The Golf Wedge Buyers Guide

Not sure exactly what golf wedges are? They’re short irons with a lot of loft. They are not meant for distance shots, but golfers can use them to hit high shots so that the ball lands on the greens. Here are three characteristics of wedges that you’ll want to familiarize yourself with:

  • They have heavier clubheads
  • Offer higher lofts
  • Have shorter shafts than other golfing irons
  • Great for short distance lob shots
  • Effective when getting the ball out of tricky spots and back onto the green

Clearly an important part of every golfer’s game, wedges create birdies and save pars. There are four different types of wedges, each with its own degree of loft serving its own purpose. For instance, golfers who struggle around the greens may not be using the right type of wedge for the shot. So how do you know what wedge to use for what shot?

In this guide, I’ll go over golf wedges and how to use them to assist your game.

What Are Wedges Used For?

Before I jump into the types of wedges out there let’s talk a little bit about what they’re used for. Golf wedges are ideal for approach shots and designed with soles specific for their purpose. Players who want more precision in their short game will invest in one or all types of wedges, which I’ll cover in the next section.

Wedges are also known as scoring clubs and have the largest loft. This enables them to produce spin. Spins and lofts allow balls to rest gently on the ground, helping the player attack the flagstick without any obstacles. Having the right wedge can really step up your game and add impressive results to your score.

Type of Golf Wedges

There are 4 types of golf wedges: pitching, gap, sand, and log wedges. The pitching wedge is included in type golf club sets, while the other three are usually sold separately. Each type serves a different purpose to help perfect golfer’s shots.

Pitching Wedges (PW)

The most common type is the pitching wedge which is typically used for full shots into greens and longer chip shots with a loft between 44-48 degrees. When the ball is struck right, it will travel about 110-140 yards.

Yes, pitching wedge angles have the least loft when comparing them to the rest of the wedges. Most modern sets available tend toward a lower lofted pitching wedge to blend in with longer hitting iron designs. The PW is commonly used by players trying to hit the green.

Gap Wedges (GW)

The name says it all – this type of wedge fills the gap between the PW and the sand wedge (SW). It’s sometimes referred to as an attack wedge (AW) or utility wedge (UW) this type has the second least loft of any wedges. They tend to carry a loft of 50-53 degrees and are suited for fuller shots. Golfers will normally hit a gap wedge between 90-110 yards.

Players add this type to their bag to bridge a distance gap and offer more options near the green for pitches that don’t include a full swing and longer chips. GW don’t come in standard club sets. I suggest looking at the loft of your PW and wedge before selecting a gap wedge. Your GW should have a loft in between the two.

Sand Wedges (SW)

The sole of the sand wedge is heavier and wider than other types making it easy to escape from greenside bunkers. Before the lob wedge came along, the SW was the highest lofted club in a player’s bag with a loft of 54-58 degrees.

Most golfers will hit a SW around 90 yards with a regular golf swing. It is designed to help golfers hit their ball outside of the sand traps. Shorter than other clubs, SW help place some spin on the ball.

Lob Wedges (LW)

The newest of wedge designs is the lob wedge. This one offers a high loft of about 60-64 degrees which allows golfers to deliver more height and spin with shots near the green.

Lob wedges usually travel about 70 yards and are typically used more to flop shots, hit chips, and bunker shots. These types are not included in golf club sets, consequently, need to be purchased separately.

I recommend having four degrees of difference between all your wedges. For instance, if your PW has a 47-degree loft than you need a 51-degree GW, a 55-degree SW, and a 59-degree LW.

Choosing the Right Wedge

In order to become the best golf player, you can be, it’s necessary to select the right wedge for your golf bag. Below are the factors you need to consider in order to invest in the perfect wedge for your playing style.

Loft 

The loft of a wedge refers to the angle created between the wedge and an imaginary vertical line. Shots with more loft on a wedge are higher resulting in more ball flight with less distance. Most golfers who play professionally will carry 3-4 wedges because they can have variation when playing their short games. 

Bounce  

What is bounce on a wedge? It’s the section of the club that hits the turf, causing it to “bounce” through the surface underneath the ball at impact. A bounce angle is added to prevent wedges from digging into the sand or turf. Many people believe that wedges sit flat on the ground when they do not.

What is considered a low, mid, and high bounce wedge?

  • Low bounce. Bounce angles of 4-6 degrees are low wedge bounce and are best suited for golfers who sweep the ball, play on firmer turf conditions, or bunkers with little sand.
  • Mid bounce. Angles of 7-10 degrees are mid-bounce and are the most versatile option because it suits various swing types and range of conditions.
  • High bounce. Anything with over 10 degrees of bounce is considered a high bounce wedge. These are best for golfers who dig at impact or are playing in softer conditions.

Sole Grinds  

This term describes the shaping of the wedge’s sole, which is usually around its heel or toe. Many manufacturers now offer a wide range of sole grinds in addition to the standard wedge sole. What they do is grind the soles to suit certain turfs or shots.

Finish

Wedges are made in a variety of materials that include many different finishes. While different finishes feel almost identical, they offer wedges a distinct look and color to suit players likes and preferences.

  • Chrome or Nickle finishes are good selections when wanting to maintain the color and appearance of the wedge longer.
  • Unplated or raw finishes are made to wear more over time, improving friction leading to improved spins.
  • Darker finishes look nice, but paint is bound to wear off the sole and face over time. Some golfers like these wear marks and choose to go with this type of finish.

Spinning a Wedge

You want to learn how to spin a wedge and improve your game? Golf wedges are great when you need to hit shots toward the green. These types of golf club wedges add spin to your shot and enable you to land the ball on the green.

To improve your spin, you need to improve your putting position by following these 5 simple instructions:

  • Examine the ball: Make sure the ball is lying on a clean surface without too much grass around so it spins at its maximum potential.
  • Choose the right club: Every wedge serves a specific purpose. Use a PW or SW for wedge shots and shorter ones for more power.
  • Adopt the right stance: Stand like you normally would for other shots, however, this time place the ball behind the center point of your stance. Your weight should be placed on your front leg. Now lean yourself towards the target.
  • Time to swing: With firm wrists and hands, rest the shaft of the club towards the target. Only use your arms while swinging and try not to move your upper body. If you’re a beginner, do your best not to swing the club to the side or towards the back. Bend your back knee slightly and pull in your backside as you swing. 
  • Make a small divot: To make sure the clubhead meets the ball at a sharp angle, use a steep swing. This will cause the head to brush against the grass and create a small divot when contacting the ball. 

Bottom Line

This guide should give you all the necessary information about golf wedges. Learning to use them properly can easily become one of your deadliest weapons as an experienced player.

As you improve your technique and obtain more experience, you’ll be able to tell which wedges are right for you. As you grow in your playing ability, you’ll also learn how to perfect your swing with a wedge. Best of luck!

About the Author Bill

Hi! I'm Bill and for me golf is the greatest game there is. It’s probably the only game that a player’s biggest challenge is himself. It reflects this struggle this called life, the struggle to bring out the best within each and every one of us, a beautiful process that can only happen when facing seemingly insurmountable adversities which, in the game, is represented by the unevenly sloped trap-filled golf course.

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