What Is the Loft of a Pitching Wedge?

By Dan Lockhart

Three golf clubs side-by-side
 

Pitching wedges are standard in any iron set and are used for shots that require a lot of height but not a lot of distance. With all the new technology and changes to equipment in the past decade, pitching wedge lofts have been a topic of club-fitting discussion.

Pitching Wedge Loft

The standard pitching wedge ranges from 41 to 46 degrees of loft, with most having 43 to 44 degrees, depending on the type of player the set is designed for.

History of the Pitching Wedge

In the early 1900's a pitching wedge was referred to as a "lofter" and had between 40 and 50 degrees of loft. Shortly thereafter, sets of golf clubs were given numbers, and the modern-day pitching wedge was called a 10-iron. Now a set of irons will include a pitching wedge with a loft of between 41 and 46 degrees.

Significance

For most of the 20th century the pitching wedge had approximately 50-54 degrees of loft. Since the 2000s, the lofts of all irons have been decreased because of perimeter weighting and changing the center of gravity on irons to allow the ball to fly farther. Now the average loft of a new pitching wedge is 41-46 degrees. The sand wedge, on the other hand, is and always has been between 54 and 56 degrees, creating a large gap between it and the modern pitching wedge, which spurred the creation of the gap wedge.

Identification

Most pitching wedges have a similar look as the rest of the irons in a set. Other wedges are specialty wedges that appear more like a sand, gap or lob wedge, such as Titleist's Vokey 48-degree wedge. Wedges will be progressively shorter than a 9-iron and slightly more upright.

Expert Insight

It’s a good idea to have the lofts of all your irons and wedges checked at a reputable golf equipment shop. Depending upon your 9-iron's loft and your wedge lofts, you will be able to determine the best loft for your pitching wedge.

Image: herreid/iStock via Getty Images

About The Author

Dan Lockhart is a PGA of America golf professional that specializes in teaching. He is based out of Naples, FL and teaches for the Rick Smith Golf Academy at Tiburon. Lockhart graduated from Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Michigan. He has been teaching golf for eight years and has been working in the golf business since 1996.

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