Types of Golf Wedges

By Larry Anderson

Like tools in a toolbox, all of the clubs in the bags of golfers serve a specific task. Wedges are meant to send the ball high into the air and land it so it doesn't roll too much. The sets of golf clubs at most retail locations include one type of wedge called a pitching wedge. But some golfers also choose to use sand wedges, gap wedges and lob wedges.

Pitching Wedge

Pitching wedges are the most common type of wedge, and many golfers have only this kind of wedge. With lofts that range from 44 to 50 degrees, pitching wedges are most useful for approach shots from about 110 to 140 yards. But by easing up on their swings, golfers can use pitching wedges to hit their ball much shorter distances, too. It is important to concentrate on getting the club underneath the ball when using a pitching wedge.

Sand Wedge

Most golfers hit sand wedges, which most often have lofts ranging from 54 to 58 degrees, about 90 yards. This type of wedge was created in the 1930s to help golfers get out of sand traps. Sand wedges likely are the shortest clubs in the bags of golfers. While they are meant to hit out of the sand, sand wedges can be used when golfers need to hit the ball about 90 yards.

Gap Wedge

The gap wedge does what its name implies--it fills the gap between pitching wedges and sand wedges. Whereas pitching wedges go from 110 to 140 yards and sand wedges go about 90 yards, gap wedges can be used to hit golf balls within the distances between those clubs. Gap wedges have lofts that range from about 46 to 54 degrees. In choosing a gap wedge, golfers should ensure the loft is about halfway between that on their pitching and sand wedges.

Lob Wedges

Lob wedges have the most loft of any of the wedges, ranging from about 60 to 65 degrees. They are not meant to hit the ball far--70 yards is about the maximum on a full swing--but they do cause the ball to travel high and land softly. As a result, they are particularly good choices when finesse is needed around the green. Also, their high degree of loft can help golfers get under the ball and pop it up in even in tight lies or in situations where that otherwise might be difficult.

About The Author

Larry Anderson has been a freelance writer since 2000. He has covered a wide variety of topics, from golf and baseball to hunting and fishing. His work has appeared in numerous print and online publications, including "Fargo Forum" newspaper. Anderson holds a Bachelor of Arts in print journalism from Concordia College.

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