With research showing that around a quarter of all golf shots are played with a golf wedge, it’s easy to see how important they are to d every golfer’s game. However, for many newbies struggling to find their rhythm in the game, understanding the golf wedge and using it can seem like a challenging mountain to climb.
So, what is a golf wedge? In golf, a wedge stands for a subset of the iron family of golf clubs designed to be used in particular situations. They are the lofted irons that golfers use within about 100 yards of the green. Their high lofts, short shafts, and heavy clubheads of the irons aid the player in making accurate short-distance “lob” shots.
Golf wedges have generally undergone modifications over time; hence, the availability of a variety of wedges to choose from based on the type of shot and distance required. It is also important to note that wedges are designed to feature modified soles that allow the player to move the clubhead through soft lies like mud, sand, and thick grass.
Types of Wedges in Golf
There’s a reason why most professionals carry between three to four wedges to events. While wedges may appear as basic clubs that do not feature as many technological advancements as drivers or irons, they are still an essential part of the game. However, the availability of different types of wedges for different playing scenarios can easily confuse you.
Here, let’s review the most common types of golf wedges and their uses.
As one of the most popular types of golf wedges, it’s not surprising that pitching wedges come with the least loft.
Generally, the loft of pitching wedges ranges between 44 and 50 degrees. Properly striking a golf ball with a pitching wedge will cause the ball to pop into the air and travel a distance between 110 yards and 140 yards.
This type of wedge is mostly used by golfers that are trying to hit the green. Since a pitching wedge would typically be used to send the ball traveling high into the air, golfers should not expect it to roll too far on the green.
This type of wedge also features a shallow loft. It has the second-lowest loft after the pitching wedge.
The gap wedge loft typically ranges between 46 and 54 degrees.
Golfers would normally use this wedge on shots that they consider too short for a pitching wedge and too long for a sand wedge. When appropriately used, gap wedges would let you hit between 90 to 110 yards.
It’s important also to mention that gap wedges are not sold with standard sets of golf clubs, so you’ll need to buy them as additional equipment.
From the name of the wedge, you probably can already tell that it is designed to allow golfers to hit their ball out of bunkers or sand traps. However, they are designed for versatility, so golfers can use them whether they are hitting from the rough, sand, or fairway.
Sand wedges typically feature lofts between 54 and 58 degrees.
Most regular hits with a sand wedge will propel the golf ball to about 90 yards. The relative shortness of sand wedges also allows golfers the ability to put a spin on their balls.
Most beginner golfers may not know lob wedges because, unlike pitching wedges, they are not included in standard golf club sets. Therefore, golfers must purchase them separately.
Lob wedges feature the most loft compared to other wedges – between 60 to 65 degrees. They come in handy in situations around the green where you’ll need to make precise shots.
Lob wedges are designed to send the ball very high into the air, allowing golfers to hit the lob wedges about 70 yards.
What Are The Different Parts of A Golf Wedge?
Now that we’ve discussed the different types of golf wedges, you are probably getting ready to buy your first golf wedge. However, there are other aspects you should acquaint yourself with apart from types. One of such areas is the important parts of a golf wedge.
This section will review all the important parts of a golf wedge and what each part represents to a golfer.
Like the name denotes, bounce is the part of the club that hits the turf, therefore “bouncing” the club through the surface under the ball at impact. The word bounce serves as a group name for several elements involved in the design of the sole: the sole width, bounce angle, rocker, leading-edge, and wedge camber.
When most people talk about bounce, they refer to the bounce angle. The bounce angle refers to the connecting edge to the point of contact between the sole and the ground. It’s common to see people wrongly assume that a wedge sits flat on the ground. However, the bounce angle does the job of preventing a wedge from digging into the turf or sand.
High Bounce Wedges
Wedges with more than ten bounce degrees are generally considered as high bounce wedges. This setup allows the leading edge to sit higher when you rest the sole on the ground.
Mid Bounce Wedges
Wedges with 7 to 10 bounce degrees are generally ranked in the mid-bounce wedge category. Wedges in this category are considered the most versatile because they suit a wider range of conditions and swing types.
Low Bounce Wedges
Wedges in this category have a bounce angle of between 4-6 degrees. These wedges are best suited for players whose playing pattern involves sweeping the ball, taking a shallower divot, and people that play in firmer turf conditions.
While you are in the course busy grinding away and trying to save par, wedge manufacturers are in their factories grinding in features that would help for better shots into your wedge. So, what does sole grind mean?
Simply put, a sole grind stands for the additional shaping of the wedge’s sole, which is usually located around the roe or the heel. With sole grinds becoming more popular these days, wedge manufacturers are finding ways to include a range of sole grinds in the standard wedge sold. This involves literally grinding the soles until it suits specific shots or turf conditions.
Wedge Grinds – Finishes
After designing the wedge, manufacturers give it a finish to make it look unique. However, the finished design would mostly be based on individual preferences and tastes. Before opting for a finish, we recommend knowing how the finish would wear off with time.
Finishes like Nickel or Chrome are easier to maintain and would last longer.
On the other hand, raw or unplated finishes will wear or rust with time. However, the rust can improve friction and consequently spin.
Darker finishes would look beautiful from the start. But the paint would soon begin to wear off over time.
Conclusion: What is a Wedge in Golf?
There you have it, a detailed look at what a golf wedge is. If you are just starting out with golf, it can be challenging to understand these terms.
Golf wedges are an important part of golf clubs. They are so crucial that golfers have to understand what they are and how they work to be able to control certain shots. Beyond knowing what golf wedges are, it’s also important to understand the types that suit different situations.
Yes, pitching wedges are the most popular type of golf wedges, but there are other types. Finding the one that suits your game would help you improve your play.