Golf Wedges Explained

Devereux golfer swinging a club 

Your short game normally accounts for at least 50 percent of the shots in a single round, and your putter isn't the only club that's vital to your performance. Golf wedges can reduce your shots from sand and turf to get you to the green sooner. As a result, golf wedges are one of the most important clubs in your bag. Understanding the types of wedges and what wedge degrees are will help you select the right clubs and to improve your play.

What Is a Golf Wedge?

The first step toward fully understanding wedges is knowing the basic answer to the question "what is a wedge in golf?" A golf wedge is a versatile golf club used for the short game. A wedge looks similar to irons but the angle of the club sole gives it bouncier performance. When you fully swing a golf wedge, the ball will fly high in the air and fall back down quickly with minimal spin. Chip with a golf wedge and the ball will stop quickly. You can use golf wedges for approach shots, escaping sand, chipping and pitching. The key is to select the right type of wedge for the shot.

Types of Golf Wedges

So what are the golf wedges you have to pick from? There are four types of golf wedges. Let's take a look at each one.

Pitching Wedge

The pitching wedge is by far the most versatile of the golf wedges. The average golfer can hit a pitching wedge around 105 yards, making them handy for the approach when swung fully. With a full swing, you can also use the pitching wedge to lay up over hazards or clear trees. When you're just outside the green, you can also make chip-and-run shots with the pitching wedge. Used like a putter, this wedge can carry the ball over rough or fringe to reach the green and land near the pin.

Gap Wedge

Designs of pitching and sand wedges have evolved over the last few decades. Since the 1960s, their engineering has changed, making the pitching wedge able to travel much further. This means that with modern clubs, there is a range of shots that a pitching wedge will hit too far, and a sand wedge won't hit far enough. The gap wedge was introduced to fill in this missing piece or bridge the gap between the clubs. Normally, you'll use a gap wedge when you're 70 to 100 yards from the green.

Sand Wedge

With its open face and wide sole, the sand wedge is handy for escaping bunkers. The club is usually the heaviest iron in a golfer's bag, weighing in at almost 40 ounces. Its design gives it the most bounce of all of the golfing wedges, so it can move over the top of the sand without digging in. Despite its name, the sand wedge is useful in other soft lies. Use it when you're dealing with thick rough, mud or soggy turf. On firmer terrain, the club also works well for chips and lobs.

Lob Wedge

Also known as the L-wedge, the lob wedge offers the highest trajectory and is one of the shortest-hitting options in a golfer's bag. Because it creates such a high arc, the lob wedge is most often used to clear hazards and obstructions on the course. Once the ball returns to the ground, it has minimal roll.

What Are Degree Lofts for Golf Clubs?

The degree loft of a club gives you an indication of the impact that it has on the flight and distance of the ball. With a lower loft, a club hits the ball over a greater distance, while a higher loft creates a higher trajectory and produces more spin. Manufacturers offer golfing wedges in a range of lofts, and the types of wedges have varying lofts.

What Degree Is a Pitching Wedge?

Most pitching wedges have a loft of 42 to 49 degrees. In addition, these clubs usually have zero to 10 degrees of bounce. However, most are low bounce at just 2 to 3 degrees.

What Degree Is a Sand Wedge?

The sand wedge usually has a loft of 54 to 58 degrees. To help clear the ball from hazards, the sand wedge usually has the deepest bounce, usually at around 12 degrees.

What Degree Is a Gap Wedge?

The loft of the gap wedge usually falls between the pitching and sand wedges, ranging from 50 to 54 degrees. Most experts recommend buying a gap wedge that is 4 degrees between both your sand and gap wedges. Based on the standard loft for pitching and sand wedges, the most common loft for a gap wedge is 52 degrees. The bounce angle on these clubs typically runs from 0 to 12 degrees with a medium bounce of around 8 degrees being the most popular.

What Degree Is a Lob Wedge?

The loft of a lob wedge is usually between 56 and 60 degrees. Some manufacturers do offer lob wedges with lofts of 60 to 64 degrees, usually calling them x-wedges, ultra lob wedges or extreme lob wedges. Normally, the bounce angle is lower on the lob.

What Wedges Do I Need?

If you're new to golf, slowly building your collection of clubs makes sense, as you can spread the investment out over time and not feel overwhelmed by having lots of choices when it comes time to plan your shot. The most important wedges for a new golfer are the pitching wedge and the sand wedge. Then, add a gap wedge and make the lob wedge the last one you purchase. Make sure to have yourself professionally fitted, so you choose wedges that suit your body's unique mechanics.

How To Protect Golf Wedges?

To reap all of the benefits of golf wedges described above, you need to keep yours in the best possible condition. Scratches and damage from the elements can lead to inconsistent play and cause your clubs to wear out prematurely. Fortunately, there are a few simple steps that you can take to protect your wedges and extend their life. 


  1. Make sure to clean your wedges after each use. This will remove any dirt or debris that could cause the club head to prematurely wear down. 
  2. Try to avoid hitting the ground too hard when you take your shots. A light touch will help to prevent nicks and scratches on the club head. 
  3. Finally, store your wedge in a safe place when you're not using it. Using a golf bag in a dry and covered environment will help to prevent rusting and ensure your wedges are protected from unnecessary weathering.

 By following these simple tips, you can protect your golf wedges and enjoy many years of trouble-free play.


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