What Degree is a Pitching Wedge? (Plus What Pros Prefer)

Golf clubs have varying degrees of loft which are used in different situations by golfers.  If you are interested in golf you may be wondering about pitching wedge loft. What degree is a pitching wedge?

The degree of a pitching wedge ranges from 44 – 50 degrees.  Most standard pitching wedges are 46 degrees. 

There are several factors that a golfer will use to determine which degree of pitching wedge fits their game.  In this article we will discuss in further detail pitching wedge lofts and how playing low loft vs high loft can affect your game.

At the bottom of the article we will discuss what degree of a pitching wedge professional golfers prefer to use, and why they prefer certain types of lofts.

Degrees of a Pitching Wedge

What degree is a pitching wedge? The degree of a pitching wedge ranges from 44 – 50 degrees.  Most standard pitching wedges are 46 degrees. 

A degree is the measurement of the angle from the face of the club to the shaft.  This measurement allows us to determine how much loft the golf club has. 

Based off the degree of the club, golfers know how far and high the ball will travel when they hit it.  This predictability is key for golfers who want to fine tune the distance they hit shots and control how high the ball travels with each club. 

How Is Pitching Wedge Degree Determined?

As we discussed above, the degree measurement of a pitching wedge is determined by measuring the angle of the face of the club in relation to the shaft. 

Golfers typically have about 4 degrees of loft angle in between their clubs.  Normally, pitching wedges are 46 degrees, but golfers will change the loft depending on their personal swing.  So what are the benefits of using high loft vs low loft?

High Loft vs Low Loft in Pitching Wedges and Irons

What degree of pitching wedge and irons a golfers uses will vary from golfer to golfer. They will use technology and fitting professionals to determine what loft angle is best for how they swing the golf club.  When getting fit for golf clubs, professional fitters will determine what is best for the golfer depending on how the golfer wants to play the game. 

If a golfer wants to hit the ball higher then they will want to have higher degree clubs and vice versa if they want to hit the ball lower.

Advantages of High Loft

Hitting the ball high has some great advantages.  The first notable advantage is being able to stop the ball when it hits the green.  When hitting your approach shot into the green, you want the ball to be able to stop quickly so it stays on the green.  The higher you hit the ball, the less distance it will travel after it hits the ground.

A second advantage is being able to hit the ball over objects, such as trees.  Everyone that has played or watched golf knows that golfers get themselves into trouble when they miss fairways.  Being able to get out of trouble is something that professional golfers are very good at.  One reason for this is they can hit the ball really high, so they can hit it over trees or other objects and get themselves out of difficult spots.

Disadvantages of High Loft

There are a couple drawbacks to having a high ball flight.  The first one is distance.  When you hit the ball on a higher trajectory, you typically are giving up distance. 

There is an exception to this.  When the playing conditions are wet and soft, hitting the ball higher will actually give you more distance.  This is because the wet, soft conditions cause the ball to stop quickly once it hits the ground.  Therefore, the farther the ball travels in the air, the farther the shot will be in those wet conditions.

As we talked about, having the ball come down from a high trajectory allows the ball to stop quickly when it hits the ground, but it also means that the ball will not be traveling much difference once it peaks in height.

The second major drawback is playing in wind.  If you have a higher ball flight in wind, it is really hard to control where the golf ball will go. 

Higher ball flights mean the ball will be in the air longer and thus have more time for the wind to affect where the ball lands.  Also, distance can be an even bigger issue for high ball flights in the wind.  When you hit directly into the wind the ball will be affected more than a lower ball flight and travel even much less total distance.

Advantages of Low Loft

Low lofted clubs do provide advantages as well.  The major advantage you get with a low loft club is you will typically hit the ball further.  The ball flight can be longer and the roll out of the golf ball after it hits the ground will also be much longer.

Gaining distance on your clubs will allow you to have shorter distances on your approach shots to the green.

A second advantage is having more control over the ball when it is windy out.  When the ball is in the air a shorter amount of time, there is less opportunity for the wind to affect the ball flight. 

Also, a lower ball flight into the wind will allow golfers to hit the ball further.  In general, when playing in the wind, professional golfers try to hit the ball lower to control the flight of the golf ball as best as they can.

Disadvantages of Low Loft

The first obvious drawback to hitting the ball lower is the loss in control of where it will go once it hits the ground.  Professional golfers are able to practice rigorously which allows them to know exactly how far the ball flies in the air with each club. They also want to know how far the ball with go when it hits the ground.  Lower ball flight will cause for more variability once the ball hits the ground, which isn’t something golfers want.

The second drawback is not being able to hit the ball over as many objects like trees.  This will mean the golfer will either need to hit the ball around the object or not be able to advance the ball past objects and force a layup.  Having to layup regularly in golf is a costly issue for professional golfers.

This disadvantage will be noticeable when playing on golf course with a lot of trees.  Although if a golfer is skilled enough to curve the ball around objects, they can minimize this disadvantage. 

What Degree is a Pitching Wedge for Professionals?

Many pro golfers use a 46 degree pitching wedge, but it varies based on swing and personal preference.

The vast majority of professional golfers prefer to have a higher ball flight because the golf courses they play are very narrow and the greens are very hard.

Remember, stopping a golf ball on a hard green can be extremely difficult.  A low ball flight with a sharp landing angle stands very little chance of not running off the green. 

Professional golfers usually hit the ball very far and so maximizing distance isn’t necessarily preferred.  Pro golfers will will opt for control so they can accurately hit the ball the correct distances with greater accuracy. 

Although most golfers want as much distance as possible, when you are playing courses that are extremely difficult giving up some distance for greater control will typically lead to better results.

Joshua Lloyd

Joshua is lead content creator for basketball and golf at Sports Fan Focus. Golf is a passion of his and he enjoys both playing and watching golf in his spare time. To read more about Joshua, visit the SFF About Us page.

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