How Far You Should Be Hitting a Sand Wedge (Based on Skill)
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

Your sand wedge should not be your distance club. In fact, when hitting a sand wedge, you should focus more on distance control than total distance.

However, this doesn’t mean that you should be hitting wedge shots without knowing what your total distances are. How far you should be hitting your sand wedge has quite a bit to do with your swing speed but also your handicap level.

Let’s take a deeper dive into how far your sand wedge can go and how you can learn to improve your sand wedge distance control.

 

How Far You Should Be Hitting Your Sand Wedge

Your sand wedge is one of the most used golf clubs in the bag. Not only can the sand wedge be an option when hitting out of the bunker, but it’s also good for chipping, pitching, and approach shots to the green.

Here’s how far you can expect to hit your sand wedge shots based on your golf handicap.

Beginner

The beginner golfer can expect to get about 70-80 yards out of a sand wedge. The total distance you hit your sand wedge will be impacted by what type of sand wedge you have and how fast your swing speeds are.

Most beginners should stay away from too many full swing sand wedge approach shots. Instead, use this club for shorter shots where you are learning to control distance and trajectory.

Beginners need to learn how to strike the center of the clubface to get really good results from the sand wedge. Don’t worry if your total distances are not that high yet; if you can learn to hit solid shots, you will eventually get the distance.

High Handicap

High handicappers should hit sand wedges about 80 yards.

It’s important to note that if you have a game improvement style cavity back sand wedge, it’s a bit easier to get long distance than a blade style wedge.

Blade style wedges don’t have as much forgiveness, and they are good for shorter shots around the green. For high handicappers, the blade style wedge may only travel 60 or 70 yards, and that is acceptable.

Mid Handicap

Mid handicappers should hit a 90 yard sand wedge.

The 90 yard distance comes up quite often in the game of golf, and it’s essential to have a club you trust in this yardage range. However, the more important feature of a sand wedge for mid handicappers is the ability to hit those 75 and even 50 yards shots with full confidence.

The shorter shots are the ones that typically save you a par or even make a tap in birdie situation on a par 5.

Mid handicappers have the choice between the game improvement style wedges and more of a cleaner blade style. I would consider having at least the sand wedge or the lob wedge in a blade style.

With this set makeup, you have a variety of shots you can go with depending on the situation on the course.

Low Handicap

The low handicap golfer usually hits a sand wedge anywhere from 90-100 to yards. Sometimes it seems like the lower your handicap gets, the more you realize that full swing sand wedges are not a percentage shot on the golf course.

So although low handicappers tend to have higher swing speeds and a bit more power to generate longer distances, very few use that distance when it comes to the sand wedge. Instead, you will see more of the 60-90 yard shots being hit with this club in hand.

One other important factor to consider here is spin.

The golfers with higher swing speeds, typically lower handicappers, tend to generate quite a bit of speed. This speed leads to increased spin and less roll. Carry distance and total distance for a lower handicapper may be almost identical.

For higher handicappers, the carry distance and total distance will be different because of the extra roll.

Professional Golfers

Most professional golfers hit their sand wedge 100 yards or more. Some with lots of power can get over 120 yards. Again, most professional golfers are very good at distance control, and they will focus more on this control than they do the total distance.

You won’t hear professional golfers out on the driving range bragging about how far they can hit their sand wedge; the total distance just doesn’t matter to them.

 

lob wedge vs sand wedge

Best Scenarios to Use a Sand Wedge

Amateur golfers tend to struggle with where to use a sand wedge. Although this is a very valuable club with great technology, it can’t be used everywhere on the golf course.

Here are a few situations where the sand wedge will be your club of choice.

Bunker Shots

The sand wedge has more bounce than other wedges in the bag to help you get the club through the sand with ease. Bunker shots are the nemesis of many amateur players, but with the right equipment in the bag, it can be much easier to hit these shots.

Another great thing about the sand wedge from the bunker is the extra loft that it has. With a higher loft, even if a bunker has a lip or high edge, the ball should easily fly out.

Approach Shots Under 75 Yards

Under 75 yards, you will typically want a shot that goes up high and then stops quickly on the green. Anytime you are less than 100 yards from the pin, it’s smart to try and get the ball on the green and make a one putt.

For a beginner golfer, the 75-yard sand wedge may be a full swing. For those, this may be more of a ¾ swing or half swing and wedge.

Chipping and Pitch Shots

The sand wedge, pitching wedge, gap wedge, and lob wedge can be used to help with chip and pitch shots. I really like the sand wedge when I’m in a bit of rough. The rough makes it challenging to get spin on a ball, but a sand wedge often has a higher level of spin and impressive grooves.

If you are looking to hit more of a flop shot, you can open the face of the sand wedge a bit to help give it a little more height.

Getting Out of Trouble

When you miss the fairway and get stuck in that deep rough, don’t forget about the sand wedge. Although you won’t get much total distance from this recovery shot, you may be able to get the ball out of the rough and back into play.

 

Other Clubs Commonly Used to Replace a Sand Wedge

A sand wedge is typically a 56 degree wedge, but some golfers have had to play with the lofts of their wedges to accommodate the way that loft gapping has changed in a golfer’s bag.

Some players have a sand wedge that is 52 or 54 degrees; others consider their 58 degree wedge to be the best sand wedge.

There is not much of a replacement for a sand wedge because it is a specific tool with a purpose on the golf course. If you don’t play with a 56 degree sand wedge, make sure you have something relatively close to serve the same purpose.

 

Tips to Improve How You Use Your Sand Wedge Better

Here are a few of my best tips for helping you learn how to use your sand wedge better. This is a club that you should have a lot of confidence in.

Check Your Ball Position

It’s important to pay attention to the ball position in your golf stance. Don’t place the ball too far forward, or you may hit it thin and have it travel over the green. I like to play my sand wedge in the center or slightly back of the center.

Put a Little Weight on The Left

When hitting shorter shots with a sand wedge, put a little extra weight on your left side. This leaning on the left side ensures a better connection between the clubface and the golf ball.

Better connection and the descending blow leads to higher ball flight and more spin.

Keep Your Head Stable

Many golfers move their heads around with a full-swing shot. Although some head movement can be acceptable, when you stay more stable, it’s easier to clip the ball with a clean strike. I like to think about keeping my head positioned directly over the golf ball.

Take a Narrow Stance

A narrow stance makes it easier to control the distance that you get with your golf shots. When your feet are closer together, you will have an easier time controlling the backswing and ensure that you make clean contact with the ball.

With shots very close to the green, it can pay to have your feet almost all the way together and touching each other. As you move further from the green, you can get back to shoulder width apart.

 

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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