Playing the right wedges can make golf a little easier.
Here’s what I mean… the average golfer (roughly a 15 handicap) only hits four or five greens in regulation.
That means you have 13 or 14 opportunities to get the ball up and down when you miss the green. When you have the right wedges, it makes these shots a lot easier.
The problem is most golfers get confused when figuring out if they need an approach wedge, deciding on sand wedge loft, and figuring out if they even need lob wedges.
Before you buy any other wedges I suggest finding your PW loft first as it’s arguably the most important wedge in your bag. Getting this wrong will make it impossible to buy the optimal wedges for your bag setup. Keep reading to learn the average pitching wedge loft and more tips to help your short game.
What Degree is a Pitching Wedge?
A pitching wedge loft varies by club manufacturer but ranges between 43-47 degrees.
Game improvement or super game improvement iron sets have lower loft wedges. These clubs are more forgiving and made for higher handicap golfers. They have strong lofts to help increase total distance with each club.
For example, the Callaway MAX OS lite irons are a very forgiving iron set and made for less consistent golfers. The lofts are stronger to increase distance and the PW is a 43 degree wedge. In the past, this type of loft would have been typical of a 9-iron. This is why it’s crucial to find out your PW loft before buying a gap wedge or sand wedge.
While less forgiving iron sets, especially blades or muscle backs, have stronger lofts. These clubs aren’t as forgiving as they’re made for more consistent golfers. Instead, they prioritize shot making instead of distance (as their swing creates plenty of distance already and don’t need the extra help).
For example, the Callaway Apex TCB irons have more loft and the PW in the set has 46 degrees of loft. While some blade iron sets might have 47 degrees of loft.
Don’t forget that more loft means less distance. Now that you have a better understanding of pitching wedge loft, let’s get into why this is so important.
How Do I Find My Pitching Wedge Loft?
Most pitching wedges don’t make it obvious what degree of loft the club is which is unfortunate for amateur golfers.
Because you can’t gap the rest of your wedges accordingly. This makes it easy to buy other wedges (GW, SW, and LW) that don’t have the right lofts to complete your set.
Before buying any other wedges, always Google your iron set specifications first. For example, just type in “Titleist T100 iron specs” and you will get a chart that shows the loft for each club in the set.
Once you know your pitching wedge loft, then you can buy other wedges to ensure they’re spaced out properly. This will help you ensure there are no large distance gaps in your bag which make it difficult to score from certain distances. In the FAQ section we cover the importance of having three wedges in your bag and a few other tips on buying the right ones.
Adjusting Pitching Wedge Loft
Once you find the PW loft of your club, don’t forget that you can also get your lofts adjusted to bend it stronger or weaker too. For example, if your PW is 45 degrees and you want to add a degree of loft, no problem. Just take it to a certified club fitter and they’ll bend it accordingly.
You can usually bend a wedge about two degrees in either direction and we don’t recommend doing more or you risk damaging the hosel.
Don’t forget that when you bend a wedge, you also adjust the bounce angle too. If you have a 54.08 sand wedge (54 degrees of loft, 8 degrees of bounce) and bend to 56 degrees, it will add more bounce to make it 10 degrees.
Make sure to read our full article on Wedge Bounce.
Standard PW vs. Custom PW
Almost every iron set comes with a pitching wedge but you always have the ability to buy a different wedge as well. For example, if you play a Titleist T100 irons and play Vokey wedges, you can always opt to buy a PW that matches your other wedges.
But I don’t recommend this type of wedge for most golfers. Typically, the PW that comes in your iron set is much more forgiving than a premium wedge like the Vokey.
Switching from a T100 PW to a Vokey 46 degree PW (even if the loft is the same) you will likely lose distance. Since the T100 wedge is thicker like the irons, that means more mass behind the ball which impacts total distance. The Vokey is also less forgiving too.
For most golfers, I would recommend keeping the PW that comes with your iron set. It’s easier to hit, gapped with your 9-iron perfectly, and has the same shaft as the rest of your irons.
I’d only recommend switching your PW if you’re a skilled golfer who wants more creativity in your wedge game.
FAQs About Wedges and Scoring Clubs
Do you have additional questions about wedges so you can start improving your short game? Keep scrolling to read our most frequently asked questions and answers below.
Is a 60-degree wedge a pitching wedge?
No, a 60-degree wedge is a lob wedge (LW). Lob wedges are the most lofted club in the set and designed to get the ball up in the air quickly. A typical lob wedge is between 58-64 degrees of loft.
Most amateur golfers don’t hit their lob wedge more than 75-80 yards with a full swing. But it’s frequently used by pros and amateurs alike from close range. It’s a great club with tons of versatility to help your scrambling around the greens.
But lob wedges are not for everyone as some players struggle to make consistent contact.
Is a 56 the same as a pitching wedge?
No, a 56 is a sand wedge (SW), not a pitching wedge as sand wedge loft varies from 54-57 degrees. A sand wedge is one of the most common clubs that professionals and amateurs use.
While some players add a lob wedge to their bag, others prefer a sand wedge as the club with the most loft. A sand wedge is great for full swings as it goes further than an LW and makes a lot of greenside shots easy.
Is a pitching wedge 52 degrees?
No, a pitching wedge has a loft between 43-47 degrees. As mentioned above, it depends on the club manufacturer and type of iron set.
Gap wedges (also known as an approach wedge) provide a solution from the “gap” between your PW and SW. This is usually 10-12 degrees and a huge distance gap between the two clubs. A GW fills that gap perfectly and ensures you have a club for hitting shots inside 125 yards.
Gap wedges have more loft than a pitching wedge but play a similar role. A GW is used for all types of shots including full wedges, chip shots, long bunker play, tight lies, and more.
If you don’t have a gap wedge yet, I highly recommend getting one. It’s easy to hit, reliable, and will get regular use during the round for all types of shots.
Do pitching wedges come in every iron set?
Yes, pitching wedges come in almost every iron set. Unless you specifically request not to order it by selecting a 4-9 iron, it should come with your set.
What 3 wedges should I carry?
Many golfers typically choose to carry three or four wedges.
A beginner golfer might only carry two wedges if they come in a set of golf clubs that only has a PW and SW. But the overwhelming majority opt for a third or even fourth wedge.
Having 3-4 wedges gives you tons of ways to create short shots and save strokes around the greens. If you only choose to carry three wedges (or buy a wedge set), there are two different setups that are common:
- Pitching wedge
- Gap wedge
- Sand wedge
With this setup you will have 4-6 degrees of loft between each club and your sand wedge is the highest lofted club in the bag. This is a good setup for beginners who aren’t ready to hit a LW consistently and can add an extra fairway wood or hybrid to help with their long game.
The other main setup if you carry three wedges is:
- Pitching wedge
- Strong sand wedge for weak gap wedge
- Lob wedge
The loft would usually be around 46 – 54 – 60. This isn’t as common for the average golfer but something that pros do more regularly.
The only problem with this setup is there are big gaps between clubs. This will require more knockdown shots to get creative and ensure you don’t lose any shots from not having enough wedges. The number of wedges is one of the more difficult decisions when selecting golf clubs. So make sure you experiment and find what works for your game.
Should you hit full shots with wedges?
Yes and no. Here’s why…
Yes, you should hit full shots for certain approach shots with certain wedges (like a PW or GW) but it also depends on your skill level. Beginners and high handicappers should hit full wedges only with a pitching wedge or possibly a gap wedge too. These clubs are designed for full swings but also work around the greens too.
But you shouldn’t hit full high lofted wedges if you’re a beginner that hasn’t developed a consistent swing yet. Hitting hard lob or sand wedges from longer range requires great timing and ball striking which the average player might not have yet. This can result in a lot of flub or chunked shots that miss the green by a large margin.
Even professional golfers don’t hit a ton of full swing wedges with an LW or SW either. They don’t because when they swing full with short clubs, it creates maximum spin.
While the everyday golfer wants more spin, professionals actively try to avoid it. They produce so much backspin that it’s hard to judge and can easily spin off the green.
Swinging less than full (aka, a knockdown shot) is better as it reacts consistently on the green. It will hit once, maybe twice, and then stop without spinning back off the green.
Read more here about the wedge swing versus an iron swing.
Which wedge is best for chipping?
For chipping, I would recommend a PW or GW. Chipping is all about flighting the golf ball down and getting it on the green so it’s rolling like a putt.
A PW or GW work best for this as they have less loft than a sand or lob wedge. The ball is more likely to release once it hits the green and great for a bump and run type shot.
Remember, loft is the enemy when it comes to chipping. While pitch shots or flop shots are the ones that require more loft as you have less green to work with.
Want to learn more about chipping and pitching? Click here to read our full article now.
Final Thoughts on Golf Wedges
Pitching wedge lofts vary on the type of golf club you use and the manufacturer. But in general, they range from 43-47 degrees of loft.
Pitching wedges are great clubs, especially for amateurs and beginners, as they’re pretty easy to hit. They’re easy to hit with full swing shots and also help with a lot of short chip shots from around the green.
Most amateur golfers should use the pitching wedge that comes with their iron set. These are more forgiving than most aftermarket wedges (like the Titleist Vokey) and have more forgiveness on off center strikes. Plus, they also have more carry distance too thanks to a larger clubhead.
But if you’re a more skilled player, a premium pitching wedge might help your golf game inside 125 yards. Regardless of what type of wedge you choose, make sure the loft works with the rest of your set so you don’t have any big distance gaps.