Lob Wedge vs. Sand Wedge: Know The Difference

60 degree lob wedge

We have talked about this before, but as the lofts in irons have changed through the years, so have the wedges. Irons get stronger, and in return, golfers need more wedges to work with.

When comparing a lob wedge vs. a sand wedge, it is essential to look at what the differences are, whether you have room for both in the bag, and where you should be using the club from. Let’s take a more in-depth look at the lob wedge vs. sand wedge. 

What is a Lob Wedge? 

A lob wedge is the highest lofted golf wedge in the game. The lob wedge will have between 58 and 64 degrees of loft. This club is used for very short shots that need to get up in the air quickly and stop on the green without much roll. 

What is a Sand Wedge? 

The sand wedge is one of the most versatile and widely used wedges in the game of golf. Sand wedges have lofts that range from around 54 degrees to 58 degrees. Golfers should be well aware that a sand wedge can and should be used for more than just shots out of the sand. 

sand wedge

What’s the Difference Between a Lob Wedge and a Sand Wedge? 

The main difference between the lob wedge and the sand wedge is the loft of these clubs. The lob wedge typically has about four degrees more loft than a sand wedge. There is no set amount of loft that each of these clubs has to be. 

To see how the lob wedge and sand wedge differ, you have to break down this discussion into some other categories that include distance, forgiveness, control, and more. 

Loft

The loft of a lob wedge is higher. Loft for lob wedges ranges from around 58 to 64 degrees. The loft for the sand wedge will be between 54 and 58 degrees. If you are a golfer that has four wedges in the bag, it’s really important to pay attention to loft gapping. 

With proper loft gapping, your lob wedge should be around 60, with your sand wedge around 56. Another good combination would be 54-degree sand and 58-degree lob. The key is to keep the space between the two clubs. 

Related: Pitching, Gap, Sand, and Lob Wedge Lofts: A Complete Guide

Spin

Most of the time, a sand wedge and lob wedge will both have high spin rates. However, some companies will add some tighter grooves to the lob wedge to ensure that it spins even more. Higher spin rates help the ball stop faster on the green. 

Players that struggle to get the spin they want around the greens should be looking at their technique, the golf ball they play, and the condition of the grooves on the golf club. 

Forgiveness

Many golfers think the sand wedge is much more forgiving than the lob wedge. The lob wedge gets a bad wrap as an unforgiving golf club. Luckily this is not true; players just sometimes struggle with technique. 

With a lob wedge in your hand, the golf club is no less forgiving than a sand wedge. It’s essential to make sure your stance is correct, your wrists and hand movement are where you need them to be and that you continue to accelerate through your golf shots. 

Control 

Control is important in wedge shots because it allows you to get the ball close to the hole to make a short putt. Consistency is one of the most important features of a golf wedge. Golfers need to learn exactly how a shot will respond when they hit it so they can repeat it hole after hole. 

For the most part, the control of the lob wedge and the sand wedge should be similar. However, we do recommend choosing a lob wedge and sand wedge that complement each other. We like to stick with the same brand and model so that the performance on the course is similar. 

golfer hitting a lob wedge shot at the pin

Playability 

Playability is a huge consideration in purchasing a wedge. 

The lob wedge is sometimes more playable than the sand wedge. This means you can hit your lob wedge from various locations on the golf course and still get the golf ball to do what you need. 

The lob wedge is a great golf club to hit out of the bunker. In addition, you can open the face and hit a high-lofted flop shot that lands on the green. Golfers that get confident with the lob wedge can do anything with it. 

One area of the game where the sand wedge may stand out as being superior is the approach shots into the green. If you have a full-swing approach shot, sometimes the sand wedge is an easier club to choose. 

Should I Use a Sand Wedge or a Lob Wedge? 

We recommend having both a sand wedge and a lob wedge in the bag. You should have enough room with 14 clubs in a set to cover both the sand wedge and the lob wedge. Let’s look at some different situations you will come across on the course and which club makes more sense to use. 

Approach Shot To The Green

Golfers love to know how far they hit each of their clubs, sand and lob wedge included. However, the distance that you can hit a full-swing sand wedge or a full-swing lob wedge is not all that important. 

Instead, the key is to learn which of the two you are more comfortable with. Smart golfers don’t take too many full-swing 60-yard lob wedge shots. They mostly learn how to control a pitching wedge or sand wedge to go this distance. 

Nine times out of ten, the sand wedge is the better club to choose when approaching the green. Lob wedges will work, but they do bring in a higher risk on a full-swing shot. It’s just not what the club was designed for. 

Short Chip Out of the Rough

Hitting a shot out of the rough means that you are going to lose some spin. The rough gets in the way of the interaction between the golf ball and the grooves on the club.

In this situation, we recommend using the lob wedge. The lob wedge gets a higher ball flight, so the chance of stopping it a bit faster on the green is there. Shorter chips out of the rough tend to have a bit more stopping power with the lob wedge. 

golf chip pitch

Greenside Bunkers

Greenside bunkers have always been the perfect place to use the sand wedge. However, players have been getting smarter about breaking out the lob wedge in recent years. 

If your lob wedge has a good amount of bounce (which it likely does), then you can benefit tremendously from hitting shots out of the bunker with this club in hand. 

Sometimes we end up in a bunker with almost no room to work with. The lob wedge gets you up and out of this trap with ease. 

The sand wedge is still the better choice for longer shots that need to travel across the entire green. 

Lower Bump and Run Type Shots 

You can shut the face down slightly of both a sand wedge and a lob wedge and get them to roll a bit more on the green. It’s not the best shot for either club. 

If you have to keep it lower and let it run, choose the sand wedge. In reality, the pitching wedge is much better for this because the loft is considerably lower, and the shot will be easier to control. 

Learning to choose clubs based on the shot you have in front of you can make you a much better golfer. 

Clean Lie Approaching Pin From Less than 30 Yards 

Let’s say your golf ball comes up just short of the green. You are on the approach area, so the lie is tight, and the ball can easily be hit with plenty of spin. 

Technically you can hit either wedge in your bag, but the key is to look at how much green you have to work with. 

The further you are from the hole, the wiser it is to take the sand wedge. This is because you want to make a smaller motion with much less movement whenever possible. 

If the lob wedge requires a bigger swing to get it across the green, simply choose the sand wedge to take a smaller shot. Lob wedges are best when the shots are shorter, and you want to get the ball up and down quickly. 

golfer pitching using a wedge

Frequently Asked Questions  

Here are a few of the most commonly asked questions about a lob wedge vs. a sand wedge. The differences between these clubs are sometimes minimal, so it’s important to plan which one you will use on the course. 

Can a 60-degree wedge be used as a sand wedge?

A 60-degree wedge can be used as a sand wedge, but it is typically a lob wedge. Sand wedges work best when they have around 56 degrees of loft. This loft will help with proper loft gapping and control of the wedge shots. 

Should high handicappers use a lob wedge?

High handicappers should use a lob wedge for high-lofted shots around the green and out of the bunkers. Learning to hit a great lob wedge shot takes time and consideration. You must learn the technique so that the misses are not detrimental to your score. 

Is a 54-degree wedge the same as a sand wedge?

Many 54-degree wedges also double as sand wedges. Sand wedges can be anywhere from around 54 degrees to 58 degrees. If you have a 54-degree sand wedge, make sure your approach wedge is 50 degrees or less. 

What 3 wedges should I carry?

Golfers should carry either three or four wedges in their bag, the pitching wedge, gap wedge, sand wedge, and lob wedge. 

Can I use a lob wedge as a sand wedge?

Some golfers will only have one wedge they want to use as both a lob wedge and a sand wedge. If this is the case, it’s best to choose a 58-degree wedge. The club can act as both a higher lofted sand and a slightly lower lofted lob. 

Which wedge is best for chipping?

Most golfers find that their sand wedge is the best club for chipping. This is one of the most versatile golf clubs in your bag and can work from various locations. 

Conclusion

Almost every great golfer understands the need to have several clubs in the bag that they can use from any location around the green. The lob wedge and the sand wedge are both essential clubs to have and should be put in the bag.

Use the sand wedge when you are further from the hole and have green to work with. The lob wedge is best when you are very close to the hole. Experiment with both clubs on the practice green so that you end up being more prepared for your next round of golf. 

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Joe Morelli

Joe Morelli is the founder of TopRankGolf, a passionate golfer with 25 years of experience playing and coaching golfers around the world. He's dedicated to helping golfers learn and enjoy the game of golf.