Illustrated Definition

wedgeWedges form a category of golf clubs designed to send the ball onto the green from shorter distances. Their shafts are shorter than on irons, their club face angle loftier, and at least a few of them will generally find their way into a golfer’s bag. Thanks to their high loft, balls struck with a wedge using a full swing will come in using a very high trajectory, optimal for a soft landing into the putting green, for example.

Variety of Loft

wedge-loft-varietyAlthough one can find wedges for every individual loft angle from 46 to 60 and even higher, they usually take the form of a pitching wedge (PW-48°), a gap wedge (GW-52°), sand wedge (SW-56°), or lob wedge (LW-60°). Typically, wedges will be used for shots that need to travel distances of around 130 yards or less. Notably, wedges will be used in a variety of ways around the green, from full swings in the bunker using the sand wedge to small chips from just off the green using a pitching wedge and so on.

Variety of Bounce

wedge-bounceWedges also vary from other clubs in that they feature varying levels of bounce; wedges usually have more bounce than other clubs in the bag. Moreover, the sand wedge will usually have the most bounce, restricting its digging abilities and instead helping the club to slide under the ball for a bunker shot.

Variety of Grinds

wedge-grindA relatively new customization option now offered to golfers takes the form of different grind patterns that one can choose when selecting a wedge. These grind options allow for the alteration of the bounce, sharpening or blunting the trailing and leading edge of the clubhead in different ways in line with the specific objective being pursued. A new club manufacturer – Hopkins Golf – has found a niche in providing 7 different grinds, each adapted to different ball striking environments.

Variety of Finish (Color)

wedge-finish-comparisonWedges are also distinct from irons in that they are offered in different kinds of finish, or color. Indeed, a shopper can find a wedge in the following, non exhaustive color finishes: chrome, satin, black, gun metal, BeCu, BeNi or even rust. Although which one a golfer will end up choosing is mainly a matter of personal taste, there are specific qualities being promoted. Indeed, darker or matte finishes are thought to reflect sunlight in a more subdued way. This can prove particularly helpful in a wedge since the high loft angle can allow for conditions where the sunlight could be directed straight into the golfer’s eyes, especially when setting up with an open face. Other selling points mention the contrast between the clubhead and its immediate environment, sandy bunkers for example, and how one color can allow the golfer to better see his club in relation to the ball when setting up for a shot.

Variety of Clubhead Roundness

wedge-roundness-comparisonFurthermore, wedges can also be categorized according to the roundness of their clubhead faces. Indeed, wedges can feature either teardrop or rounder clubheads, although the definition for each is up for interpretation. A big, round head is usually found to be more forgiving to golfers who don’t regularly hit the club in the center of the sweet spot.

Pitching Wedge

wedge-pitchingA type of wedge with a loft of approximately 48°. Classically, the pitching wedge finds itself between a 9-iron and a sand wedge, or between a 9 and a gap wedge when a golfer has the latter. The pitching wedge can be used for many different tasks and types of shots. Indeed, a full swing can shoot the ball around 125 yards but a limited swing can produce a pitch and run, a golf shot that seeks to see the ball rolling some distance after landing. Also, it is oftentimes used when just off the green for little chips, when the golfer needs to clear an area through the air before the ball can roll undisturbed on a green.

Gap Wedge

wedge-gapA type of wedge with a loft angle of approximately 52°. Historically speaking, the gap wedge is a relatively new option and its purpose – as its name implies – is to bridge the gap between the 48° pitching and the 56° sand wedges.

Sand Wedge

wedge-sandA type of wedge with a loft angle or approximately 56°. In many cases, the sand wedge will be the club with the highest loft angle in the bag, a statement that is true only if the golfer doesn’t have a lob wedge in his bag. The sand wedge has some unique features that will make it especially useful when trying to get a ball out of a greenside bunker, such as higher levels of bounce.

Lob Wedge

wedge-lobA type of wedge with a loft angle of approximately 60°. When a golfer chooses to put a lob wedge in his bag, that club will certainly have the highest loft angle of them all. As its name implies, the lob wedge is particularly well suited for lob shots that send the ball on a very high altitude in contrast to the relatively short horizontal distance traveled. Such a shot is usually attempted when a golfer finds himself close to the green yet needs to fly on top of an area and is looking at a fluffy lie that allows for the trailing edge to go underneath the ball.