50 vs 52 Degree Wedge: Which Gap Wedge To Choose?
50° or 52° degree wedges are usually known as gap wedges because they fill the gap between your pitching wedge and sand wedge.
Over the years manufacturers have strengthened the lofts of most of the irons in a set but they have usually left their sand wedges at 56°.
With pitching wedges often having as little as 44° to 46° of loft you probably need to think about giving yourself an extra option to cover that space.
Should you be looking for a gap wedge and if so should you go for 50° or 52°?
How Many Wedges Do You Need?
Traditionally Iron sets used to be sold as 3-iron to 9-iron plus a pitching wedge and a sand wedge. Usually there was a 4° difference in the lofts of the clubs which should have given you a consistent distance gap on full shots.
In an attempt to make people think they were hitting the ball further, manufacturers decreased the lofts on irons so that pitching wedges may now have lofts as low as 44°. This left an 8° to 12° distance gap between your pitching and sand wedge.
If you are happy with your sand wedge at 56° and your current set has a pitching wedge of 44° to 48° you might want to think about adding an extra wedge or maybe even two for more consistent distance gapping.
Choosing the lofts of your wedges really comes down to getting consistent distance gapping. Let’s use the lofts of the Ping i59 irons as an example. The clubs are available in 3 different lofts.
Any additional wedges you choose should fit in with the lofts of your current set so you can get consistent distances with your clubs with minimal overlap.
|Club||Loft||Power Spec||Retro Spec|
So if you currently have the standard loft i59 irons you might be best having just 2 additional wedges (52°, 58°). If you have the Power Spec model then you might also go for 2 additional wedges (52°, 60°). Finally if you chose the retro spec lofts then you might prefer to go for 3 extra wedges (52°, 56°, 60°).
If you already have a 56° wedge that you are happy with and just want to get an extra wedge for the gap then a 50° might fit in slightly better with the power spec lofts while a 52° may be a better fit for the standard or retro lofts.
Why Do You Need A Gap Wedge?
A gap wedge helps to bridge the loft gap between your pitching and sand wedges
It will allow you to make a full swing for shots that fall between the distance those two clubs normally go.
A gap wedge is sometimes called an “A” wedge by different manufacturers. “A” for approach or attack!
How Far Do You Hit A 50° Wedge?
Depending upon your swing speed you will likely hit this around 10-20 yards shorter than your sand wedge on full swings. If you have more clubhead speed then there is likely to be a greater difference in distance.
For example, if you have a 15-yard gap between your irons then you’re probably looking at around a 20-25 yard gap between your sand wedge and a 50° lob wedge.
A player with a 115 mph clubhead speed is likely to hit a 50° wedge around 133 yards if they can achieve an optimal strike.
World No.1 Scottie Scheffler has a stock carry yardage of 130 yards for his gap wedge.
How Far Do You Hit A 52° Wedge?
On full shots, you’d expect the club to be 10-15 yards longer than your sand wedge. You’d expect to see a similar gap as you get between your other irons.
With optimal impact parameters and a clubhead speed of 85 mph then you can expect to be carrying your 52° wedge about 90 yards or so. With a clubhead speed of 115 mph and optimal impact conditions then you will carry the ball around 128 yards.
In the real world, most handicap golfers don’t manage optimum carry because their impact conditions aren’t that good so won’t see much difference between the distance they hit a 50° and 52° wedge. They are likely to find their average distances with these clubs are fairly similar, particularly for players with slower swing speeds.
Bounce Is Very Important
Getting the correct amount of bounce on your wedges is almost as important as the loft. As a rule amateur golfers will benefit from having more bounce rather than less.
Your swing and course conditions might dictate otherwise, however.
Wedge experts such as Bob Vokey point out that low bounce models (4°-6°) can be ideal for firm turf and bunkers with coarser or harder sand. They also tend to suit players with shallow angles of attack who take minimal divots.
Players with steeper swings or those that play on lusher courses would probably benefit from more bounce (7°-12°).
50 vs 52 Degree Wedge: Which Gap Wedge To Choose: Conclusion
The decision to pick a 50° or 52° wedge comes down to the makeup of your current set and individual preference. You would be best trying to keep distance gaps the same. That way you make your club choices simpler for a given distance and reduce the times you have to play ¾ shots.
Frequently asked questions [FAQ]
Is a 52° wedge good?
Well, it really comes down to your current set makeup. A 52° wedge should be good for you if you have a large gap between your sand wedge and pitching wedge.
It can also give you a different option when chipping as you may purchase a model with less bounce than a typical sand wedge making it more versatile for different types of lie.
Is a 50° or 52° wedge better?
Neither is better than the other. For most recreational players there wouldn’t be much difference between the clubs.
Try to get the loft that best fits the gap between your pitching and sand wedges.
How far do you hit a 52° wedge?
Players on the PGA Tour are hitting their gap wedges in the region of 130 yards. Slower swinging amateurs are more likely to be in the 75-100 yard range.
Don’t forget it’s not a case of hitting the ball as far as possible with your wedges. Irons are primarily about accuracy. Achieving consistent distances is more important.