What’s An Approach Wedge – When To Use It Vs. Pitching And Sand Wedge
I got my new set of TaylorMade P760 irons last season and the first thing I had to do was Google what my new “A” wedge was. It turned out it was my new approach wedge, a club that I had always referred to as a gap wedge.
An Approach or Gap Wedge sits inbetween the Pitching Wedge and The Sand Wedge in terms of loft, lenght, lie, distance and flight trajectory. The Approach Wedge can fill in any distance gaps in your bag where it counts, around the green.
I now had to get it out on the range and the course to figure out where and when to use it.
So that none of you have to go through the ordeal I did, this article will explain more about the approach wedge.
What Is An Approach Wedge
This is an extra wedge that, in loft terms, fits between the pitching wedge and the sand wedge.
Every brand has their own way of describing different wedges so many of you many know this clubs as a gap or middle wedge instead. It is a great all-round wedge that you will use very often if you have one in your bag.
Wedge Loft And Distance Chart
46 – 48 Degrees
70 – 120 Yards
50 – 52 Degrees
60 – 110 Yards
54 – 56 Degrees
50 – 100 Yards
58 – 60 Degrees
40 – 95 Yards
When Should You Use Your Approach Wedge?
Distance-wise, this is very personal but as a general rule you should use the approach wedge when the pitching wedge is too much but the sand wedge isn’t enough.
It is also a great club to use instead of hitting a hard sand wedge as it will give you more control of your spin. Finally, it can be a great club for around the green and also on longer bunker shots.
What Is The Typical Loft Of An Approach Wedge?
The approach wedge usually has a loft of between 50 and 52 degrees. It is absolutely imperative that you gap test your wedges and fine tune your lofts to get a nice equal distance spread, this can be done with the help of your club pro.
My approach wedge is 50 degrees as my sand wedge is 54 and my pitching wedge is 46.
Approach Wedge Vs Gap Wedge – What Is The Difference?
The only difference between these two is what the manufacturer has named the club. Being an additional club to the classic set, they can be called different things depending on who makes them and many just call wedges by their loft now.
They are the same clubs to all intents and purposes but you know what marketing departments are like, they just need to make things different.
How Far Should You Hit An Approach Wedge?
This is something that is very personal to your swing speed and you can get an idea of variance from the chart above.
An average golfer will hit an approach wedge about 90 yards and elite golfers with high speed swings will be closer to 130 yards and beyond.
This is something that you need to spend time on a launch monitor figuring out for yourself.
How High Should You Hit An Approach Wedge?
This chart by Trackman shows the height that PGA Tour players hit the ball, whilst it doesn’t show approach wedges, you will be able to guess that this figure is around 30 yards.
Your height will depend entirely on how well you hit it and how hard you swing it. Ask your club pro to have a look at your trajectory if you are unsure of it, he/she can also help you improve it if needs be.
Should Every Golfer Use An Approach Wedge?
I don’t think so, no. To me the approach wedge is a club for elite golfers or low handicappers who want extra options in their scoring clubs and who know their distances well.
It is more of an advanced golfers club so beginners and intermediates don’t need it until they develop their skills a bit more.
Approach Wedge Vs. Pitching Wedge
The pitching wedge is designed to hit the ball further than an approach wedge and with a little less spin, it is one club stronger than an approach wedge.
It is slightly longer in length with less loft, around four degrees if you are set-up properly. Both clubs are great for attacking pins and having them in your bag will give you more options to approach the green with.
Approach Wedge Vs. Sand Wedge
The approach wedge is one club stronger than the sand wedge and so will go further with less spin. The sand wedge also has a slightly different shape as it is designed with more bounce to help you escape from bunkers more easily.
The approach wedge is a great alternative to the sand wedge for attacking flags with less fear of over-spinning the ball.
Approach Wedge vs. Lob Wedge
The lob wedge is two clubs weaker than an approach wedge and so the distance difference between these clubs is fairly large.
Lob wedges are designed to get the ball in the air very quickly and for getting up and down in tight spots, the approach wedge is more for longer distance attacks.
These are very different clubs and I would suggest that if you are looking for a third wedge, the approach wedge is the one you should go for before the lob wedge.
How Do You Hit An Approach Wedge?
The approach wedge should be played much like the pitching wedge.
The ball position should be in the middle of your stance and you should swing normally with more of a descending blow at the strike.
Some golfers even like to have their weight a little more on their front-foot to help improve the contact and spin.
What Wedges Should A High-Handicapper Carry?
I don’t think that higher handicapped golfers should be carrying a full set, it gives them choices that they aren’t hitting the ball consistently enough to get the best of.
It is my opinion that high handicap golfers with a pitching wedge and a sand wedge will have everything they need and can add more wedges as they improve.
What Wedge Lofts Should Golfers Carry?
Dave Pelz, the shortgame guru, suggests carrying as many wedges as possible and recommends four or five.
Whilst I don’t disagree, I certainly think that you should have at least three wedges.
A pitching wedge (48 degrees as standard) an approach wedge (52 degrees as standard) and a sand wedge (56 degrees as standard).
What is Bounce On A Wedge?
It is a measurement of the angle of the leading edge of the club to the ground when the shaft is vertical.
It is a feature that helps to stop your wedge from digging into sand or soft ground during the swing.
What Wedge Lofts Do The Pros Use?
Every pro uses different wedge lofts and frequently change them depending on where they are playing and the conditions.
Pros change their wedges fairly frequently and some even change them almost monthly or more.
The world these guys live in is so different to ours that it is almost not worth paying attention to.
What Is The Most Popular Wedge On Tour?
Titleist have been absolutely flying recently and have gone from being the number one ball on tour to winning many more categories including wedges.
The Titleist Vokey SM7 wedge has proved to be a great success and is in the bags of more PGA Tour players than any other.
TaylorMade, Callaway and Cleveland have also got their wedges into the bags of many PGA Tour players too.
Best Approach Wedges 2021
TaylorMade MG2 Tiger Woods Grind Wedge
Wanna play like the best golfer of our generation? The use the wedge he plays and has helped to develop, the TaylorMade MG2 Tiger Woods.
This club gets incredible levels of spin and will have you zipping it in at the flag like Tiger in no time!
Check Out More Reviews Here:
Callaway Mack Daddy CB Wedge
If you want something that is a little more forgiving but spins no less, the Callaway Mack Daddy CB wedge is the one for you!
The cavity back designed gives you more forgiveness than the bladed style of the Tiger wedge. These clubs are phenomenal and will, rightly, be really popular.
Check Out More Reviews Here:
Cleveland CBX 2 Wedge
If you want something that looks like a bladed wedge but still want some of that forgiveness that a cavity back wedge gives, look no further than the incredible Cleveland CBX 2 wedge.
Cleveland make some of the best wedges in golf and this may be the best they have ever made. It looks stunning and performs so well on the course.
Check Out More Reviews Here:
Choosing the correct wedges for your bag is a tricky business. From knowing what lofts you need, to how many wedges you should actually carry, it can be complicated. The approach wedge can be a fantastic addition to your bag that can fill the space between your pitching and sand wedge for attacking flags.
My experience is that once you have one in the bag you will start to question how you ever survived a round of golf without one. Mine has become a key part of my scoring club arsenal and I continue to find new uses for it on the course.