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Clubs have changed and evolved over the years and the improvements have been dramatic. One fairly recent development that is a game changer for most players is the gap wedge. Finding the best gap wedge for your game will give you much better control around the green and is likely to save you a good few stokes. Below we have reviewed five of the best to help your game.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the most popular and best golf gap wedges options.
This unique looking wedge is our Editor’s choice for a number of reasons. The originals were a popular gap wedge choice and, in our opinion, they have continued to improve.
The rear of the sole has four distinctive holes in the rear which are not just for show but allow Callaway to redirect the weight from the sole to a higher position in the head.
This should give a consistent flight and good control over trajectory. Center of gravity (CG) is always important and it does not only apply to drivers. The CG is simply the area on the head in which the weight is concentrated.
The positioning will affect the forgiveness, distance, control, and spin of the club, in this case, the wedge. Getting it right is important and something Callaway has focused on.
Much of what makes these gap wedges so consistent and accurate is the groove design. Callaway tweaks this design (progressive grove design) according to the specific loft of the wedge to optimize spin and bounce. This also gives added control to your short game.
Not all players appreciate the looks. The lime green accents on a matt black, nickel, nickel-gold or chrome finish with the 4 holes is great for many but some do not favor the style.
As value for money gap wedges go the Pinemeadow PGX is one to look at. If you are a beginner or still not totally convinced you need a gap wedge then this will get you going.
It has a steel shaft which helps to keep the cost down but it is durable and gets the job done on this type of golf club.
It has a fair sized wide sole that makes it comfortable even when you have a difficult lie. It is forgiving and super easy to hit.
Most golfers will find good consistency with this gap wedge which will help with accuracy.
Pinemeadow still made sure to attend to the appearance of the wedge and most golfers like the look of the PGX Wedge.
It is a versatile option with a choice of 52, 56, or 60-degree higher lofts, according to your needs.
This is a popular gap wedge that is highly rated by most players that have used it.
While a gap wedge is useful to players at all levels, it has a lot to offer the beginner. New golfers will find it harder to control spin and distance around the green and a decent gap wedge will help in this regard.
We find the Cleveland CBX Wedge to be a good option for high handicappers.
The wedge has an easy feel and is helpful out of a tough lie. It features a dual V-sole which helps with forgiveness, especially in poor conditions.
This cavity back wedge will feel and play like your regular clubs while giving you the distances and bounce you want from a gap wedge.
Many wedges have a blade design which will feel different if you play off cavity irons.
The advantage of these gap wedges is the bigger head as well as the wide (dual-v) sole. They make approach shots, even from a poor lie, even easier.
The CBX is also extremely forgiving. It will give golfers great spin control.
Mid handicappers want something slightly different from their gap wedges. While forgiveness is still important they want superb control and great consistency. Most mid-handicappers will enjoy this option.
These wedges are individually milled using precision techniques and machinery. This gives them consistency and good interaction with the turf.
There are three sole grind options available and most players find the milled wedge to offer greater precision.
They have a soft polymer center to create a precision weight port (PWP). This allows TaylorMade to reduce weight near the hosel to improve the center of gravity (CG). This creates a better balance and control.
The groove technology is another feature of this wedge. Known as ZTP-17, they are designed to optimize spin. The steep sidewalls and sharp edge increase the control on the wedge.
Looks wise the wedges are a fairly traditional blade design. They are available in black, satin nickel chrome or antique bronze (depending on the specific option you go for).
This is a complete set of wedges for close to what you normally pay for one. They are great value for money and the feedback from players is overwhelmingly positive. Most people were very happy with their purchase.
The company is clearly confident that you will enjoy their wedges as they offer a 100% money back guarantee.
This is rare and the fact that they offer this should give you some reassurance in the product.
The set consists of a 52 wedge, a 56 and a 60-degree loft wedge. Despite the reasonable price of these wedges it is hard to find any faults with the quality of the forged clubs.
The face is micro-milled which delivers control and consistency.
The bounce options are 8, 10 and 12 which caters for different skill levels.
The forged head give the golf club durability and enhances performance. Most players found the Lazrus wedges comfortable, easy to use and deliver good feel.
The shaft is stepped steel which is also durable and the stiffness suits most golfers.
Some players were disappointed that there are no other shaft options available.
As the name suggests these wedges fill the ‘gap’ between the pitching wedge (PW) and the sand wedge (SW). Occasionally referred to as an attack (AW) or utility wedge (UW), gap wedges tend to carry a loft of around 50 to 53 degrees.
Largely suited to fuller shots, they are typically added to player’s bag to bridge a distance gap and offer more variety near the green for pitches that don’t involve a full swing and longer chips.
In order to fully understand the gap wedge, it is important to look at the range of wedges. Most players are familiar with the pitching wedge and the sand wedge.
What many people often do not realize is that the pitching wedge has changed over the years while sand wedges has remained pretty much the same.
While pitching wedges 20 or 30 years ago had an average loft of about 51 degrees the modern ones are around 45 to 47 degrees. The sand wedge has remained at around 56 degrees. Advances in technology and materials, as well as “pressure” on manufacturers to produce longer hitting golf clubs, has resulted in lower loft angles.
The result is that there is now a significant gap between the two options. This makes closer shots around the green a greater challenge.
Playing a reduced or half shot with a wedge can be a major challenge for most golfers so the obvious solution is to have a wedge in between the two lofts, hence the gap wedge. It lofts between the PW and SW to allow you to play a full swing on those shorter shots near the green.
It is a valuable addition to your golf bag and will give you greater accuracy and control around the green, a critical part of your game.
Bob Vokey, master wedge craftsman at Titleist, is somewhat of a guru on wedges, specifically the gap wedge.
He stresses the difficulty of the half shot and the importance of a wedge to gap the lofts between a PW and the SW. Bob Vokey says players want to look for a loft gap 4 to 6 degrees. The only way to do this is with a gap wedge.
The vast majority of pros are using them but they are just as, if not more important, for the average player.
There is sometimes a bit of confusion between a gap wedge and the approach wedge. Gap wedges are designed with a loft of between 44 and 54 degrees and are ideal for close shots around 100 to 130 yards. This obviously depends on your swing speed and how well you strike the ball.
They give a great loft and good spin and control. AS the name suggests, they fill the gap between the PW and the SW.
An approach wedge is a slightly different beast. It is similar to the sand wedge or sometimes called a lob wedge. It is used for distances of about 80 yards to the pin. They have a loft of around 54 to 60 degrees.
Simply put, a gap wedge will give you good height and spin for distances around 100 to 130 yards and the approach wedge is for shorter ships that should get you close to the pin on much closer shots.
Depending on your swing speed, strength, and ability, these are the typical distances the average male golfer can expect from the various wedges. Lofts have been included for comparison.
Pitching Wedge 47 – 53 Degrees Distance 80-105-120
Gap Wedge 50 – 54 Degrees Distance 70-95-110
Sand Wedge 54 – 58 Degrees Distance 60-80-100
Lob Wedge 58 – 62 Degrees Distance 50-70-90
There are a number of aspects to consider when buying a gap wedge:
Before rushing out and buying a gap wedge you want to look at the loft of your existing PW and SW. This will allow you to determine the gap you need to fill. You want to aim for a gap of 4 to 6 degrees which generally means a loft of 50 to 54 degrees for the gap wedge.
As your wedge strikes the turf, this is known as your bounce. It is measured in angles from 0 to 14 degrees. While mid to high bounce wedges are more versatile a low bounce wedge is great in sandy soil or firm turf conditions.
Roger Cleveland, another wedge and bounce guru, explains it in this video:
Here is another video that explains it further:
The sole, particularly near the heel, determines the sole grind. There are a number of options available. They affect the bounce so it is important to find the one that works best for your style.
There are strict regulations regarding grooves but the technology has improved dramatically and most modern wedges have superior groves for an optimized spin and greater control.
Here is a great video that explains how to play a gap wedge
While all wedges are important the gap wedge has a lot to offer for certain critical distances close to the green. They will give you greater control and accuracy, helping to get you closer to the pin for a shorter put.
We have reviewed some of the best rated golf wedges that are all popular and well-loved. Having said that, our Editor’s choice, the aptly named Callaway Mack Daddy 3 Chrome S-Grind Wedge stands out as a favorite. It is versatile and great value for money. The design lends itself to good control and great consistency.
Given the importance of the short game and the undeniable gap between the standard wedges, a gap wedge can be a great asset in your golf bag.