The most popular used wedges have lofts between 50-60 degrees. Most are sold in 52, 56 and 60 degrees. The 52 degree wedge travels longer, similar to a pitching wedge and this article will focus on its features and explain how it can be used.
WHAT IS A 52 DEGREE WEDGE?
The 52 degree golf club is commonly known as the gap wedge. Gap wedges are played by many different golfers regardless of their handicaps. Some other names that gap wedges go by are G wedge, A (approach) wedge and D (dual) wedge.
Gap wedges are created and sold with cavity backs in sets or in a blade style individually. Some of the golf companies that create them are Callaway, Taylormade, Titleist, Cleveland and Cobra.
Some gap wedges are sold at 50 degrees so it is important to double-check the loft if you are looking to purchase a 52.
WHAT IS A 52 DEGREE WEDGE USED FOR?
The club can be used on approach shots from both inside and outside of 100 yards. It can also be played around the greens and when trying to chip out of fesky rough.
Depending on the yardage inside 100 yards, golfers can easily employ a half-swing or three-quarter help control the distance to their liking.
Gap wedges are great to use for chipping near the green. If you use a gap wedge that is 52 degrees the ball will roll more on the green then it would with a club 54 degrees and higher such as a 56 or 60 degree wedge. These will spin more when the ball lands.
What is nice about the gap wedge is that you can make the loft more open or closed at address. If you open it up, you can even play it from a bunker. This allows golfers a lot of flexibility and the ability to hit a variety of different kinds of shots.
It’s a good idea to hit the practice greens or range and figure out what kind of shots you’re comfortable playing with a 52 degree wedge.
HOW FAR SHOULD A 52 DEGREE WEDGE GO?
The average distance for a 52 degree wedge is between 80-115 yards for men. For women, the average distance ranges from 60-80 yards. It all depends on the skill level of the golfer and their length.
Many golfers have heard of bounce when it comes to wedges but don’t understand what it is. It’s important to know the bounce in a wedge because it can help your swing style or with the course conditions you are playing.
The bounce is the angle made between the trailing edge and leading edge of the club. It is the part of the club that makes contact with the ground as the face contacts the ball. If the bounce degree is higher, then the leading edge will be higher off the ground at address.
Bounces ranging from 0-10 degrees are good for dry and firm grounds with tight lies.
Bounces from 10-16 degrees are good for rainy and soft conditions.
WHAT IS THE BEST 52 DEGREE WEDGE?
Our selection for the best 52 degree wedge to add in your bag is the Callaway Mack Daddy.
The Mack Daddy features enhanced grooves and technology designed by legendary club maker Roger Cleveland.
These grooves allow the ball to bite more with high-spin and lets golfers land the ball where they want around the greens.
The club is made from soft carbon steel and has a center of gravity that aids players in making solid contact upon impact. The club also was made to glide comfortably against the grass.
These features help golfers get comfortable quickly with the wedge and attain a good feel.
The wedge has four sole grinds with different bounces available. They include S-grind, W-grind, X-grind and C-grind.
These different grinds help golfers match the wedge to their style of play, such as swing attack angle.
It also lets players who primarily play in one kind of condition to match the grind to the types of courses they play. These conditions include soft, hard, dry and wet.
Callaway put out two different options colorwise for golfers to enjoy. The wedge is available in a shiny chrome finish or in a classy dark black matte finish.
The carbon steel helps keep the club looking new and prevents dinks and dents.
HOW TO USE A 52 DEGREE WEDGE?
The following video in the YouTube link below featuring Jay Golden teaches golfers how to use a gap wedge. Golden has been a PGA member since 1982 and in 1988 was selected to the PGA National Teaching Committee.
He says to put the ball towards the back of your stance when taking a full golf swing and to leave a divot after you hit the ball.
50 OR 52 DEGREE WEDGE
Both 50 and 52-degree wedges are considered gap wedges. A 50-degree wedge is more comparable to a pitching wedge with its lower loft. Some golfers opt to actually replace their pitching wedge with a 50-degree wedge since it offers higher trajectory shots and more spin.
Utilizing a 50-degree blade-type wedge can offer more control than a stock pitching wedge with a big cavity back out of a set.
A 52-degree wedge will have a slightly higher trajectory than a 50 when struck correctly and will also have less rollout around the greens. The 50 will go slightly farther in distance.
52 VS 54 DEGREE WEDGE
Most golfers that have a 52 degree wedge in their bag pair four degrees between their sets of wedges. Usually with both a 56 and 60.
Other people with 54 degree wedges pair it with a 50 and a 58 degree wedge. Some don’t even carry a 50 or 52 and jump up from their pitching wedge to a 54 degree club.
A 54 degree wedge will travel shorter distances through the air and have less rollout on the ground than a 52 degree wedge. The spin around the greens will be easier to control with a 54 if hit well.
52 VS 56 DEGREE WEDGE
Pairing a 52 degree wedge with a 56 degree wedge is an ideal decision. The four degrees of loft between the two clubs allows you with a lot more flexibility in the short game department and on approach shots.
You can use the 52 to get out of tricky lies or to run the ball to the hole with a lower lofted chip that has a high rollout. The 56 can be used for higher chips to get out bunkers and over mounds. It will have a softer landing than a 52.
The 56 will travel shorter distances but have a higher ball flight.
52 VS 58 DEGREE WEDGE
A 58 degree wedge and 52 degree wedge will have different results thanks to their six degrees difference in loft.
The 58 degree will launch higher in the air similar to a 60 degree wedge. It will be more ideal from around 15-20 yards shorter than where you hit a gap wedge.
The 58 will be easier to spin on the green and have less roll than a 52.
52 DEGREE WEDGE VS 60 DEGREE WEDGE
A 60 degree is a much higher lofted club than a 52 with its eight degrees of difference.
If you’re hitting a shot or chipping and think you need to clear a tree or have to land the ball with little green to work with, then a 60 is a much better club to hit.
When dealing with a tight pin location, or a hard and fast green, if you really want the ball to check up a 60 should be utilized.
If you have a lot of green to work with and have trouble making contact with higher lofted wedges then reach for the 52. Many golfers have trouble either thinning or cutting too far underneath the ball when chipping with a lob wedge.
Lob wedges usually require a lot more practice to master rather than gap wedges.
Gap wedges are great clubs for approach shots and in the short game. They can be used in a variety of scenarios even in thick rough to help cut the ball out.
For newer golfers who have never hit a blade-like wedge before, using a 52 to get comfortable is a good option before grabbing a higher lofted club like a 58 or 60. Be sure to comment regarding your experiences with a gap wedge and tell us which brand you prefer.
Lawrence Smelser is part of the Golfible editorial staff and is a freelance golf writer. Smelser has covered the PGA Tour and most recently the 2019 Masters. He holds a journalism Bachelor's degree from Texas A&M and a Master’s journalism degree from the University of North Texas