What is the Approch Wedge Lofts in Golf

If you’ve ever purchased a set of irons, there’s a good chance they came with a club with the label AW on the bottom.  Maybe you asked yourself the question, “what in the world is an AW?”

In today’s article, we’re going to answer that question and tell you everything you need to know about your approach wedge.


What Is an Approach Wedge?

Approach wedges are the same thing as a gap wedge or utility wedge.  They have more loft than your pitching wedge, but less loft than your sand wedge.  Depending on your set of clubs and the manufacturer they’re made by, your approach wedge will have somewhere between 48 and 52 degrees of loft.  

What Is an Approach Wedge Used For?

Approach wedges are meant to fill the yardage gap between your pitching wedge and sand wedge on full shots.  

For example, let’s say you hit your pitching wedge 115 yards, but your sand wedge only goes 90 yards.  Because of its loft, a full shot with your approach wedge should fly somewhere in between 90 and 115 yards – maybe 105 yards.  For that reason, it gives you an option to make a normal golf swing instead of having to swing hard at your sand wedge or take something off your pitching wedge.

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Can You Use an Approach Wedge for Short Game Shots?

Absolutely.  This wedge is another weapon in your arsenal of short game clubs.  

Just like full swing shots, this a great club to use when your pitching wedge has too little loft for the chip or pitch you’re facing, but your sand wedge has too much.  In other words, your approach wedge won’t roll out as much as your pitching wedge, but it will roll a little farther than your sand wedge when the ball hits the green. 

If you want to hit your approach wedge a little lower, just move the ball a little farther back in your stance and close the face a touch.  

To hit a chip or pitch a little higher with your approach wedge, just open the face which will add a little loft.  The ball will fly higher and land softer.  

Your approach wedge is also a great club to use on longer bunker shots when your sand wedge won’t fly far enough.  Just set up to the shot like you would any other bunker shot and take your normal swing.  

Final Thoughts

Approach wedges (also called gap and utility wedges) are a great addition to the bag of any golfer, regardless of ability.  On full swings, they fill the large gap that can often occur between your pitching wedge and sand wedge.  As you get closer to the green, they provide you yet another option in addition to your other wedges. 

Do you have an approach wedge in your bag?  What kinds of shots do you use it for?  Feel free to share your thoughts with us in the comments down below.

Paul Liberatore
Paul Liberatore

As the Founder of Golfers Authority Paul Liberatore Esq. has spent the last 7+ years writing about the best golf equipment or instruction from the top golf instructors in the world. He has been a contributing writer for Sports Illustrated Golf and GolfWRX. After graduating with honors from Purdue University, he realized that he had a passion for the golf business and the law. When he's not practicing law, or creating golf content on YouTube, he can be found on his syndicated Behind the Golf Brand podcast both on Apple and Spotify talking with the most prolific leaders in the golf industry. 

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