Wedges are a subgenre of the iron group of golf clubs. They are most commonly used for getting the ball out of tough situations such as in a bunker or behind an obstacle. Wedges offer a distinct difference to all of the other clubs in your carrying bag – wedges offer height rather than distance.
While almost all of the other clubs are focused on driving your ball as far away from the tee as possible, wedges are designed to help you chip the ball up without as much distance being reached.
Beginners and intermediate golfers will benefit from wedges mostly as there is more of a chance that you’ll end up in a bunker or stuck behind a tree stump. Don’t blame us for saying it – it’s just the truth! There are four types of wedges to benefit from, but most golfers only carry two of them.
The pitching wedge has the least loft of all the wedges and therefore will offer you a great balance between distance and height. The loft will be between 44 and 50 degrees and your ball can reach a distance of up to 140 yards.
The pitching wedge is most commonly used by many golfers when they want to achieve a short distance without the ball rolling too much. Pitching wedges are not used to get over an obstacle, but rather to get the ball to stop in the perfect position.
Gap wedges are not as often used by golfers, but they are still very beneficial. They have a loft of 46 to 54 degrees and offer a distance up to 110 yards. A gap wedge is better used for shorter shots than a pitching wedge is capable of.
You won’t often find a gap wedge in a set of golf clubs, but you can purchase your own if you want to. Many people get by with only pitching and a sand wedge, but you’d be surprised at how beneficial a gap wedge can be.
The sand wedge is another popular wedge that is often found in a golf club set. These have higher lofts of 54 to 58 degrees and they’re great for getting out of bunkers and sand. When you, unfortunately, get stuck in the sand, it can severely ruin your game.
Instead of hitting the ball, you need to hit the sand behind the ball instead. The sand wedge allows you to push the sand up behind the ball so that the ball is projected out of the bunker. Sand wedges don’t offer much distance to the ball, but you don’t use this wedge to get a good distance.
You simply use the sand wedge to get out of a tough spot before opting for a different club to carry on your game. We highly recommend carrying around a sand wedge just in case you land yourself in an annoying bunker.
The lob wedge is, again, not often found in a golf club set. The lob wedge has the highest loft of them all with a loft of 60 to 65 degrees. They reach distances up to 70 yards, so lob wedges are not used for distance.
The most common use for a lob wedge is to get the ball out from behind an obstacle. If you find yourself behind a tree branch, you’re going to find it difficult to pass it without a lob wedge. While a sand wedge can help to some extent, the lob wedge is unmatched for these situations.
Chippers are very similar to putters but with a higher degree of loft. Chippers can move the ball around the green 50 yards at a time, ensuring that the ball stops exactly where you want it to every time. Many club sets come without a chipper as it can be easily replaced by a pitching wedge.
That being said, a chipper allows the ball to travel much shorter distances than a pitching wedge and therefore you can benefit when you’re really close to the hole. Chippers have a loft of 30 to 37 degrees, so they’re not the best at getting you out from behind an obstacle or out of the sand.
What handicap are you?
High handicappers will benefit from different wedges than mid handicappers. The former is bound to end up in tricky situations more commonly than the latter, so they need higher-quality wedges to help them quickly get out of the bunkers and from behind the obstacles.
Mid handicappers will be able to take advantage of the better quality wedges that will only be used now and then during their games. While you can continue to use your beginner wedges rather than purchase new ones, a mid handicap wedge set will benefit your overall performance greatly.