A solid wedge game is crucial if you want to get better at golf. It takes time and practice to hone those skills and hit wedge shots close to the pin.
However, there are certain factors surrounding wedges that can give you an advantage when it comes to wedge play. Understanding pitching wedge loft, gap wedge loft, sand wedge loft, and lob wedge loft gives you an advantage.
That information allows you to have the optimal gapping between each wedge. The correct gapping makes your life a whole lot easier out on the golf course.
It means you can have a wedge for shots from 100, 90, 80, and 70 yards. Knowing you can hit each wedge at a certain distance is a huge advantage. And the gapping between these distances is crucial.
Pitching wedge loft, gap wedge loft, sand wedge loft, and lob wedge loft will determine that gapping. So, you need to know the lofts of these wedges, and you will after this article.
Golf Wedges and Loft Ranges
Firstly, we should note that there’s no universal loft for golf wedges. Different golf club manufacturers make wedges with different lofts, so we must look at typical loft ranges.
|Wedge||Loft Range in Degrees|
Pitching Wedge Loft (43-48 degrees)
Over the years, pitching wedge loft has changed. Manufacturers tend to make lofts stronger these days, with 43-46 degrees being a common loft range.
Back in the day, a pitching wedge loft of 47-48 degrees was more common. You can still find these lofts in a pitching wedge today, but you’re less likely to come across them.
Pitching wedges come stock in most iron sets and have lofts ranging from 43-48 degrees. More pitching wedge lofts are at the lower end of that range, although the best pitching wedge for you might not be in that range.
Players are hitting pitching wedges further than before. The difference in distance increases the need for you to customize your gap wedge loft, sand wedge loft, and sand wedge loft.
You need to make sure your gapping is correct. When you have the best gapping, you’ll get the optimal distance gap between each wedge.
Gap Wedge Loft (48-52 degrees)
A gap wedge (or approach wedge) plugs the gap between your pitching wedge and sand wedge. Some iron sets come with a gap wedge; however, this is less common than getting a pitching wedge with a set.
When manufacturers started to lower pitching wedge loft, it created a wider gap between that and sand wedge loft. Sometimes there might’ve been a gap of more than 10 degrees, resulting in a bigger yardage gap.
The gap wedge was the club designed to fill that gap. A gap wedge loft ranges from 48-52 degrees, meaning it sits perfectly between pitching and sand wedges.
Sand Wedge Loft (52-58 degrees)
The sand wedge used to be the highest lofted club in the bag until lob wedges became popular. Sand wedge loft ranges from 52-58 degrees, and the best loft for you depends on your pitching wedge and gap wedge setup.
The best sand wedges are versatile and come in handy in many situations. You can use this club from bunkers, for clearing hazards, chip shots around the greens, and full approach shots.
A sand wedge has a higher bounce than a pitching wedge or gap wedge. The added bounce means this wedge won’t dig into the sand, and it helps the sole of the wedge glide over the turf. The bounce gives you more forgiveness and helps you hit better shots around the greens.
Lob Wedge Loft (58-64 degrees)
The lob wedge is the highest lofted golf club in the bag. Usually, 60 degrees is the standard lob wedge loft.
However, some manufacturers make lob wedges with a loft of 64 degrees. These are much harder to hit well, and only the best players should think about using such a high-lofted lob wedge.
The best lob wedge is a great club to have in the bag. This club is perfect to use when you need to lob the ball high into the air and get it to stop quickly on the green.
You need some practice to execute these types of shots. They’re high-risk, high-reward shots that can really help you out of trouble during a round.
Gapping Your Wedges
We’ve mentioned gapping a few times already because it’s essential to correctly gap your wedges for the best results. You don’t want an eight-degree gap between your pitching wedge loft and gap wedge loft and then a two-degree difference between the gap wedge and sand wedge loft.
That’ll give you irregular distances between each club and make your golf life very difficult indeed. Golf is hard enough, don’t make it harder with bad wedge gapping.
To get the correct gapping for your wedges, you must know your golf club distances. Knowing how far you hit your pitching wedge is vital to gapping your wedges.
Once you know your pitching wedge distance, you’ll want to gap the lofts of each wedge for a 10–15-yard difference. That equates to 4-6 degrees of loft separation between your wedges.
Check out the table below for some examples of optimal gapping. Of course, every player will be different, and these are only suggestions.
|Pitch Wedge Loft||Gap Wedge Loft||Sand Wedge Loft||Lob Wedge Loft|
Wedge Lofts and Distances
Now that you have an idea of the necessary wedge gapping, let’s look at an example of wedge lofts and distances. That’ll show you the gapping at work.
|Club||Loft in Degrees||Distance in Yards|
As you can see, a difference in five degrees of loft gives a gap of 10 yards. This is only an example, and it’s unlikely you’ll get such exact numbers.
However, that kind of gapping is what you should be aiming for. It doesn’t have to be 10 yards but could be 12 or 15 yards. But getting an even gap between each wedge is the best outcome.
Say your pitching wedge loft is 46 degrees, and you know you hit it 124 yards. Then, you might want a 12-yard gap in distance between each wedge.
Your gap wedge loft could be 52 degrees (112 yards), sand wedge loft 58 degrees (100 yards), and lob wedge loft 64 degrees (88 yards). That’d give you a good gapping progression for your wedges.
Ways to Get the Best Wedge Lofts for You
You have three main ways to get the best wedge lofts for you. We don’t recommend guessing, so you should go to an experienced club fitter, use a launch monitor, or use a shot-tracking device out on the course.
It’s a good idea to schedule an appointment with an experienced club fitter for a proper gap test. Club professionals at your local golf club can easily do this for you.
They have the required expertise to guide you through the process. They’ll test your distances with different wedge lofts and get the best fit for you.
Getting fit for any golf club is worth it and doing so for wedges can make a huge difference to your game. And the good news is that most golf clubs waive club-fitting fees if you buy the clubs. If you’re set on making a purchase, you should take full advantage of that.
Launch monitors are brilliant devices for golf. They give you data on your distances, among other impressive metrics.
You can access a launch monitor at your local range. Also, personal launch monitors have become much more affordable, so you could get your own one.
With a launch monitor, you can hit balls with wedges and record your distances. Then, you can work out the best gapping progression for you.
The advantage here is that it gives you real-world data on your wedge play. Sometimes there’s a noticeable difference in yardage between hitting practice balls off a mat and hitting your gamer balls on the golf course in real-play conditions.
You can use either of these methods to get your distances for your specific pitching wedge loft, gap wedge loft, sand wedge loft, and lob wedge loft.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Many Wedges Should I Carry?
You should carry a minimum of three wedges – pitching wedge, sand wedge, and lob wedge. However, it depends on your setup and your game.
For instance, some players might carry three wedges but use a pitching wedge, gap wedge, and sand wedge. As you’ve already seen, a lot depends on the pitching wedge loft, to begin with.
Also, you might want to add more wedges if you frequently hit approach shots from 100 yards or less. More wedges will give you more shot variety and give you a better chance of getting close to the hole.
What Wedge Setup is Best for Beginners?
For beginners, we think a three-wedge setup is best. Having four wedges isn’t necessary for beginner golfers in our opinion.
So, we recommend a pitching wedge, gap wedge, and sand wedge. A good gapping progression here would be a pitching wedge loft of 44 degrees, a gap wedge loft of 52 degrees, and a sand wedge loft of 58 degrees.
You’ll notice that six degrees of difference are in line with what we discussed earlier. That should give optimal gapping for distances.
We think a 44-degree pitching wedge hits the sweet spot for beginners. The loft is strong enough to get decent distance but high enough to help beginners get the ball airborne.
A 52-degree gap wedge fills the gap here nicely for distance. And it’s lofted enough to help beginners out with tricky shots around the greens.
A sand wedge with 58 degrees loft is best for beginners because they usually struggle to get the ball into the air from bunkers. The higher loft will help them lift the ball to clear the lip of bunkers, which is exactly what you need from a sand wedge.
What is a Lob Wedge Used For?
A lob wedge is mainly used for shots around the greens when you need the ball to stop quickly. The idea is to lob the ball into the air and land it softly.
A lob wedge is a good club to use when you must clear a hazard without letting the ball run too far when it lands. Maybe you have to clear a bunker, but there’s water on the other side of the green.
If you don’t land the ball softly, it might roll into the water. So, a lob wedge is a perfect club to use in that situation.
Also, a lob wedge can be used for full shots. If you’re 70 yards from the green and know you hit your lob wedge 70 yards, you can hit a full shot with it.
How Far Can You Hit a 60-Degree Lob Wedge?
Average golfers hit a 60-degree lob wedge about 70 yards. Of course, it depends on the player swinging the lob wedge. Big hitters might fly a lob wedge over 100 yards, while others might hit it about 50 yards.
Golfers should know their pitching wedge loft, gap wedge loft, sand wedge loft, and lob wedge loft. That information will help them out on the golf course.
It allows players to get the optimal gapping between each wedge. That allows them to have an even distance distribution between the wedges in their bags.
When you have even yardages between these clubs, you can really dial in your wedge game. And a good wedge game will improve your golf leaps and bounds.