What Is a Gap Wedge?

By Steve Silverman
The gap wedge helps golfers get to the green from about 70 to 100 yards out.
The gap wedge helps golfers get to the green from about 70 to 100 yards out.

Learning how to play your short irons is essential in golf. One of the most effective clubs is the gap wedge. Thirty years ago, the gap wedge did not exist. Most golfers carried just a pitching wedge and a sand wedge. A gap wedge, also known as the approach wedge, helps fill the distance gap between the pitching wedge and the sand wedge.

Use your gap wedge when you are about 70 to 100 yards from the green. A gap wedge has a loft ranging from 49 to 52 degrees. This club will send a well-struck ball high in the air and allow it to land softly on the green. Use this club if you feel your pitching is too much club and your sand wedge is not enough.

Use your pitching wedge when you are 80 to 120 yards from the green. The pitching wedge has less loft than the gap wedge. The loft on a pitching wedge is between 45 and 48 degrees. You can hit a ball farther with a pitching wedge than a gap wedge, but it won't go as high nor will it land as softly.

Use your sand wedge when you are less than 100 yards from the green or in a sand bunker. A sand wedge has a loft of between 54 and 56 degrees. It will hit the ball higher than the gap wedge, but not as far.

Practice hitting the ball with all your wedges at the driving range to learn what they are capable of doing for your game. The distance you can hit the ball depends on your skill level and strength. Short-iron play is very important when it comes to scoring, and getting familiar with your wedges -- including the gap wedge -- can help you put a low number on your scorecard.

About the Author

Steve Silverman is an award-winning writer, covering sports since 1980. Silverman authored The Minnesota Vikings: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly and Who's Better, Who's Best in Football -- The Top 60 Players of All-Time, among others, and placed in the Pro Football Writers of America awards three times. Silverman holds a Master of Science in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism.

Photo Credits

  • Scott Halleran/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images
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