Wedge angles and lofts are two names we’ll always hear in golf. These names and what they stand for have continued to evolve as manufacturers continue to improve the “standard” lofts of their iron sets. These days, golfers can buy new iron sets, guaranteed that they’ll get all the angles they want from their shots because of the advanced technology that new clubs now carry. Despite the improved golf club technologies and how they are becoming, people still want to know what a wedge offers before committing to them. For this article, we’ll focus on approach wedges.
So, what degree is an approach wedge? An approach wedge is almost the same type of club as a gap wedge, and it is typically designed with a loft degree of between 49° and 55°. However, you’ll find that most approach wedges have a loft degree of 52°. Since the loft degree may vary from wedge to wedge, we recommend checking the manufacturer’s specifications to be sure of what you’re buying.
Before going on, it’s also essential that we explain what an approach wedge it for the beginners that may be confused. After all, it’s a relatively new term in golf and one that people often need further clarification on. Popularly referred to as just “A” wedge, the approach wedge exists to fill in the space between the sand wedge and the pitching wedge. With the pitching wedge at 48° and the sand wedge at 58°, it’s pretty much understandable why club manufacturers saw the need to design a wedge that fits in between. You may also hear some people refer to the approach wedge as an attack wedge. Whatever the name, don’t get confused (keep reading and we’ll help you sort it out).
Why is There A Need For an Approach Wedge?
Just like golfers, club manufacturers are very competitive. With new manufacturers springing up every day, it’s not surprising that even the established brands are putting in new efforts daily to make golf clubs better and more effective. Everybody is fighting to get a larger slice of the golf equipment pie. This means more money, effort, and time for research and development.
One common feature that players often long for is a greater distance, and this is something equipment makers would never want to take lightly. As a result, many manufacturers have reengineered their clubs over the years.
We’ve even seen a reduction of the loft on most irons to influence distance. After all, it’s common knowledge that less loft often translates to more distance, as long as a golfer hits correctly.
While irons and pitching wedges experienced more of these changes, the sand wedge typically remained the same. In other words, most modern pitching wedges can now go a lot farther than what was available several years ago. On the other hand, the sand wedge has not undergone any significant changes, so you’ll still likely get the same distance you’d have gotten several years ago. That’s understandable because sand wedges are designed for a specific play – bunker play.
These factors have combined to cause a significant gap distance between the sand wedge and the new pitching wedge.
In a quest to fill this created gap, manufacturers introduced the approach wedge. Perhaps, you can now see why many people refer to it as a gap wedge. It’s an invaluable club for periods when you want to hit a distance that you’ll need to adjust your swing on other wedge options to hit.
Every golfer knows how much easier it is to get the right distance at full swing. A complete swing of the approach wedge will get you closer to the target if you are within 90 to 100 yards from the green. Of course, this typically means more accuracy and greater consistency. An approach wedge would help an average golfer save a few putts and shave some strokes off each round.
When to Use an Approach Wedge?
How you choose to use your approach wedge on the course is usually entirely up to you.
For some golfers, an approach wedge exists to help them achieve the distance they want by taking a full swing. Others see it as a knockdown club that helps avoid the high loft that a lob wedge or sand wedge will offer.
Whatever the situation, you’ll always find approach clubs very useful when you attempt to take pitch shots that need to run. An approach wedge is also an excellent option to turn to when you want to fill a specific shot or distance at the bottom of your golf bag.
Are you still wondering how an approach wedge will help your game?
Remember how important accuracy is, especially in your quest to score well. An approach wedge helps hit a certain distance with a full swing, and you know that full swings reduce the margin for errors. So, instead of attempting to force a full power swing with your sand wedge, you can use a gap wedge to hit an easy-to-control 80% swing and still get just enough height for the ball to land softly.
Putting Them Together
Sand wedge, pitching wedge, approach wedge, etc. All these are names that tend to confuse beginner golfers. Remember that in the end, what matters is getting the right tools for your specific job and knowing how to use them.
While it’s cool to have a few wedges in your bag, we typically recommend ensuring you know them and what distance you can cover on the average with each. You want to have a good spread of lofts, irrespective of what’s labeled on the wedge.
It’s also important to remember that carrying an additional wedge might mean sacrificing another club. You don’t want to run short of drivers, fairway woods, or hybrids because of the extra wedge you carry.
Conclusion: What Degree Loft is an Approach Wedge?
We’ve talked so much about the degree of an approach wedge. It can be a big task for starters to choose what works for their shots. But once you’ve sorted the angles and how well you can do with each, you can expect your game to improve drastically. Knowing how many degrees a wedge offers would help you know what wedge to use in different situations.
Since approach wedges typically offer loft wedges of between 49° to 54°, you can expect that it’ll serve better as a gap wedge between a pitching and sand wedge.
If you are still confused about which wedge works best for you in different situations, we recommend practicing more with different types. Custom fitting is another option that can help you tailor your wedge to fit. You can read our article on custom fitting and how it can help you up your game.