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WEDGES ABOUND IN WNYERS BAG OF TRICKS

Some of the Buffalo district's better players were asked what's in their bag. The trend? Wedges are in, 3-irons on the way out, and 2-irons a distant memory.

P.J. Alterio, Niagara Falls: putter, 60-degree wedge, 56-degree wedge, 52-degree wedge, pitching wedge, 3- to 9-irons, driver, 19-degree utility wood. Comments: I replaced my 2-iron and 54- and 58-degree wedges with three new wedges last year. The reason I went to four wedges was because of the gap I had from the PW (48 degrees) to my sand wedge (54). Too big a variance.

John Gaffney, Brookfield: putter, 60-degree wedge, 56-degree wedge, 52-degree wedge, pitching wedge, 3- to 9-irons, driver, 14-degree Snake Eyes hybrid, 18-degree Snake Eyes hybrid (occasionally replaced with Taylor Made Tour Preferred 18-degree rescue). Comments: Replaced the 3-wood (with the 14-degree Snake Eyes) because of the versatility and the ability to hit much lower shots . . . and I can generally get it into the fairway when absolutely necessary. Replaced 2-iron/4-woods forever (with 18-degree clubs) -- much more versatile.

Tony Hejna, Crag Burn: putter, 60-degree wedge, 56-degree wedge, 52-degree wedge, pitching wedge, 4- to 9-irons, hybrid iron, driver, 3-wood. Comments: (Hybrid iron is) 22 or 19 degrees depending on the course.

Donna Henrich, Fox Valley/Tan Tara: putter, 42-degree pitching wedge, 48-degree gap wedge, 54-degree sand wedge, 60-degree lob wedge, 7- to 9-irons, 26-degree hybrid, 1-, 4-, 7- and 9-woods. Comments: I dropped the 3- and 5-wood and put in a 4-wood so I could add the additional wedges. The loft on today's pitching wedges are much stronger than a couple of years ago, so I found the need to add the gap wedge.

Kathy Hunt, Brookfield: putter, 60-degree lob wedge, 56-degree sand wedge, 48-degree pitching wedge, 5- to 9-irons, driver, 4-, 5-, 7- and 9-woods. Comments: I may give up the 5-wood because I need a gap wedge. My 5-iron goes as far as my 9-wood but in the wind I'll use the 5-iron and not the 9-wood.

Kari Kaul, Gowanda: putter, 60-degree wedge, 56-degree wedge, pitching wedge, "A" wedge of about 45 degrees, 5- to 9-irons, driver, 5-wood, 7-wood, 9-wood. Comments: I had taken out the 3- and 4-irons to make room for the 9-wood and extra lob wedge. I have learned over the years -- it's not how far you drive but how you arrive -- that's why I have four wedges in my bag!

Kim Kaul, Gowanda: putter, 48-degree pitching wedge, 50-degree gap wedge, 54-degree sand wedge, 58-degree lob wedge, 6- to 9-irons, driver, 3-, 4-, 7- and 9-woods. Comments: I put in more woods, which I hit very well -- especially with the elevated greens at Gowanda where they play high and land soft -- and took out long irons. I also have added more wedges to fill in the "gaps" in my short game yardage.

Ann Luhr, Cherry Hill: putter, 70-degree wedge, 60-degree wedge, 56-degree wedge, 48-degree wedge, 5- to 9-irons, 4-iron rescue club, driver, 4- and 9-wood. Comments: I added a Taylor Made rescue club last year and removed a Callaway 11-wood. The 11 was a favorite club but the Taylor Rescue is like cheating. I'm thinking of adding the 3-iron version this year and getting rid of the 9-wood.

David Patronik, Brierwood: putter, 47-degree pitching wedge, 53-degree gap wedge, 56-degree sand wedge, 60-degree lob wedge, 4- to 9-irons, 18-degree utility club, driver, 3-wood. Comments: (Passed on through his father, Dave Sr.). He has a 15-degree 3-wood and last year dropped the 3-iron from his set for an 18-degree utility club. This club is more versatile than the 3-iron, and he can hit it 200 to 230 yards depending on how far down he grips it. This gave him the distance he was searching for as the gap between his 3-iron and 3-wood was 30 to 40 yards.

Fred Silver, Niagara Falls: putter, pitching wedge, 54-degree wedge, 60-degree wedge, 4- to 9-irons, driver, 3-wood, 2-3 hybrid irons. Comments: I now carry hybrid clubs, the 2-iron and the 3-iron. I took out the 5-wood and my 2- and 3-irons from my set and also added a 60-degree wedge.
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