Gap vs. Approach Wedge: Differences Explained

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Choosing your wedges is often overlooked by amateur players. A good wedge set will add a lot of scoring opportunities and quality to your game around the greens.

When it comes to wedge selection, knowing how many wedges you choose to carry can be both a simple yet complex decision at the same time. Most golfers will choose between 3 and 4 wedges. Overall, four wedges can provide more flexibility and options from within 125 yards of the pin.

The wedge will often be the approach wedge/gap wedge as most amateurs only consider pitching, sand, and lob wedge. In this guide, we will compare the approach wedge vs gap wedge so that you can decide exactly how you can incorporate these types of wedges into your game.

Approach Wedge Vs Gap Wedge

The gap wedge is designed for the gap in between a sand wedge and pitching wedge. An approach wedge is essentially another name for the same thing, it all depends on how the manufacturer decides to market the product. The gap wedge/ approach wedge will add some extra flexibility to your approach shot selection from anywhere between 50-125 yards.    

Why Is There A Need For A Gap Wedge or Approach Wedge?

Modern pitching wedges will go a lot further than older models did, but they are still difficult to control around the green, especially compared with the gap wedge, sand wedge and lob wedge.

A gap wedge or approach wedge is great for a mid-distance wedge shot where you still have a decent distance to carry but want more control than a pitching wedge (GolfLink). Additionally, using a gap wedge or approach wedge will allow you to hit shots with more accuracy as opposed to your standard short game irons and can be an additional wedge that can produce accurate shots and also give you a great backspin wedge.

Buying A Gap Wedge and Approach Wedge

The first step to incorporating a gap wedge or approach wedge into your game is to identify which one you’d like to purchase for your game. There are a range of models from different manufacturers that will suit most players. 

Which option you choose will often come down to your own personal preferences, budget, desired forgiveness, and the other clubs in your bag.

How Far Does an Approach Wedge Travel?

Depending on the golfer’s skill level, a typical gap wedge/ approach wedge will carry around 80-100 yards. The skill level isn’t the only factor that will affect the wedge distances. The model, manufacturer, and loft will play a pivotal role as well.

Gap Wedge Loft Selection

The wedge loft that you choose for your gap wedge will depend primarily on the loft of the other clubs in your bag. This would typically be a 50-degree wedge or a 52-degree wedge. As a guideline, a gap wedge/ approach wedge loft should be about 4 degrees between the other wedges in your golf bag. This will help to provide you with plenty of options on the course and flexibility for different golf shot types.

Understanding The Various Wedges

Now that you have a deeper understanding of the approach wedge vs gap wedge, it is important to understand your wedge options and how they affect your game. This will help you with deciding if you really need to add one to your bag or if your current setup works well for you.

Pitching Wedge

A pitching wedge is a wedge with the least loft. Usually a pitching wedge will have a loft of around 46-48 degrees but can vary from model to model. The pitching wedge is designed for shots between 80-125 yards away from the green, requiring great accuracy.

Related Post: Chipping Vs Pitching

Sand Wedge

A sand wedge will have a loft between 55 and 58 degrees to help with shots played from soft lies such as sand. Sand Wedges are designed to easily remove the ball from deep bunkers on bunker shots with ease and can be used for when you need to hit the ball within 80 yards of the green.

Lob Wedge

The most lofted wedge available is the lob wedge which will have a loft of around 60-64 degrees. This can be used to get the ball in the air quickly and with short range accuracy. A lob wedge is ideal for tricky shots where you need to get the ball back up in the air quickly to avoid a tough situation such as hitting the ball over a bunker, water hazards, or over some uneven terrain.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is An Approach Wedge Right For Every Golfer?

An approach club is a club designed to improve the game of top golf players with lower handicaps. It’s more of an intermediate or advanced golf club and unlikely to be found in the golf bag of too many beginner golfers or average golfers. It will act as an extra wedge to fill the distance gap.

What Is The Difference Between A Pitching Wedge & A Gap Wedge?

A pitching wedge has up to 50 degrees of loft, and are often commonplace in a golf set. The gap wedge will sit between the pitching wedge and sand wedge in terms of loft degrees and offer slightly less distance.

In Summary

To conclude, golfers usually have a lot of different types of wedges in their bags to help them achieve the shot they need. The gap wedge and approach wedge are two versions that golfers can use when looking for something that sits between a pitching wedge and a sand wedge.

If you are looking for more versatility with your wedges, then a gap wedge may be a great choice for you. It will allow you to have a fine blend between both distance and control on your short game shots.