What are Wedges for?
The wedge is one of the clubs that is used the most because of its versatility and the fact that 50% of shots played in a round of golf are short game shots, so having the right wedges is vital.
Wedges are the clubs in your bag that have the highest loft for clubs used for short approach shots (generally considered 120 and in), shots that are played out of the sand, pitch shots, chip shots and generally any shot that needs to be made where the ball will need to ascend and then descend sharply.
The different lofts provided by the different wedges available allow for different shots to be made closer to the green. The higher the loft of the club, the sharper ball will travel up in the air and descend down with more spin. While lower loft wedges work in a similar way to longer irons as it provides much more distance on full swings.
Types of Wedge
Pitching Wedges (PW)
The pitching wedge is the most common wedge that you will come across. Typically this wedge has a loft that ranges between 44 and 48 degrees and is primarily used for full shots onto the greens and some longer chip shots that need to be made.
Most modern pitching wedges tend to be designed with lower loft to work more seamlessly with longer hitting irons. However by reducing the loft of the club it creates a large area between the Pitching and a Sandwedge. This loft area is filled by the next club on this list.
Gap Wedges (GW)
The Gap wedge, which you might hear people calling an attack or utility wedge, tends to have a loft of 50 to 53 degrees. This wedge is suited for shots that require more distance and offer more variety for shots played near the green that doesn't require a full swing or longer chip.
Sand Wedges (SW)
The name is quite a giveaway for what this wedge is intended for, but this club is mainly used for bunker play with a loft that ranges from 54 to 58 degrees. The sand wedge features a wider, rounded and curved head so it is perfect for chips and bunker shots around the green.
A lob wedge, which is designed with a loft that ranges from 60 to 64 degrees, allows for height and more spin with shots near the green for more chips, flop shots and bunker shots.
When golfers refer to the "bounce" of a wedge is the area of the club at the sole that makes contact with the turf and bounces the club under the ball at impact. The bounce, specifically the angle of the sole of the club, is added to avoid the club digging into the sand or the turf, like it would with an iron, which would stop all the momentum of the swing.
Wedges come with different bounce angles to fit different types of swings.
Low Bounce Wedges
Wedges that are designed with a bounce angle of 4 to 5 degrees are considered low bounce. This angle is better suited for players who tend to sweep the ball, creating a shallower divot that works best on firmer turf conditions and in bunkers that have heavy, coarse sand or little sand at all.
Mid Bounce Wedges
A wedge with 7 to 10 degrees of bounce is the most versatile option that is suited to a range of conditions and swing types.
High Bounce Wedges
High bounce wedges have more than 10 degrees of bounce, meaning that the leading edge sits higher when the sole is resting against the ground. High bounce wedges are designed to work best for players who dig in at impact, creating deep divots on strikes and deep in the bunkers with deep fine sand.