For much of the second half of the 20th century, golfers typically carried only two wedges, the pitching wedge and the sand wedge. Pitching wedges had lofts in the mid- to upper 40-degree range, and sand wedges had lofts in the mid-50s. That left a gap of about 8 degrees of loft from the pitching wedge to the sand wedge.
So to close that gap, some golfers added wedges with lofts in-between the loft of the pitching wedge and the sand wedge. And that wedge, therefore, became known as the "gap wedge."
A gap wedge typically has a loft of 50 or 52 degrees, with the goal being to slot it directly in the middle of the lofts of your pitching wedge and sand wedge, so there is a consistent progression of loft through your wedges.
Return to Golf Glossary index