What Degree Is An Approach Wedge? [When To Use It]

Your wedges are some of the most important clubs in the golf bag.

They help fill in the yardages where your irons will be too far and they also get you out of trouble if you’ve missed the putting surface.

When it comes to wedges, an approach wedge can often get confused with other types of wedges such as a sand wedge or lob wedges. So what degree are approach wedges? Let’s take a look.

What Degree Is An Approach Wedge?

What Degree Is An Approach Wedge?

What Degree Is An Approach Wedge?

An approach wedge is around 48-54 degrees of loft and is designed to fit in between a pitching and sand wedge.

However, the loft of each club can vary so it’s always a good idea to check the manufacturer’s details to know exactly what the loft of the approach wedge is.

The approach wedge is also known as a gap wedge because it’s basically filling the ‘gap’ between the lesser lofted pitching wedge and the higher lofted sand wedge.

Often, the approach wedge will have an ‘A’ on the head of it referring to it as an approach wedge or sometimes it will just have the degrees of loft such as 52°.

With the increased desire for distance in the game, many iron set lofts have been lowered, making a pitching wedge much less lofted than before.

This, therefore, leaves a bigger gap between the pitching wedge and the sand wedge, so the requirement for an approach wedge has become far more of a necessity.

Other names such as a utility wedge or an attack wedge can be used to describe the approach wedge.

Do I Need An Approach Wedge?

The chances are if you’ve got a fairly modern set of golf irons, then they’ll have been designed to be hit far. The lofts will have been reduced to help give a slightly greater emphasis on distance.

But with this greater length, it will also mean a greater distance gap between your pitching wedge and your sand wedge.

Some modern pitching wedges these days can have a loft of 44°. If the next club in your bag is a 58° sand wedge, then you’ve got a gap of 14 degrees in the bottom end of your golf set.

Each loft degree can impact the distance of a golf ball by around three yards. So this ends up in a total of 42 yards of distance gaps. This sort of gap can become very difficult to control and judge, in an area of the game which is often the most important.

Therefore, the approach wedge works perfectly here to bridge the gap and help bring those yardages a little closer together.

By including a 50 or 52-degree wedge in your set, you’ve now got a club you can hit full-swing shots to a good distance in between the pitching wedge and sand wedge.

I’ve always had a few wedges in my bag, including a 52° gap wedge, because I feel like I’ve got far more control on pitch shots and chip shots around the green.

For full shots, I know I’ve got a distance gap of around 11 yards for each club. But it also means I’ve got greater options to flight different shots and hit half shots or spinny chips.

Having the extra wedge is very useful, and provided you’ve got no more than the maximum number of golf clubs, it would be silly not to add one to your bag.

When To Use An Approach Wedge?

Choosing when to use an approach wedge when playing a round of golf will depend on a few different factors, but generally speaking, the following are the best times to pull out the approach wedge:

Filling The Gap

The approach wedge or gap wedge is designed to fill the gap between your pitching wedge and sand wedge.

Therefore, when you’re too close to the green for a pitching wedge but too far away for a sand wedge, the approach wedge can come into its own.

A full shot with the approach wedge, perhaps a 52-degree, will work perfectly as a full-swing pitch shot.

Approach Shots

Perhaps you don’t need a full-swing golf shot and you’ve only got less than 50 yards to the flag.

Instead of going straight for the most lofted club, try using the approach wedge and either shortening your swing or cutting down on the grip.

This can help with the flight of the ball and give you a little more control for the most precise of shots into the green.

Long Bunker Shots

If you’re in a bunker or sand trap, your first thought might always be to pull out the sand wedge.

However, for longer bunker shots, an approach wedge might actually be the better option here for its less loft and greater distance.

Basically, it’s the same sort of technique you would use for a short bunker shot with a sand wedge. Open the face of the club a little to help use the bounce of the club and stop the leading edge from digging in. Then take a normal swing and splash it out onto the green.

Chip Shots

Using an approach wedge for chip shots around the green can be much easier than using a lob wedge or sand wedge.

With less loft, a chip shot can be played more like a chip and run with a putting stroke technique. Getting the ball on the green more quickly and letting it run up towards the flag.

On the other side, it can carry slightly more and check up quicker than if you’re using a 9 iron or a pitching wedge.

My favourite club for using around the greens is my 52° wedge. I can de-loft it for a low check shot or I can open it up and play the high shot if the lie is good enough.

From The Rough

If you’re in the rough, an approach wedge can be very useful for helping to cut through the long grass and get the ball back into play.

It’s designed to get the ball up higher and out of this sort of rough more easily, so you can continue playing the hole from the fairway.

Approach Wedge vs Gap Wedge: What’s The Difference?

Although they may be given a different name, gap wedges and approach wedges aren’t actually different.

Most of the time the approach wedge loft will be between 48 and 54 degrees and can be used to fill the gap between the pitching wedge loft and sand wedges.

Whilst some manufacturers can vary approach wedge lofts, they will always be around the 50-degree mark and similar to a gap wedge.

Final Thoughts

With pitching wedge lofts getting stronger and stronger in modern game improvement irons, an approach wedge is becoming more and more important for the average golfer.

It helps give you that extra club that means you don’t need to start trying shorter grips or reduced swings as this can become confusing for any golfer let alone someone just getting started.


Is a 52-degree wedge an approach wedge?

Yes, a 52-degree wedge is an approach wedge, which will fit perfectly between a pitching wedge and a sand wedge loft.

Is a gap wedge and an approach wedge the same?

A gap wedge and an approach wedge are essentially the same club with the same sorts of loft but just given a different name from the club manufacturers.

What is the difference between an approach wedge and a lob wedge?

An approach wedge has a loft of between 48 and 54 degrees, whereas a lob wedge will have a loft of over 60 degrees.

What is a 52-degree wedge called?

A 52-degree wedge is known as an approach wedge or a gap wedge and is used to fill the distance gap between the sand wedge and pitching wedge

When should I use an approach wedge?

An approach wedge can be used for longer bunker shots, shots from out of the rough, pitch shots where the pitching wedge is too much but the sand wedge is not enough, as well as chips from around the green.

Is an approach wedge worth it?

If you’re a golfer who wants to improve, an approach wedge can be a very useful golf club for the bag as it gives you far more versatility.

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