How To Hit a Gap Wedge
Golf is a game that requires several different tools - each designed for a unique situation or type of shot you're trying to play. A gap wedge is a club that fills a small but vital role in a golfer's games. You may not use it often, but when you reach for it, it's essential to know how to use it.
What Is a Gap Wedge?
The word gap means just that. When it's not the right situation for a sand wedge, and the distance is too short for a pitching wedge, you turn to your gap wedge - the club that sits between the two. It isn't often included with a complete set of clubs and is usually purchased separately as an optional extra.
A gap wedge is one of the most versatile clubs in the bag but is generally used similarly to a pitching wedge for chipping, pitching, and approach shots, though a gap tends to deliver more height.
It's typically used on the fairway when still far from the green but is also a great option to escape the rough or bunker. With most of its weight right at the bottom of the club, a gap allows you to get the ball high into the air quickly. For those on a low to mid handicap, it allows significantly more options when 60 to 100 yards from the green.
How to Use a Gap Wedge
You can use your gap wedge in several ways, depending on where you are on the course and how far you need to hit.
- The typical distance for a gap wedge shot is between 60 and 100 yards. Place your knees around shoulder distance apart and grip your gap wedge about 6 inches down the shaft before playing the ball midway between your front and back foot.
- Take a full swing with your gap wedge when 80 yards or more from the green. Your gap wedge comes with a loft of 50 to 54 degrees that lets you get the ball high into the air and bring it down softly on the green with little rolling. To play this kind of shot, rotate your hips completely to the right (opposite direction of the green) and then bring your hands back to shoulder height. Rotate the hips through the hitting zone and bring your hands through and high into the air. This will put a backspin on the ball, meaning it'll stop close to where it lands.
- A half swing should be fine when you're 60 yards out from the green. If you hit it too hard, you'll find it sails past your intended target. However, it's still important to end with the hands high to put some backspin on the ball.
- A gap wedge is the perfect club if you find yourself in heavy rough. With most of the weight located at the bottom of the club, it can slice through grass easily, meaning you can loft the ball clear much easier than with alternatives. You'll need to move your hands further forward compared to other wedge shots and come through with plenty of force.
- Nobody likes finding the bunker, but a gap wedge can be a great way to escape it. If you don't feel confident with a sand wedge, a gap wedge can do precisely the same job because of its weighted bottom. For this shot, you'll need to hit the sand around 3 or 4 inches behind the ball, which should then explode into it and drive the ball clear of the bunker.
Advantages of a Gap Wedge
No golfer who considers themselves advanced - or even a high-level intermediate - would go out on the course without a gap wedge. It's a club with numerous advantages that allow you to add an extra dimension to your game.
Great for Tricky Situations
When you find yourself in a tough spot - or a rough spot, to use some golfing jargon - your gap wedge can be your knight in shining armor. For those tricky shots, a gap wedge gives you the power, height, and control to turn that problematic situation into a positive one.
As seen above, a gap wedge can be used in various situations. Whether you're trying to slash your way out of a section of deep rough, chop out of a bunker, or find yourself on the fairway, this is one club that can cover many different circumstances.
Great for Control
This club is not just about brute force. It delivers an excellent level of control along with its loft height and distance. There's a good reason the pros value it so much, as it allows them to take on a tricky situation safely in the knowledge that they remain in complete control.
How Are Gap Wedges Different From Other Wedges?
If you're new to golf, it can be easy to assume that one wedge is like any other. After all, they provide the same kind of service and broadly deliver the same result. Not true!
Four different types of clubs fall into this category; pitching, gap, sand, and lob. A pitching wedge doesn't have the same loft as a gap but can be used further back, between 110 yards and 140 yards. A sand wedge usually has a loft of between 54 and 58 degrees and is primarily used to hit out of bunkers or sand traps, although it can be a good option in the rough.
A lob wedge comes with the greatest loft, usually between 60 and 65 degrees, and should be used when a ball is around 70 yards out. They are most valuable when close to the green, when a precision shot is required, or when you must clear an obstacle quickly and bring the ball straight down.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is the Best Angle for a Gap Wedge?
Finding the best angle for your gap wedge is vital, and you need to ensure a noticeable difference from your pitching wedge. Between 48 and 52 degrees is generally best, especially if your pitching falls between 44 and 46 degrees.
How Far Does the Average Golfer Hit a Gap Wedge?
The average golfer should hit a golf wedge shot between 60 and 100 yards. For anything longer, consider your pitching wedge, while anything under could use a lob wedge.
Practicing Your Swing? Looking Good While Doing It — Shop Stitch Golf!
A successful gap wedge shot is all about practice, like any golf shot. A little time spent on a simulator or at a driving range can make a huge difference in crunch time. Getting the ball up high and bringing it down with a gentle thump and a close-to-immediate stop takes some time, but when you get it right, it can be an excellent weapon in your arsenal.
While practicing that all-important swing, it's essential to look your best - both you and your equipment. Head to Stitch Golf for all your golfing needs, including apparel, golf bags, and headcovers. Perfecting that shot doesn't happen overnight, but you'll look great in the blink of an eye.