If you're a beginner golfer, your pitching wedge is going to to be an essential golf club for you. Forget that 60 degree lob wedge, a pitching wedge is going to be a much more consistent and useful tool for your shots around the green.
In this article, we're going to go over all of the basics to do with a pitching wedge, and help you understand the loft of this golf club. Feeling confident and comfortable with you wedge lofts is the secret to a better short game, so let's jump right in and expand our knowledge!
What Is Loft In Golf?
Loft refers to the angle of the face of each golf club in your golf bag. The more loft a club has, the higher and shorter the golf ball will go. The less loft a club has the lower and longer the ball will fly. (In theory...)
What Loft Is A Pitching Wedge?
Pitching wedges can have between 45 and 50 degrees of loft. The most common pitching wedge lofts are between 46 to 48 degrees. In recent years, club manufacturers have made some pitching wedge lofts stronger to increase distance. In some game improvement irons, you might find a pitching wedge with as little as 41 degrees of loft, which is closer to a traditional 9 iron.
What Angle Is A Pitching Wedge?
Angle and loft are interchangeable when it comes to golf clubs, but loft is the more common term. If you are reading an article and they reference the angle of the wedge, they are talking about the loft, which will sit between 45 and 50 degrees.
TaylorMade Pitching Wedge Loft
TaylorMade are one of the biggest golf club manufacturers in the world. The pitching wedge loft angle in their sets of irons is between 45 and 48 degrees depending on the year the clubs are released . In their super game improvement sets, TaylorMade has produced pitching wedges with 43-degrees of loft.
Callaway Pitching Wedge Loft
Callaway Golf have been known to make the pitching wedges in their iron sets with less loft than many of the other brands. Some Callaway pitching wedges fall between 41 and 45 degrees.
The Callaway Steelhead XR pitching wedge has a loft of 44 degrees. This may be because most 9-irons have a loft of around 41 degrees.
Having a lower loft pitching wedge gives you the option for a little more distance on your low yardage approach shots.
When To Use A Pitching Wedge?
A pitching wedge is a great club to use when you have 100 yards or so left into the putting green.
Due to the higher loft of the pitching wedge, you will be able to get the ball to fly higher in the air and land near to the pin without roll out.
If you have a lower lofted pitching wedge, (between 41-44 degrees) you won't be expecting the ball the fly as high as a pitching wedge with 45-50 degrees of loft.
You can also use your pitching wedge for chip shots and bump and runs around the green. I always suggest that higher handicappers use one chipping club and the pitching wedge is ideal for this job. It is more forgiving than the high lofted wedges and will get the ball moving forward faster.
You can use a pitching wedge for bunker shots. If your local course has a lot of sand, I would suggest investing in a sand wedge with around 56 degrees of loft. Sand wedge features are designed to get the ball out of bunkers more easily so take advantage.
How To Hit A Pitching Wedge
Hitting a pitching wedge is different from your other irons. The best piece of advice I ever got was to try to avoid full swing shots with my wedges, try and limit your swing to a maximum of 75% power.
I try to bruise the turf with my pitching wedge, leaving a small scuff the size of a dollar after the golf ball. This means I've not been too steep or shallow with my swing.
The best way to learn how your pitching wedge will react in different conditions is by hitting shots is practice rounds or at the range.
What Is A 52 Degree Wedge Good For?
Sometimes, you need a wedge that can bridge the gap between the pitching wedge and the sand wedge.
Since the average pitching wedge loft is ideal for shots around 135-yards and under, and sand wedges are better for much closer green work, having a gap wedge that sits at 52-degrees can be very useful.
This middle loft wedge is meant to give you the ability to use a full swing at those distances that are a little too close for a pitching wedge, and a little too far for a sand wedge.
Approach wedge loft / A wedge loft
An approach is sometimes called a gap wedge and fill the space between a golfer's pitching wedge and their sand wedge. The typical loft of an approach wedge or A wedge is 50 to 52 degrees.
As you get more skilled at golf, gap wedges will allow you to get proper loft gapping with your clubs so that you can hit shots a specific yardage. I now carry a pitching wedge, A wedge and gap wedge so I can pinpoint my pitch shots and wedge approach shots.
Other wedge options
A pitching wedge isn't always the best option for some golfers because it is naturally lower lofted. If you feel it's not working for you, there are a number of other wedges to consider playing.
The most common wedges to have in your bag are a gap wedge, sand wedge, and a lob wedge.
As mentions above, a gap or A wedge will fill the “gap” between your pitching wedge and the sand wedge.
Sand wedges are best suited for shots from thicker rough and out of sand. Many golfers will also use a sand wedge for chipping close to the green.
A lob wedge is the highest lofted club in most golfer's bags and is designed to get the ball into the air as quick as possible. Phil Mickelson is famous for his lob wedges and the shots he can play with them.
Final thoughts on pitching wedge loft
As a beginner, a pitching wedge might be the most lofted club in your bag for a while. Getting confident with this wedge will then allow you move into the more lofted wedges to hit speciality lofted shots where you want maximum spin to stop the ball quickly.
Until then, use your pitching wedge and learn to love it!