It’s a recurring nightmare as I stand over my approach shot 95-yards out on the 16th at my home club, as the distance is too far for a full sand wedge and too short for a pitching wedge. At the time, I had no idea a 50-degree wedge existed and could solve my dilemma.
In this guide, I explain what a 50-degree wedge is and when to use it. Additionally, I will share a few of my favorite gap wedge constructions to simplify your decision-making.
If you were unaware of the benefits of this golf club, you are about to be amazed at its effectiveness.
Before we continue, I recommend bookmarking our guide that covers the 54-degree wedge design. This will help determine if the strongest lofted sand wedge suits your swing.
Table of Contents
- What is a 50 Degree Wedge?
- How Far Do People Typically Hit This Wedge?
- Best Situations to Use a 50-Degree Wedge?
- Do You Really Need a 50-Degree Wedge in Your Bag?
- The Best 50 Degree Wedges Currently on The Market
What is a 50 Degree Wedge?
A 50-degree wedge is the strongest lofted gap wedge on the market. A gap or approach wedge bridges the hole between your pitching and sand wedge, ensuring all bases of your short game are covered.
Most golfers use a gap wedge to hit full shots from close range and use it for a chip or bump-and-run shot.
How Far Do People Typically Hit This Wedge?
Golf Monthly suggests that the average male hits a gap wedge 100 yards, while females notch up 85-yards. However, those figures do not offer insight into the handicaps of the players or what conditions they refer to.
In my case, the 50-degree wedge average distance is 95-yards on a flat layout during a crystal clear day. I have a medium swing speed because I swing a driver at approximately 87 mph. Average golfers will likely fit into this category or the slower swingers section.
Best Situations to Use a 50-Degree Wedge?
Full Short Shots
As I mentioned, I average 95-yards when swinging 50 degrees of loft, and I suspect many reading this are there and there about. This is where my gap wedge earns its keep because it saves me from hitting a half-pitching wedge or forcing a sand wedge.
I have ruined many beautiful drives because I didn’t have a gap wedge in the bag, and resorted to a half-struck, overpowered pitching wedge.
Instead, you can swing easy, get the ball airborne and let it land softly next to your target.
Long Bunker Shots
A 50-degree gap wedge is ideal for longer bunker shots, where you feel you’ll leave it short with a sand wedge. Not having to force a sand wedge out of the bunker increases your chances of making a good swing and landing it close enough to drain the one putt.
You’ll find that not every greenside bunker is tiny and pin-high, which is why a gap wedge is an excellent option to carry in the bag.
Although many golfers automatically opt for a sand wedge on chip shots, a gap wedge is also up to the task. I often employ a gap wedge for mid to long chip shots, where the higher loft will give my ball an added element of the roll.
In these circumstances, the weaker degree lofts on a sand or lob wedge can cause my ball to launch higher than intended, eliminating forward momentum.
Another advantage of the 50-degree loft is its effectiveness on short to mid-pitch shots. If I have limited green to work with, the higher loft of the pitching wedge may cause my ball to roll excessively past the cup.
The solution is the weaker loft of a gap wedge. You’ll notice that it generates sufficient spin and control to help run the ball up to the cup.
We have all been there. You hit your ball into the woods and have no clear path to the pin. You could punch out down the fairway with a long iron or guarantee your golf ball a safe position by chipping out onto the short grass.
The higher loft of the 50-degree wedge reduces the risk of getting excessively under it and knocking it into the timber.
Bump and Run
Like your other wedges, a gap is suitable for short to mid-gap bump and run shots. A 52-degree wedge carries sufficient loft to slow your ball down on approaches but is not weak enough to turn your bump-and-run into a chip shot.
Do You Really Need a 50-Degree Wedge in Your Bag?
Yes, you really need a 50-degree wedge in your bag. Covering all potential distance gaps in your bag enhances your control and the ability to attack the flag from close range.
In my junior years, the lack of a 50-degree wedge led to numerous wasted opportunities due to an overcooked pitching wedge or a duffed, forced sand wedge. Had I carried a gap wedge, I would have left myself far more birdie opportunities and won more silverware.
Instead of beefing up your long game, add more wedges into the fray to ensure every aspect of your short game is covered. This is the best way to lower your handicap.
The Best 50 Degree Wedges Currently on The Market
Callaway Mack Daddy JAWS 5
The new tour-tested w and C grinds are both updated to make it easy to play a wider variety of greenside shots. Head shaping progresses from traditional shaped lob and sand wedges to a compact player preferred design in the gap and pitching wedges for a seamless transition into an iron set.
The Callaway Mack Daddy JAWS 5 is an affordable, high-spinning wedge with a compact player profile to compliment your pitching wedge and short irons. I find it is ideal for mid-handicappers seeking a versatile sole grind, rampant spin rate, and superb feel.
Callaway crafted the JAWS 5 from 8620 mild carbon steel, which emitted a soft touch and crisp audio at impact. You’ll see that this wedge is available in only one sole grind, which may deter some golfers.
However, I noticed that the medium-width S-grind sole provided clean turf interaction, and sufficient heel relief, to help open the clubface at contact. This enables the average golfer to get under the ball and produce a high shot that lands softly near your target. On top of that, it performed optimally on soft, medium, and firm turf.
Finally, I approve of the hard-working JAWS MD 5 Groove Microfeatures, which increased friction between the clubface and ball to produce incredible spin. This enhanced my control on shorter full shots, chips, and bunker shots.
- It helps the average golfer get under the ball
- Soft feel
- Moderately affordable
- Clean turf interaction
- Exceptional spin
- I do not care for the four medallions on the back of the club
- The black finish on the clubface may chip away sooner rather than later
Additional weight distributed to the perimeter offers more forgiveness at impact. Three different sole Grinds deliver more versatility to execute any shot on the course.
Cleveland are masters of creating affordable, quality wedges for the mid and high handicappers seeking forgiveness and increased spin. You’ll notice that it features a hollow cavity back design, which may put superior golfers off. However, this design is vital to limit spin drop-offs across the clubface.
Besides providing consistent spin, the hollow cavity enabled engineers to position weight around the clubface perimeter for added stability and higher moment of inertia (MOI). As a result, I noticed that the clubface resisted twisting during my swing to remain square to the target at impact.
Cleveland’s Enhanced Feel Balancing Technology further boosts forgiveness by shifting weight to the toe of the gap wedge. This creates a slight draw bias to combat, right misses for right-handers, and left for lefties.
Furthermore, the CBX2 impressed by eradicating vibrations on off-center shots to maintain a delicate, satisfying feel. In addition, Cleveland constructed this wedge with a V-shaped sole for a higher bounce on full shots, a characteristic ideal for steep attack angles.
Lastly, I felt that the 4th Generation Rotex Face Tech delivered ample spin for a game-improvement wedge. The sharp, tour zip grooves bit into my ball at contact to generate superb drop and stop spin.
- Combats right misses for right-handers
- Eliminates vibrations on off-center hits.
- Generates ample spin
- Oversize profile
- Restricts workability
Titleist Vokey SM9 Tour
Titleist has improved the Progressive CG concept originally introduced in the SM8, by maintaining the forward CG in the front face and raising it vertically to the topline. It still produces a solid feeling in a wedge that squares at impact to give you consistent distance and trajectory control with stability.
The final 50-degree wedge suits superior golfers who demand playability, aggressive spin, and controlled flight. The master, Bob Vokey, treats us to a work of art with the SM9 Tour that looks incredible and performs the way a gap wedge should.
Starting with the trajectory, Vokey and his team shifted the CG marginally forward to control your launch, trajectory, and spin. In addition, I found that this design promoted cleaner contact with the golf ball and workable flight for elevated short-game control.
You’ll find that the Vokey SM9 Tour provides tough grooves which were heat treated to last longer. This longevity and heat treatment helps the gap wedge produce superior friction for increased revolutions per minute.
Finally, Titleist offers the SM9 Tour gap wedge in an F-grind design which delivers mid to low bounce to excel on tight lies and firmer turf conditions. In addition, Vokey suggests that the F-grind suits players with a shallow angle of attack seeking a lower bounce off the turf.
- Super feel
- Durable grooves
- Exceptional spin
- Controlled ball flight
- Promotes workability
- Only one sole grind option for the 50-degree wedge