What Is An AW Golf Wedge?
An AW or approach wedge is a type of golf club. What sort of shots do you use it for? How much loft does it? I’ll answer these questions and more in this post about what is an aw golf wedge.
What Is An Approach Wedge?
An approach wedge, sometimes referred to as an AW or GW (gap wedge), is a type of wedge. Some manufacturers have even labelled them as attack wedges.
It is used by a golfer to hit approach shots to the green. It may also be used for short pitches and chips around the putting surface. The purpose of an approach wedge is to fill that gap between the pitching wedge (PW) and sand wedge (SW). A gap wedge (GW) has more loft than a sand iron and less loft than a pitching wedge. Approach wedges are usually between 48 degrees to 54 degrees in terms of loft depending on the other clubs in your set.
What Is The Purpose And Loft Of An A-wedge?
An A-Wedge, which is another name for a gap wedge, is a relatively new type of golf club. It is designed to fill the gap between a pitching wedge and a sand wedge that many golfers have in their bags due to loft creep (see below). Typically the club has a loft of 52° degrees to fit nicely with a 48° and 56° pitch and sand wedge combo. Most players will use the club for full and partial shots from the fairway along with delicate pitch and chip shots. It may even be useful for certain types of bunker shots.
What Is Loft Creep?
Loft creep refers to the general reduction in iron lofts down the years that led to a large gap between the pitching and sand wedges in most sets. You are often looking at 8° and sometimes even more, which, depending on the player could mean 20 or 30 yard distance gap between the clubs.
This paved the way for manufacturers to sell you a gap wedge to fill that space. It also meant you paying more for your iron set.
When Should You Use Your Approach Wedge?
The approach wedge, also called an A-wedge, is designed to be used around the green and even in bunkers. It lies between the pitching wedge and sand wedge in terms of loft and is typically used to hit shots from a distance of 40-110 yards depending on the player. The approach wedge has greater loft than the pitching wedge which helps it get more height on your shot with more backspin.
This makes it ideal for hitting shots that land softly onto the green or pop out of a bunker. When you are faced with a challenging chip or pitch near the green using an approach wedge can help you tackle it with ease. Your aim should always be to hit the ball high enough so that it lands softly on the green with a decent amount of spin and this is where an approach wedge comes into its own.
Approach Wedge Vs Gap Wedge – What Is The Difference?
When it comes to wedges, golfers have many options to choose from: approach, gap, lob, attack, sand, pitching wedge etc.
The only difference between these two clubs is their name. Some companies use the term approach while others use gap or even attack to describe the wedge that fills the yardage gap between pitch and sand wedge.
Generally would have had a loft of 52° but could be as low as 46° or 47° where the manufactures have strengthened the loft of a PW down as low as 41°!
How High Should You Hit An Approach Wedge?
Most people would assume that the more lofted the club the higher the ball will go. That’s not quite true. Trackman data shows that to get the optimum carry and landing angle your wedges won’t fly quite as high as your short irons or your driver! That’s not to say that on a specific shot you might hit a wedge higher but if you want to be consistent then the wedges won’t be flying quite as high as you probably think. What is true is that the launch angle increases.
If we look at the Trackman data we can see the optimum height for a PW is 29 yards so for an approach wedge it would probably be 28 yards.
Lower on the same page you can see the LPGA player data. Their club head speed is more like the typical male club player so their figures will be more relevant to most of us. For a gap wedge you would be looking at around 22 yards.
Of course these are the optimum figures. How high you hit your shot will depend on a variety of factors like wind strength and direction and the quality of the lie.
How Far Should You Hit An Approach Wedge?
Knowing how far you hit your wedges consistently is more important than hitting them a specific distance. Your swing speed and ball striking will determine how far you will hit the ball. An average male club golfer will probably hit a 52 degree club about 90 yards. No matter how far you hit the ball knowing you hit it a consistent distance is more important to your success as a golfer.
What Wedges Should I Have In My Golf Bag?
Having the right wedges in your golf bag is essential for any golfer looking to improve their game. The four most common wedges are the pitching wedge, approach (gap) wedge, sand wedge, and lob wedge. The pitching wedge typically has a loft angle between 45-48 degrees and can be used for shots such as full swings from the fairway or hitting onto the green from shorter distances.
The approach wedge usually has a loft angle between 50-54 degrees and is ideal for hitting onto the green from medium distances or out of light roughs. The sand wedge usually has a loft angle between 54-58 degrees and is best used for playing out of bunkers or from thick rough. The lob wedge typically has a loft angle between 58-64 degrees and should be used when you need to get maximum height on shots around the green like flop shots or pitches over bunkers. Having all four wedges in your golf bag will give any golfer an advantage when playing on different courses and conditions.
However there is an argument for a 3-wedge or even a 2-wedge setup depending on ability and the degrees of loft that your other irons have.
Beginners and high handicaps might be better off sticking to just a pitching and sand wedge combination for the sake of simplicity. Mid-handicap or improving golfers might like to add a 3rd wedge to give them more options. Either a lob wedge for tricky shots round the green or a gap wedge to cover the yardage gap between their other wedges.
Best Gap Wedges of 2022
If you are looking for the widest range of options in terms of loft, bounce and grind then you would probably want to look at the Vokey SM9 wedges. TaylorMade also produce some fine wedges as do Mizuno. If you are looking for a more budget friendly option then the Kirkland wedges have been well received in many quarters.
How To Choose Wedge Bounce
Choosing the right amount of bounce on your wedges comes down to the playing conditions you most often encounter and your type of swing. If you tend to play on firm courses then less bounce is probably preferable while lusher courses would probably suit more bounce. Low bounce suits players with shallower attack angles while those with steeper angles of attack would benefit from more bounce.
What Is An AW Golf Wedge: Summary
So an AW golf wedge is a wedge of many names. Attack wedge, approach wedge or gap wedge. It could be anywhere from 45-54 degrees depending on the manufacturer.
Frequently Asked Questions [FAQ]
What Degree Is An AW Wedge?
The most common wedge loft for an approach wedge would be 52°. Although some manufacturers make stronger lofts to mix in with sets that have stroner lofted pitching wedges.