Reliable distances gaps between irons and wedges can be crucial in creating a bag that helps golfers shoot their best scores. Recommended yardages gaps are no larger than 15 yards between clubs. For most golfers, this number should be nearer to 12. As modern lofts have gotten stronger, the emergence of the gap wedge has quickly been adopted to help golfers maintain proper set configurations.
A gap wedge is designed with between 50 and 52 degrees of loft and sits comfortably between pitching wedges and sand wedges. Understanding the lofts of your pitching wedge and sand wedge and knowing how far you hit each club is critical in determining which gap wedge is best for you. Each part of a wedge is uniquely designed to suit the needs of various golfers, below we take a look at the specifics in this emerging category to help you find the right wedge.
Top 10 Best Gap Wedges
When Do You Use A Gap Wedge?
Golfers use wedges generally when they are approaching greens or escaping from errant tee shots. When purchasing a club, both of these should be kept in mind. Gap wedges should be used when the distance to the pin aligns with the distance you can comfortably hit your respective wedge. Attempting to hit a wedge further than you can by exerting more effort can result in poorly struck shots or shots that spin excessively and end up short of the green.
Finding the Right Gap Wedge for Your Golf Game
The right gap wedge for you game is highly dependent on which pitching wedge and sand wedge you intend to use. A high percentage of shots with a gap wedge will be struck from a full distance so a premium on forgiveness is place in wedge design. Gap wedges can also be used to effectively hit lower launching, running chip shots that golfers may find help sure-up their short games.
Gap wedges are prices alongside their equivalent sand, lob, and specialized pitching wedge models. With the introduction of another wedge, golfers must balance their budget when making a buying decision. Wedges are designed to fly specific distances and enhance the golfers present swing characteristics. Because there is no premium placed on distance, golfers can find wedges built perfectly for them at a fraction of MSRP in older models.
Types of Wedges
Wedges are classified into four major categories, pitching wedges, gap wedges, sand wedges, and lob wedges depending on their lofts and clubhead engineering.
Pitching Wedges (PW)
It is common for pitching wedges to match a golfer’s iron set with lofts between 45 and 48 degrees. If players use this wedge for a variety of chip shots and pitches, opting for a specialized wedge matching the gap, sand, and lop wedges within their set may lead to a more versatile, forgiving club.
Gap Wedges (GW)
Gap wedges have lofts between 50 and 53 degrees and are created with fuller soles that help golfers on full shots from beyond 100 yards. While these soles are versatile and can be used out of the fairways, rough, bunkers, and hazards, forgiveness is the focus for these longer wedges.
Sand Wedges (SW)
Sand wedges are often the most used wedges in a golfers bag. Typically, with lofts between 54 and 57 degrees, the sand wedge is hit from a spectrum of distances and lies. When choosing a sand wedge, golfers should careful test different lofts, bounces, and grinds to help them find a wedge that is multifaceted enough to pull off any shot they may encounter.
Lob Wedges (LW)
Lob wedges are the highest lofted wedges in a golfers bag. Ranging between 58 and 64 degrees, the lob wedges is hit for specialized approach shots near the green. A lob wedge can be a tool that golfers use to help them reach tucked pins or escape short-sided greens with increased undulations.
Important components of a wedge include loft, bounce, grinds and soles, the leading edge and a grooved face.
A wedge’s loft will dictate how far a golf ball flies when playing each club. Lofts should be spaced between 4 and 6 degrees between clubs to help golfers fit distances in the lower end of their bags.
The bounce of the wedge is built to provide golfers relief from ground conditions. The bounce is created by the angle between the ground and the leading edge of the golf club and should be fit to each golfers swing to ensure proper ball striking.
Leading Edge =The leading edge helps glide the club through the rough or fairway and encourage distance control and forgiveness for a wedge.
Sole = club soles help determine how a club interacts with different terrain and should be fit to a golfer’s most common course layouts.
Grooves and Club Face=the wedge clubface is laser etched with grooves that help retain spin rates from different types and lengths of grass and bunker lies during a round. Clean sharp grooves are the best way to ensure that your wedge is performing as it is designed.
Grind =allow clubs to play differently when the face is manipulated before and during the golf swing. For golfers that like to play their wedges with slightly open faces around the greens, grind that provide relief in the heel and toe can help golfers hit high launching, quick stopping shots to tricky pins.
Types of Wedge Bounces:
Low Bounce Wedges = bounces between 4 and 6 degrees are designed for golfers with shallow angles of attacks that may prefer picking the ball from the turf more than digging.
Mid Bounce Wedges =designed with most golfers in mind, bounces between 8 and 10 degrees help golfers navigate all lies and produce consistent golf shots.
High Bounce Wedges =are built for golfers with steep angles of attack. Ranging up to 14 degrees these wedges help from deep roughs and wet, soft turf conditions.
The aesthetics of a wedge may vary between models and manufacturers. Finishes are applied to help reduce sunlight glare that can blind golfers in these higher lofted clubs. Wedges can also be left raw to help club builders manipulate sole grinds and loft/lie configurations. Finishes make wedge appear starkly different but have little effect on performance.
Choosing your best Sole Grinds
Choosing grinds that match your swing characteristics can help golfer’s short games immensely. An often overlooked part of clubfitting, testing different bounce and grind combinations can greatly improve consistency and forgiveness in wedge models. Golfer with more shallow angles of attack will favor lower bounce options and steeper players should select higher bounce models. Players who prefer to play their wedge square will enjoy the forgiveness of a fuller sole and golfers who like to hit a variety of shots will like crescent shaped soles that offer increased playability.
Frequently Asked Questions
Golfers often raise questions when looking to purchase a new wedge. We have answered a few of those to help you get started on your journey.
Q: What loft is a Pitching Wedge?
A: Pitching wedges often match a golfer’s iron set and is 4 to 5 degrees weaker than a 9-iron. Specialized wedges are typically between 45 and 48 degrees of loft.
Q: What Degree is a Sand Wedge?
A: Sand wedges come in a variety of lofts between 54 and 57 degrees for golfers who prefer different distances to compliment their sets.
Q: What Is a Gap Wedge?
A: Gap wedges help fill the opening between traditional sand wedge lofts around 56 degrees and modern lofted pitching wedges around 45 degrees. This 11 degree gap can be too much for golfers to manage without placing another club between the two. Set with pitching wedges of 45 degrees should include gap wedges around 50 degrees and sand wedges around 55 degrees.
Top 10 Best Gap Wedges
Mizuno S18 Wedge
Since it was first released in late 2017, the Mizuno S18 Wedge is Mizuno’s highest forging technology in a player’s wedge. Boron Grain Flow forging provides the ultimate feel and response in a compact wedge. Receiving a Gold medal from Golf Digest, the S18 wedge is for golf purists looking for an improved short game.
Callaway Mack Daddy MD4 Wedge
The Callaway Mack Daddy MD4 Wedge is the newest wedge from Callaway. The MD4 incorporates new “groove-in-groove” technology to help golfers retain spin rates out of any lie. Produced from expertise collected from decades of wedge making from Roger Cleveland, the MD4 is a beautiful integration of technology and craftsmanship. Offered in a variety of finishes, lofts, and bounces the MD4 wedge is the best wedge Callaway has ever produced.
Cleveland RTX 4 Wedge
The Cleveland RTX 4 Wedge is Cleveland’s wedge for the better player. Traditional shapes and compact design help provide this wedge with maximum playability from anywhere on the course. Available is Low and X-Low bounces options, the RTX wedge can be configured for any swing. For players loyal to Cleveland wedges, the RTX will be your new favorite.
Cobra King Black Wedge
The Cobra King Black Wedge is the only wedge created exclusively with a Black Diamonized finish. CNC milling on the clubface ensures maximum spin rates and a long lasting wedge. Another member of Golf Digests Gold medal awards, the KING Black wedge provides reduced glare and increased performance in a unique visual package.
Cleveland CBX Wedge
The Cleveland CBX Wedge may be the more forgiving wedge in the lineup. Made with a wide sole, the CBX wedge is high launching and great for golfers looking for help in their short games. Providing tour level performance in a confidence inspiring shape is what make the CBX wedge the standout wedge of 2018.
The Xe1 Wedge is the rare “as seen on TV” golf product that actually performes. The more rounded leading edge of the Xe1 wedge helps golfers get in and out of the turf and decreases digging on wedge shots hit fat. Resulting in easier shots inside of 100 yards, the Xe1 is great for golfers looking for help in their scoring clubs.
Titleist Vokey SM7 Wedge
The Titleist Vokey SM7 Wedge builds on the success of the SM6 line of wedges from Titleist. A product of tour testing and Bob Vokey craftsmanship, the SM7 uses positioned centers of gravity to help each wedge hit consistent perfectly spaced distances. With the most available finishes, lofts, bounce and grind options, the SM7 is built for all golfers.
Ping Glide Wedge 2.0 Wedge
The Ping Glide 2.0 Wedge may be the greatest blend for gap wedges into modern iron sets. As lofts have strength in recent trends, the Ping Glide 2.0 wedge increases ball speeds by placing more mass behind the ball at impact. Given a Gold medal by Golf Digest, the Glide 2.0 wedge is great for high and mid-handicappers looking for improved distances in their wedges.
TaylorMade ATV Wedge
The TaylorMade ATV Wedge is designed with a versatile sole that helps golfers from all terrains. Taylormade built the ATV wedge for golfers who want ultimate versatility in a wedge. For golfers who enjoy manipulating the clubface around the green and want a sole that helps create crisp, clean strikes in any lie, the ATV wedge was designed with you in mind.
TaylorMade Milled Grind Wedge
The TaylorMade Milled Grind Wedge is a staple of TaylorMade tour athletes. The Milled Grind wedge is created with premium 100% milling technology that ensures each wedge is designed in exactly the same way. Improved consistency models ensure that you are getting what the tour players are getting. TaylorMade’s best wedge ever was awarded a Gold medal by Golf Digest and we think all golfers can benefit from the tight tolerances TaylorMade has created.
What Golf Wedge Should You Buy?
Completing a wedge set is a process of determining what shots golfers hit well and what they need help with. A gap wedge blended between the iron-matched pitching wedge and a specialized sand wedge is ideal for filling distance gaps. A high-lofted specialized lob wedge may help golfers reach new pins or escape misguided approach shots. Ultimately, finding what wedge is best for you should be done by testing different models, lofts, bounce, and grind options to see what helps you decrease shot dispersion and improve scores.