What’s the Loft Degree in an Approach Wedge?

The approach wedge covers the 48-to-54 degrees of loft for wedges. While other clubs like the pitching and sand wedge may dip their toe into that pool of loft degrees, the approach, or AW, wedge primarily cover this loft span.

What is an AW Golf Club?

AW stands for approach wedge with a loft that nestles the club between the sand and pitching wedge. Also referred to as the gap wedge, because of its role in decreasing the difference between the sand and pitching wedge, the club offers up 120-130 yards of length in advanced players and around 100-110 yards in amateurs.

What is the difference between AW and GW?

There remains no difference between an approach and a gap wedge. Simply put, the two wedges are the same thing. In essence, they just share a different name. Both approach and gap wedges utilize the same loft and swing when striking the shot with the club.

You do not need a different swing plane when hitting any wedge, including sand, gap, or lob wedge. The same holds true for the AW golf club.

Regardless of what you call the wedge, its primary responsibility is hitting approach shots into the green. With the loft degree sitting anywhere from 48-to-54, golfers can expect a distance of around 100-120 yards with moderate spin to help stop the shots once they hit the green.

How does an Approach Wedge Compare to a Pitching Wedge?

In terms of yardage, a rough estimate of each wedge on the course suggests that the approach wedge travels roughly 100-110 yards, while the pitching wedge should go 110-120 for the average golfer using the same swing.

Since many factors are at play when trying to hit chip shots with the pitching wedge or approach wedge. However, the pitching wedge will hit flatter chip shots with more roll than the sand wedge, approach wedge, or gap wedge.

Pitching wedges carry a loft anywhere from 46-52 degrees. Although there are different types of pitching wedges for your bag, the best one for golfing commonly is the one you have the most confidence in when striking shots around the green.

How to Use an Approach Wedge Correctly

Full Swings

When taking a full swing with gap wedges, it remains wise to start with the ball in the center of the stance. Regardless of whether you are using a pitching wedge, sand wedge, approach wedge, or lob wedge, having the ball in the center of your foundation allows the golf club to use its natural loft to lift the ball.

Knockdown Shot

When looking to start mastering a knockdown shot with your approach wedge, the quick answer is to get the ball equidistant between your feet. However, some golfers like to get their feet a little closer together to help maintain swing speed with a short takeaway for maximum power to hit their shot.

Chip Shot

With the ball back in your stance, the approach wedge can reach a variety of distances with several launch angles that produce different spin rates. On chip shots around the green, especially when the distance is very short to the pin, the approach wedge and the degrees of loft on the face help reduce high trajectory shot height while still helping stop shots incredibly quick.

Approach wedges from popular brands, such as Callaway and Cleveland, utilize razor-sharp grooves that grip the ball and generate staggering spin, even on shots without the high trajectory that gap wedges are known to create.

Best Approach Wedges

Best for Low Handicappers

Callaway Golf Mack Daddy 5 JAWS Wedge

Callaway Mack Daddy 5

  • Multiple grind and sole options for true shot customization
  • Sharp grooves produce high spin rates for total control
  • Exceptional turf interaction provides clean contact with golf ball

Great for low handicap golfers, the Mack Daddy 5 from Callaway is one of the more enjoyable wedges and golf clubs I’ve had the pleasure to play over the past few years. While other wedges certainly have their highlights, I can safely say that the MD5 offers the complete package for the serious golfer.

If you are a fan of using different bounce angles or loft with your wedges, Callaway will take care of you on approach shots with the wide variety of the Mack Daddy’s combinations.

Best for Mid Handicappers

Cleveland Golf CBX 2 Wedge

Cleveland CBX2

  • Ultra-wide sole easily lifts shot into air
  • Impressive feel and response at impact
  • Tour-Zip Grooves work with the club’s bounce to offer maximum control

If you are struggling to find consistency in your game, the CBX2 from Cleveland delivers exceptional performance in any situation, regardless of whether you are trying to clear water hazards or stick your shot into the green.

I love the wide sole on these wedges, helping you prevent chunking or hitting thin shots. If you are shopping for a first-rate gap wedge at an affordable price, the CBX2 remains one of the best clubs on the market for shots inside 100 yards.

Best for High Handicappers

LAZRUS Premium Forged Golf Wedge Set for Men - 52 56 60 Degree Golf Wedges + Milled Face for More Spin - Great Golf Gift

Lazrus Premium Forged

  • Milled face produces consistent shot shape from rough or fairway
  • Forged construction offers tour-grade look
  • Excellent short game versatility

The Lazrus Premium Forged wedge series offers exceptional craftsmanship for high handicappers. The company offers all four wedges at different types of lofts, but when looking at how their approach wedge excels at 50 degrees, we ran it through several tests at a driving range at a local course and were pleased with the results.

Not only do we believe that the wedge belongs in your golf bag if you are a high handicapper, but on the course, the wedge provides exceptional distance on full swings. The Lazrus AW effectively performs the chipping and pitching job of many comparable short irons when close to the green.