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Updated April 2022
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Buying guide for Best gap wedges

Golfers know the importance of having a reliable driver and a trustworthy putter. However, they may focus so heavily on these two clubs that they gloss over the importance of their irons and wedges. Without strong iron and wedge play, you may miss so badly on approach shots that you don’t score like you should.

For those who struggle to complete successful shots from 100 yards and closer to the green, a gap wedge can give you the edge you need to improve. A gap wedge is a club that you may need to purchase separately, as many sets don’t include it.

Players who already own a pitching wedge and a sand wedge will find that a gap wedge splits the difference in the clubface loft angles of those other two wedges. Adding a gap wedge to your bag can help you dial in the perfect distance that pitching wedges and sand wedges can’t reach.

Best Gap Wedges 1
For those playing in tournaments and events that follow the official rules of golf, there’s a limit of 14 clubs in your bag, meaning you may only have room for two wedges.

How to buy the best gap wedge

Why use a gap wedge?

A gap wedge has a loft angle of 50 to 54 degrees. This measurement is the angle of the clubface compared to the shaft of the club.

A pitching wedge has a loft angle between 44 and 50 degrees. This means players generally hit the ball farther and lower with a full swing with the pitching wedge versus the gap wedge.

A sand wedge has a loft angle between 54 and 58 degrees. The gap wedge generates a longer shot with less height than a sand wedge.

Some players may also carry a lob wedge, which has a loft angle of 58 to 62 degrees.

Finding the right loft angle in a gap wedge

As a general rule, you want a gap wedge with a loft angle difference of about four to six degrees from your other wedges. For example, if you own a pitching wedge of 46 degrees and a sand wedge of 56 degrees, look for a gap wedge with a loft angle of either 50 or 52 degrees to split the difference. Following this advice yields the greatest variety in your collection of wedges.

The majority of wedges have a number stamped on the sole of the club that specifies the loft angle of the club. If your wedges have a “P” or “S” stamped on the sole instead, look elsewhere on the clubhead for a stamp with the number of degrees.

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Staff Tip
The gap wedge is an ideal club in areas where you need to pop the ball into the air quickly to get over a nearby tree, as its clubface generates high shots.
Staff 
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Gap wedge features

Bounce

Gap wedges can have different bounce angle measurements. The bounce is the sole of the clubhead that makes contact with the ground before “bouncing” upward.

A wedge with a low-angle bounce of six degrees or less creates a shallow path into the ground, which is good for courses with firm ground. A player who has a sweeping style of swing tends to benefit from a low-angle bounce in a gap wedge.

A standard-angle bounce is seven to 10 degrees, making it the most versatile bounce angle for an average player with an average swing.

A high-angle bounce has a measurement of 11 degrees or more. It digs far deeper into the ground, making it work well for someone with a downward swing at impact.

The bounce angle measurement should also appear as a stamp on the clubhead, usually next to the grind measurement.

Grind

The grind measurement of a gap wedge refers to the shape of the sole of the club. The manufacturer grinds the sole of the club to create a shape that fits specific types of golfers’ swings. This is a more important feature for advanced players than beginning players. As with other gap wedge features, a specification of the grind should show up as a stamp somewhere on the clubhead, usually on the sole. Some of the grinds available include:

  • D: Greater than average width in the sole, for thick grass and soft turf
  • F: Standard edges with little to no grind, for versatility
  • K: Widest sole available, for use with thick grass and soft turf
  • L: A significant grinding of the sole; works best on firm turf conditions
  • M: Most versatile type of grind design, for varying course conditions
  • S: Forgiving grind design, for players who often cut too deep into the turf

Finish

The majority of golf irons, including gap wedges, are silver in color. However, some gap wedges are available in non-standard colors, including gold, copper, and black. Chrome and nickel finishes are available, too.

Be aware that non-traditional colors may wear away over time. Also, don’t clean these clubheads too aggressively with a steel brush or you could scratch away the finish color.

Some manufacturers refer to the gap wedge as an approach wedge or an attack wedge, and those feature an “A” stamped on it.

Staff
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How much do gap wedges cost?

Inexpensive

The lowest-priced gap wedges cost $25 to $50, but these aren’t clubs from major manufacturers. For someone who doesn’t play frequently and who isn’t sure whether a gap wedge will help them score lower, purchasing an inexpensive gap wedge is a good way to try out this type of club.

Mid-range

Clubs in this price range cost $50 to $100. You may find a few gap wedges from well-known manufacturers, but these only offer basic clubhead designs. An average player who doesn’t spin the ball or who doesn’t need a specific bounce measurement in the clubhead can successfully use a gap wedge in this price range.

Expensive

The priciest gap wedges retail for $100 to $250. These are clubs with specific types of bounce and grind measurements built into the clubhead. They’re made by top club manufacturers and give advanced players the precise designs they want for approach shots.

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Staff Tip
When you need to land the ball just past a sand trap to a pin that’s tight to the edge of the green, the gap wedge can deliver a shot that stops quickly on the green.
Staff
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Tips

Here are some tips for swinging a gap wedge successfully.

  • Adjust your stance. When you need a little more height on a gap wedge shot, try moving the ball backward in your stance. This move may cost you some distance, though. Conversely, if you’re hitting a gap wedge into a strong wind, you can try moving the ball forward in your stance to generate a lower shot that will fare better in the wind.
  • Try a chip shot. Some golfers like using the gap wedge around the green with a half- or quarter-swing. The height of the ball on the gap wedge shot allows the player to attack the pin. It can be difficult to hit a half- or quarter-swing consistently, however.
  • Put a spin on it. Advanced players can generate significant backspin on the ball with a gap wedge, creating a better chance to hit the ball just past the pin and bring it back toward the hole with the spin. Select a golf ball design that generates extra backspin if you want to try to add this shot to your game.
  • Lie in the rough. Many players like using the gap wedge in thick rough around the green. The gap wedge has a heavy base to go with its sharp clubface angle, so it cuts through the rough successfully. A longer iron’s clubface may catch against the rough, creating a mishit.
  • A gap wedge takes getting used to. Before using your new gap wedge on the course during a round, spend some time with it at the range. A gap wedge is difficult to hit consistently at first because of the sharp clubface loft. With a little practice, though, you’ll be feeling confident pulling it out of your bag for approach shots.
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The average male player can hit a gap wedge about 95 yards, while a female player can hit it about 80 yards. High-level golfers may generate about 110 yards from a gap wedge.

FAQ

Q. Do I really need a gap wedge?

A. The gap wedge has a loft angle that fits between the pitching wedge and the sand wedge. Although players don’t have to carry one, having it in your bag simplifies making shots that fall in the gap between those two other clubs. Advanced players will be able to take advantage of the gap wedge more successfully than beginners.

Q. Do I have to purchase a gap wedge that matches my other irons and wedges?

A. No. Although some players want all their clubs to be of the same model family from the same manufacturer, many golfers don’t mind having a few different models of clubs in their bag. Rather than focusing on the brand and model of the gap wedge, it’s more important to be certain it fits your swing.

Q. If I buy a set of irons, will it contain a gap wedge?

A. Some sets of irons have a gap wedge, and some don’t. Nearly all sets have a pitching wedge. If you have a second wedge in the set, it almost certainly will be a sand wedge or a gap wedge. If your set of irons doesn’t have a gap wedge, you may want to play a few rounds with them as-is before deciding whether you need this extra wedge.

Q. What advantages are there to using a gap wedge?

A. Rather than making a half- or three-quarters-strength swing with a pitching wedge, players can make a full swing with the gap wedge to achieve the desired distance. Most players are far more consistent when making full swings versus partial swings.

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