Wedges are clubs used for shorter approach shots, chipping, pitching and hitting from bunkers. Each wedge has a different loft, measured in degrees, which can vary depending on the manufacturer of a club. Understanding the degree of loft of each wedge can help golfers understand the club that is most appropriate for any situation on the course.
With a loft of about 45 to 48 degrees, the pitching wedge is used for the longest wedge shots--about 135 yards and closer for most male players. In addition, the pitching wedge’s loft is ideal for chip and pitch shots around the green where the player has room to roll the ball to the hole.
A gap wedge has slightly more loft than a pitching wedge, but shots will travel farther than with a sand wedge or lob wedge. The club is a fairly new development made by club manufactures to bridge the distance different between the pitching and sand wedge. The standard loft for a gap wedge can be anywhere between 50 and 54 degrees. The relatively strong loft of a gap wedge also makes it a standard choice for chipping and pitching near the green.
The standard loft for a sand wedge can range from 54 to 58 degrees. The sand wedge is more lofted than a pitching or gap wedge, so shots will not fly quite as far. Sand wedges feature a rounded base so that it can more easily slide through the sand on bunker shots. The more rounded base produces bounce, which also means the clubhead will bounce when used in the fairway. The clubhead on sand wedges makes getting the ball in the air more difficult and increases the likelihood of skulled shots.
Lob wedges are the most lofted wedge, with a measurement generally between 58 and 62 degrees. The lob wedge is meant for short approach shots and is best utilized when a player needs to stop the ball quickly on the green or approach a tough-to-reach pin placement. Because the club is more lofted, players can take a larger swing to pop the ball in the air. However, this can be a risk and increases the chances of a bladed shot.