Gap wedge Vs Sand wedge (distinguishing both)

Imagine being on the course, ready to make a shot that could make or break your game. But here’s the catch, you’re holding not one but two different wedges in your hands: a gap wedge and a sand wedge. Which one should you use? How are they different? What’s the right move for this situation?

These are the questions that often come in the minds of golfers, both new and experienced.

If you’re new to the world of golf, the confusion between the types of wedges can be overwhelming. You already have to worry about your swing, and keeping the ball at the fairway. And even if you’re a seasoned player, certain distances can still leave you scratching your head, wondering if you’re picking the right club for the job.

But worry not! I’m here to make it all a bit easier for you, breaking down Gap wedge Vs Sand wedge and how you can tell them apart.

In my opinion, among the two, the gap wedge is better. It fills the gap left by the pitching and the sand wedge in terms of loft and yardages which makes it more versatile. It’s like having the advantages of two wedges with a single gap wedge. However, the importance of the sand wedge remains intact which its expertise in bunker play.

Now, before getting into the gap wedge vs. sand wedge debate, it’s important to have an idea about these particular wedges, so if you’re new to the world of golf, I’ll start with quick definitions of these wedges followed by precise comparisons. After that, we’ll get to the detailed head-to-head comparison. By the end of this guide, you will be able to make the right choice on the course.

Lets first get an overview of both.

Gap Wedge:

A gap wedge is a golf wedge with a loft of 50-54 degrees, lying between a pitching wedge and a sand wedge. It is designed to cover those in-between distances for accurate approach shots.

Sand Wedge:

A sand wedge, on the other hand, is a golf wedge with a loft ranging between 54-58 degrees, primarily designed for shorter, high-arc shots and bunker play.

Quick Comparison: Gap wedge Vs Sand wedge

To understand these wedges better, let’s have a quick glance at their properties and what they offer.

 Gap WedgeSand Wedge
Lofts50 to 54 degrees54-58 Degrees
Yardages90-110 yards70-90 yards
VersatilityPitch shots, Full-swings, Bunker playFinesse shots, Bunker play

Distinguishing both

Gap wedge Vs Sand wedge

Now, you have an idea of the wedges in discussion. To make things more clear, I am going to provide a more detailed head-to-head comparison of their loft, distance covered, trajectory, spin, and versatility.


Let’s start off by comparing the loft angles of both wedges. The gap wedge, also referred to as the approach wedge, offers a loft of 50-54 degrees, which covers the missing angulation between the lofts of the pitching and sand wedge. Whereas, the sand wedge has a much greater loft of about 54-58 degrees.


Talking about yardage, a gap wedge tends to cover a distance of 90 to 110 yards. With it in your bag, you will not have to worry about the distance gap left by pitching and sand wedges. On the other hand, a sand wedge will come in handy for shots with shorter distances of around 70 to 90 yards.


The trajectory of a shot can make all the difference. Gap wedges, with their controlled loft, yield a more penetrating, flatter trajectory for approach shots. Conversely, sand wedges, with their higher loft, provide the elevation needed for those high, soft-landing shots out of bunkers.


ball spin

The gap wedge, with its lower loft, generates moderate spin upon impact. While it might not produce as much spin as the sand wedge, it still offers control for approach shots and helps manage rollout on the green. On the contrary, the sand wedge produces more spin. The increased loft allows for greater contact with the ball, creating more spin. This feature helps delicate shots, ensuring the ball stops quickly upon landing and minimizing roll.


The gap wedge takes pride in its versatility, handling full swings, chips, pitches, and even certain bunker situations. Meanwhile, the sand wedge’s design caters to specific challenges, like bunker play and finesse shots requiring loft and precision around the greens.

Limits and considerations

After discovering the advantages of gap and pitching wedges, the desire to include both is natural. But the United States Golf Association (USGA) restricts clubs to 14 in total, including drivers, irons, putters, and wedges.

You can either replace the pitching wedge with the gap wedge or retain all three wedges, adjusting according to your play style and the course conditions.

🏌️‍♂️ Related:

Summing Up

playing golf in nice evening

In the world of golf, the choice between a gap wedge and a sand wedge can define your approach to various shots on the course. Through this guide, we have tried to understand the intricacies of these wedges, considering their features and advantages. The gap wedge acts as a precision tool, bridging yardage gaps, while the sand wedge specializes in bunker escapes and delicate shots.

Which one works better for you is a choice that you have to make. Now, as you go on your golfing journey, remember that each shot is an opportunity to make a decision that could excel your game. Whichever wedge you choose, your grip and swing will hold significant importance.

Also Check: How accurate can a Golf Simulator be?


Q) Can you use a gap wedge instead of a sand wedge?

A) No, even though a gap wedge can be extremely versatile and used for a number of shots around the green, it cannot replace the sand wedge. A sand wedge has a higher loft than a gap wedge, which means it is better for hitting out of sand traps. However, if you don’t have one, you can use the gap wedge for bunker shots.

Q) Does a gap wedge go farther than a sand wedge?

A) Yes, a gap wedge generally goes farther than a sand wedge. This is because the gap wedge has a lower loft compared to the sand wedge. The reduced loft allows for a more penetrating trajectory, resulting in longer distances. However, the sand wedge excels in shots requiring a higher arc and more precision.

Q) Do high handicappers need a gap wedge?

A) High handicappers can benefit from using a gap wedge, but it’s not a necessity. A gap wedge can help them bridge the distance between their pitching wedge and sand wedge, providing more versatility in approach shots. However, since high handicappers might be focusing on improving their overall game, working on their swing and short-game skills could be equally valuable. However, if a high handicapper finds that their distances are inconsistent, introducing a gap wedge could be beneficial.

Q) Can you use a gap wedge in the bunker?

A) Using a gap wedge in a bunker can be possible, but it’s not the ideal choice. Gap wedges have a lower loft and less bounce compared to sand wedges, which are designed specifically for bunker shots. You can experiment with a gap wedge in bunkers, but it might not perform as effectively as a sand wedge.

Q) Can you use a 56-degree wedge as a sand wedge?

A) Yes, a 56-degree wedge can be used as a sand wedge. In fact, many standard sand wedges have a loft of around 56 degrees, which makes them suited for bunker shots and shots around the greens. The loft of a 56-degree wedge provides a good balance between loft and distance, making it versatile for various short-game situations.