A sand wedge used for golf will be either 56 degrees or 58 degrees.
I'll tell you which one I use and why and how you can incorporate either golf club into your bag depending on what is going to lower your scores and improve your golf game.
Whether you use a 56 or 58 degree sand wedge will depend on a couple of things:
- How you prefer to set up your golf bag
- Your skill level
How do you prefer setting up your bag?
Since we can only have 14 clubs in our bag, it's best to decide what type of make-up you would like in terms of golf wedges.
Here are two examples of a bag make-up, one wedge heavy, one woods heavy.
Both options work, it just depends on your preference and priorities in your game.
4 wedges (my old choice)
1 fairway wood
3 iron to 9 iron
Pitching Wedge (48°)
Gap Wedge (52°)
Sand Wedge (56°)
Lob Wedge (60°)
To keep gaps between lofts consistently 4 degrees, this is a nice setup to hit the golf ball consistent distances. Most iron sets nowadays come with a 4 degree difference in loft between clubs so adding wedges that fit into that takes the guesswork out of approaches inside 120 yards.
This setup is great because if you can master a quarter, half and three-quarter wedge shot, you have 16 shots in your wedges alone. If playing better wedge shots inside 120 yards is going to save you the most shots, then you should use the 4 wedge setup.
If you think the longer game is where you need some help, I suggest what I switched to...
3 wedges (my new preferred choice)
1 fairway wood
1 hybrid (or extra fairway wood)
3 iron to 9 iron
Pitching Wedge (50°)
Gap Wedge (54°)
Sand Wedge (58°)
I realized I don't need all that choice with wedges and I can get consistent distances between clubs by using three.
So I replaced all my wedges and use only 3, leaving space for another longer club. I alternate between a 2 hybrid and a 14 degree fairway wood depending on my mood. Sometimes I even remove my 4 iron and put both wood and hybrid in my bag. I hardly every hit a 4 iron so I am happy to leave it at home.
I did this because I want more options off the tee than a driver and 4 wood. That's where I could save some strokes. I usually hit a 3 iron on tight holes and a mis-struck 3 iron has made me lose too many shots to remember. So now I have a driver, 2 fairway woods and a hybrid as alternatives!
The 58 degree wedge acts as a sand wedge from the sand and I can open the face to get the same action as on a 60 degree lob wedge.
What's your skill level?
A 3 wedge set will be best for almost all players to give you an extra club in your bag other than a wedge. Yes we do hit most of our shots inside 120 yards but you don't need 4 clubs for that. You just need to practice with the ones you have.
But sometimes there are sand wedges that are made for certain shots that people struggle with. In particular the sand! I know how difficult playing out of it can be unless you know the technique and practice practice practice. Check out my guide to getting out of the sand here.
There are numerous wedges out there created with fat and heavy soles to be used only in the sand. The best options can be found in my guide here.
If you're a high handicapper who doesn't necessarily struggle with the sand but want to find great wedges, check out this guide on your options.
But if you're a mid handicapper, I have a great guide to finding a great wedge here.
Final thoughts on how many degrees is a sand wedge
I highly recommend the 50 degree, 54 degree and 58 degree setup.
For beginners and those struggling from the sand, I recommend the Cleveland S and C wedges as your go-to wedges.