Degree of Gap Wedges Explained

A gap wedge fits in the loft gap between a pitching wedge and sand wedge. It ranges from 50-54 degrees of loft. Gap wedges bridge the yardage gap between other wedges. They allow golfers to hit full swings into greens from 125-100 yards out. Narrowing wedge loft gaps improves distance control on approach shots.

What Degree of Loft is a Gap Wedge?

  • 50 degrees – The strongest lofted gap wedge sitting just 2-4 degrees above a pitching wedge. Best for golfers with slower swing speeds looking to minimize gapping.
  • 52 degrees – The most popular gap wedge loft. Sits right between a pitching wedge and sand wedge. Provides about 10-15 yards more than a pitching wedge.
  • 54 degrees – Sometimes called an “attack wedge”, this loft overlaps some with a higher lofted sand wedge. Best for skilled golfers wanting to fine tune wedge yardages.
  • 56 degrees – More of a sand wedge than gap wedge. Normally only seen in singled lofted wedge sets. Not great for full shots but useful around greens.

Factors Influencing Loft Selection

  • Swing speed – Faster swingers can use less loft to gap properly. Slower swingers need more loft.
  • Distance strengths – Longer hitters may start gapping up from 52 degrees, average hitters from 50 degrees.
  • Yardage preferences – Some prefer 10 yard gaps, others 15+ yards between wedges.
  • Shot versatility – More wedges offers more scoring options but demands skills to manage gapping.
  • Course layout – Tighter, shorter courses benefit from more loft options around the greens.

Most Common Wedge Setup:

  • Degree of Pitching wedge: 44-48
  • Degree of Gap wedge: 50-54
  • Degree of Sand wedge: 54-58
  • Degree of Lob wedge: 58-64

This provides gaps of 4-6 degrees between wedges. The lower lofts allow versatility off the tee or fairway while higher lofts handle any greenside challenge.

Master Your Wedge Yardage

  • Know your wedge carry distances through practice and tracking.
  • Make consistent, smooth swings. Varying swing lengths will alter distances.
  • Control trajectory through ball position. Forward for lower shots, back for higher shots.
  • Use partial swings to refine yardages. Take 20 yards off a full gap wedge with a three quarter swing.
  • Choke down for finesse shots. Inch down the grip to reduce distance.
  • Consider prevailing winds and their effect on shot lengths.

Gap Wedge Loft

  • Full swings from 125-100 yards out. The perfect club for a controlled second shot approach.
  • From just off the green when you need extra zip to stop the ball quickly.
  • Tight lies when you need to keep the ball low to avoid branches or trouble.
  • Windy conditions requiring a lower ball flight.
  • Finesse shots around the greens needing less zip than a sand wedge.

Conclusion

Dialing in your gapping can eliminate distance gaps and improve scoring. Find the right degree wedges for your game and commit to practicing all scenarios. Develop trust in your wedges and watch your proximity to holes improve dramatically.

FAQs

What is the most common degree of pitching wedge?

Traditionally, pitching wedges were designed with lofts between 46-50 degrees. But as club technology has progressed, especially cavity back irons with stronger lofts, the pitching wedge loft has steadily decreased. Nowadays, 48 degrees is the standard pitching wedge loft.

What is wedge gapping?

Properly gapping wedges means having appropriate loft intervals between each wedge to provide maximum distance control and avoid “yardage gaps” in the short game.

What is an attack wedge loft?

The name “attack wedge” indicates its aggressive utility around the greens. The extra loft gives golfers an attacking short game weapon. A 54-56 degree attack wedge loft falls between a sand wedge and a normal 50-52 degree gap wedge. This adds another option right before getting into the most lofted sand and lob wedges.

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