A common mistake of most amateur golf players is hitting their wedge shots too high without considering the consistency.
If you are one of them, it is pretty sure that you wonder why your wedge shots are not accurate as you expected.
The solution to this problem lies in one essential skill for all golfers: understand and manage their shot trajectory.
Once you understand how far your full-swing wedge shot can travel, you can benefit from more scoring opportunities.In this article, we will show you how far you should hit your wedges and further tips on how to take your wedge shots to a better level!
How Far Should You Hit Your Wedges
There are two factors determining how far you can hit your wedges: types of wedges and the speed of your swing.
Normally, amateur players will strike the wedge with very fast swing speed, making it hard to manage the distance.
Generally, there are four types of wedges with different amounts of loft and travel distances.
In addition, male and female golfers have different ranges in their wedge play, which is specified as followed:
Average men’s yardage
Average women’s yardage
85 - 115
55 - 85
Pitching wedges feature 47-53 degrees of loft, which is the lowest-lofted one among the four types.
Hence, it is ideal for hitting shots from the fairway’s middle or around the green, mostly within the distance of 100 and 125 yards.
Most average swing speed players hit their pitching wedge around 120 yards.
For players hit with very fast swing speed, they tend to hit their pitching wedge at up to 150 yards.
Many experienced golfers also hit their wedge at the range from 115 to 135 yards.
Meanwhile, beginners will hit at about 60 - 90 yards.
Pitching wedges are a basic golf club in the bag of most golfers.
They are designed to come into contact with the ball’s underside, so when you hit the wedge around the green, the ball will fly for a short time and then roll longer on the surface.
If you want to hit chip shots and pitch shots, then pitching wedges are a great choice to go for.
Most golfers, including the experienced ones, try to guide the ball towards the hole as close as possible by hitting the ball high into the air.
Sand wedges have their loft varying between 54 and 58 degrees.
In the past, sand wedges gained popularity for facilitating golfers to hit the ball out of the sand.
Now, these wedges are mostly used for hitting the ball from high grass and sand bunkers.
These wedges are favored for making shots within the distance of 80 and 100 yards.
Commonly, a standard 56-degree sand wedge will cover 80 yards for golfers with average swing speed.
As for some slower-speed players, the sand wedge shot is likely to travel among 50-60 yards.
When using a sand wedge, keep in mind that it is relatively risky to perform a full swing since you are close to the green.
Instead, sand wedges are ideal for hitting smaller shots that require plenty of spin and loft.
The club’s loft is also great for pushing the ball close towards the hole without rolling too far.
Additionally, keep in mind that you should never use a sand wedge when playing on bare ground or a surface with hard-packed dirt.
The bounce plate of a sand wedge is designed to bounce off of soft sand.
Therefore, when it hits a firm surface, the clubhead will bounce off the ground and strike the ball’s middle.
Gap wedges, or approach wedges, are often referred to as the harmony between pitching wedges and sand wedges.
This club has a loft between 50 and 54 degrees, making it ideal for making shots within 90 to 100 yards.
You can use it on the green or from the fairway.
Plus, a gap wedge nicely fills in the distance left by a sand wedge and a pitching wedge.
The majority of its weight lies at the club’s bottom, allowing the ball to fly quickly into the air.
One of the advantages of using a gap wedge is the relaxation of making a full swing within a distance of 100 yards.
Hence, it is a go-to choice for golfers, especially average-swing players, to perform at their best in the 100-yard scoring range.
If you find your pitching wedge’s club is too much or that of your sand wedge is not enough, consider switching to a gap wedge.
Average-speed golfers using a gap wedge should be able to shave some strokes off each round.
Among the four types of club, lob wedges have the highest loft that varies somewhere between 58 - 64 degrees.
Also, it is considered the least popular club since it is mainly used by professionals.
It is best for experienced golfers close to the green to hit shots requiring a great amount of loft and spin.
Normally, a lob wedge full swing varies around 60 - 70 yards for average-speed players.
Meanwhile, those with lower speeds can only reach 30 - 40 yards with a full swing.
Lob wedges are also ideal for dealing with hazards, thanks to the very thin leading edge.
Lob wedges are often not recommended for beginners, yet they are a scoring club that many professionals choose from their bags.
One of the most important uses of a lob wedge is to chip over a bunker to the tight pin, which is one of the toughest challenges even for professionals.
As a beginner, a pitching wedge is a must-have item in your bag.
If you have grasped all the basic skills, then it is recommended to go for a sand wedge.
More skilled golfers tend to carry a lob wedge and a gap wedge along with them since these clubs are suited for specialized uses.
Most golf teachers will advise you to carry three wedges in your bag: a pitching wedge, a sand wedge, and a gap wedge.
Also, don’t forget to look at the degree loft of your wedges.
There should be 4-5 degrees of difference among them as well to cover the distance gap.
For example, if you have a pitching wedge with less than 45 loft degrees, you can consider putting in a gap wedge featuring 48 or 50 degrees, a lob wedge with 58 - 60 degrees, and a sand wedge with 54 - 56 degrees.
Most of the time, golfers have at least three clubs in their bags, including a pitching wedge for longer shots, a sand wedge for dealing with bunkers, and a gap wedge when you are in between.
If you want to level up your skills with tougher challenges, then add a lob wedge to your bag.
Anyhow, it is all up to your game and preferences to choose the suitable wedges.
Having the right ones allows you to cover a great range of distance that helps you score better.
One thing to bear in mind though: whatever your choices are, make sure that you make a record of how far you have hit your wedges to make the changes if necessary.
This yardage record will be a reliable source to better your scoring opportunities.
Measure How Far Can You Hit Your Wedge
To know how far you can hit your wedges, you have to measure all your golf shots regarding the club types.
Today, there are types of recording equipment like golf GPS, smartwatches, or golf rangefinders that facilitate easy and accurate analysis.
In case you don’t have such devices, you can still measure your wedge shots in a traditional way.
Take your wedge and then hit 10 shots in a row towards the target.
Pace out each shot’s distance and write down the numbers.
Then, calculate the average distance of these 10 shots, don’t forget to note the type and degrees of the club that you use.
Do the same with other types of the wedge.
By the time you have collected the necessary data for all your wedges, you can be clearer on what wedge to use for every yardage within 100 yards on the course.
For a more precise result, you can note down the shortest and longest distance that you hit to calculate the range better.
Moreover, this recording process can help you to manage swing consistency.
Most of the time, beginners tend to strike full-swings, which is one of the disadvantages when hitting within short distances.
By practicing repeated shots, you can know how to master the rhythm of a ½-swing and a ¾-swing.
How To Gap Your Wedges
You have selected the best clubs for each yardage. However, it is still possible to face the “in-between” distance that none of your wedges can fully cover, even the gap wedges.
For example, what to do when your lob wedge can fly 60 yards when you are only 50 yards from the green?
A common mistake of most amateurs when tackling these “in-between” distances is to decrease their swing speed.
However, it results in reducing the impact of the shot, even making it become duff.
Adding lengths to your wedge shots is straightforward, too.
You can achieve this by taking off the loft of the club.
One option is to position the ball slightly further back because when you hit it, the handle will move forward and decrease the loft.
This also creates a descending blow at the impacts, thus strengthening the club.
As for shortening the distance, one tip recommended by professionals is to choke down on the club without changing the swing speed.
Normally, gripping down an inch can reduce the yardage by 5 yards.
Some golfers can even take approximately 20 yards off their wedge by gripping down the entire length.
Also, regulating the length of your backswing helps to gap the distance - the shorter the distance, the shorter the backswing.
And don’t forget to maintain the same pace when swinging through the ball.
Handling the trunk rotation speed is another effective solution.
Try using your rib cage to rotate the swing, and you will see the difference.
If you want the ball to travel further, turn your rib cage faster and vice versa.
You can go for one of the solutions above or make combinations of them to reduce the clubhead speed and take off the distance.
Keep on practicing these in-between clubs since the best way to figure out your suitable method is to learn from the trials and errors.
The golfing world has a lot of things to learn about, and understanding how far you should hit your wedges is one of the essential lessons to master.
Remember that it is important to control your wedge shots accurately and consistently, rather than focusing on the height.
On top of that, choosing the right club does matter to cover the yardage and match your swing speed.
Last but not least, with some tips from the experts, you can know how to add or take off yardage to the wedge shot to deal with in-betweener problems.
Don’t fall into the traps of decelerating or accelerating the swing speed.
Making positive swings is the only key for golfers to hit more predictable and accurate wedge shots.