Pitching wedges are one of the most useful and versatile tools in every golfer’s arsenal, and this is in part due to the sheer control and loft they provide, as well as the respectable distance they can achieve.
In terms of versatility for approach play, few other clubs perform so well, and while there are specialist options available at high-level play in the form of lob wedges and gap wedges, most golfers will use their pitching wedge for all of these approach shots.
But Why Is The Pitching Wedge So Good?
It has a lot to do with the degree of loft angle the clubhead uses, which creates a huge amount of loft and offers excellent control for situations where height and accuracy are of paramount importance.
In this guide, we’re going to look at what degree a pitching wedge can use to give you a better idea of what to look for and what will suit your particular style of play, as well as some other explanations for the more specialized approach wedges to help you understand how they overlap and what choice to make if the option to use one of these clubs is available to you.
But without further introduction, let’s look at the pitching wedge itself.
How Many Degrees?
The pitching wedge is typically the club with the most loft out of a standard golf set, and generally has a loft angle of around 44 to 48 degrees which allows for hitting shots very high but still getting good distance on approach shots of around 100 or so yards. Pitching wedges can also be used for closer range approach shots, however, and most golfers will use this wedge exclusively for these types of short game shots.
What Is Loft?
Loft is simply how much height you can get on your shot, and this is primarily influenced by the loft angle of the club in use.
For example, distance clubs such as the driver have a very flat loft angle that focuses on creating distance, with the height of the shot being created by the power in the shot multiplied by this discrete loft angle.
For approach shots, the power is much reduced, so to compensate for this, the loft angle needs to be much steeper to create adequate loft with reduced power.
What Other Clubs Offer High Loft?
There are several other clubs that offer good loft. Among the irons the 9 iron and even the 8 iron offer fairly good loft for longer approach shots, however, irons below this will start to offer less loft and require more power in order to gain height as the loft angle flattens out. Some other options are sand wedges, which are used to escape bunkers, lob wedges, and gap wedges.
It’s important to note that the loft angle of these clubs isn’t fixed or totally standardized, and custom-fitted clubs and different brands can offer different loft angles for the same club depending on the various specifications of that club and what the golfer has requested. It’s also possible to slightly alter the loft angle of existing clubs by getting them adjusted, allowing you to make your clubs suit your needs perfectly.
What Degree Is A Sand Wedge?
The sand wedge typically has a loft angle of around 54 to 58 degrees and this is to allow golfers to get as much purchase as possible on the ball in the difficult lie of a bunker.
This wedge is designed to essentially dig the ball out of the sand and the loft angle is extreme in order to generate as much loft as possible, as bunkers often have steep steps up onto the green or fairway which can be difficult to clear without adequate elevation.
What Degree Is A Gap Wedge?
The gap wedge is a lesser-used club among most players but is very useful as it fills a gap between the sand wedge and pitching wedge.
Typically there is around a 30-yard distance gap between what you can get with a sand wedge and a pitching wedge, and the gap wedge fills in this niche with a head angle somewhere between 46 and 54 degrees providing excellent elevation as well as extra distance.
What Degree Is A Lob Wedge?
Although one of the more specialist and uncommon clubs, the lob wedge is the most lofted club available in golf and has a degree angle of 58 to 62 and are designed specifically for very short approach shots where excellent elevation and drop is needed to put the ball onto the green in a specific place.
What Degree Is A 9-Iron?
The 9 iron is the club above the pitching wedge and is designed for longer approach shots or escaping the rough, and has an angle of 41 to 43 degrees giving it a considerable distance boost over the PW.
There are several wedges available to golfers, and while some of them offer excellent benefits and are useful in very specific situations, the pitching wedge is the true all-rounder and the king of the short game, allowing you to get maximum height and control over your approach to the hole.
While the other clubs are nice to have and the sand wedge is handy, a quality pitching wedge will save your bacon many times over and is one of the most reliable and useful clubs in the entire golf set, so make sure you focus on using it well!