When the golf ball is some yardage away from the green and one wants to hit the green perfectly they take out their wedge from their bag. Because the wedges are those clubs that are used for shorter shorts like shorts for getting out of the bunkers, shorts for approaching the green, chip shots, and many more. These clubs are designed with a shorter shaft and have the maximum loft angle among all the other clubs.
There are a lot of wedges in the market and each of them has its individual uses. However, rather than their names these wedges are identified and defined by their loft angle.
Among the wedges, two of the common wedges are Gap wedge vs Approach wedge. You may be wondering why we are talking about these two instead of other wedges. Because these two are confusing beginner golfers a lot. For their different names, beginner golfers think that these are different and ask always search for Gap wedge vs Approach wedge. Today, we will definitely clear this confusion.
What is Gap Wedge VS Approach Wedge?
Let’s answer this question before getting deeper. There is no such difference between these two wedges. Instead of having differences, these are the same. I know you are thinking that I am bluffing but no it is the truth. Now the question is, if they are the same, then why their name is different?
Let’s say it is because of marketing purposes. The different manufacturer produces them with different names to attract the golfers. So the truth is the approach wedge is a diverse name of Gap wedge.
However, some say there is a difference between the loft angles of different manufacturers. They say some manufacturers produce gap wedges with loft angles of 44 to 54 degrees. This loft angle is best suited for shooting the ball from 100 to 130 yards towards the green. The gap wedge with this loft angle provides great control over the club and does not overshoot the ball out of the green. On the other hand, some manufacturers provide an approach wedge with a loft angle of 50 to 60 degrees. This loft angle of the wedge helps a golfer to approach the green with ease.
However, this information is totally wrong. Because the loft angle of a gap wedges varies between 50 to 58 degrees. So rather than calling the wedges by their name one should call them with their loft angle which will reduce any confusion.
What is a Gap wedge or an Approach wedge?
To shoot the ball high in the air and to cover a shorter distance a gap wedge is used. These clubs are used to shot the ball higher and shorter than a Pitching wedge. On the other hand, these clubs will shot the ball lower and longer than a Sand wedge. That means a Gap wedge has a higher and shorter trajectory than a Pitching wedge and it has a lower and longer trajectory than a Sand wedge. It can be said that a Gap wedge is between the Pitching wedge and a Sand wedge.
Let’s discuss about the characteristics of a Gap or Approach wedge to know more. The characteristics below will help a golfer to identify a Gap or approach wedge even easier.
Loft angle- The loft angle of a Pitching wedge varies between 46 to 50 degrees. On the other hand, the loft angle of a Sand wedge is between 54 to 58 degrees. But the loft angle of a Gap wedge is between both the pitching and sand wedges. And the loft angle is about 50 degrees to 54 degrees. Each of the loft angles of the gap wedges can benefit differently.
Distance- Sometimes it seems that a golfer needs to hit the golf ball shorter than a pitching wedge distance and longer than a sand wedge distance. At that time the best club to choose is the Gap or Approach wedge. Because of the loft angle of the gap wedge, the gap wedge is appropriate to shot the ball at the desired distance.
Basically, a gap wedge shots the golf ball 10 to 15 yards shorter than a pitching wedge and longer than a sand wedge. However, the distance one can hit with a gap wedge depends on the person's ability and skill.
Shaft- Some may be wondering for a long time that how a golfer hits the shorter distance to reach the green very precisely. The answer is because of the shaft design of the Gap or Approach wedge. Basically, we know that the shaft of the golf clubs is made of steel and graphite.
The shaft of the Gap wedge is made of steel. Steel made shafts are very solid and have stiff flex. That means the club is more durable and would not provide flex at the time of impact. For the shaft material of the gap wedge, one will be able to control the wedge more and will be able to provide a very precise shot. If the shaft of the gap wedge is made of graphite then it will provide more flex and instead of getting more accuracy one will get more distance. That is why manufacturers use steel for the shaft of the gap wedge.
Bounce- Bounce is the angle between the sole and the ground when the club addresses the ball. For the range of the loft angle of the Gap wedge, the bounce of the gap wedge will vary from 0 degrees to 12 degrees and even more depending on the player's ability. The bounce angle of the gap wedge determines how well one can hit the golf ball from the rough or bunkers.
Why do I need a gap wedge?
A golfer must carry a golf club in the bag which is between the sand wedge and pitching wedge. The pitching wedge provides a lower and longer distance towards the green and a sand wedge provides a higher and shorter distance. But it is often seen in the course a golfer needs relative distance which is between the pitching and sand wedge to reach the green.
This is where the gap wedge emerges. As we mentioned before that the gap wedge has a loft angle between the Pitching and Sand wedges therefore, the gap wedge will provide the exact distance that a golfer needs to hit the green.
In the past, there was only 5 degrees difference between a Pitching wedge and a Sand wedge. But now the distance has reached 10 degrees. This change occurred because of the evolution of the loft angle in the pitching wedge. The loft angle of the pitching wedges decreased more to get further distance towards the green. However, the loft angle of the Sand wedges remained the same. For this reason, there occurred a huge gap.
For the extra room and the gap, the manufacturers used their creative idea and constructed the Gap wedge. Now, most golfers always carry a Gap wedge which has a loft angle around 50 to 52 degrees.
Some other Wedges
Knowing the different wedges will help a golfer a lot. It will enrich the thinking of the golfer when and where to use which wedges. All the wedges are manufactured with different types of loft angles. So if one understands the loft angle of the wedges then the golfer will be able to know which wedge is appropriate for the exact situation.
Here are the wedges one should know.
- Pitching wedge
One of the well known and common wedges is a Pitching wedge. Almost all the golfers carry a pitching wedge in their club set. Basically, it is used for longer distances with a lower height. The loft of the modern pitching wedge is way lower than previous pitching wedges. The loft angle of the modern pitching wedges can vary between 46 to 50 degrees. The pitching wedges have the lowest loft design among all the wedges. As we know that lower loft angle clubs provide the longest distance therefore, a pitching club will provide the maximum distance among all the wedges.
- Sand wedge
Another common wedge is the sand wedge. Like the pitching wedge, a golfer also carries a sand wedge inside his golf bag. Sand wedges can lift a golf ball way higher in the air because of their loft angle. The loft angle of the regular sand wedges can vary from 54 to 58 degrees. For the higher height of the ball, a sand wedge is used to get the ball out of the grass, sand, or bunkers.
- Gap Wedge
There is nothing to talk about this wedge as we have discussed all the features of this wedge in the beginning part of this article. However, let’s have a brief discussion.
The gap wedges are in the middle of the sand and pitching wedges. With a loft angle of 50 to 54, these wedges are best for approaching the green from 90 to 100 yards. The gap wedge allows full swing also. To know more about the Gap wedges just scroll up.
- Lob wedge
The lob wedges are typically used by professional or advanced golfers. These wedges' loft angle varies between 58 and 68 degrees. That means these wedges have the highest loft angle among all the wedges. Because of the loft angle of the lob wedge, the lob wedge is used to shot the ball for a short distance and higher on the air. As the professional knows when and where they have to use the proper wedge, therefore, these are mostly used by the professionals.
Differences between a Pitching wedge, Sand wedge, Gap Wedge, and Lob wedge
Here we will provide a difference chart between all 4 wedges. This chart will help one to determine the best wedge for improving the game. In this chart, we will try to cover all the necessary features of the wedges.
Pitching wedge | Sand wedge | Gap Wedge | Lob wedge |
Contains the lowest loft angle. | Loft angle is higher than the Pitching and Gap wedge. | Loft angle is between Pitching and Sand wedge. | Contains the highest loft angle. |
Loft angle is between 46 to 50 degrees. | Loft angle is between 54 to 58 degrees. | Loft angle is 50 to 54 degrees. | Loft angle varies from 58 to 68 degrees. |
Can cover 135 yards distance. | Suitable for covering 80 to 100 yards. | 10 to 15 yards more than Sand wedge and less than pitching wedge. | Suitable for covering 60 to 70 yards. |
Suitable for longer distances. | Suitable for higher flight. | Suitable for both distance and higher flight. | Best for getting out the ball from rough and bunkers. |
How to Choose the Proper Gap Wedge Loft?
As we mentioned above that a Gap wedge covers the loft gap between the Pitching wedge and the sand wedge, therefore, it is essential that one must choose the proper loft angle for their gap wedge. There is a very easy and effective way that one can follow to choose the best loft angle for their Gap wedge. Here is the process:
Before choosing the loft angle of the gap wedge, one has to determine the loft angle of their pitching wedge. To know the loft angle of one's pitching wedge, one can search the name of their pitching wedge on the internet to know the loft angle.
After knowing the loft angle of the pitching wedge, one just needs to add extra 4 degrees for their gap wedge. Suppose, if you have a pitching wedge of 46 degrees then you have to choose a gap wedge of 50 degrees.
Final Thoughts
Here we have discussed about what is Gap wedge vs Approach wedge. Also, we have discussed about other types of wedges and also discusses the differences between all the wedges. This article will help a golfer to know many important things about the wedges