Beginner Guide to Wedges

Sand Shot

A beginner golf club set will most likely have only two wedges: a pitching wedge and a sand wedge.

In contrast, a pro golf players will have four wedges in their bag.

Why is this the case? This is the case because precision is key around the green.

With that in mind, this article will help explain the different types of wedges and the design of the wedge.

Once you finish this article, you should be able to understand all specifications of the wedge as outlined by letters and numbers on the wedge.

This 56, 08, M will make a lot more senses to you.

Titleist SM9 Wedge
Vokey SM9 Wedge

What’s a wedge?

Golf Wedge

Along with the putter, the wedge clubs are considered the “money clubs”.

For most players, half of the golf shots come around the green.

So mastering these shots is critical to improving your game.

The most common wedge is a pitching wedge and it comes with 99.9% of an iron set.

The other wedge that may come with an iron set is the sand wedge.

These two wedges are what most beginners will need to carry in their bag.

More advanced players will add a couple of more wedges to their bag to give them specific shots to their short game.

The wedge set is a very specialized club set and is broken down to 4 types:

  • Pitching Wedge (PW)
  • Gap Wedge (GW) or Attach Wedge (AW)
  • Sand Wedge (SW)
  • Lob Wedge (LW)

Pitching Wedge

Iron Set

If you buy a standard iron set, a pitching wedge will mostly come with the set.

For the average player, a full swing with pitching wedges (PW) could travel anywhere between 110 to 130 yards.

Figure out what this distance is for your full pitching wedge swing.

A typical loft for the pitching wedge is 44-48 degrees.

Gap Wedge

Approach Wedge
Taylormade P770 Approach Wedge (AW)

The gap wedges(GW) or sometimes also known as approach wedge (AW) fills in the gap between the pitching wedge and sand wedge.

A typical loft for the gap wedge is 50-53 degrees.

Instead of taking a half or 3/4 swing with a pitch wedge, most players will take a full swing with the gap wedge.

Sand Wedge

Cleveland CBX2-HERO
Cleveland CBX2 Sand Wedge (SW)

For its namesake, the sand wedge is used in sand bunkers around the green.

It is designed with a wider sole and has a high loft of 54 to 58 degrees to escape the bunkers.

Lob Wedge

Callaway Lob Wedge
Callaway Lob Wedge (LW)

The lob wedge is the latest club to be added to the wedge family. It has the highest loft of the set with a range from 60 to 64 degrees.

The lob wedge is primarily used for flop shots which require more height.


Golf Loft

The wedge’s loft is the angle created between the club face and the vertical line of the shaft.

The wedge set has the highest lofts of any club.

Understand that as the loft increases, the ball will travel higher and shorter distances.

Proper Gapping between Your Wedges

A rule of thumb is to have 4 to 6 degrees of difference between wedges.

For example, if your pitching wedge is 46 degrees, having a gap wedge of 50 to 52 degrees is ideal.

Swing profile

The three swing profiles are sweeper, digger, and neutral.

A sweeper has a shallow swing angle with the ground and “sweep” the ground and thus taking less contact with the turf.

Digger swing profile has a steeper angle angle with the ground and digs into the turf after contact with the ball and allows for back-spin and more control of the ball.

The neutral swing angle is in between the sweeper and digger.


The bounce of a wedge refers to the angle from the leading edge of the sole relative to the ground.

A higher bounce angle will lessen the club from digging into the group.

A lower bounce will dig deeper into the surface.

Low Bounce

Wedges with a bounce angle of 4 to 6 degrees fall into the low bounce category.

A player that sweeps the ball and takes less divots is ideal for this bounce.

Players will often use a lower bounce wedge to hit out of fluffy sand or tall grass. 

Mid Bounce

Wedges with a bounce angle of 7 to 10 degrees fall into the mid bounce category.

Neutral swing shot This is the most versatile option as it falls in between the low and high bounce.

High Bounce

Wedges with a bounce angle of 11 to 14 degrees fall into the high bounce category.

This is ideal for players who swing with a steeper angle into the ground and take more divot.

An example of this shot is hitting a shot in a soft fairway so that the club digs deep into the surface for a proper contact.


Cleveland Wedge Grind
Cleveland Wedge Grind

A grind refers to actually grinding away a certain portion of the sole to customize the wedge based on the swing type and course condition.

Wedge manufacture will grind away the sole area to improve contact with the turf. 

There are no standard grind naming conventions so each manufacturer will have their own names for their grind specifications.

Cleveland Grind Overview

Cleveland RTX4 Grind Overview

Titleist SM8 Grind Chart

Titleist SM8 Grind Chart


The grooves on any club help control the ball spin and shape of the trajectory.

The groove grabs the ball and can be used to shape and spin the ball. 


Most if not all wedges are steel shafts in the stiff category.

Having a stiff steel shaft is more important to the feel and control.


The finish comes in several colors and most of this is purely up to your preference but they do wear down a little differently.

Some manufacturers are playing around with a finish that will rush out more but give you better grip and allow more spins. 

Putting it all Together

Scottie Scheffler had 4 wedges in his bag as he won the 2022 Masters.

Based on what you have just learn, see if you can now understand the specifications.

Scott Scheffler Master Wedge Set

Wedge SpecificationLoft (degrees)Bounce (degrees)Grind
Pitching Wedge (PW)TaylorMade P7TW PW47N/AN/A
Gap Wedge (GP)Titleist Vogel Design SM8 50-12F5012F
Sand Wedge (SW)Titleist Vogel Design SM8 56-14F5614F
Lob Wedge (LW)Titleist Vogel Design SM8 60-06K606K

Practice the Wedge

Wedge Practice

Having and knowing when you use this set of wedges is essential to taking your game to the next level so spend more time on these shorts.

The pro will spend more time with their wedges than they do with their drivers and irons on the range.