Wedge Loft Chart: Comparing Pitching vs Sand vs Lob vs Gap
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 December 12, 2023

It doesn’t matter if you’ve been a golfer for a year or 30 years – wedge lofts have changed.

When iron lofts start to change, wedge lofts change.  That means if you’re not smart about it, you may find large gaps in your bag.

I’ve found that with my most recent set of irons, the distance gap between my pitching wedge and gap wedge is getting really wide. The reason behind this is the stronger iron lofts.

The bottom line is you have to know what your lofts are and how they are going to help (or hurt) you on the course. I’ll show you how.

 

A Chart Breaking Down The Degrees of Loft of Different Wedges

Wedge Degrees of Loft Average Distance
Pitching Wedge 42-47 95-135 yards
Gap Wedge 47-54 80-120 yards
Sand Wedge 54-58 70-110 yards
Lob Wedge 58-64 60-100 yards

 

As you can see from the chart, the problem with wedge loft is that there is no specific loft for each wedge. Years ago, it was almost universally accepted that the 56-degree wedge was the sand wedge. Today, the sand wedge is not always 56.

Golfers with stronger lofted wedges will have an easier time increasing the distances they can get with their wedges. However, total distance should not be the feature you look for. Instead, distance control is what matters in golf.

 

Factors That Will Affect These Distance Estimates

In addition to the degrees of loft having a range, so does the average distance. The average distance varies from one player to another due to a variety of factors. Again, remember to work on consistency and control in wedge distances and not to worry too much about total distance.

If you can hit your pitching wedge 150 yards, that’s great, but the real key is whether or not you can control it, keep it on the pin, and if it has the spin and accuracy to stop near the hole.

Degrees of Loft

The more loft a club has, the higher it goes. However, with the height of the shot increasing in this way, you may also notice that the ball falls out of the sky a bit quicker, meaning it doesn’t travel as far.

If you have a more traditional set of wedges, where the lofts are closer to 47, 52, 56, and 60, you probably won’t get quite as much distance from your wedge shots.

However, if you have a game improvement set where lofts are 43, 47, 52, 56, you will be hitting each of your wedges almost a full ten yards further than the traditional set.

In the end, the degree of loft of your wedges matters most when loft gapping and ensuring you don’t have distance gaps between your golf clubs.

Swing Speed

The faster you swing a golf club, the easier it is to get distance. Again, distance is not always the goal with wedges, but there are certain distances that can be helpful. For instance, if you can hit the pitching wedge somewhere around 100 yards, it is a reliable club to use for an approach to the green.

For slow-swing speed players, make sure to consider graphite shafts in the wedges. Most wedges come standard with steel, but that doesn’t mean you have to leave them like that.

The Lie of The Golf Ball

The lie of the golf ball plays into the total distance you can hit a shot. When a ball is sitting in the fairway, you can make clean contact with it. This clean contact helps improve ball flight, total distance, and, more importantly, spin.

When a ball sits down further in the rough, it becomes hard to have the best ball and club interaction.

The lie of the golf ball will change from shot to shot on the golf course. Be smart about this and prepare when you are choosing which club to approach the hole with. For instance, I know I hit my pitching wedge 125 yards, but if I’m hitting it out of the rough, I want to make sure that a 120 or even 115-yard shot will keep me out of trouble.

Playing Conditions

Wind, humidity, elevation, temperature, and rain all impact the distance you can hit your wedge shots. With wedge shots being hit so high, wind plays a major role in what the shot is going to do. If you plan to hit a big high lofted wedge approach shot to the green, expect it to be held back or pushed forward by the wind.

In addition, when it’s cold, your wedges won’t fly as far. These adjustments may only be a subtle three to five yards, but if you miss this, you may end up short of the green and in trouble yet again.

Playing conditions mostly impact the longer wedge shots. Short bunker shots, a chip shot, flop shot, or pitch aren’t going to be as noticeable.

Type of Golf Wedge

Game improvement wedges are more forgiving and help you hit a golf ball with more distance. Players’ style wedges are designed for accuracy and control.

 

best chipping wedges

When Each of These Wedges Are Typically Used

Golf wedges are used as approach shots to get out of trouble, tee shots on par 3 holes, chipping, pitching, and even bunker shots. Here is how I use each of my wedges and my advice for using your PW, GW, SW, and LW.

Pitching Wedge

The pitching wedge is a go-to club for a lot of approach shots to the green. Luckily pitching wedges are forgiving, so when you miss them a little, they still go straight. Your pitching wedge is a club that you should be able to spin just a little.

Therefore it lands on the green and stops relatively close to the hole. I also like the pitching wedge for a shorter bump-and-run type shot when the ball is closer to the green.

If there is no trouble between me and the hole, and I’m in the short grass near the green, I’ll take almost a putting-type stroke with the pitching wedge in hand and roll it up to the pin. It’s a very safe shot and often ends up within a foot or two of the hole.

Sand Wedge

The sand wedge should be your favorite wedge in the bag. Yes, you need them all, but this one can become your secret weapon to shooting lower scores.

Sand wedges are used for hitting lofted shots around the green, regardless of the lie!

Too many amateur golfers play their sand wedge exclusively out of the sand, and that is a major mistake. Instead, start to use the sand wedge to get the ball up and down quickly and ensure it stops near the hole.

Sand wedges do well out of the rough because of their design and shaping – you may even get a little extra spin.

Lob Wedge

I don’t love the lob wedge for approach shots to the green. Even if you have an exact yardage for your lob, the full swing approach shot with a lob can bring too many errors into play.

However, the lob wedge is incredible if you short side yourself or if you find you are in a bunker with a high lip.

With a lob wedge having 60 degrees (or near 60 degrees) of loft, it is the highest lofted club in the bag and can get you over a bush or a branch and ensure that your ball stops quickly on the green.

Be creative about how to use the lob wedge.

Gap Wedge

Finally, the gap wedge is a club that sits between the sand wedge and the pitching wedge. When purchasing a gap wedge, make sure you know the lofts of your sand and pitching and that the gap fits right in between.

A gap wedge is a great choice for when you have a yardage between your pitching wedge and sand wedge. Many players find their gap wedge to be around a 90 to 100-yard golf shot, and that yardage seems to come up often on the golf course.

Slightly longer bunker shots are a good fit for the gap, and you may find that you like chipping and pitching with the gap wedge (or approach wedge) when the pin is further back in the green.

Chances are you will get a few more yards of roll than the sand wedge, and you may end up closer to the hole.

 

One Comments on

  1. Carolyn Cope says:

    Thank you, for your explanation of the types of wedges and how to use them to help with the game of golf.

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