How Far You Should Be Hitting a Pitching Wedge (Skill-Based)
Written by Brittany Olizarowicz

Britt O has been playing golf since the age of 7. Almost 30 years later, she still loves the game, has played competitively on every level, and spent a good portion of her life as a Class A PGA Professional. Britt currently resides in Savannah, GA, with her husband and two young children. Current Handicap: 1

Updated on January 12, 2024

I don’t know about you, but the pitching wedge is probably my favorite club in my golf bag. It’s easy to hit, it launches easily, has great spin, and can even be used to get you out of trouble.

The pitching wedge is typically used for a variety of distances, but it’s helpful to understand how far a full swing pitching wedge will travel.

Let’s look at how far you can expect your pitching wedge to go based on skill level.

 

How Far You Should Be Hitting Your Pitching Wedge

The full swing pitching wedge shot is one that you will likely have to hit several times in the course of a round of golf. Distance in golf is often talked about in relation to ball speed, but distance can also be broken down by skill level.

Beginner

A beginner golfer can expect about 100 yards out of their pitching wedge. Beginners often play with game-improvement golf clubs with a large sweet spot and plenty of forgiveness.

In addition, these clubs often have lower lofts so that they can get new golfers a few extra yards.

The biggest issue that beginners see with the distances on their wedges and irons is consistency. A beginner may hit a pitching wedge shot 120 yards and then on the next shot 95 yards.

Beginners who aim to make the pitching wedge their 100-yard club will find this incredibly useful on the golf course. The 100-yard marker is a place you will find yourself several times throughout a round of golf.

High Handicap

High handicappers struggle with the same issue that beginners struggle with, and that is consistency. When you can’t strike the center of the clubface on your golf iron, it’s hard to get the same results each time.

Luckily a high handicapper has a bit more consistency than a beginner, and they often see yardages in the 105 to 115 range.

The average high handicapper gets about 110 yards out of their pitching wedge.

Remember, the clubs that you are playing will play into this equation. If you have a game improvement type beginner pitching wedge, expect to get a few more yards than if you are playing with more of a blade-style or player style pitching wedge.

Sometimes, the difference in the loft on these golf clubs can be four or five degrees.

Mid Handicap

A mid handicap golfer will hit their pitching wedge anywhere from 110 to 120 yards. The average here is right in that 115 yard range.

Of course, mid handicap golfers that have very high swing speeds may see some extra yardage, but for the most part, the mid handicappers will keep their pitching wedge under 120 yards.

By the time you reach the mid handicap stage, it’s essential to know how to hit golf shots that are both short and long with the pitching wedge. Hitting the 115 yard full swing is essential, but it pays to hit a pitching wedge 100 and even 80 at times.

Low Handicap

Not only do many low handicap golfers have a fast swing speed, but they also have the ability to hit a golf ball off the center of the clubface. Making contact with the center of the face increases total launch, improves consistency, and makes it possible for players to lower their scoring.

Most lower handicap players can hit their golf shots 120 yards or further. However, if you talk to these golfers, they will likely tell you that the 120 yard shot is rarely used; they probably use their pitching wedge for any shot from 40 to 120 yards.

Professional

Professional golfers have swing speed on their side. Not only are they incredibly precise when it comes to making contact with the ball they will also use the pitching wedge for everything from approach shots to chip shots to rescue shots.

Most professionals carry a pitching wedge that looks more like a standard amateurs sand wedge. The wedge will have higher spin, more bounce, and sometimes slightly higher loft than an amateur pitching wedge.

The professionals hit their pitching wedge 130 yards or more. Again, with the swing speed these players get, the extra yardage is not always the most helpful thing. Most of the time, these players are looking for control rather than total distance on their shots.

 

Best Scenarios to Use a Pitching Wedge

The pitching wedge is a very versatile club for both male golfers and female golfers. Whether you are taking full swings, half swings, or three quarter swings, there is a lot you can do with a pitching wedge.

Full Swing Approach Shots

The full swing approach shots are common with the pitching wedge. On a shorter par 4, you may have the exact distance into the hole to use your pitching wedge. In addition, on a par 5, many players will lay up to a distance so that they can then hit their pitching wedge.

Bump and Run

The bump-and-run shot is used when there is no trouble between you and the hole. When you can see your target, and it’s all short grass, sometimes it makes sense to keep the ball lower and roll it up to the green.

With a typical bump and run shot, the ball flight and trajectory are a little low; however, with the pitching wedge, you get some extra height and a ball that may stop a little sooner than you think.

Punch Out of Trouble

Pitching wedges are really forgiving out of the rough, regardless of your skill level. If you end up in a bad spot and need to punch out, the pitching wedge is an excellent club to take.

The average golfer can make clean contact with a pitching wedge shot, even when hitting out of the rough. Although this shot is not going to help you make a par or a birdie on the hole, at least you end up back in play, and the issues don’t become worse.

Chipping Around The Greens

When chipping around the greens, golfers have lots of options. You can use higher lofted clubs like the 60 degree lob wedge or the 56 degree sand wedge, but many times the pitching wedge is the club that creates the least room for error.

What most golfers love about the pitching wedge is that you don’t need to take too much of a swing to notice some great results.

One of the things I would not do with a pitching wedge is try to hit a higher lofted shot out of the rough with a pin that is close to you. The problem with this shot is that you won’t be able to get the pitching wedge to stop in time.

Chances are it will roll past the hole a considerable distance.

Other Clubs Commonly Used to Replace a Pitching Wedge

If the pitching wedge is not for you, then you are going to have a hard time finding a replacement. Something like a four iron can be replaced with a hybrid, fairway wood, or utility, but the pitching wedge is a unique club with a unique loft.

Some golfers may use a 9 iron and then go right to their gap wedge, but this could leave a significant distance gap in your bag.

Other golfers may look for hybrid irons to fill the bag, and although this can be a good fit, chances are one of them will still be a pitching wedge loft.

 

7 Quick Tips for Hitting Your Pitching Wedge Better

Now that you know how far the average golfer, PGA Tour players, and beginners should be hitting their pitching wedge, here are a few of my best tips for getting the cleanest contact and best shots out of your pitching wedge.

  1. A great pitching wedge shot is more about getting the proper launch angle, trajectory, and spin than it is about getting the total distance. If you need more distance, grab a 9 iron out of the bag.
  2. Play the pitching wedge shot in the middle of your stance to get the most consistency from your golf shots.
  3. Always make sure you are hitting down and through the ball.  This is what compresses your shot and helps the ball stop on the green.
  4. Keep head movement to a minimum. When your head is moving around or sliding from side to side, it becomes difficult to hit the back of the ball each time.
  5. If it helps you to hit down and through the ball, putting a little extra weight on the left side before you swing is entirely acceptable. You can even feel like you leave it there during the swing.
  6. Choose a neutral grip with the pitching wedge. Most of the time, you won’t slice or hook your pitching wedge if your fundamentals are good.
  7. Learn how to hit the pitching wedge from 50, 70, 90, and 110 yards. Distance control in the pitching wedge is where you will really get your scores lowered and become a better player.

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Brittany Olizarowicz

Britt O has been playing golf since the age of 7. Almost 30 years later, she still loves the game, has played competitively on every level, and spent a good portion of her life as a Class A PGA Professional. Britt currently resides in Savannah, GA, with her husband and two young children. Current Handicap: 1