Jason Day's Split Iron Set and Two Pitching Wedges
FORT WORTH, Texas — On Sunday evening, when TaylorMade reps sent me a list of the clubs Jason Day used to win the Byron Nelson Championship, I thought they'd made a mistake. The list said that Day had both a TaylorMade R9 TP pitching wedge AND a 48° TP wedge with xFT.
Typically, a pitching wedge has about 47° of loft, and while pros sometimes have unique clubs in their bags, I couldn't think of a reason why a player would want two clubs with almost exactly the same loft—especially now that pros have to play the new USGA-conforming grooves. The clubs should produce almost the same shots.
On Monday I went to TaylorMade's Tour van here at Colonial Country Club to ask the men who build Day's clubs if I'd been sent incorrect information.
Nope, it turns out that Day does carry both clubs in his bag. However, I was told that Day's pitching wedge has been de-lofted to 46°, creating a 2° gap between the two clubs.
My next stop was the media center where Day was talking to reporters. I began our conversation by asking him why he chooses to play a split set of irons, going with TaylorMade Tour Preferred long-irons (3-5) and R9 TP mid- and short-irons.
Watch the video below for Day's thoughtful answer.
Next I asked him about the wedges.
"I hit my pitching wedge 140-145 yards, my 48° 130-135 yards, my sand wedge (54°) 110-115 yards and my lob wedge (60°) 90-95 yards," Day said. "I like to play two shots with every wedge. If I have 130 yards I'll usually hit a 48° wedge shot to the pin because it goes higher, but I could hit a half-shot with my pitching wedge if I want to hit it lower."
Rather than creating uniform distance gaps with his four-wedge setup, Day thinks more of trajectory options, visualizing the ideal shot and then picking the right club and swing-length combination.
"If the pin is at the front of the green and there is a bunker there, then I will want to bring the ball in high with the 48°," he told me. "But if the pin is in the back, then I can hit it lower and let the ball release to the pin with the pitching wedge."
Crafty stuff from a guy who's just 22.