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Whether you’re a novice or a seasoned golfer, you must be aware of the importance of having a wedge in your golf bag. Most players will have up to four, some will cut it to three, and a minority might even pack five, but you won’t see anyone packing none. A pitching wedge is a must, and so is a sand wedge, as well as a lob wedge, but is a gap wedge a worthwhile investment, even if it’s the best one in the world? We’ve compiled this best gap wedge review to make it easier for you to see what the market has to offer and choose the one best suited for your needs.
The Degrees of Gap Wedges
Well, look at it this way – there’s a gap in loft in your bag between the pitching wedge and the sand wedge, as you might be all too painfully aware. It might be 4 degrees, it might be 6, even 8, or more. A 4-degree gap you can work with, maybe even a 6-degree gap if your short game is strong, but 8 degrees is just too much. If that’s the case, then you need a gap, aka approach wedge, to fill in.
Let’s recap briefly. Golf wedges are, basically, irons that are designed for specific purposes, and are usually categorized by lofts (categories may overlap) – pitching wedges (≈44°–48°), gap wedges (≈50°–53°), sand wedges (≈54–58°) and lob wedges (≈60°–64°), plus ultra-lob wedges (up to 70°) if anyone’s using them. The names are pretty much self-explanatory, aren’t they?
So, how would you play a gap wedge? There’s not really a certain way to do it, it’s all just a matter of personal preference. Play it for little chip shots, or 100-yard pitches, there isn’t a certain way of playing it, though, you may find that it fits into your set in a certain way.
The 7 Best Approach Wedge Comparison Table
Ping Glide 2.0 Wedge
Best Gap Wedge Review
To save you some legwork around the internet and your local retailers, we made a list of 7 top rated gap wedges. If you don’t find anything you like, we hope it’ll at least have given you an idea of where to start.
The Cleveland RTX-3 CB wedge comes in all shapes, forms, and sizes (pretty much literally), with lofts ranging from 46 to 60 in two-degree increments. Out of this range, at least two lofts qualify as true gap wedge (50 and 52), both with medium bounce, which makes them perform well on both soft turf/white sand and firm turf/packed sand. If you pack a 45-degree pitching wedge and a 56 sand wedge, we’d suggest going for the 50-degree RTX-3 to bridge the gap.
Besides, you can always hit a 50 a bit weaker and get the yardage of a 52, but you can’t hit a 52 and make the distance of a 50. The center of gravity (CG) on this puppy has been moved low and center, which gives a bit more distance control and forgiveness, while the grooves are fairly narrow so that there’s less spin on full shots. This is definitely one of, if not the best, gap wedge out there.
The whole Titleist Vokey SM6 line makes for a mouth-watering choice of wedges, with a loft selection that goes from 46 to 62 degrees (50 and 52 being, of course, the approach wedges). The major selling point of this club is the innovative Progressive CG design which really makes a difference for pitching and gap wedges.
What it does is align the CG with the impact position of each loft, meaning that on lower lofts it sits lower down the face, and on the higher it sits higher up. What this means for the gap wedges in this line? In short, more control, and, consequently, predictable flights. Also, the grooves are narrower and deeper than on higher lofts, allowing more spin control on full shots. If we had to choose the best approach wedge, this would be the strongest candidate.
It’s tough to talk about gap wedges without mentioning the other types, since rarely any manufacturer produce a specific line of just one type of wedge (so, don’t give them any ideas). The case is more or less the same with the Cobra King wedges, if you disregard the marked absence of pitching wedges from the table.
The lowest available loft is 50 degrees, which suit our purpose just fine, though it only comes with the Versatile grind (great for sweepers and making shallower and shorter divots). Conversely, the 52-degree loft has two options, Versatile and Classic (pretty much neutral approach, for the average golfer). This may not be the highest rated gap wedge out there, but it comes pretty close. The CNC milled grooves give a lot of spin, and you’ll have a consistent control on your little chips or pitches up to 125 yards (or less, depending on your game).
It was a tough choice between the Mizuno S5 and T7, so we decided to include them both on our list of most popular gap wedges (aka approach, aka attack, aka utility wedges, whichever jingles your jollies).
The S5 is here for the novices and weekend warriors, particularly thanks to its impressive forgiveness, whereas the T7 should warm the cockles of any seasoned veteran with its soft feel that makes it perfect for surgical shots around the green.
Both, however, are very lightweight, and both suffer the same flaw in their finish – the Blue IP comes off rather quickly (though the White Satin looks great). Not that this will affect your approach in any significant way, mind you. Moreover, either one can be named the top rated gap wedge in the budget-friendly category, it all comes down to preference.
When it comes to gap wedges (and wedges in general, for that matter), the Callaway MD3 may not be the best on the market, but it doesn’t fall far from the green, either. Now that the obligatory pun is out of the way, let’s get to know this puppy a bit closer.
The MD3 comes in 15 lofts, so you have all the types you need – pitch, gap, sand, and lob. What makes them different (apart from the loft) is the progressive groove design, with lower lofts (46 to 52) sporting the 30v narrow and deep grooves. These should do well preventing fliers out of the rough. This is important because it makes a smooth transition from your irons to the wedges, so you don’t have to overcompensate for the spin.
6. Ping Glide 2.0 Wedge
The Ping Glide 2.0 is a new and improved version of the still reigning Glide series. Is it the most valuable gap wedge out there? Possibly, but only if you prefer slightly larger profiles. The lofts go from 46 all the way to 60 in two-degree increments, so you have all the four major types for a full set.
The biggest improvement is in the grooves department, where the grooves (for the gap wedges) have been made narrower and with sharper edges, which should add that little extra spin for less-than-full swings. Other than that, its major selling point is the somewhat longer grip (0.75 inches longer, to be exact), which is a bit unusual for wedges in general, but it does add some carry distance, as well as face control.
The only thing we could fault TaylorMade is that their new Milled Grind wedges don’t include pitching wedges. On the flipside, the two approach wedges come with nice, medium bounce, which recommends them for all sorts of turfs, both soft and firm.
Moreover, the 52 should also perform nicely in getting you out of the green side bunker. It’s not the most perfect gap wedge out on the market, but we wouldn’t throw it away as an option. The CG on these puppies has been relocated center and up, which gives you a bit more control on the ball. Coupled with the increased spin thanks to the extra groove (not to mention the fact the rest of them now have steeper sides and sharper edges), this allows you almost surgical approach shots.
All in all, talking about wedges and set configurations is a bit of a touchy subject, since not every golfer will have the same preferences. One man’s pitch wedge is another man’s gap wedge. However, one thing is constant – you can’t discuss one type without the others, especially gap wedges.
A word to the wise – before you opt for either 52 or 50 (or have either bent to 51), remember that the best gap wedge is the one that covers your yardage gap the best. Bottom line – take it for a test drive, along with your pitching wedge and sand wedge, so you get a feel what suits you the best.