No golf bag is complete without a decent gap wedge. Over the years clubs and lofts have changed to evolve with the players and the game. This evolution has led to a small, but significant gap in the wedges. Just like hybrids, these gap wedges have become very popular with the pros and for good reason.
In this post, I’ll discuss the best gap wedges for backspin and what you should consider before picking one up.
Pitching Wedge vs Sand Wedge
A pitching wedge is probably around 45 degrees. A sand wedge is around 55 degrees. This leaves your pitching wedge shot to far and your sand wedge to short. A gap wedge is designed to provide you a wedge around 50, 51, or 52 degrees of loft, that will fill in those shots where you definitely don’t want to be long, and a sand wedge won’t get it there.
It only makes sense that a pitching wedge goes close to 100 yards and the sand wedge is designed for shots closer to 50 yards (the actual yardage of these two clubs will differ based on the person, but the principle is the same). That’s 50 yards of carry that a gap wedge can cover consistently.
If you don’t have a gap wedge, you’re likely trying to hit your sand wedge too hard, and your pitching wedge too soft, both of which can be difficult to do. With the gap wedge, you just pull the trigger and use your normal full swing, and the club will give you the right distance. So if you have space in your bag, meaning you’ve only got 12 clubs, and you’re allowed to carry 14, a gap wedge might be a great tool to add.
How to Use a Gap Wedge
Hitting your gap wedge entails having the ball in the back of your stance, a divot is common, and you want to take a full golf swing. The point of this club is taking a full golf swing compared to trying to crush your sand wedge and curtailing your pitching wedge. Either of these two can result in unfavorable hits.
How To Choose a Gap Wedge
The biggest thing you need to do is take a look at your current wedges and see what the lofts are. Your end goal here is to find a gap of 4 to 6 degrees which generally means a loft of 50 to 54 degrees for the gap wedge. Your natural hand position might come into play here a bit too. If you tend to have your hands out in front a bit or behind, it could alter the amount of loft your getting.
The wedge bounce is related to the angle between the leading edge and the lowest point of the sole or trailing edge. Bounce usually ranges from about 4-14. If you typically play on courses with softer conditions or longer grass, the higher the bounce (10-14) the less likely you’ll chunk the ball and reduce your margin for error.
On the flip side, if you tend to play in a drier climate where the turf is a bit harder or you’re playing out of the sand, a lower bounce (2-6) would be better. Low bounce wedges are designed for clean ball contact, giving you the precision you need in your short game.
As you probably know, technology is constantly changing the clubs we’re using. The big name brand manufacturers hone in on the groove shape and design, in an effort to get maximum spin. If stopping the ball and producing backspin is desired, the grooves on the wedge will play a role.
When possible I include a couple different vendors so you can get the best deal available.
Best Gap Wedges for Backspin
1) Wilson Harmonized Golf Wedge – to start this list off, this incredibly affordable Wilson will appeal to your eye. Granted it’s not the looks that are important, it’s how it will lower your score. To that end, the blade shape with modified bounce angles for dead stop spin and versatility from the sand, rough, or fairway. If you’ve got a small green and need your ball to stop, the Wilson might be an economic fit. Available in 4 different loft degrees, it can definitely fill in some holes.
2) Cleveland Golf Men’s RTX 4 Wedge – if you’re a golfer, you’ll know the name Cleveland. Their RTX easily fits into the top 5 list. Available in all sorts of loft degrees and bounce, you can’t say they don’t have what you want. The sharper, deeper grooves slice through grass, sand, and water for more consistent spin on every shot. The RTX 4’s more compact blade shape is a direct result of extensive tour feedback. Enjoy better feel and more control with this tour-developed, player-oriented shaping.
3) Pinemeadow Golf PGX Wedge – on a budget for your gap wedge? Pinemeadow does a great job of putting out a reliable club at an affordable price. The wedge features a wide sole at the bottom of the club head which narrows towards the toe to provide a more forgiving hitting surface. Combine this proven shape and bounce design to provide accurate play from any lie. Current users are loving the grip and the way it feels when chipping up and down on the green.
4) TaylorMade Chrome Gap Wedge – of course, TaylorMade puts out a few different wedges. The 2018 Milled Grind gap wedge catches our eye. The sleek look sends a shot of confidence through your body. Maybe it’s a coincidence but the extra confidence seems to get the ball that much closer to the cup. Also available in several different degrees and bounces, giving you many options. From a performance standpoint, new ZTP-17 grooves are creating maximum spin, and the steeper sidewalls of the grooves, along with a strategically placed CG position, are keeping spin rates high while reducing launch angles to give players ultimate control.
5) Callaway Sure Out 2 Wedge Steel – if Callaway is your manufacturer of choice this wedge might be the gap wedge you need. Available in 4 different loft angles and 2 different shafts (steel and graphite) materials, it will fit your swing. With 17 full-face grooves with an aggressive groove pattern to promote fast, shot-stopping spin. Customers are saying getting out of the sand is a breeze with this compared to their sand wedge.
Conclusion of Gap Wedges for Backspin
The evolution of clubs has inadvertently put a gap in the wedges. The manufacturers have heard from the tour pros and are building gap wedges that will fill some holes in your game. Improving your short game is a sure way to lower your score. Hopefully one of the aforementioned items allows for more birdies and pars in your future.