You Asked: What Loft is a Sand Wedge?
Golf Wedges

You Asked: What Loft is a Sand Wedge?

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You Asked: What Loft is a Sand Wedge?

What degree of loft is a sand wedge?

A sand wedge typically has a loft of 54 or 56 degrees. This is usually the most lofted club that comes with a standard set of clubs although some golfers choose to add a more lofted wedge.

What are the different types of wedges and where do sand wedges fall on the spectrum of wedge lofts?

A typical set of golf clubs may only provide the two most common wedges: the pitching wedge and the sand wedge. A lob wedge has the highest loft. The “gap wedge” literally bridges the gap between the pitching and sand wedges. These can also be called approach, utility or attack wedges.

Club (Marking)Most Common Lofts (Degrees)
Pitching Wedge (PW)44, 45, 46
Gap Wedge (Approach Wedge, Attack Wedge, Utility Wedge) (GW, AW, UW)50 or 52
Sand Wedge (SW)54, 56, 58
Lob Wedge (LW)60, 62

Does the degree of loft matter?

The degree of loft impacts the height of the ball’s flight as well as the distance it goes. As you may recall from Physics 101, these two things are inversely correlated, i.e., the ball may go a bit further if you hit it harder but the degree of loft will definitely impact the total potential distance the ball can travel.

This concept is especially important because the correct loft is necessary for being able to put a full swing on every shot. If you know you do not have the correct wedge for a particular shot, you may have to shorten your swing in order to compensate. This is a common reason that golfers end up adding the fourth wedge to their bag.

How many golf wedges do I need?

Many golfers will choose to supplement their standard set with a gap wedge and a lob wedge. Depending on how many clubs you want in your bag (the Rules of Golf allow a maximum of 14), you will likely opt for three or four wedges.

Do I really need a gap wedge and a sand wedge?

Carrying four wedges gives you more options for getting out of sticky situations the right way. As noted, instead of making half shots with the wrong wedge, you can make a full swing with the right wedge and make sure your ball has the correct approach.

What’s the perfect loft for a sand wedge?

While you can find sand wedges with lofts everywhere from 54 to 58 degrees, the most common sand wedge loft is 56. That said, just because it is the most popular choice does not necessarily make it the best option for you.

Consider a case where you have a setup with three wedges. This would most likely include a pitching wedge of, for example, 46 degrees and a 60-degree lob wedge. Without including a gap wedge in this setup, a 56-degree sand wedge would leave a huge gap between it and your pitching wedge. Such a large gap would leave you lacking the appropriate club on certain shots. In this case, choosing to go with a 54-degree sand wedge is a much better option in order to give you a better balance of choices for every possible situation.

What are the ideal wedge loft combinations?

We laid out a solid three-wedge combination above. However, we also noted that you may find that having just three wedges may limit your options. You may find that you struggle to get the shot you want and end up leaving a good deal of yardage on the table.

If you opt to have four wedges, you may want to arrange your additional clubs around what you already have. Many golfers aim for a four-degree gap between wedge lofts. If you have a 44- or 45-degree pitching wedge, you may choose a 50-degree gap wedge and 54-degree sand wedge. On the other hand, if you have a 46-degree pitching wedge, you may find that a 52-degree gap wedge and a 56º-degree sand wedge are preferable. Here are two popular combinations for wedge sets with four clubs:

Option A:Option B:
Pitching Wedge: 44ºPitching Wedge: 46º
Gap Wedge: 50ºGap Wedge: 52º
Sand Wedge: 54ºSand Wedge: 56º
Lob Wedge: 60ºLob Wedge: 60º

How do I choose the perfect wedge loft combination for me?

As you can see in the two examples above, the goal of building a wedge set is to minimize the gaps between them. This will give you a lot more flexibility in terms of making successful bunker shots and hitting the distance you want on the fairway. You can fill out your wedge set based on what you currently have or buy new wedges based on your firsthand experience and the preferences you develop as you play.

Don’t rush out and buy every bit of golfing gear you might need right away. Get some experience playing first. For example, you may find your pitching wedge has a bit more heft and that you can get away with a higher-lofted gap wedge. Give yourself some time to discover where the gaps are most prevalent in your game and then buy whatever additional clubs will best fill these gaps.

How do I determine what loft my wedges are?

It is easy to figure out the lofts on your wedges. Usually, you can find the specs on the manufacturer’s website if you know the name of your clubs. If you don’t have that information, check the clubs themselves. Many wedges have the loft angle written on the bottom of the club.

What is “bounce” and why does it matter?

Another important aspect of sand wedges is “bounce.” Based on the angle between the club’s leading edge, the sole and the ground, bounce impacts the speed and angle of how the club hits the ball. A low-bounce wedge (less than four degrees) is best for making clean contact with the ball.

Medium-bounce wedges (generally seven to 10 degrees) are the most versatile and suited for players of all different swing styles. High-bounce wedges (more than 10 degrees) are ideal for sand wedges as they prevent the leading edge of the club from dragging too much in the sand or the  rough.

What shaft lengths should my wedges be?

While some wedge sets are a standard half-inch shorter than your other clubs, other wedge sets will get progressively shorter as you increase loft. In this case, remember that  when adding wedges to your set that the most lofted wedge should also have the shortest shaft. This gives added control although it also makes it more difficult to produce height and speed. Because loft already helps with achieving a higher flight, that is why a progressively shorter system is ideal for maintaining a balance of distance and control. The best way to ensure you have the proper equipment for you is to get a golf wedge fitting.

What can I use a sand wedge for?

Don’t let the name confuse you. A sand wedge isn’t just for getting out of bunkers. You can also use a sand wedge for high approach shots onto the green as well as other high-arcing shots. The sand wedge is great for getting out of the rough or over obstacles but don’t feel obligated to limit yourself just to sand because it is in the name. Play the course and choose whatever club is best suited for the situation.

What’s the easiest wedge to hit out of sand?

As the name implies, a sand wedge is typically the go-to choice for getting out of a bunker. That said, it really depends on a number of conditions. You need to consider the sand as well as your lie. You also want to look at how far away you are and what angle of attack will be possible. Wedges should have the least steep angle of attack of all the clubs.

How do I choose a wedge based on sand conditions?

Sand wedges are perfect for fluffy, loose sand or high grass. The bounce angle helps you stay off the ground rather than digging into it during your swing. As a result, the sand wedge gives you the best chance of passing through the sand with the most momentum and reaching the ball with minimum disturbance.

What wedge do I use in tight lies?

On the other hand, if you are in a bunker with harder and more compacted sand—say if it has just rained and the sand is still wet—you won’t need a wedge with as much bounce. Even though it is still sand, depending on how compacted it is, you might consider this a “tight lie.” In such a case, you will want a low bounce to get the most control. Whereas your sand wedge is likely to have a high bounce, your lob wedge probably has a low or medium bounce angle.

What wedge do I use in a buried lie?

Finally, if you have a buried lie, you may choose to go with a pitching wedge, which tends to have the lowest bounce, so you can get the leading edge under the ball to give the ball some lift.

Can I use a 60-degree wedge as a sand wedge?

Vokey WedgeWorks 60A Wedge

A 60-degree  wedge, aka a lob wedge, will not work very well as a sand wedge. For one thing, lob wedges tend to have less bounce (likely a low or medium bounce angle). This means  it will dig more into the ground as opposed to a high-bounce sand wedge.

How do you hit a 56-degree sand wedge (for beginners)?

As noted, the 56-degree is the most typical sand wedge. If you are a beginner golfer wondering how to use it, here are a few important tips.

First, you want to get a good full shot so the momentum will carry your club head through whatever tough terrain you are in. This is why it is so important to use the correct loft for the situation.

Second, you want to have an “open” clubface. This is where the heel of the clubface (the part with the grooves) is closer to the ball than the toe.

Finally, keep in mind that you want to avoid chopping down on the ball. Wedges are designed so you can get under the ball, take full advantage of the lofted clubface and get a good lift on the ball. If you feel like you are chopping down on the ball, try to enter the sand a couple of inches behind the ball in order to make better contact.

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