What are the Best Gap Wedges in 2018?
In this guide we review and compare Gap Wedges to find the best one.
The best part?
You don't have to be a wedge specialist to find the best one for your play style and budget.
Let's get started.
If you want to excel, in your game, having the right sand wedge is a must.
And in this article, I’m going to show you the best sand wedges and everything you need to know to choose the right wedge for you.
Let’s dive right in.
Our Roundup Selection
Editor's Choice: Titleist Vokey SM7
The latest addition to the successful Vokey range is this new Titlist Vokey SM7 wedge. The progressive CG locations result in dynamic path control while offering an improved feel across the course.
The new grooves can give a huge role. The Spin Milled machining process adds a 100 rpm increase in a spin which significantly improves your scoring potential for shots and even delicate chips, made from inside 100 yards.
The Vokey team have a good grasp of the concept that techniques differ during short games. As swings vary and players attack the ball in various techniques, it does make sense to offer a wide range of designs. Finding the most suitable wedge for you is the key to having better performance.
- A combination of Bob Vokey’s trademark beautiful craftsmanship and state-of-the-art modern technologies.
- The range is complex with 23 different bounce and grinds options. We won’t suggest for you to buy directly off the rack because the variety is quite difficult to comprehend fully. Hence, fitting is necessary to make sure that you have the grinds most suited for your swing and style
Best Value: Mizuno S18 Wedge
The Mizuno S18 wedges offer a loft-specific and very progressive design replacing the S5. Narrower and deeper Quad Cut Grooves and lower CG are included to the lower lofts which are used for full shots whereas broader and shallower grooves, as well as a higher CG, are incorporated into the higher lofts for levels of spin that is more consistent.
The loft-specific clubhead shapes and progressive CG locations provide the face milling technology to add friction and spin.It features a Grain Flow Forged iron, infused with Boron to improve groove durability and strength. The sole is generous in width providing a classy and premium appearance.
Nonetheless, the Mizuno S18 is an impressive wedge package. In the higher lofts, versatility is enhanced with the added heel and toe relief whereas the wide bounce-specific sole grinds complement a hint of forgiveness through impact. With the 46-62˚ loft and bounce options, the Mizuno S18 provides complete performance.
- Mizuno S18 Wedge offers a combination of pleasing address aesthetics, versatility, and maximum spin rates.
- It provides easier distance control on pitch shots because of repeatable trajectory.
- From given angles, the Mizuno S18 Wedge’s chrome finishes showcase unwanted glare from the sun.
Best Seller: Cleveland RTX-3
Using the new Feel Balancing technology, the center of gravity (CG) shifted closer to the clubface’s center. This resulted in a shorter hosel and a microcavity inserted to save weight.
Vibration is reduced to enhance the feel while the head stability is strengthened for better distance control. Cleveland’s new V shape sole enhances the turf interaction with more leading-edge bounce.
The wedge carries 46 to 64 with a wide range of sole and bounce options. Additionally, the Tour Zip Grooves provide a narrower, deeper U shape with a sharp edge radius for better control .
The Rotex face with micro milling pattern, and laser milling ensures high spin rates whereas the loft-specific milling allows for optimized spin and control. The new RTX-3 wedges showcase a clean muscle back design with a tour satin finish and also, an original, black satin finish that is highly durable.
The wedge includes True Temper Dynamic Gold steel wedge shafts. Compared with its predecessor, the RTX-3 is slightly rounder with a narrower hitting area from heel-to-toe. Although keeping a very traditional appearance, all wedges in the Cleveland product range demonstrate impressive design, performance, and technologies. The RTX-3 model can comfortably fit your game.
- Consistently high spin rates.
- A lower ball flight for easy control.
- An improved distance judgment, and enhanced feel and accuracy compared to the RTX-2.
- The narrow Tour Zip grooves of the Cleveland RTX-3 may not inspire confidence among chippers.
Worthy Competitor: Wilson Staff PMP Tour
Wilson Staff PMP widens the milled grooves for the increased spin using the “Precision Milled Performance” technology, on full shots. Between every groove increase spin on partial shots are eleven laser-etched micro spin lines.
In the 2018 release, the wedge head is made from 8620 steel, matching the feel to Wilson’s forged irons. This feel is preferred by tour players the feeling as the Raw head has an unplated finish and is designed to rust – thereby, giving maximum spins.
The PMP Tour Raw wedge carries 52-8-degrees with a sole conventional design. A test was conducted in a range of different settings and golf course situations, the specific loft did not accommodate a broad variety of face manipulation on touch shots. Instead, the wedge offers a more straightforward utilization.
Nonetheless, the PMP Tour took everything that was thrown at it, in both partial swings and full. In fact, it was tried next to three other counterparts that have been released in 2018 in the 50-52 range and fell directly in the middle of them. When it comes to spin, the PMP Tour is not leaving anything behind due to affordability; this performs as well there as any other wedge on the market.
- The Wilson Staff PMP Tour hits the wedge trifecta with improved distance control and higher spin rates.
- It also offers a very balanced and versatile feel.
- Wilson Staff PMP’s overall weight is relatively light and may not quite appeal to many players.
Worthy Competitor: Callaway Mack Daddy 4
The Call away Mack Daddy 4 is generally very aesthetic with a slight round shape and a subtle curve to the leading edge. The wedge offers maximum levels of spin on a range of greenside shots. With the Call away Mack Daddy 4, the ball conspicuously checked up on the second bounce.
It was apparent from the low-ball flight on short pitches that the grooves of the Call away Mack Daddy 4 were grabbing the ball in a very efficient manner. The wedge uses the Groove-in-Groove technology which consists of three raised micro-ridges along the length of the hitting area.
Between the micro-ridges are micro-grooves that assist and grab the ball’s cover for maximum spin. Near the leading edge is an extra Nip-It’ groove which improves spin on short and slightly thin shots. The grind options are one more feature of the Call away Mack Daddy 4– the wide-soled, high-bounce W-Grind is unexpectedly playable and accommodates a larger margin for error, especially from bunkers, whereas the C-Grind offers the versatility pro tour players are seeking.
Moreover, without it digging into the turf, the X-Grind allows you to slide the club under the ball with an open face.
- Callaway Mack Daddy 4 offers very high levels of spin, improved distance control, and a soft, sturdy feel.
- There were no noteworthy weaknesses in the wedge’s performance except that it is quite expensive.
How to find the suitable gap wedges for you?
I believe that it is essential to have the right set of wedges for an excellent game of golf. Gap wedge always can help you get back on the green when a ball lands in a tricky spot. To choose a perfect and helpful gap wedge we’ve listed our best picks for the best gap wedges in 2018.
Here Are the Best Gap Wedges in 2018:
- Cleveland RTX-3 – Our rating (4.5/5)
- Titleist Vokey SM7– Our rating (5/5)
- Wilson Staff PMP– Our rating (4.5/5)
- Mizuno S18– Our rating (4/5)
- Callaway Mack Daddy 4– Our rating (4/5)
A gap wedge is a must for touring pros and can significantly benefit everyday players like you. You probably hear other people refer to the gap wedge as an attack wedge (AW) or utility wedge (UW). There are two main reasons as to why the gap wedge can help improve your short game.
Vital yardage between your sand wedge loft and your pitching wedge loft.
As its name suggests, the gap wedge fills the gap between a traditional sand wedge and a pitching wedge. With conventional hitters, you'll find approximately 25 to 40 yards of distance between the two clubs. The gap wedge generally ranges in the loft from 46 to 54 degrees and covers a length between 90 to 110 yards.
Trajectory and spin control
Besides the distance, the gap wedge can produce trajectory and spin solutions that you will need in able to score. You will be able to play pitch and chip shots on faster or firmer greens – letting you release and roll with better techniques.
Everyday players may not want to admit it, but most only hit an average of about two to four greens in a round as compared to around 12 greens for tour players. That leaves plenty more shots inside 100 yards. To be able to score, having specific clubs for those yardages is essential.
Gap wedges weren’t around before, why use it now?
Initially, the golfing population only used the standard 48-degree pitching wedge and the 56-degree sand wedge. But the 8-degree difference often left a 25-yard distance that players had to make half swings even inside the range of 150 yards. As part of marketing ploys, golf manufacturers kept tweaking the designations of their irons because golf players wanted clubs that hit “longer.” That was when times started to change.
Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) responded to the demand with the gap wedge – featuring a loft that compromises between the two traditional prongs. The club had to be purchased separately from the golf sets. It was then used by pro golfers so they can hit shots from distances of between 110 and 125 yards.
Data from Shot Link shows that the average proximity from the hole on fairway shots from 50 to 125 yards was 19 feet, 6 inches in 2004, whereas in 2013, it was more than a foot closer at 18 feet, 5 inches. The number of players that are able to average inside 17 feet from that distance more than doubled between 2004 (13) and 2013 (34). Bubba Watson's playoff boomerang with a 52-degree gap wedge that led to his Master's win in 2012 comes to mind. For more information click here.
Forty years down the road, OEM's continued producing their irons with wider differences in loft angles, and with the gap wedge still excluded from the bundle.New technologies allow golfers to hit the iron with higher ball trajectories, and faster airborne speed. The sand wedge, on the other hand, still carrying 58 to 60 degrees.
This only means that without a gap wedge, it has become much harder to score within the prime zone. Most players use the gap wedge because it gives more variety near the green for pitches that don’t require longer chips and a full swing.
How do you use a gap wedge?
Take a comfortable swing so you can see how far you can hit your gap wedge in relation to your other two wedges. Begin with your pitching wedge and caught 12 balls. Assuming that you have a stride of about a yard, walk off the yardage to the zone. Then repeat the same thing with your gap and sand wedges. After doing this test for your wedges, you will then have an insight on how far you can hit each club.
Do this same drill, except alter where you position the golf ball. Hit 12 balls with your pitching wedge first and place them across from the insole of your front foot, then hit 12 more balls from the back of your trailing foot. You will see a difference in the height of your shots and the amount of backspin you can put on the ball. Do the same for your pitching wedge and then your sand wedge.
Finally, hit your gap wedge with a half-swing, and make sure your arms do not pass parallel with the ground. This will help you visualize the conditions under which your gap wedge will be useful.
You have to realize that practice on a range is different from playing a golf course.
How do you choose the right gap wedge to buy?
When it comes to buying a gap wedge, you should consider various factors that usually surround your golf game.
- Check for 'consistency in your irons’ loft differences:
We refer to the angle between the shaft and clubface as the loft. The general rule of thumb is to maintain only a four-degree difference between lowest lofted iron and the highest-lofted wedges that you carry. You should choose a gap wedge with a loft ranging from 50 to 54 degrees. This is ideal for a short game within 100-120 yards off the green.
- Know your bounce:
The bounce of a wedge is the part of your club that hits the turf. For wedges, the bounce is measured regarding angles ranging from 0 to 14 degrees. This is the angle between the leading edge of the golfing iron to the point of the sole that touches the soil.
- Low bounce wedges (4 to 6 degrees) is better suited if you have to sweep the ball or take a shallower divot in firmer golf course turf conditions and links courses with sandy soil.
- Mid bounce wedges (7 to 10 degrees) is considered as your most versatile option, appropriate for a broader range of turf conditions and swing styles.
Here is a video provided below to better know your bounce:
- Recognize your sole grinds:
The additional shaping of the wedge’s sole around the heel is called the sole grind. The sole grinds affect the depth of the bounce of the sole, so it is essential to recognize the types of grinds that is appropriate for your golf game.
- Keep up with the grooves:
Although grooves are tightly regulated today, it is a benefit to keep them up to date with the latest designs, as OEMs use new milling processes and technology, allowing groove shapes to help move water and dirt away from the ball at impact, resulting in extra spin creation and control improvement.
- Choose your finish:
Basically, the finish entails the coating and plating that comes with the wedge. Not only does the finish provide clubs with different looks and colors, but the finish also contributes to a player’s performance and the product’s wear.
- Chrome finishes usually maintain their color and are moisture-repellent and give great spin.
- Nickel finishes give an excellent appearance with less glare than the chrome finish.
- Unplated or raw finishes are specifically designed to rust, which can improve friction and provide an increased amount of spin.
- Darker finishes wear out faster than lighter finishes. Dark finishes can also help reduce glare.
For choosing the finish of your wedge, this is purely based on your personal preference and taste.
If you are serious about improving your performance around the greens, and from 100 yards in, these are the key things you should consider.
Looking for the right, wedges can improve your confidence in your short game significantly and allow you to shave shots off your score at every round. You must ensure a custom fitting is undertaken to get the best wedges for your game. But as soon as that process is done, you’ll be rewarding yourself with the best chance to save important shots around the green. For many years now, the team of Bob Vokey has been at the forefront of wedge design.
For 2018, the Titleist’s SM7 wedges display the finest of cutting-edge design and technology. Despite being sold at a premium price, the SM7 wedges can save you strokes. Hence the price will be worth it. We believe that the Titleist Vokey SM7 wedges are beneficial to players of all standards. If you are looking to yield greater control of your short games, this will be your best bet.