What Is a Gap Wedge for?

By James Awad

The gap wedge is a versatile tool that belongs in every golfer's bag. It is the perfect club for both pitching and chipping around the green. Adding one to your kit may help reduce your scores.

What is a Gap Wedge?

Gap wedges are available in lofts from 49 to 53 degrees, with various degrees of bounce. Picking one with four or five degrees more loft than your pitching wedge will fill the gap between the pitch and sand wedges.

Why are so Many Sets Coming with a Gap Wedge?

Traditionally, a set of irons consists of eight clubs, 3-P. With the popularity of hybrids the gap wedge has essentially replaced the 3 iron as the eighth club.

How Will It Help My Game?

Accuracy is the key to scoring well. There is less margin for error when you don't have to take a full power swing. Rather than forcing a full power swing with a sand wedge, the gap wedge allows for an easy to control 80 percent power swing that will still achieve enough height for the ball to land softly.

Pitching and Chipping with a Gap Wedge

The loft on a gap wedge makes it easy to play both chip (bump and run) and pitch shots. Playing a chip shot with the ball back in the stance, and the hands well ahead of the ball reduces loft without closing the face. For a pitch shot, bringing the hands back just ahead of center at address restores loft while keeping the face square to the ball.

I Can Only Carry 14 Clubs. What About My Lob Wedge?

Club yourself to the course you're playing. If you are confident with your lob wedge and can use it effectively from the sand, on courses with small, well-protected greens, drop your sand wedge. On long courses with large greens, drop the lob wedge. You can always add a little loft to your sand wedge if you need to get up and down quickly.

What's "Bounce"? How much do I need?

"Bounce" simply put, is the space between the leading edge of the blade and the ground. The more bounce on the club, the higher the leading edge sits above the turf. Choose the bounce on the conditions of your home course. If you play a course where the turf is neither too soft or too firm, a standard bounce (generally 8 degrees) will be fine. If you're in a region with very plush or soft fairways, a few degrees more bounce will help keep the club from digging. If your fairways are tight and hard, a low bounce wedge will reduce the chance of skulling it.

About The Author

Jim Awad is a PGA Class A Professional and a Golf Range Magazine 2007 Top 50 Golf Instructor in America. A Certified Sports Medicine Trainer and former Paramedic Instructor, Jim has lectured for both the Connecticut and Metropolitan PGA sections on Sports Medicine, Teaching Golfers with Disabilities and Medical Emergencies.

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