After several fun days at the driving range, you’ve finally caught the golf bug and decided to buy your first set of clubs. As you begin researching the various options available, you come across the term “aw golf club.” Which prompts the question, “what is an aw golf club?”
An AW golf club is an approach wedge (AW) often used to hit from the fairway or rough. Also referred to as a gap wedge, this club falls between a pitching wedge and a sand wedge on the loft scale. It is designed for mid-range shots (85-120 yards) that need to go over obstacles and land closer to the green.
History of the approach wedge
For years, there were two main types of wedges: the pitching wedge and the sand wedge.
The pitching wedge was instrumental in making long shots that require less backspin. On the other hand, the sand wedge was essential for short high shots such as those required to get out of the bunker.
With only these two types of wedges available, taking mid-range shots (between 80-110 yards) was challenging, to say the least. However, in the early 1990s, an additional club type was introduced to revolutionize mid-range shots off the fairway.
The gap wedge came as a transitional club between the pitching and sand wedge. Designed with a mid-loft range, the aw golf club is critical for mid-range shots around or over obstacles.
Design features of an AW golf club
One of the most notable design features of the approach wedge is the loft range. Defined as the angle of the clubface in relation to the shaft, the loft determines the ball distance and trajectory. A higher loft equals a shorter distance and higher trajectories, while a lower loft equals longer ball distances and lower trajectories.
Approach wedges typically have a loft range of 50-54 degrees, with 52 degrees being the most common.
Another notable design feature of the best gap wedge is its bounce angle. The bounce angle is the difference between the club’s leading edge and the club’s sole (how curved a club’s bottom is).
Bounce angle influences how the club interacts with the turf or how much the club bounces off the ground. A more curved surface results in higher trajectories than clubs with less bounce.
Gap wedges tend to have a flatter bottom compared to sand or lob wedges. This makes it easier to shoot on the rough and firmer turf than on bunkers.
Another design feature of the aw golf club is that they’re stamped with an A, U, G, or 52.
When should you use an aw golf club?
An approach golf club is among the most versatile clubs in your bag and can be utilized for various shots.
Its key advantage is that it provides the perfect blend of distance and power. This makes it ideal for shots when other clubs are too weak or strong.
So, when should you use an approach wedge?
Some of the situations where you may need to use an aw golf club include:
- Approach shots from the fairway or rough over obstacles such as bunkers, trees, and water hazards.
- Approach shots on firmer terrain that require landing the ball softly closer to the hole.
- Approach shots from the rough that land the ball softly on the green.
- Full swing shots of between 90-120 yards.
- Shots that you need to fly and roll the same distance.
- Chipping around the green, especially when you need minimal backspin.
How to use an AW golf club
To master the approach wedge, hit it like a pitching wedge but with added oomph.
Place your ball in the center of your stance and strike downward for maximum effect while staying light on your back foot to improve contact and spin control.
With some practice, you’ll have that difficult shot nailed down soon!
Factors to consider when choosing an Approach wedge
Approach wedges typically have a loft range of around 48-54 degrees.
If you want a gap wedge that you can use for longer shots, go for one with a lower loft (48 degrees). If you’re looking for one that you can use for relatively shorter shots (85-90 yards), it’s best to go for an approach wedge with a loft of between 50-54.
This should be a key consideration for beginner golfers when choosing an approach wedge.
Look for a gap wedge with perimeter weighting and cavity back to reduce the risk of hitting off-center shots.
How much are you prepared to pay for your first set of wedges? Approach wedges are available at various price points depending on their design and materials.
If you’re a beginner golfer on a tight budget, you may want to opt for more affordable options with basic features. However, if you have more experience playing golf and have a larger budget, it may be worth investing in premium wedges with better performance.
Differences between a gap, sand, pitching, and lob wedge
The main difference between these wedges mainly lies in their loft.
The pitching wedge is the least lofted of the wedges. With its vast range of 44 to 48 degrees loft, the pitching wedge is excellent for full swing shots between 110-150 yards and chipping around the green. A pitching wedge also has the lowest bounce with a nearly flat bottom.
A gap wedge has a loft between 48-54 degrees, making it a good choice for shorter shots (85-120 yards). A gap wedge tends to have more bounce than a pitching wedge and is also an excellent alternative to the pitching wedge.
The sand wedge has a loft between 54 and 58 degrees and is essential for any golfer who regularly plays in the bunker or on other difficult lies. A sand wedge typically has more bounce than gap wedges, making it ideal for softer turf conditions.
Finally, the lob wedge is the most lofted of all wedges, with a loft of between 58-64 degrees. This wedge is best for shorter shots over obstacles like bunkers and water hazards. It has the highest bounce of all wedges.
How will an approach wedge help improve my game?
Accuracy is essential for success on the course, and a gap wedge can make it easier to achieve.
Instead of trying for maximum power with a sand wedge, an 80 percent effort swing using the gap wedge gives you just enough height without sacrificing precision.
Moreover, its loft allows golfers to deftly navigate chip shots by moving their hands ahead of the ball; or pitch shots via reversing this technique so that their hands center at address – both techniques maintain accuracy while preserving high flight potential!
Whether you’re a beginner golfer looking to improve accuracy and consistency, or an experienced golf pro in need of the perfect club for chipping around the green, the aw golf club is sure to become your go-to option.
Looking to buy an aw golf club, check out our article on the best gap wedges.