The gap wedge is a club that I am often asked about.
What is it?
What does it do?
Do I need one?
It’s probably best that I first give you a bit of history on golf club design and how this has changed in recent years. When I qualified as a PGA professional in the early 90’s, a sand wedge had 56 degrees of loft, a PW 52, a 9 iron 48 and an 8 iron 44 degrees.
Shoot forward 20 years and iron lofts are as follows, Sand wedge, 55 degrees, PW 45 degrees, 9 iron 40 and an 8 iron 36 degrees.Can you spot what the designers and marketers have done?Yep, your modern PW is almost as strong lofted as an old 8 iron. In fact every club in the bag is around 1.5 – 2 clubs stronger lofted than they used to be.
Designers have been able to do this by adding more weight to the sole of the club and spreading weight to the perimeter, which produces a higher ball flight with less loft, creating more distance.
There are however 2 drawbacks. Due to the job that a sand wedge has to do, it cannot be strengthened much and as a result a gap has appeared between a PW & SW and has resulted in the creation of a Gap Wedge.
So to answer the earlier questions, a gap wedge is really just a traditional PW and will hit the ball a distance somewhere between your PW & SW.
You will need one if you find yourself struggling to hit soft PW shots or hard SW shots to fill the gap.