What Is the Approach Wedge Loft? [Everything To Know]

An AW is an approach wedge often referred to as a gap wedge by some golfers and companies. The two names mean the same thing and can be referred to each other interchangeably.

The approach wedge golf club is a popular club carried in a 14-club golf bag because of its versatility and usefulness on the golf course. Although there are many different types and brands of approach wedges, all of them are somewhat similar.

Let’s jump into some of the most common questions regarding an approach wedge and other important questions about them. Hopefully, we will also answer further in-depth for what is an AW golf club. 

What Is the Approach Wedge Loft?

An approach or gap wedge’s normal range of loft is 46 degrees to 52 degrees.

The range is the largest range of degrees of loft that any type of wedge has on the market. It is nice because it gives more options for golf consumers and can accommodate different types of golfers and their needs.

You may be asking, “What degree is an approach wedge?” We put together this wedge and loft distance chart so that you can get a better idea of how it works, but keep in mind that it depends on gender and the individual golfer:

Wedge Loft Average Distance 
48 degrees 115 yards
50 degrees 95 yards
52 degrees 90 yards 
54 degrees 85 yards
56 degrees 78 yards
58 degrees 70 yards
60 degrees 30 yards

As you can see, the approach wedge loft determines the AW wedge distance, with the higher approach wedge degree yielding fewer yards because the ball flies higher. Hopefully, this answers, “What is the loft of an approach wedge?” 

Read Next: The 7 Best Wedges For High Handicappers

Who Should Use an Approach Wedge?

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Maybe you’re wondering when to use approach wedge. You would grab the AW wedge in your golf bag when you want to hit the ball between 60 and 110 yards. That’s the average approach wedge distance. 

This club hands you distance and power. 

You often receive more accuracy with an approach wedge and can use it to escape a sand trap or a poor lie around the green. 

Most approach wedges will have a typical loft of 49 and 55 degrees. In fact, most approach wedge degrees will hover at around 52 degrees loft. The approach wedge angle does matter for distance purposes.  

How High Should You Hit an Approach Wedge?

The average distance of an approach wedge for most men will hover at around 90 yards, and women will average around 70 yards. How far they hit depends more on the skill of the golfer. For example, PGA Tour professionals can hit an average of 130 yards, and some can hit up to 150 yards.  

How Far Does an AW Golf Club Go?

It is always tough to determine how far a golf club goes because so many factors are involved. Factors such as:

  • Swing plane
  • Swing speed
  • Contact
  • And more

But a rough estimate is that men hit an approach wedge 70 to 110 yards, and women are around 40 to 70 yards. Remember that is a very general estimate. 

How Does the Approach Wedge Compare to the Pitching, Lob, and Sand Wedge?

If you had to compare the approach wedge to the pitching and sand wedge, you would say that the manufacturers designed the approach wedge to fit the distance gap found with the modern pitching wedge and sand wedge. 

While the pitching wedge has continually increased in distance over the last two decades, the sand wedge has remained largely the same distance, which left a considerable gap. If you were to wonder about approach wedge vs sand wedge, manufacturers use the approach wedge to fill that gap. 

In terms of lob wedge vs approach wedge, the lob wedge shows you the third choice that gives you greater control for shorter shots, and mid to low handicappers use them the most. 

Approaching and pitch wedges were made for the same reasons – to put the ball on the green near the hole. Manufacturers lowered the loft of the pitching wedge of today down to between 46 and 48 degrees, whereas the approach wedge has between 50 and 52-degree loft. 

When getting out of the rough, you want an approach wedge because of the higher bounce. On the other hand, a pitching wedge works best on the fairway due to its lower bounce.

 As a side note, the pitching wedge will go farther due to its lower loft. 

In terms of approach wedge vs pitching wedge, both have a higher loft than a lob or a sand wedge. The degree of approach or the pitching wedge will determine the distance as well of the AW golf club. 

We put together this chart so that you can better understand the distances that all four of the wedges can hit:

Wedges Average Distance
Pitching Wedge  116 yards
Approach Wedge 90 yards
Sand Wedge 80 yards
Lob Wedge 65 yards

What Are Popular Uses for an AW Golf Club?

Not only are approach wedges used for approach shots to green from the distances above, but they can also be used for other instances on the golf course.

Gap wedges are really useful with shots that need a high trajectory due to an object or not much green to work with, and the ball can’t roll out much. Also, AW can be used to hit pitch and chip shots around the green.

How Do You Swing an AW Effectively?

The swing that you perform on your short irons is practically the same as the kind of swing that you would want for your gap or approach wedge. It involves the ball in the middle of your stance and a steep swing to get the ball up in the air.

A knockdown shot is also effective if you do not need a full swing to reach your target with your gap wedge. Basically, it is the same swing as your normal swing for wedges and irons.

What Are Popular Brands of Approach Wedges?

A ton of companies make wedges in the golf industry. But, there are several companies that are at the top of the ladder in the approach wedge game.

Some of the best companies that make them are Cleveland, Titleist, and Callaway. If you are shopping around for approach wedges that are not those name brands, then it does not necessarily mean that it is not a great product.

Just check feedback and reviews online to better judge whether or not it is a good wedge to spend your money on.

Other Names for the Approach Wedge

  • Gap wedge
  • A-wedge
  • D-wedge
  • Attack wedge
  • Utility wedge
  • G-wedge

As you can see, you have a lot of different names for this club, and this particular wedge has more names for it than any other golf club in recent history. For the beginners who ask, “What is an approach wedge?” This will give you some of the names that you will encounter. 

Best Gap Wedges of 2022

1. Titleist Vokey SM9 Wedge 

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The SM9 ranks as the most-played wedge on the PGA Tour, and its newest updates gave it a lower ball flight and greater spin. They designed the grooves on it for maximum sharpness to ensure the best spin. This gap wedge distinguishes itself from the others due to its many grinds. It includes a series of six grinds. 

Titleist released the first SM9 in 2004, and it has received love from amateurs and professionals alike. 

Pros

  • Better ball spin than ever before
  • Choose from six grind choices
  • Superb materials used in the design
  • Yields awesome feedback on the strike

Cons

  • Only one shaft choice
  • Mandatory custom fitting for the best performance

2. Cleveland RTX ZipCore 

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You can choose from three grind choices with the RTX ZipCore, and the accuracy and spin on this one help it to stand out. It has a great green side spin on it. Since the previous generation, Cleveland made the UltiZip grooves 11 percent sharper and 7.3 percent deeper, which is responsible for the excellent spin. At the same time, this approach wedge offers good forgiveness for a tour-level model. 

The design allows it to glide right through the sand, which makes it a good choice if you often find yourself in the sand traps. Just keep in mind that it can take time to adjust to it.

Pros

  • Feels exceptional in the hands
  • Offers excellent consistency
  • Great spin rate on this club

Cons

  • Takes time to get used to it

3. Mizuno T22 Golf Wedge 

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The Mizuno T22 Golf Wedge always delivers on expectations. It offers good weight and plenty of bite even on the greens. First thing you notice upon taking it out of the box is the beautiful design on it. When you make contact with the ball, it feels so smooth. This is one of the best wedges in the game.

In terms of downsides, the biggest problem from this one comes from how the club will rust sooner than other choices on the market. However, it will give you everything you need regarding the spin and shot height. This golf wedge comes in at a reasonable price as well.

Pros

  • Affordable golf club
  • Feels smooth at point of address
  • Performs with incredible consistency
  • Great height and spin

Cons

  • Rusts sooner than other clubs

FAQs

What Is an Approach Wedge Equivalent To?

They designed the approach wedge to fall into the gap between the sand wedge and the pitching wedge. They sometimes call the approach wedge the gap wedge because it was made to fill the gap between the sand wedge and the pitching wedge. 

What Is the Difference Between a Gap Wedge and an Approach Wedge?

The approach wedge and the gap wedge are the same club, but they use different names for it. In fact, this wedge has at least six names, which explains the confusion that occasionally happens over it. Whether you see it called approach wedge, or gap wedge depends on the brand’s marketing. 

How Far Should You Hit an Approach Wedge?

You can expect anywhere from 70 to 110 yards on the approach wedge, depending on your skill and gender. Those on the PGA Tour can hit the ball 150 yards. How far will depend on the wedge loft as well, with the higher degrees yielding less distance. 

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Nick Lomas is the founder of GolfSpan, an avid golfer, not quite a pro but has over 15-years of experience playing and coaching golfers from all over the world. His mission is to bring the golfing community a better experience then it comes to choosing the right golf gear, and finding the right set up for your game.

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