The Complete Wedge Gapping Guide

The rules of golf state that you can play with a maximum of 14 clubs. What is the best combination for you? Wedge gapping is a critical component of this decision.

Wedge gapping is only one of the questions you must ask yourself. Do you carry a 3-iron or a hybrid? How many fairway woods belong in your bag?

There will be different answers for every player. A scratch golfer will play with different clubs than a high handicapper.

Did you know 65% of your shots happen from 100 yards and in? Do you know what clubs you use from this distance? You guessed it, wedges!

Many amateur golfers make a mistake when it comes to wedge gapping. Today, we are going to take a deep dive into this topic, covering the following:

  • What Does Wedge Gapping Mean?
  • How Many Wedges Should You Carry?
  • Wedge Gapping By Loft Or Distance
  • Wedge Gapping Shot Dependancy
  • Wedge Gapping Setups

Let’s bridge the gap in your knowledge!

wedge gapping guide

What Does Wedge Gapping Mean?

Let’s start with the basics. What does wedge gapping mean? There are two pieces to this concept:

  1. How many wedges do you carry in your “14”?
  2. What is the loft of your different wedges?

The number of wedges you decide to carry will impact your options for other clubs, but the loft is the primary focus when you are wedge gapping.

In a standard set of irons, there are four degrees of loft between different clubs. For example, your 7-iron would have 35 degrees, and your 8-iron would have 39 degrees.

The loft of a club determines how far it travels. More loft will create a higher shot that travels a shorter distance.

Wedge gapping can be complicated because you have a wedge that is anywhere from 48 degrees of loft to 64 degrees.

golfer hitting sand wedge in bunker

Here is a list of different types of wedges and their typical loft:

With all of this in mind, the best definition for wedge gapping:

Finding the best combination of wedges that allows you to hit shots the correct distance without having to hit too many “half shots.”

If you are forced to try and crush your wedges or hit “half shots,” you might have too big of a gap between your wedges.

golfer practicing with one of is wedge clubs

Wedge Gapping Guide: How Many Wedges Should You Carry?

This is a simple question that has many different answers. Most professional golfers carry 4 wedges (pitching, gap, sand, lob), but some even have 5 (they add a second lob wedge).

On the other end of the spectrum, you might encounter a player at your local course who only has 2 wedges (pitching, sand).

One thing to consider is how far you hit your driver and how often you have less than 120 yards to the green.

Longer players will typically use more wedges. This is why professional golfers carry so many.

We recommend using at least 3 wedges but prefer a bag setup with 4.

There are trade-offs to this decision. You can’t have more than 14, so for every wedge you add, something else has to be removed.

One thing to check: Do you have any “duplicate” clubs? In other words, if you have a 5-wood and 3-hybrid, they probably go the same distance—no reason to carry both.

golfer holding gap wedge

Wedge Gapping By Loft Or Distance

We recommend you start your wedge gapping by the loft and confirm the distance is correct once you are on the course.

A typical bag may have a pitching wedge (48 degrees), a gap wedge (52 degrees), a sand wedge (56 degrees), and a lob wedge (60 degrees).

This is perfect wedge gapping by loft. You have 4 degrees between each club, so you should have the same gap distance-wise when you hit these wedges.

You need to confirm this once you are playing on the course. Let’s say your pitching wedge goes 125 yards. Ideally, your gap wedge will go 110 – 115 yards.

Can you only afford to carry 3 wedges? You might want to consider a pitching wedge (48 degrees), a strong sand wedge (54 degrees), and a lob wedge (60 degrees).

With 6-degree gaps, you will have to hit more “50% – 80%” shots. It’s not bad if you are comfortable with this type of swing.

golfer hitting bunker shot with wedge

Wedge Gapping Shot Dependancy

Your wedge gapping should match your style of play. Ask yourself the following question.

Are you comfortable “taking something off” a shot, or are you more successful when you can make a full swing?

If you play better when you have a “good number” and can make a full swing, you probably need to carry more wedges (4 or 5).

If you like hitting shots 60% or 75%, you can survive with fewer wedges.

Don’t forget about your short game when developing your wedge gapping plan. More wedges in your bag will give you more options around the green.

For example, hitting a flop shot with a high-loft lob wedge is much easier than trying to do it with a sand wedge.

It might be called a sand wedge, but it is easier to escape from a bunker with a lob wedge. In a bunker, the more loft, the better.

The next time you play a round of golf, pay attention to the type of shots you have to hit—everything from full wedges to chip shots around the green.

How often did you feel uncomfortable with a wedge shot? If this happens multiple times per round, you might need to adjust your wedge gapping.

golf lady holding golf ball

Try Different Wedge Gapping Setups To Find The Perfect One For You

We are sorry we can’t simply give you the right answer, but your wedge gapping depends on your game and skill level.

The best way to determine the perfect number of wedges for you is by trial and error. Test out different bag configurations to determine the ideal setup for you.

The goal should be to always have the correct wedge for each shot you face during a round. You never face a shot that you don’t know how to hit.

golfer placing ball on tee ready for shot

One thing to keep in mind is that your wedge gapping could change depending on the course you are playing. This is standard practice on the PGA Tour.

Professional golfers play a different golf course every week and consider adjusting the clubs they carry in their bags.

They might add a 5th wedge and remove their 3-hybrid or drop down to 3 wedges and add an extra fairway wood.

You may not be able to play like a professional golfer, but you can learn by following their approach to the game.

Carrying the correct 14 clubs in your golf bag can lower your scores and handicap. Paying attention to your wedge gapping is the most significant piece of this puzzle.

What Else Can We Learn From Professional Golfers?

Photo of author
Ray has been playing golf for 35+ years, including being part of his High School and College golf teams. While he still enjoys playing in amateur tournaments, Ray now focuses on growing the game of golf through teaching and coaching. He has two sons that both play golf competitively and loves spending time watching them compete. Ray continues to play in local amateur golf events and currently has a +2 handicap.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.