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Types of Golf Wedges
In golf, a wedge is a type of specialized iron used for making short distance shots.
Back in the eighties, there were only two wedges available (pitching and sand), but this category of clubs has grown to include at least three additional different wedges (gap, lob, and ultra lob) all serving a different purpose with varying lofts and bounces.
This discussion of wedges is certainly not comprehensive but does cover the most popular ones in use today.
A gap wedge is a versatile tool, useful for both pitching and chipping around the green. Gap wedges have more loft than a pitching wedge, but less than the other wedges.
These wedges are typically available with 46 to 54 degrees of loft.
A full swing with this wedge should get the ball about 80 to 110 yards.
Typically, a gap wedge is a specialty purchase as it does not come with a standard set of clubs and is not included in a three-set wedge system.
When selecting a gap wedge, make sure you choose one with a loft in between that of your pitching wedge and your sand wedge.
The pitching wedge is often included in most sets and is usually grouped with the other irons since its design is close to a 10-iron.
This wedge has the least amount of loft, making it a great option for high altitude shots such as sending the ball over trees.
With a typical loft between 42 and 50 degrees, you can easily strike the ball a distance of about 110 to 140 yards.
The pitching wedge is often used by golfers approaching the green since the ball travels so far in the air, it has less propulsion to roll when it lands on the green.
The name of the sand wedge belies its use. Sand wedges are one of the heaviest clubs and were designed with the most bounce specifically to help golfers hit balls out of sand traps or bunkers.
This club can also be useful for any type of soft, soggy ground.
On firmer ground, they can be used for lobs or chips onto the green. Sand wedges generally have a loft between 54 and 58 degrees.
Sand wedges are also shorter than other clubs, which helps to put spin on the ball. A full swing shot from should get the ball anywhere from 60 to 90 yards.
A sand wedge is sometimes included in a standard set of clubs.
If you don’t have one it’s not a necessity, but once you get serious about your game you will certainly want one.
A lob wedge is one of the easiest clubs to use to quickly get high altitude with a soft landing.
They are designed with the shortest shaft and the most loft, between approximately 60 to 65 degrees.
This wedge produces a very high arc and is useful for precision shots and to get over hazards and obstructions.
The distance covered with a full swing lob wedge should get you 40 to 60 yards.
Like gap and sand wedges, lob wedges are not included in most golf club sets, and as a result, must be purchased separately.
An ultra lob wedge is an extension of the lob family. It has a typical loft of 64 degrees and is used to hit a shot with higher and shorter trajectory than a standard lob wedge.
It is a highly specialized iron designed to make extremely high-angle shots such as from the “lip” of a bunker. It is not a club for beginners as it requires skill to judge distance with such a high lofted club.
Having the correct wedge for a particular shot is only half the battle. An expansive set of clubs with all the wedges doesn’t guarantee a great game.
The key is knowing how to use your clubs. With time and practice, you’ll be able to develop a solid and reliable short game technique which is the best way to improve your game.