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54 or 56: What Degree Sand Wedge Should You Carry?

What Loft is a Sand Wedge

Wedges are an essential part of your bag. These are the most overlooked when it comes to purchasing new clubs.

Your equipment can make a big difference in your ability to shoot your best scores. While most golfers focus on new drivers that can help increase distance, you can’t forget about wedges either.

Most iron sets come with a pitching wedge but it’s up to you to get a sand wedge, gap wedge, and/or lob wedge to complete your set. With all the different types, lofts, bounce and other options, this can be a bit confusing.

This article will help guide you in choosing the right wedge setup to improve your short game. Continue reading to learn more about how to choose the right sand wedge or other equipment for your golf game. 

What is the degree of a Sand Wedge

The most common loft for a Sand wedge is 56 degrees.

But there isn’t a set sand wedge loft as most sand wedges are between 54-56 degrees. Different brands and manufacturers may be slightly different. 

If I had to pick one loft I would choose 56 as it’s been the most common SW loft over the years. But that doesn’t mean it’s right for your game though.

Ironically, I just replaced my 56-degree sandwedge with a 54-degree before researching and writing this article. It was because I had a large distance gap between my GW & SW, which caused a lot of awkward shots while on the golf course.

The reason for these gaps was that my gap wedge was the same type of club as my set – a Callaway Apex TCB. My sand wedge was a Titleist Voikey, which has a smaller head and a longer shaft. 

Despite the fact that there was a loft gap of four degrees between my wedges, Callaway club went further than a Vokey in the same loft.


Because the club is larger, and has a slight cavity in the back. I replaced my 56 club with a 54. This gave me a better distance control and wedges. The clubhead did not change much and the bounce was the same.

I feel more confident than ever at difficult distances. You need to find the perfect loft for your clubs, not just any 56 degree wedge.

Here’s how to find the right setup for your bag… 

54 vs.56 Degree Sand Wedge 

So should you play a 54 degree or 56 degree sandwedge? 

It all depends on your other golf clubs. The key is to make sure that your wedges are spaced equally so you don’t have major yardage gaps. 

For example, most players don’t know their PW loft and just buy a 56 and 60 degree wedge. If your pitching wedge has 45 degree loft, it will be 11 degrees higher than your SW. This can correspond to between 10-25 yards depending upon how far you hit your golf ball. 

Two questions will help you space your wedges.

  • What is my pitching wedge height?
  • How many wedges can I carry?

First, identify your pitching wedge loft. They can vary depending on the manufacturer. Some pitching wedges may be 43 degrees while others might be 48 degrees. If you don’t know your pitching wedge loft, it’s nearly impossible to gap your wedges correctly.

Some club manufacturers have the loft printed on the clubhead. For others, you may need to search the club specs to find the loft. Before you buy any other clubs, start here.

All the Wedges Explained

Once you know your loft, you can determine how many wedges to carry. Higher handicap golfers tend to carry three wedges to allow them to have an extra fairway or hybrid wood for longer shots. Lower handicap golfers will carry a fourth wedge because they have more wedges to greens.

You will most likely have three wedges: a SW, PW, and LW. If you have a fourth wedge, you’ll add a gap wedge.

Three Clubs Are Setup

Here’s a three-wedge setup.

  • 46-degree pitching wedge
  • 54 degree sand wedge  
  • 60° lob wedge

Four clubs are set up

You might be more likely than a 56-degree wedge if you have four wedges. This is how a common set-up for four wedges might look:

  • 46-degree pitching wedge
  • 52 degree gap wedge
  • 56-degree sand wedge  
  • 60° lob wedge

Or, 48 degrees PW, 50° gap wedge, 54° sand wedge and 58° LW.

Having a mix of wedges with different loft and bounce can help golfers hit all types of shots…. For normal shots, to sand traps and approach shots, as well as shots around the green. Equipment can make your game easier!

Golf Wedges Lie Angle

Now that you understand the importance of choosing the right loft, I want to point out another important part of playing the right wedges – lie angle

I’ve been fitted multiple times in my golf career and with my irons I’m usually one degree flat or standard lie. Fitters recommend that I go 1-2 degrees lower with my wedges than I would with my iron set.

To explain, I found this: Great interview from James Sieckmann, who is the director of instruction from Shadow Ridge Country Club. He said in the interview: “Wedges are typically too upright and fit for full swing. And you’re not using it for full swing very often — you’re using it from 10 yards, 20 yards or in the bunker. The fit, specifically with a lob wedge, should be for a 20-yard shot, not an 80- and 90-yard shot.”

Later, “An elite player might be 1-degree upright in his irons but get gradually flatter when transitioning to the wedges, going to potentially a standard lie angle in the sand wedge and maybe even 1-degree flat in the lob wedge.”

Loft and equal spacing are important, but your lie angles should be slightly lower to hit it closer with wedges.

FAQs about Golf Wedges 

Are you looking for more information about sand wedges or how to make sure your equipment works for you? Find the answers to the most common questions below.

Can a sand-wedge reach 60 degrees?

A sand wedge is between 54 and 57 degrees (give or take 0.5%). The most common LW loft is 60°. 

Do I need a sand wedge and a lob knife?

I think it’s beneficial for most golfers as it’s the most lofted club with 58-64 degrees of loft.

For beginners, I would skip LW. While it’s the highest degree wedge, a beginner might not hit the ball consistently well due to the loft/bounce combination.

However, a skilled golfer to average will use it to hit shots from all sides of the green.

What is the 52-degree equivalent of a wedge?

A 52 degree wedge is called a Gap wedge. Also known as an approach wedge, AW, or a wedge.

This is the club that connects your pitching wedge to your sand wedge. It’s common when you have four wedges in your bag and remove a long club (like a hybrid, long iron, or fairway wood). 

Gap wedges are ideal for pitch shots, long bunker shots, and tight lies.

What degree wedge works best for sand

To help you get the ball out the sand, it is generally better to have more loft. Loft is important, but the most important thing is to add loft by opening your clubface.

A common mistake made by amateur golfers is to play bunker shots using a square clubface. This usually stems from fear of the club being so open, but it’s needed to get out of the sand consistently. 

Remember, you need to hit the sand, and not the ball, in order to get out the bunker.

A square face means you’ll need to hit the ball closer and will likely hit more thin. But with an open clubface, it’s easier to swing more aggressively and get that nice “thud” from hitting the sand. 

Plus, loft means more bounce because the leading edge is exposed. Bounce will help the wedge glide across the sand quickly and get the ball up. An SW or GW is a better choice for longer bunker shots.

What is a wedge of 58 degrees? 

A lob wedge is a 58-degree wedge.

L-wedges are usually 58 degrees. This is despite the fact that most golfers consider them 60-plus degrees. While it’s closer to a sand wedge than a lot of lob wedges, it will still go higher and not travel as far.

A 54-degree sand wedge is more practical than a 58- or 60-degree lob wedge. As mentioned earlier, it’s important to space your wedges out equally so that you don’t have big distance gaps in your game. 

This will help you score more consistently and won’t have to change your swing length every round. Remember, the more you can change or modify on any given swing, then the better.

Do I need a wedge set?

Wedge sets, such as Kirkland, are available. Most wedges can be purchased individually. You can create your own set to have the best versatility and progression between wedges.

One club might have a higher bounce, another one could have less bounce, and yet another one could have mid-bounce. This gives you more control. You can choose the highest loft and find the club that matches your PW.

Can you adjust your loft with golf clubs?

Yes, most clubs can be adjusted to adjust their lofts. The only clubs you can’t adjust the loft of are ones that have fixed hosels. 

Most drivers and fairways woods have adjustable hosels. These let you insert a tool into the club, remove the screw, and adjust the hosel’s loft and lie settings. This is a great way to make it easier to hit it straight or reduce a slice.

Adjusting the loft and lies of your wedges or irons is a more difficult task. This is something most golfers will need help with. 

They will then clamp the golf club to a vice grip, and then use a special tool for manually adjusting the loft. 

Remember that you can adjust the wedge loft by also changing the bounce of your golf club. If you have a 54.12 (54° of loft, 12° of bounce), but adjust to 56° wedge, it will move the club to 14° of bounce.

Wedges have a lot of bounce, but too much or not enough can lead to problems. Before making any adjustments, check with your clubfitter. You can only adjust the hosel by about two degrees. 

How do you hit a 100-yard sand wedge? 

A club golfer averages a distance of less than 100 yards to hit a sand wedge. This depends on loft, swing speed and weather. But I wouldn’t worry about this as wedge distance isn’t that important.

If you watch most guys on the PGA Tour, chances are you will notice they hit a lot of “knockdown” wedges instead of full shots. They tend to spin and go too high when they hit full wedges.

Instead, they opt to hit controlled, knockdown shot. These type of shots don’t go as high, are easier to hit, and have consistent spin rates. 

I challenge you to do the exact same. The next time you’re between clubs, take the one with less loft. (Read our complete article about hitting the wedge shot at 50-75 yards.)

Even if you don’t hit it 100% perfect, you will still get to the green. A wedge makes it easy for you to smash it or skull it on the green. 

Final Thoughts 

The sand wedge is crucial, but you need to first determine your PW loft. Then work backwards to determine the loft for each wedge, based on whether you want three or more in the bag.

Pitching and sand-wedges are the most popular. However, a GW and/or LD can be helpful for any club golfer. There is no one-size fits all approach. It’s about finding the right setup that works for your handicap level and typical distances into the greens.

Finally, don’t neglect your lie angle as well. If you play wedges that are too upright (which most of them are), you’re going to make things much more difficult. Adjusting them for a flatter angle will improve contact and lead to lower scores.

Lastly, don’t be afraid to experiment with different brands, lofts, lies, and bounce to find the right wedges for you.