If you’re new to golf, you may be wondering what a pitching wedge is and why you need to carry one in your golf bag.
A pitching wedge is a wedge used to hit a shot with higher and shorter trajectory than a 9-iron and a lower and longer trajectory than a gap wedge
Design and Usage of Pitching Wedges
Pitching wedges, while technically wedges, often behave more like numbered irons due to their unique history and versatility.
In the past, the pitching wedge was sometimes labelled as a 10-iron in matched sets, adhering to the traditional loft progression of irons.
Despite being categorised as a wedge, many retail iron sets included the pitching wedge, even when excluding other wedges.
Today, the loft of modern irons has been reduced to accommodate cavity-back designs that launch the ball higher and provide greater distance for the average golfer, closing the gap between amateur and professional golfers.
These days, the loft of the pitching wedge has decreased from the traditional range of 48–54° to a modern range of 45°, which is a bit like an old school 8-iron.
Pitching Wedge Versatility
The pitching wedge is an incredibly versatile club
You can play a full swing similar to a short iron, which helps you hit a high-trajectory shot, typically going between 80–130 yards (73–119 m) based on factors like your swing speed, your technique and club design.
This type of shot usually stops where it lands and has minimal roll after landing.
You can also use a shorter “chipping” stroke, the pitching wedge can execute precise “lob” or “approach” shots covering shorter distances
I sometimes choose to play a chip shot with my Pitching Wedge but using my putting stroke, which usually lets me hit the ball around the green, often to lift the ball over a few feet of rough or fringe, particularly when the pin is within say 10–25 yards
This type of stroke is often referred to as a “bump and run” and can be performed using many other irons, I’d suggest using at least a 7-iron until you get used to it, as using a Pitching Wedge will have a much different result and won’t roll out as far as the 7-iron.
You just need to practice to find out what works best for you
While the loft of a pitching wedge varies between sets, generally falling between 42 and 45 degrees, the launch angle and average carry distance remain quite consistent.
What’s In my Bag
I am currently gaming a set of Custom Fit Callaway XR Pro irons and I have a Pitching wedge in my bag. My XR-Pro Pitching wedge which is 44°, one inch longer and 2-degrees upright, which is exactly what I need for me.
If you’re going to buy some irons or wedges I would recommend looking into having a custom fit. If you need any info about the process check out my Guide to being Custom Fit
Before you buy your club, we have a video coaching course that you should watch which shows you how to play a pitch shot, this may help you get the correct technique before you spend any money on a club that may become ill suited to you