How far do you hit your wedges?
This can be a difficult question to answer if you don’t have a golf wedge distance chart, which in reality most amateurs won’t have.
We’re going to share a few golf wedge average distance charts based on type of wedge, sex, and playing level.
We’ll also show you how to put together your own wedge distance chart.
We should be paying more attention to this area as the wedges are commonly referred to as the “scoring clubs”. We’ll explore what the term “scoring club” fully means later but for most, it refers to the clubs used to set up birdie opportunities.
This article will also help you understand the key elements of a golf wedge distance chart and how important it can be to lowering your scores.
We’ll also take the opportunity to look at the following elements to give you a better understanding of your wedge game:
- Golf wedge distance charts for different clubs and levels of players
- Evolution of wedges
- What clubs are classified as wedges?
- Why are wedges referred to as “scoring clubs”
- Understanding gapping – critical for a golf wedge distance chart
- How you can build your own golf wedges distance chart
Let’s get into it!
Golf wedge distance charts for different levels of players
We’re going to go through typical golf wedge distances for the various types of wedges, for both men and women, and based on their playing ability.
Pro Golfers Wedge Average Distance Chart
First, let’s take a look at some of the standout distances male professionals hit their wedges:
|Pitching Wedge||Sand Wedge||Lob Wedge||Additional wedge (if in the bag)|
|Rory McIlroy||150 yards||125 yards||105 yards||N/A|
|Tiger Woods||135 yards||120 yards||100 yards||N/A|
|Justin Thomas||142 yards||112 yards||100 yards||126 yards (gap wedge)|
|Jordan Speith||148 yards||118 yards||100 yards||130 yards (gap wedge)|
|Bryson DeChambeau||173 yards||139 yards||124 yards||161 yards (47 degree wedge)|
The standout points to look at from above are:
- McIlroy and Woods only carry three wedges in their bags
- Thomas, Speith and DeChambeau all carry an additional wedge – a gap wedge
- Wedge make-up for all these players is different in terms of lofts they’ll use
Each player will also use a different golf ball, deliver different clubhead speeds and create different spin patterns for these shots so it’s hard to deliver an “apples for apples” comparison.
Let’s now have a look at how these distances compare to amateur golfers.
Golf Wedge Average Distance Chart: Male Amateur Golfers
A study carried out by TrackMan in 2021, categorized male amateur golfers into three brackets:
- Short hitters
- Medium hitters
- Long hitters
|Pitching Wedge Distance||Gap Wedge Distance||Sand Wedge Distance||Lob Wedge Distance|
|Short Hitter||85 yards||78 yards||65 yards||55 yards|
|Medium Hitter||105 yards||95 yards||83 yards||72 yards|
|Long Hitter||128 yards||117 yards||105 yards||90 yards|
We can see from the data produced that the longest of amateurs still lose distance to the top professionals because overall they hit every club in the bag shorter.
Golf Wedge Distance Chart: Female Amateur And Pro Typical Distances
Do we have similar results in the ladies’ game between amateurs and professionals?
If anything, the distances are even greater between the two:
|Pitching Wedge||Sand Wedge||Lob Wedge|
|Female Amateur||60 yards||50 yards||45 yards|
|Female Professional||110 yards||85 yards||70 yards|
All data presented for female, male, amateur, and professional golfers in the above tables are based on normal full swings.
No wedge yardage chart data is produced indicating distances for half or three-quarters shots.
So we can see consistent differences in distances between female, and male amateurs versus their professional counterparts.
But that doesn’t mean to say as amateurs an accurate wedge charting system couldn’t be constructed to help lower scores similar to the professionals.
Wedge By Wedge: Typical Distance By Wedge
Below we summarize the above golf wedge distances chart for each of the potential wedges in your bag so that you can decide which one’s might be best for you to include.
Pitching Wedge Distance (48 Degree Wedge Distance)
A typical pitching wedge distance ranges from 60 yards for female amateur golfers to between 85 and 128 yards for male amateurs. Pro golfers can reach an average of 110 yards for females, and a 48 degree wedge distance of up to 173 yards for males.
Gap Wedge Distance (52 Degree Wedge Distance)
A typical gap wedge distance ranges from 55 yards for female amateur golfers to between 78 and 117 yards for male amateurs.
Sand Wedge Distance (56 Degree Wedge Distance)
A typical sand wedge distance ranges from 50 yards for female amateur golfers to between 65 and 105 yards for male amateurs. Pro golfers can reach an average of 85 yards for females, and a 56 degree wedge distance of up to 139 yards for males.
Lob Wedge Distance (60 Degree Wedge Distance)
A typical lob wedge distance ranges from 45 yards for female amateur golfers to between 55 and 90 yards for male amateurs. Pro golfers can reach an average of 70 yards for females, and a 60 degree wedge distance of up to 124 yards for males.
How To build your own golf wedge distance chart
There are two ways you can achieve this.
- Find a local driving range with accurate distance markers.
- A local facility that gives you access to a launch monitor
You can build up your golf wedge distance chart by taking the average distance of shots with a:
- Half swing,
- Three-quarter swing,
- Full swing
If you have difficulty assessing what constitutes a half or three-quarter swing you might see it as parts of the body:
- Half swing = waist high
- Three-quarter swing = shoulder high
If that still is difficult to visualise and feel you might see it as a clock face.
Think of a clock face behind you with the club at address being the six-clock position.
So going back to our matrix:
- Half swing = 9 o’clock
- Three-quarter swing = 11 o’clock
Look to hit at least 20 shots with each swing to build up a good data set
Repeat this exercise for each wedge you have in the bag.
Take the average distance for each wedge from the shots hit and you have your very own golf wedge distance chart!
Your golf wedge distance chart will look something like this:
|Pitching Wedge||Gap Wedge (if applicable)||Sand Wedge||Lob Wedge|
Wedge play is a vital element of your golf game.
Creating a golf wedge distance chart can help you approach this area of the game like a professional and like them turn these clubs into your scoring clubs.
A sharper wedge game and knowing your distances will help lower your scores and we’ll demonstrate later how Zach Johnson used his wedge game to his advantage to win his first major, the Masters in 2007
The Evolution of Golf wedges
There has been a form of wedge used for hundreds of years in golf.
However, it wasn’t until Gene Sarazen tinkered with his most lofted club and started experimenting with the mass on its sole that he created what went on to become the modern sand iron in 1932.
The reason for experimenting? Sarazen struggled to get out of bunkers and felt the equipment he was using didn’t help him.
Sand irons became more commonplace in iron sets and golfers became to understand how useful they were.
Further experimenting with lofts and materials led equipment manufacturers and specialists to create a variety of wedge types. These feature different lofts and different materials used in construction offering a variety of finishes to create better feel and spin characteristics.
What clubs are classified as wedges?
The first wedge in the bag is the pitching wedge.
Pitching wedges can be the same as the overall iron set or a specialised wedge with a similar loft possibly from a different manufacturer.
Most pitching wedges are lofted between 45 and 49 degrees.
Some golfers will carry what’s known as a “gap wedge” which can be between 50 and 54 degrees.
This wedge is ideal if the distance gap between the sand wedge and the pitching wedge is too great. Putting another wedge will cover the “gap” in distance.
Sand wedges generally are lofted between 55 and 57 degrees.
The most lofted clubs in the bag are referred to as “Lob Wedges” and range from 57 to 60 degrees.
If you look at the make-up of most tour players’ bags they will mostly carry three or four wedges in their bags
Take Rory McIlroy as an example, he carries three wedges which are:
- 46-degree wedge
- 54-degree wedge
- 58-degree wedge
For a player like Justin Thomas, he has four wedges in his bag with the following set-up:
- 46-degree wedge
- 52-degree wedge
- 56-degree wedge
- 60-degree wedge
Why are wedges referred to as “scoring clubs” ?
This term has its origins in the professional ranks and has accelerated in recent years given how far the professionals hit the ball off the tee shortening a lot of par fours to drive and a wedge distance.
If we look at the statistics for proximity to the flag professionals hit their approaches from 125-150 yards on the PGA Tour the best player in 2022 was Hideki Matsuyama.
Over 72 recorded rounds his average proximity to the flag from 125-150 yards was just over 19 feet.
19 feet doesn’t seem that close but over a season, professionals will hole more putts from this distance than the nearly 50 feet which is the proximity amateurs in the 0-5 handicap bracket will average for the same distance.
How they go about making a golf wedge distance chart will be based on:
- The lofts of each of their wedges
- How far they’ll hit their wedges with a full swing
- How far they’ll hit their wedges with a three-quarter swing
- How far they’ll hit their wedges with a half swing
Having this data to hand, when they are on the golf course and knowing the exact distance to the flag they have a good idea of what club to use and how far to swing it.
Scoring isn’t just about trying to create birdie chances.
Scoring is also about saving par when getting into trouble.
Again this is where knowing exactly how far wedge shots go plays a crucial part for the professionals.
If they have no option to go for the green after a wayward shot they will work out where they can escape to down the hole that will leave them a good distance for a wedge shot.
The same principle applies on the very longest of par 5s.
If there is no option to go for the green in two the professional will “lay up” to a good distance for one of their wedges.
To demonstrate how effective this strategy can be we only have to look at Zack Johnson’s win at The Masters in 2007.
Consistently the winner of The Masters hits the ball a long way because they can easily over-power the par 5s on the course.
Zach Johnson doesn’t have that type of power and elected to “lay up” on every par 5 in every round.
In sixteen goes on the par fives that week he made eleven birdies and no dropped shots on his way to victory.
He played to his advantage – his wedge game.
Understanding gapping – critical for a golf wedge distance chart
So why is this so critical?
Without a golf wedge distance chart, you may not understand the fact that you have big gaps in how far you hit your wedges.
It’s a waste of a club if you hit two of your wedges virtually identical distances. Alternatively, you may need to add a club if one wedge goes 105 yards on average and your next wedge goes 130 yards.
What problems does this create out on the golf course?
Let’s take a scenario where you have an approach shot of 110 yards and the flag is in the middle of the green but there is a bunker to protect the front of the green and a bunker at the back.
If you don’t know which wedge covers that 110-yard distance you run the risk of coming up short in the front bunker or fly the ball too far and ending up in the back bunker.
Either way, this can cause unnecessary problems and affect your score.
Wedges aren’t any different to other clubs in the bag – distance gaping needs to be consistent.
One final point on achieving consistent distance gaping in wedges is also having consistent loft gaping.
When we looked at Rory McIlroy’s and Justin Thomas’s wedge set-ups earlier they had consistent 4-degree gapping between their sand and lob wedges.
There should be no more than a 15-yard distance gap between your wedges.