What Degree Loft Is A Pitching Wedge?


New golfers ask what degree loft is a pitching wedge because they’re curious. Even an experienced golfer will sometimes be asking that question. For them, even the slightest of variations in the loft can affect how to play and approach certain shots. Regardless of your skill level, knowing the loft on one of the few clubs that have letters instead of numbers is crucial to making the right moves when approaching greens.


In 21st Century golf, the pitching wedge is between 44-48 degrees. Going further back in time, a pitching wedge had more loft and was closer to the low 50s in terms of degrees. This was during a time when golfers carried only two wedges; a pitching wedge and sand wedge. With gap and lob wedges becoming commonplace, our loft expectations have shifted.


Now that you know what degree loft is a pitching wedge, let’s dig in deeper so that you can see everything this versatile club has to offer. Whether you shoot 70 or 100, this is a club that plays from anywhere on the course.





What Degree Loft Is A “Strong” Pitching Wedge?

Having a strong pitching wedge means that it has fewer degree of loft. So in this regard, the answer to what degree loft is a strong pitching wedge would be around 44 degrees.


A stock set of clubs will have pretty even loft distribution and this likely means all of your irons have strong lofts. What does this actually mean though? To the blind eye, it means that you’ll hit each club a couple yards farther than you would if they were less lofted. With a set of strong lofted clubs, your distances will improve across the board.


At first glance, that sounds perfect. Why wouldn’t you want to add more yardage with each of your clubs? On the surface it means hitting less club into greens and maybe even all of a sudden being able to reach a short par 5 in only two shots.


Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. Having stronger lofts affects your ball flight so that it is lower and more difficult to launch. Depending on your preferred method of pitching wedge use, it could be counterproductive.


If you choose a strong lofted pitching wedge, it plays more like an iron than it does a wedge. When it comes to chipping, you are restricting yourself. Most mid and high handicapper golfers that use a strong pitching wedge can only chip using the bump and run method. In order to maintain versatility around the green, they’ll also need to carry gap, sand and lob wedges.




What Degree Loft Is A “Weak” Pitching Wedge?

When hear that some pitching wedges are considered strong, you’re right to assume there are weak wedges too. So, what degree loft is a weak pitching wedge? In most people’s opinion, a weak pitching wedge is around 48 degrees. If you were to go closer to 50 degrees, you wouldn’t actually be dealing with a pitching wedge, but a gap wedge.


Now that you know what a strong wedge does, you can probably guess what a weaker lofted club does for your game. You won’t hit these clubs quite as far, but the distance drop is only a few yards. When it comes to finesse shots and hitting wedges into the green, you aren’t swinging as hard anyway, so this is only a minor factor.


Where a weak lofted pitching wedge is most valuable is finessing shots. When you need to get a shot over a tree, trap or hazard, you’re going to want the club that gets up in the air quicker and comes down at a steeper angle. With a better launch and descent angle, you reduce how far a ball will go once it lands. In a sense, these clubs play more like a traditional wedge.


This is a better option for people that carry more woods and hybrids because you can chip more ways with a weak lofted pitching wedge. It seems counterintuitive that a person would willingly sacrifice yardage, but let’s look at it a different way.


When a wedge has more loft, it becomes more versatile. When this happens, you don’t need to carry four or five wedges. With less wedges, it means you can add more distance clubs to your bag—even if your wedges go a few less yards.




Added Versatility

A pitching wedge acts as the bridge between irons and wedges. Most people that have been playing a while remember how hard it was learning to hit their 4 and 5-irons. What they don’t always remember was how difficult it was becoming confident with a wedge in their hands.


It might be painful in the beginning, but you need to be comfortable using all of your clubs. And yes, this is regardless of what degree loft is a pitching wedge. If you can use all your wedges, you’ll have the confidence you need to go up and down from anywhere.


You don’t want more than a 4-6 degree jump between any clubs, especially when it comes to wedges. Having too large of a gap creates distances where you will not be comfortable. While it may be hard for a beginner golfer to take full shots with various wedges, as you improve this skill is crucial to your success.


Golf is progressive in nature. If you want to master the hardest to hit clubs, you have to start with the easiest. When it comes to wedge play, the pitching wedge, and pitch shots are the easiest. Without countless hours practicing with your pitching wedge, you don’t stand much of a chance. Before flop shots and chips that stop on a dime are possible, you need to work on your pitching wedge game.




Why A Pitching Wedge Is Effective From The Fairway, Rough, And Around The Green

Like we said before, a pitching wedge is a bridge between irons and wedges. No matter where your ball lies, you’ll have a shot with a pitching wedge. In my mind, this club looks like an iron but plays like a wedge. No matter what degree loft is a pitching wedge, you need one in your bag—one of the few non-negotiable clubs in golf.


From the fairway, it is difficult for many golfers to hit wedges due to their larger bottom flanges (related to bounce and grind). With a more iron-like design, a pitching wedge won’t bounce off the fairway quite like a sand or lob wedge.


In the rough, it’s far easier to hit a wedge than a long iron or wood. While it won’t make up for all the distance, the ability to get back into the fairway is guaranteed due to the loft of a pitching wedge. Even if you cannot get to the green because of distance, you call still set yourself up for a good next shot.


You can always manipulate loft by changing your hand position and how open the clubface is. For this reason, a pitching wedge is a great option around the green—regardless of lie. If the ball is sitting up, no problem with any club. If your ball is sitting down, you need to dig into the turf and get it. With a pitching wedge, you can make it happen.




FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions

Is a 52 Degree Wedge a Pitching Wedge?

Not really. Pitching wedges typically have lofts ranging from 42 to 46 degrees. After the pitching wedge comes the gap wedge which is somewhat new addition to the golf wedge lineup. The gap wedge covers the gap between the pitching wedge and the sand wedge.


What Is a 56 Degree Wedge Used For?

A 56 degree wedge is the industry standard for a sand wedge. It has a variety of used and will be found in almost all golf bags around the globe. Some might prefer a 54 or 57 degree sand wedge, and it is possible to get it in many loft and many different wedge grinds.


Common for all 56 degree wedges (or around that number) is that they’re used for approach shots and shots from the sand traps or uneven lies in the rough.


What 3 Wedges Should I Carry?

This is a very subjective matter since it’s totally up to the individual golfer how they prefer to chip, pitch, and approach the green.


Normally the pitching wedge isn’t counted when talking about wedges since it is often a part of the iron set.


A very normal and highly versatile configuration is three wedges consisting of a gap wedge at 52 degrees, a sand wedge at 56 degrees, and a lob wedge at 60 degrees. If your pitching wedge is around 48 degrees then you’ll have a totally even increment of 4 degrees between all your wedges.


This adds to consistency – especially for beginner golfers.




Photo by Matt Seymour on Unsplash