There are two main aspects of golf that have emerged over the years, the so-called long game and the short game.
The long game has become the dominant aspect of the game that has a huge impact on high-level play, as golfers strive to increase distance and accuracy off the tee and on approach to set themselves up for a successful scoring opportunity, making the short game a slightly less dominant and important part of the game.
However, while the emphasis is on long and accurate tee shots, it’s still crucial to take the short game seriously, and a key aspect of this is ensuring you have a good understanding of which club is best for your situation and have that club available to use.
A lot of golfers may not have heard of the gap wedge, as it’s a fairly new addition to the standard golf bag, and a club that is easily confused with other wedges and may even go by a different name.
This can mean that a lot of people don’t even understand what the gap wedge is, or the considerable benefits it can bring to your short game and the options you have available to you during approach play.
In this guide, we’re going to look at the gap wedge, and its defining feature, the degree of loft angle it uses in comparison to the other wedges that golfers have available to them.
We’re also going to look at where the gap wedge fits into the golfer’s arsenal and how to use it to get the best out of the club and your next round.
But first, let’s look at what degree of loft the gap wedge actually uses.
What Degree Is A Gap Wedge?
The gap wedge is a club that fills a unique niche within a golf set, and may not be in the standard golf sets bought by amateur golfers at most stores and pro shops, though this is changing rapidly.
A gap wedge is typically around 50 degrees, but this can vary by a few degrees depending on the brand and the specific design. Usually it will be between 48-52 degrees.
The gap wedge is often added to a golf set when needed, and for its unique properties compared to other clubs and wedges. The key property that makes the gap wedge so unique is the degree of loft angle it makes use of.
It will always have a higher loft angle than a pitching wedge, but a lower one than a sand wedge. If another wedge came with your set other than a pitching wedge, that one is your gap wedge.
What Is The Gap Wedge Used For?
The gap wedge and its unique properties make it the perfect club for approach play, and it fills the gap in loft, distance, spin control, and precision between the sand wedge and pitching wedge.
The pitching wedge is a go-to club for many full approach shots, and the sand wedge is more commonly used for partial swings and difficult situations such as a sand trap. However, those dreaded shots of awkward distances sometimes require a more blended approach to loft and distance than both of these clubs, which is where the gap wedge comes in.
The gap wedge has a shorter shaft than a pitching wedge and a slightly heavier club head in relation to this, which improves control and allows more spin to be put on the ball, which is critical for getting the ball exactly where it needs to land on the green.
More advanced players may choose to purchase a non-set gap wedge to get closer to the sand wedge feel, while most amateurs will appreciate the forgiveness and feel of one that matches their pitching wedge and irons.
Why Is Loft Angle So Important?
Loft angle is something that is critical to all golf clubs, whether it’s a low or high angle. For distance clubs such as drivers, woods, and hybrids, a much lower amount of loft angle is required, as this is compensated for by the power of the swing used with these clubs and their length, which is able to generate enough height and distance despite the much lower loft angle.
For clubs such as wedges, the loft angle is much higher, as these clubs are far shorter and use a much weaker and slower swing that can’t generate enough height and power without the required angle on the clubface.
The usage of a 50-degree loft angle on the gap wedge allows it to provide significant height to your shots and will also allow you to hit distances of around 100 yards, or 75 yards for many women golfers.
What Degree Is A Pitching Wedge?
For comparison, the loft angle of a pitching wedge is between 44 and 48, which is a little lower than the gap wedge which it supersedes in distance.
The pitching wedge is able to hit around 110 to 130 yards depending on the line and the player, and can still provide impressive height and provide great accuracy and precision.
What Degree Is A Lob Wedge?
The loft angle of the lob wedge is even more extreme, at 58 to 60 degrees. This gives the club its characteristic loft, and what makes it such a useful tool for clearing traps and obstacles.
The lob wedge is a club similar to the gap wedge in that it fills a unique and even more specialist niche in the game, and isn’t included in most standard golf sets, but is often added afterward by golfers who find themselves in need of the utility this club offers. It’s great for when you’re short-sided and need the ball to stop closer to its landing spot, even on chips.
While a 60-degree wedge can certainly get the ball in the air, it’s not recommended that most amateurs go beyond a 58-degree, but as always we recommend a club fitting for equipment decisions.
What Degree Is A Sand Wedge?
The sand wedge has a loft angle of 54-56 degrees and is specially designed to allow golfers the power and loft required to escape from sand traps, bunkers, and the rough.
A sand wedge is a versatile tool that is integral to all golf sets and can be used in approach play as well as these difficult positions, which is why it’s such a popular and common club in standard golf sets.
The gap wedge, or A-wedge as it’s sometimes known, isn’t the most common golf club, but it’s one of the most effective clubs and can really help tighten up any golfer’s short game, particularly when trying to position the ball well on the green.
There are several brands and versions of the club available in slightly different configurations allowing golfers to tailor their choice to their own particular golf set and the loft angles of their other wedges, to ensure it fits well with their overall set and fills the correct niche.