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.
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.
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 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.