Gap Wedge Loft: Everything You Need to Know
A gap wedge is one of the most effective clubs to carry in your bag.
It can help you with full shots, knockdown shots, pitch shots around the green, and so much more. While it is a great club that every player should carry, there’s one thing you don’t want to forget about.
Gap wedge loft.
It’s vital to play a gap wedge that pairs well with your other clubs and doesn’t leave a big gap with distances. Keep reading to learn how to find the best loft for your gap wedge and more.
Gap Wedge Loft
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Before diving in, let’s talk about a gap wedge in general.
A GW as abbreviated (also known as auxiliary wedge) was made to eliminate the gap between your pitching wedge and sand wedge. This way, you don’t have to try and hit soft pitching wedges anytime you’re between both clubs (or a hard sand wedge).
For example, a common loft for a pitching wedge is 46 degrees and a sand wedge is 56 degrees. That leaves ten degrees of separation between the two wedges.
In the golf world, that means you have anywhere from 20-35 yards between them – aka the gap. Needless to say, it’s hard to hit knockdown shots consistently with a pitching wedge. And swinging hard with a sand wedge isn’t the best idea, either.
That’s where the gap wedge comes in handy. It’s there to help you with distances between a pitching and sand wedge.
Plus, it’s handy for a variety of other shots, including:
- Greenside chips or bump and runs.
- Knockdown shots in windy conditions.
- Long greenside bunker shots (10-25 yards).
And more, as it’s a very versatile club.
So what is a normal gap wedge loft?
The range can vary between 50-54 degrees.
The key is making sure the loft matches the rest of your clubs. Here’s how to determine the right gap wedge loft you need based on your current set.
Also Read: Golf Wedge Distances
Loft in Wedges
Before going out and buying a gap wedge (or having a fitter adjust your loft), start by looking at your pitching wedge. Because here’s the thing, standard iron sets are getting significantly stronger loft than previous versions of clubs.
For example, a pitching wedge always used to have 46 degrees of loft. But now, some sets are 46 but a lot of them are stronger, some as low as 43 degrees! As technology changes, manufacturers can make the loft stronger (which add distance) but still create a higher ball flight.
That’s why it’s so important to evaluate your pitching wedge loft before buying a gap wedge. If your pitching wedge is 43 degrees and you buy a standard gap wedge of 52 degrees, now you have nine degrees of separation. This is a massive gap in your distances and misses the entire point of having a gap wedge in the first place.
Once you figure out your pitching wedge loft, then look at your sand wedge loft. In general, this will be around 56 degrees.
Split the difference between the two to determine your ideal gap wedge loft.
For example, if you’re playing a 45 degree pitching wedge and have a 56 degree sand wedge, that’s 11 degrees of separation. To close the gap, you should buy a wedge with 50 or 51 degrees of loft.
Or, you could even have a club fitter bring your sand wedge down a degree or two (just remember this does adjust the bounce down too) to lessen the gap. Or, just buy a lower lofted sand wedge if you’re in need of a new one.
Most golfers should replace their wedges more than any club in the bag (especially if you hit a lot of range balls). I once read that Tiger Woods and other PGA players use new wedges every tournament week to get the most spin possible.
While you don’t need to replace that often, don’t let your grooves get too worn down. The sharper the grooves, the easier it is to create spin, especially from around the greens for more up and downs.
Other Considerations When Buying Wedges
While dialing in the gap wedge loft is key, don’t forget about three other things that a lot of golfers forget about when buying wedges.
The first thing to think about is forgiveness.
For example, so many golfers play cavity back irons, then play hard to hit wedges like a Titleist Vokey. Instead, you should make sure to have some forgiveness on your wedges to match the rest of your set.
Sometimes the best way to do this is to buy the gap wedge from your current set, as it’ll have the proper loft gapping and match your irons. This will make it easier to hit and should space your wedges out perfectly. Or, you could opt for a more forgiving set of wedges, like the Cleveland CBX2.
The second factor when picking wedges is shaft weight. A lot of players use super heavy shafts in their wedges, while the rest of their irons are light steel or even graphite.
Instead, play shafts that are similar to your iron set to make it an easy transition from irons to wedges. While they should be slightly heavier than your irons, don’t have it be something drastic like 30-40 grams. Wedge shafts are slightly heavier as it helps with hitting ¾ shots and flighting the golf ball down.
The third item to consider is the bounce of your gap wedge as it plays a big role in your turf contact. It’s best to have an array of bounce (low, medium, and high) to help you hit certain shots in all types of conditions easier. The bounce is the second number shown on the club (ex. 52.08 or 50.10).
The final thing to think about is the lie angle on your gap wedge. A new wedge will come with a standard lie angle, but you can have a club fitter adjust to a more upright or a flatter lie angle.
In general, it’s always a good idea to have your wedges 1-2 degrees flatter than the rest of your clubs. For example, if your irons have a standard lie angle, you want your wedges 1-2 degrees flat.
Still have some questions about your wedges? Check out some of the most common wedge questions below.
Do I need a gap wedge?
I think most players would benefit from a gap wedge since there’s such a yardage gap between your PW and SW. Having 20-35 yards between clubs makes it hard to dial in your distances on the golf course.
If you’re between a GW or LW, I think a gap wedge is the right play. Since your SW can help with a lot of short shots that a lob wedge does, a GW is more beneficial.
How many wedges should I carry?
Beginner to intermediate golfers should carry three wedges (PW, GW, and SW). This allows you to have an extra fairway wood or hybrid for longer shots instead of adding a fourth wedge (likely a LW) to your bag.
But as you become a more advanced golfer, I would suggest adding a lob wedge to your set. This will help with shots inside 75 yards and great for greenside shots when you don’t have much room to work with.
Related: Best 60 Degree Wedges
How do I hit a gap wedge?
Hitting a gap wedge is pretty straightforward and not very different from a pitching wedge or short irons. The keys to hitting a gap wedge include:
- Smooth tempo
- More weight on your lead foot (60/40)
- Less than parallel at the top of your swing
- Ball positioned in the center of your stance
Plus, a GW is very versatile and you can flight it differently based on your follow through and ball position. Experiment with different types on the driving range to see how this club can help you hit closer approach shots.
What’s the best wedge in golf?
There are so many great wedges to choose from. As I mentioned earlier, it’s important to find a wedge that matches your swing instead of just picking the most popular wedge.
Some of our favorite picks include:
- Hollow-cavity design
- Dynamic sole
- Amazing feel
- Rote face
- Spin milled grooves optimize spin, control, and consistency for more confidence on all wedge shots.
- Vokey wedges grinds are played, proven and perfected on tour
- Beautiful look and extraordinary feel
- Head shaping progresses from traditional shaped lob and sand wedges
Also, don’t forget to check out our golf wedge buying guide.
If you don’t have a gap widget in your bag, you’re making golf even more challenging. But as we talked about, the key is to make sure you have the right gap wedge loft to fit between your other clubs.
Don’t assume the loft is your pitching wedge either, always check the website if it’s not listed on the actual club. Then, make sure to have no more than five or six degrees between any wedges. This will ensure you don’t have any huge gaps in your short game and make it easier to hit it close from wedge distances.
Hopefully, making these adjustments to your wedges will make you unstoppable with a wedge in hand.
Have you checked the gaps between them to make sure they’re spaced properly?
Let us know in the comments below!