What Is a Wedge?

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Many important golf shots are played using a wedge. For this precise reason it is important to know when and how to use a wedge. Despite its simple use, many new golfers are confused about what a wedge is and how to use it.  The below information is intended to educate and inspire you to use your wedges in the right circumstances. 

What Is A Wedge?

Defining A Wedge

Right, let’s do this. So, wedges can be explained as the clubs you will use for the shorter and more precise shots in your golf rounds. These include approach shots, chip shots, pitch shots, bunker shots, lob shots and the list can carry on. There are many different types of wedges, and they are usually characterized by the lofts they have. 

The Characteristics of Wedges

Wedges have the shortest shafts and highest lofts of any golf clubs- check your bag if you think this is a lie. In effect, wedges are regularly recognized by their loft instead of their name. For example, a lob wedge would rather be referred to as a “60-degree wedge,”.

The bounce in a wedge is also a deciding factor in how useful it is. 

The amount of bounce a wedge has makes the club resistant to pushing into the turf as soon as the club hits the ground in the follow through. Different golf course environments will call for various uses for your wedge. Likewise, different types of golf swings will involve more or less bounce. 

Which Wedges Do Beginners Need?

If you are new to golf, you won’t need to be too worried about the many wedges out there. For now, I suggest just putting your focus on the pitching wedge. Other wedges like the gap wedge and lob wedges are common in the bags of more experienced players. Then again, sand wedges are typically used by all players. 

Just because new players should not feel forced to pick up a sand wedge from the start, doesn’t mean they can’t educate themselves on these clubs- we’ll explore each club in a bit. For now just put all of your practice into using a basic wedge. 

When to Use a Wedge for a Golf Shot

When it comes to the right time to use other wedges, you will have to determine this mainly by the yardage of the shot you are playing. Let’s look at some scenarios to give you an idea:

  • On full shots from the fairway, a casual male golfer could land shots of up to sand wedge about 65 to75 yards using a sand wedge. Casual female golfers have been known to reach 45 and 60 yards. 
  • When it comes to a lob wedge, male golfers have been observed striking as much 40 to50 yards and 25 to 40 for females. 
  • A gap wedge would fall in between the striking distances of pitching wedges and sand wedges. I’ll explain in a bit.

Wedges have been known to produce very high, arching shots. They are specifically designed to strike the ball over trees, or if you’re stuck in a big bunker that is keeping you from reaching the flagstick. A high, arched shot with a wedge is a good choice to get out of these situations. Seeing that wedges are known to produce high trajectory shots, they have a tendency not to roll much when hitting the green. 

Different Wedges

Earlier I promised that we will discuss the different wedges in more detail. Okay, get you pen and paper ready to copy these notes. 

Pitching Wedge

First, we have the pitching wedge. It is commonly the last and most lofted club in many up-to-the-minute iron sets. In most cases, pitching wedges are usually in the range of 44 to 48 degrees loft.  They are ordinarily used for reaching the lengthiest wedge shots into a green. They are also pretty useful for short pitch and run shots across the green.

Sand Wedge

The sand wedge is more lofted when compared to a pitching wedge. They are normally found between 54 and 58 degrees. As you might have guessed, one of its most important roles is to strike the ball out of those annoying sand bunkers. How do these wedges do this in comparison to others? Good question.

Sand wedges are fitted with a wider, more rounded sole. This round sole lets the club slide under sand but bounce back out the other side instead of getting trapped in it. Don’t be fooled though, this is not the only time you will be able to use a sand wedge. You will be able to use your sand wedges for regular shots, they’ll just go a shorter distance due to their bigger loft.

Gap Wedge

Things get a bit technical with the Gap Wedge. Let’s say your pitching wedge is 46- degrees and your sand wedge is 54-degrees there will be a distance gap of about 30 yards between these clubs. A gap wedge is designed to bridge that 30 yard “gap”. 

A gap wedge will have more loft than your pitching wedge and less loft than a sand wedge. You might hear other golfers talk about an approach or utility wedge, but this refers to the gap wedge. It’s only easier to remember “gap wedge” because that’s what it does. 

Lob Wedges

The last wedge on our list is the lob wedge. This wedge is the most lofted club you have. They are typically come in from 58 and 62 degrees, and are used for very short approach shots. Common situations where a lob wedge will be most useful would be where the ball needs to go up high in the air with the intention of quickly stopping on the green without rolling.


Now you have had a detailed look at what a golf wedge is. For new golfers it could be a little confusing to understand these terms, seeing that golf wedges are an important aspect of your golfing arsenal.

Wedges are such an important part of golfing that new golfers need to know when and how to use them. 

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Young talented golfer and writer and top rated weekend golfer. He's favorite player is Tiger and he spends most of his spare time on a golf course.

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