What the Heck is an “A” Wedge?

So you just bought some new clubs only to find that a club has an “A” on the top of it. What the heck does that mean? An “A” wedge is an approach wedge/gap wedge. 

What is a Gap Wedge?

A gap wedge is one of the most important clubs for more advanced golfers Why? Because it literally “closes the gap” in distances between your pitching wedge and sand wedge.

Let me explain

A pitching wedge is usually around 46 degrees of loft while a sand wedge is approximately 56 degrees of loft. That is a potential difference of 10 degrees between these two clubs!  (That could be the difference of almost 30 yards!)

The loft of a gap wedge ranges from 46 degrees all the way to 54 degrees. 

Unfortunately, there isn’t “one” club that’s going to close the distance gap for you, so you have to determine:

  • How far you hit your pitching wedge
  • What degree of loft is your pitching wedge
  • How far you hit your sand wedge
  • What degree of loft is your sand wedge

The best way to find out how far you hit your clubs is to head to the driving range to measure distances. Driving ranges usually have distances measured out so you can evaluate how far you hit your clubs when aiming at the marked targets (Usually flags). Learning and knowing this information will tell you which degree of loft your gap wedge needs to be!

Benefits of a Gap Wedge

The benefits of a gap wedge can be instantaneous! Instead of trying to swing extra hard or attempt half swings, you can just take a regular golf swing with your gap wedge and achieve far more consistency in your club distances. Trying to hit “half” swings can be very unpredictable especially when first starting to play golf. 

How to Use an “A” Wedge

To use an approach wedge, you need to follow these general rules during your golf swing:

  1. Play the ball towards the back of your stance

    improve your chipping
    The ball is in the back of the stance, and the hands are pressed forwards causing a steeper downswing
  2. Keep the weight forward
  3. Rotate through the swing with your hips (Don’t use those wrists!)

Is the Gap Wedge for Everyone?

While yes, the gap wedge can be a lifesaver out on the course, I usually don’t recommend using them to my beginning students. Why? Because to properly utilize a gap wedge, you must first make consistent contact all with your golf shots. That way we can know “exactly”  gap wedge loft will give you the best results on the course!

For beginners, I recommend a standard golf set where you will first learn to:

After you develop these skills, it is time for you to purchase your very own “A” wedge to help lower your scores!

Other Club Abbreviations

  • P= Pitching Wedge
  • W= Gap Wedge
  • S= Sand Wedge
  • 1= Driver
  • U= Utility Wedge (aka gap wedge)
  • L= Lob Wedge
  • GW= Gap Wedge


For more information on which golf clubs you NEED in your bag, check out my article here!

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