Pitching Wedge vs Sand Wedge: Key Differences Explained
Understanding Your Pitching Wedge and Sand Wedge
Tired of shanking short game shots out of the sand and onto the green?
Struggling to decide whether to use your pitching wedge or sand wedge while out on the golf course?
Today's your lucky day, as you've found the ultimate golf guide explaining when to use a pitching wedge vs sand wedge.
In this article, we'll be taking a closer look at the differences between pitching wedges and sand wedges and when to use each one. We'll also provide some tips on how to hit these golf wedges properly, provide your best options, and end with some FAQs.
Kick back, put on your reading glasses, and bookmark this golf guide for easy future access. Let's jump right in.
Sand Wedges Explained
What degree is a sand wedge?
Most players will agree that a sand wedge is typically designed with a loft angle ranging between 54 and 58 degrees.
When to use a sand wedge
As the name suggests, it's best to use a sand wedge when you need to hit a shot out of a bunker or a deep rough seeing as it's specifically designed to help you get the ball out of the sand as well as high or short grass with its higher loft angle and wider sole.
You can also use a sand wedge for shorter approach shots where a high, short shot with a lot of backspin is required, like hitting over a bunker or onto a steeply sloping green. It's best to use a sand wedge more around the green than in full swings.
How to hit a sand wedge
The best way to hit a sand wedge is to set up your stance by opening your feet slightly wider than normal and pointing them slightly left of your target. This will help you hit down on the golf ball and create some backspin.
Next, take a slightly shorter backswing than you normally would with a full swing, keeping your hands ahead of the golf ball throughout the swing.
As you swing, aim to strike the sand or grass about an inch behind the ball, using the bounce of the wedge's sole to glide through the sand and lift the golf ball out of the bunker.
Benefits of a sand wedge
Sand wedges are great for getting out of bunkers, providing more backspin, and producing a higher trajectory due to its shorter bounce.
A sand wedge is versatile and can be used for a full shots and chipping around the green.
The best sand wedge
Pitching Wedges Explained
What degree is a pitching wedge?
A pitching wedge typically has a loft angle between 44 and 48 degrees.
When to use a pitching wedge
Pitching wedges are best for when you need to hit a shot from a distance of around 100 to 120 yards away from the hole.
Pitching wedges are also useful for approach shots around the green, especially when you need a lower trajectory shot that will roll.
You can also use a pitching wedge for chipping around the green and for shorter bunker shots where less loft is required.
How to hit a pitching wedge
First, set up your stance by placing the golf ball in the center of your stance and positioning your feet shoulder width apart. Ensure your weight is evenly distributed between both feet.
When you swing, take a slightly longer backswing than you would with a sand wedge, keeping your hands and arms relaxed to allow the club to hinge more naturally. As you swing through the golf ball, aim to strike the ball with a slightly descending blow, making contact with the golf ball before taking a divot.
Remember, hitting a pitching wedge requires more precision and control than it does power, so focus on making a smooth, controlled swing more than a power shot.
Benefits of a pitching wedge
Pitching wedges excel when it comes to distance control and accuracy.
With that in mind, pitching wedges are also very versatile wedges that can be use for a variety of different shots around the green, such as chipping, pitching, and in some cases, longer bunker shots. You'll get a similar spin with this club as you would with other irons.
The best pitching wedge
Main Differences Between Pitching and Sand Wedges
The most notable difference between a pitching wedge and a sand wedge is the loft angle.
Sand wedges are usually around 54° and 58º, where pitching wedges range anywhere from 44º to 48°.
Another significant difference between a pitching wedge and a sand wedge is what shots they're used for.
Sand wedges are best used for hitting sand shots out of a bunker or a deep rough as well as high and short approach shots that call for a lot of backspin.
On the other hand, pitching wedges are best suited for shots from a distance of around 100 to 120 yards. They're also useful for approach shots around the green when you need a lower trajectory shot that needs some roll as well as chip and pitch shots.
Can a pitching wedge be used as a sand wedge?
While a pitching wedge can be used to hit shots out of a bunker, it's not ideal for this purpose unless you're a near scratch golfer. The pitching wedge has a lower loft angle than a sand wedge, which makes it more difficult to hit the ball out of the sand. This club also has a narrower sole, which can cause the club to dig into the sand and result in a poor shot. Therefore, it's generally recommended to use sand wedges when hitting shots out of bunkers as this specific wedge is designed for sand shots.
What is better a pitching wedge or a sand wedge?
Whether a pitching wedge or a sand wedge is better depends on the shot you need to make. The pitching wedge is generally better for approach shots from a distance of around 100 to 120 yards, while the sand wedge is specifically designed to help golfers get out of bunkers and hit high, short shots with a lot of backspin. Both pitching and sand wedges are essential for many golfers, and have their own unique benefits. Any serious golfer should have one of each of these clubs in their golf bag.
What is a pitching wedge used for?
A pitching wedge is primarily used for approach shots to the green from a distance of around 100 to 120 yards. It can also be used for chipping around the green and for shorter bunker shots where less loft is required. Overall, pitching wedges are versatile clubs that can be used for a variety of shots, making it an essential club for golfers of all skill levels. You’ll even sometimes see professional players use pitching wedges to get the ball moving again on thicker roughs.
Is a 60 degree wedge a sand wedge?
While a 60 degree wedge can be used as a sand wedge, it is not necessarily a sand wedge. A 60 degree wedge is a high loft wedge that can be used for a variety of shots, including bunker shots, chip shots, and flop shots. Sand wedges typically have a loft angle ranging between 54 and 58 degrees, while a 60 degree wedge has a higher loft angle.
What other wedges should I keep in my golf bag?
It's always a good idea to keep a golf club with more loft in your bag, such as a 58° or 60° lob wedge, as well as a gap wedge that's 48 or 50 degrees for tricky situations.
Final Verdict: Keep Both in Your Golf Bag
After covering the key differences between pitching wedges and sand wedges, it's clear to see that both loft angles are a necessity to golfers' golf bags. Whether you're facing a tough bunker shot or trying to hit an accurate approach shot to the green, these golf clubs are essential for any golfer looking to improve their golf game.
Remember, golf is a sport that requires patience, practice, and a good sense of humor. Don't get too caught up in the scorecard, and enjoy the beauty of the course and the company of your fellow golfers.
So the next time you're out on the links, don't be afraid to pull out your pitching wedge or sand wedge and take a swing. With a little practice and some helpful tips, you'll be hitting the ball with more accuracy and impressing your buddies in no time.
Thanks for joining us, see you on the course.
Until next time,
Matt | Pyramid Golf