distributed to the Tour’s pension plan but not specifically to the Ryder Cuppers themselves. That’s not enough, Stefan argued.
“Alternatively, they can donate all proceeds after opening the books to a charity of our joint choice, and then we will happily play for free,” Stefan added. “Please print that.”
IN HIS MIND, it’s a simple argument, Stefan explained. And it’s been made before.
“In the past we had a couple of revolutions starting with Mark O’Meara and Tiger and Duval — and Brooks, last time, when he said ‘why should I go play?’”
His historical references check out. The first significant movement for player pay at the Ryder Cup happened a quarter-century ago, when Tiger Woods deemed the lack of player compensation “completely unfair” and David Duval threatened to skip future Cups. He said others, including Woods, were considering it too. That was the impetus for the charitable donation.
As recently as 2020, Koepka suggested he might skip the Ryder Cup if it was held without fans, suggesting that the PGA of America’s desire to make money off of the event would be the “only reason” it would go ahead.
“As players, I think we all know why they’re playing or why we would play,” Koepka said at the time.
Stefan believes he has logic on his side. “It’s a pretty simple kind of argument,” he said. “I think it would stand up in anybody’s mind, the court of public opinion and potentially in the courts.”
The last bit was particularly foreboding.
THIS IS A TOUGH WAR to wage in public. Stefan acknowledges that.
“I understand both sides, of course,” he said.
Demands for Ryder Cup payment run the risk of sounding tone-deaf, particularly these days, when the unprecedented amount of money in professional golf meant all but one of the 24 players in attendance had cleared well into seven figures for the season by the time they landed in Rome. (Ludvig Aberg, who only turned pro halfway through the 2023 season, is the lone exception.)
From a fan’s perspective, there’s something refreshing and pure about the Ryder Cuppers showing up for free. Even the captains themselves seemed against the idea.
“Absolutely not,” European captain Luke Donald said when asked on Saturday night if players should be paid. “[It’s] what the Ryder Cup represents. It represents true sport. You saw it with some of the passion at the end there [with McIlroy and Joe LaCava]. It’s a passionate event. It’s about pride. It’s about representing your country. It’s about coming together as a team. It’s the purest form of competition we have, and I think because of that, the fans love it. There’s no extrinsic motivation involved. It’s purely, purely sport. That’s what makes it so special.”
Johnson added that the competition is “about more than any of that” at the Ryder Cup. “It’s about standing with a band of guys to represent your nation, to represent more than you in the game of golf. It’s a sport for one week. And you know what? I would say if there’s anything that deals with money, there’s guys that would pay to play in this.”
But Stefan argues critics of the Cup are conflating exploitation with nationalism.
“We need to talk about it without [players] getting shamed into not being patriotic,” he said. “If there is any portion of this that is unpatriotic, it’s the PGA of America that are unpatriotic.”
Given Stefan’s critique, there’s some irony to the fact that the biggest win of Xander’s professional career came in the Olympic golf competition — a tournament where players are not paid for their attendance, and medal-winners receive only a pittance of the billions the Games generate worldwide. The Games, like the Ryder Cup, have traditionally not been viewed as a commercial endeavor for the athletes participating in them. The International Olympic Committee, another non-profit organization, says it uses the billions the Games generate to “assist athletes and develop sport worldwide.”
That’s a similar argument to the one used by the PGA of America and DP World Tour, the two governing bodies responsible for the Ryder Cup, though Stefan remains dubious about the way the governing bodies are using those funds.
“If they make profit off this and finance their organization of almost 29,000 [PGA of America] members for four years with the proceeds earned on the backs of these guys here, well, then they should share or they shouldn’t be allowed to do that,” Stefan said.
As our conversation drew to a close, I wondered if he worried about his comments bringing heat to Xander. He said he didn’t think so; he speaks only for himself.
“There’s my own word and Xander has his own word, how’s that? In a month he turns 30. He’s a full-grown man. What his father says no longer reflects.”
Ryder Cup Sunday wasn’t the first time Stefan voiced his opinions nor the first time he’s challenged golf’s institutions. Heck, it wasn’t even the first time that morning. In a different conversation with the Times UK, he suggested that Xander had been “strong-armed” into signing a player participation agreement that included Netflix having access to the U.S. team room for the filming of its Full Swing docuseries. While the series wouldn’t have been able to show players in the locker room who hadn’t agreed to be in the show, Xander’s hesitancy to sign it had a cascading effect: the U.S. team eventually decided the simplest path forward was to keep cameras out.
Netflix had full access, meanwhile, to the team room for the winning European side.
“Apart from the fact the guys don’t get paid, you cannot make a deal with a third party that we are not party to for rights into eternity,” Stefan told the AP last month.
As for what happens next?
“Like with other things that I’ve tried to improve, it’s all about making a better product, right? That’s truly what it’s about,” he said. “I know this is not going to happen this time. This may not happen next time, but I think it’s a process and somebody has to start somewhere. And so I’m willing to take the heat and hopefully when I’m done walking around out here, then maybe this comes to fruition.
“It’s a long-term play, right?”
Dylan Dethier is a senior writer for GOLF Magazine/GOLF.com. The Williamstown, Mass. native joined GOLF in 2017 after two years scuffling on the mini-tours. Dethier is a graduate of Williams College, where he majored in English, and he’s the author of 18 in America, which details the year he spent as an 18-year-old living from his car and playing a round of golf in every state.