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Types of Wedges in Golf

by Larry Anderson
    Wedges look similar, but carry great differences in loft.

    Wedges look similar, but carry great differences in loft.

    David Cannon/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images

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    Overview

    When golfers buy a set of golf clubs, there are a number of clubs included. One of them is called a pitching wedge. That is not the only type of wedge available. The three other types are sand wedges, lob wedges and gap wedges. Each of these types of wedges have different degrees of loft and, as a result, are used for different purposes.

    Pitching wedge

    Of all the wedges, pitching wedges have the least loft. Generally, the loft of these types of wedges is between 44 and 50 degrees. When a golf ball is properly struck with a pitching wedge, it will pop up into the air and travel from about 110 yards to about 140 yards. The pitching wedge is most often used by golfers trying to hit the green. Since the ball should be traveling high in the air when hit with a pitching wedge, it should not roll very far on the green.

    Gap wedge

    Gap wedges have the second-least loft of any of the wedges, generally between about 46 and 54 degrees. Gap wedges are meant to be used on shots that are too short for a pitching wedge, but too long for a sand wedge. Most golfers hit gap wedges between about 90 and 110 yards. The golf ball should fly high when properly struck with a gap wedge. Gap wedges do not come with a standard set of golf clubs. Before selecting a gap wedge, look at the loft of your pitching wedge and sand wedge. Your gap wedge should have a loft that is between the two.

    Sand wedge

    As their name implies, sand wedges were created specifically to help golfers hit their ball out of sand traps or bunkers. However, they are versatile clubs and golfers use them whether they are hitting from the sand, fairway or rough. Sand wedges generally have a loft between 54 and 58 degrees. With a regular golf swing, most golfers hit sand wedges around 90 yards. Sand wedges also are shorter than other clubs, which helps golfers put spin on the ball.

    Lob wedge

    Like gap and sand wedges, lob wedges are not included in most golf club sets and as a result must be purchased separately. They have the most loft of any of the wedges--between about 60 and 65 degrees--and are most useful in situations around the green that call for precise shots. Golfers generally hit lob wedges about 70 yards, and they are designed to send the ball high into the air. Lob wedges also are useful in situations in which golfers need to hit the ball and have it rise into the air quickly.

    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.

    Photo Credits

    • David Cannon/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images