Type of Golf Wedges

By Bill Herrfeldt

There are four different wedges that you can carry in your golf bag, and each is constructed for a different purpose. In the past, you could choose only a pitching wedge and a sand wedge; but in recent years, you can also consider carrying both a gap wedge and a lob wedge. Of course, regardless of how many wedges you carry, your golf bag must only contain fourteen clubs, including a putter.

Pitching Wedge

This wedge has a loft ranging from about 47 to 52 degrees and balls hit by it travel the farthest of the four wedges. Generally, balls hit with a pitching wedge fly at a relatively high trajectory, rolling only a short distance when they hit the green. Golf professionals can hit this club as far as 150 yards, but most amateurs hit the ball about 100 yards.

Sand Wedge

You might guess from its name that this club is primarily used to get balls out of a sand trap. It has about 55 or 58 degrees of loft, and it is constructed in such a way that it is easy to hit the sand before the ball because of its so-called "bounce, the angle of the bottom of the clubhead that makes you glide through sand. The first sand wedge was made by golf legend, Gene Sarazen, in the early 1930s and has been in the bags of golfers since.

Gap Wedge

Golfers for years yearned for a wedge that had a loft between a sand wedge and a pitching wedge, so the gap wedge was invented to fit between them. It can have a loft of anywhere between 48 and 56 degrees, and it makes it unnecessary to make a poor shot because you won't have to open the face on your pitching wedge for various shots. In choosing a gap wedge, you should know the lofts of both your pitching wedge and your sand wedge. Pick a gap wedge whose angle is between them.

Lob Wedge

This wedge has the most loft of all four wedges, being typically between 60 and 65 degrees. It was invented by aerospace engineer-turned-golf pro, David Pelz, and it was first used by Tom Kite on the professional tour. It is used primarily when a hazard is between your ball and the pin, and if the shot needs only to travel a short distance. Balls hit with it have a very high trajectory and they land on the green very softly and with little roll. Particularly adept players can actually impart backspin on the ball.

About The Author

Bill Herrfeldt specializes in finance, sports and the needs of retiring people, and has been published in the national edition of "Erickson Tribune," the "Washington Post" and the "Arizona Republic." He graduated from the University of Louisville.

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