How to Get the Most Out of Your Gap Wedge

By Steve Silverman

golfer hits from tee box
The technology of golf changed quite a bit in the 1990s with the advent of the gap wedge and the lob wedge. The gap wedge gives the low- to medium-handicap golfer more options when he is 60 to 100 yards from the green. It can be used on approach shots but also to get out of the rough or a bunker. The gap wedge has the majority of its weight at the bottom of the club, which allows it to get the ball in the air quickly.


Difficulty: Moderate
  1. Hit the ball with your gap wedge on approach shots between 60 and 100 yards. On shots that are 100 to 130 yards, use a pitching wedge. On shots less than 60 yards, use a lob wedge. Grip the gap wedge about 6 inches down the shaft and make sure your knees are shoulder-width apart. Play the ball midway between your front and back foot.
  2. Take a full swing with your gap wedge when you are 80 yards or more from the green. The club has a loft of 50 to 54 degrees, which will enable you to hit the ball high and have it come down softly on the green and stop. To do this, rotate your hips fully to the right (opposite direction of the green) and then bring your hands back to shoulder height. Rotate your hips back through the hitting zone and bring your hands through. In order to get the ball to land and stop on the green, you need to finish your swing with your hands high. This will impart backspin on the ball and cause it to stop near its landing point.
  3. Take a half swing when you are about 60 yards from the green. With less distance to travel, you don't have to impart as much force on the ball. However, you still want the ball to fly high and come down softly, so you must finish with your hands high in order to put backspin on it.
  4. Use your gap wedge when the ball is in heavy rough. Because the gap wedge has most of its weight at the bottom of the club, it can cut through the grass and get the ball out. You will need to move your hands forward and come through the ball with significant force. This will make the ball jump high and out of the rough, leaving you with a much easier shot to the green.
  5. Use your gap wedge in a bunker if you are uncomfortable using your sand wedge. The gap wedge can mimic the sand wedge because it has so much of its weight around the bottom of the club. To get the ball out of a bunker, hit the sand 3 to 4 inches behind the ball. The sand will explode into the ball and drive it out of the bunker.

Tips & Warnings

  • Go to the driving range and practice hitting approach shots with your gap wedge.

About the Author

Steve Silverman is an award-winning writer, covering sports since 1980. Silverman authored The Minnesota Vikings: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly and Who's Better, Who's Best in Football -- The Top 60 Players of All-Time, among others, and placed in the Pro Football Writers of America awards three times. Silverman holds a Master of Science in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism.