Lob Wedge Vs. Sand Wedge: Which One To Use From Bunker?


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Lob wedge vs. sand wedge – which one should you use to get the ball out of a bunker? Let’s find out!

When you first begin and are new to golfing, you probably have tons of questions about the different golf clubs and why there are so many. In particular, a very common question asked is what the difference is between a sand wedge and a lob wedge. 

These two wedges are mistaken for each other constantly by newcomers, which isn’t surprising considering the two are very similar. Keep reading to learn more about the lob wedge vs. sand wedge.

When you have the right wedges in the golf bag, you can increase your chances of winning your golf game. And when it comes to playing bunker shots or high pitch shots, you can need some specific types of wedges.

Lob wedges and sand wedges are designed to help golfers play their shots on soft surfaces. Besides, they can also help on the fairway. 

Wondering which one to use for great wedge shots? What are the major differences between a lob wedge vs. a sand wedge? 

Let’s dive in!

The Differences Between Lob Wedge Vs. Sand Wedge

Lob Wedge Vs Sand Wedge

One huge feature is the difference between a sand wedge and a lob wedge. This difference is going to be in the loft degree of the club. Lob wedges will have a loft ranging from 58 to 64 degrees, and sand will have a loft ranging from 54 to 57. 

While this is the largest difference between the two different wedges, there are a few other small differences:

  • A lob wedge has a higher loft degree than a sand wedge.
  • Lob wedges will have more of an open clubface.
  • A sand wedge is mostly used to help remove a ball from the sand, while a lob wedge is great for use anywhere on the course.

Sand Wedge

Sand Wedge

The sand wedge was first introduced during the 1930s by Gene Sarazen. It was designed to help golfers get their golf balls out of sand traps and bunkers.

With a loft ranging from 54 to 57 degrees, the sand wedge makes it easier to increase the height of your shot and allows the ball to make it out of the sand.

A standard sand wedge is typically a little heavier and produces some extra bounce than regular golf irons. This gives it the necessary power to get your ball out of the bunker and back onto the green.

In some cases, you can buy a set that comes with an already included sand wedge, but this isn’t always how it works.

When to Use a Sand Wedge

As the name suggests, it is pretty easy to determine the best use for this iron. However, a sand wedge can also be more than just a way to get your ball unstuck from the sand.

For hitting the ball close to the flag from the bunkers or sand traps, sand wedges can be a good idea compared to other wedges as they offer a decent bounce.

As it has a higher angle, you can attain a high bounce using this as it has a higher angle. Besides, using this, you can easily attain a distance of around 70 yards to 80 yards at full swing.

Some golfers will even use it for their pitch shots. A sand wedge also has the ability to be used for a full approach from a minimum of 80 and a maximum of 100 yards.

It is advisable not to use a sand wedge on firm sand and the hard ground. You will get an extra bounce on such surfaces. Use different clubs here. On the other hand, you can also use sand wedges for playing from the dreaded sand bunker. 

What’s more? Most experienced golfers use this for firm lies, a plugged golf ball, rough lies, and downhill lies.

Speaking about the lob wedge vs. sand wedge distance, you can use a sand wedge for a longer distance, but for a short distance, you can go for a lob wedge.

Do I Need a Sand Wedge?

Including a sand wedge in your golf set will benefit you. This wedge will be the most effective at getting you out of bunkers and sand traps, which will be really helpful if you haven’t quite figured out how to aim properly yet.

Lob Wedge

Lob Wedge

The lob wedge is newer to the golf community than the sand wedge. It was first introduced during the mid-1980s. The release came with the increasingly difficult designs of greens during the time. There is some debate over who actually invented this iron, but it is most commonly said to be invented by Dave Pelz.

A lob wedge will typically have a loft degree ranging from 58 to 64 degrees, but it is most common to see them between 58 and 60.

This wedge also has a shorter shaft, thinner leaning edge, and decreased bounce than you will find in a sand wedge. It is highly uncommon to find this wedge in a set, so it usually has to be bought separately. 

When to Use a Lob Wedge

A lob wedge is typically used whenever you feel like using it. Golfers with more experience will use it when they do their pitch shots and their approach shots from the rough or fairway. Golfers with less experience are generally not as confident with this club, so it won’t be used the same way.

You will commonly see newer golfers using their lob wedge in a bunker without much green, when a difficult shot is needed around a part of the green, and when they are stuck deep in the rough on the outside of the green.

As per the experts, both beginners and high handicappers can use a lob wedge. You can use a lob wedge when it comes to hitting shots that can make the ball quickly rise in the air. 

Most golfers prefer to use a lob wedge to constantly hit a golf ball close to the flag, from 50 yards to 60 yards. So, for short shots, use a long wedge.

To hit the ball from a sand trap to the flag, experienced golfers use this. Lob wedges help the golfer hit the shot quite high while maintaining sufficient backspin for a soft landing and making the ball stop faster. 

You can use them around the greenside bunker for precise shots. However, you should not use a lob wedge if there is too much green. 

Using a lob wedge for playing shots over higher obstacles, superfast greens, downhill lie, and a tucked pin is an excellent idea.

Do I Need a Lob Wedge?

Most pros will say you will not need a lob wedge. When you are a beginner, you will have an easier time learning how to adjust how you hold the club at an angle that effectively changes the loft of another wedge to a larger degree, like a lob wedge, in seconds.

When it comes to high handicaps, it is debated whether it is necessary or not to have a lob wedge. Most will say that only highly skilled players need a lob wedge as those with a handicap will not benefit from a lob wedge at all.

However, every golfer is different, and you might benefit from a lob wedge more than another golfer would. You can always test out the lob wedge and see how you feel about it before deciding if you want to add it to your set. 

Sand Wedges Bounce Angle Vs. Lob Wedges Bounce Angle

Fit for the witdh - bounce defined
Bounce defined (source)

Before buying one, you need to understand how much bounce it can produce. Speaking about a wedge bounce, this is the angle between the club shaft’s ground line and sole line. The bounce makes the leading edge sit a little off the ground.

A decent bounce stops the edge of the club from digging into the golf ground while hitting the golf ball. As a result, your golf club will glide smoothly through sand and turf.

A lob wedge has a low bounce wedge that can range between 4 degrees to 6 degrees. As the bounce is low compared to sand wedges, lob wedges can work well in golf courses with turf conditions. 

Besides, you can use this for bunker shots, where the bunkers have coarser and harder sand.

However, if you want to get the golf ball out of a sand bunker with a soft hand, then this wedge will not help you.

On the other hand, with a sand wedge, a high handicapper can get a high bounce, around 10 degrees. These golf wedges are perfect for softer turf golf courses and soft sand bunkers.

While a sand wedge has a loft of around 52-degree to 58-degree, in a lob wedge, it is around 60-degree to 65-degree.

Lob Wedges Pros And Cons

When considering whether or not to use lob wedges, there are a number of pros and cons to think about. Here we will take a look at some of the most important considerations.

Pros

  • High pitch shots and higher trajectory due to larger lofted wedge.
  • You can make your golf ball attain lots of spins.
  • It enhances chip shots’ accuracy, and the ball stops quickly.
  • Due to the shorter shaft, these are perfect for playing shorter shots.
  • You can use them in some bunker situations

Cons

  • Using this, you can’t attain a higher distance.
  • Some players may find it a little challenging to learn how to use them properly.

Sand Wedges Pros And Cons

Here is a summary of the pros and cons of both wedges.

Pros

  • These are perfect for chipping and for better distance.
  • You can use them for most bunker situations.
  • You can use a sand wedge for playing pitching shots while approaching the green and on the fairway.
  • You can use this for playing a lob-style shot.
  • It is more versatile than a lob wedge.

Cons

  • Playing shots with a higher trajectory using a sand wedge is very challenging.
  • These are not much accurate compared to a lob wedge.

How to Decide What Wedge to Add

It can be tricky to determine whether you should add a sand wedge or a lob wedge to your golf set, but luckily there is a way to make it easier. While there is no right number of how many wedges you should have available to you in your golf bag, there is a recommended gap between them that will help your game.

You should have roughly a 4-degree loft degree difference between each wedge. If your pitching wedge has a loft degree of 48, and you are looking at a sand wedge with a 56-degree loft, you will need to consider adding a 52-degree lob wedge to your lineup. 

However, a lob wedge isn’t always necessary for everyone. You might have better luck with your 56-degree sand wedge than you would with a 52-degree lob wedge.

This is completely up to your personal preference. It is recommended to have three wedges, but you can have as few or as many as you want.

Regardless of how many wedges you want to carry, you will want to make sure you have wedges with the right bounce angle and grind for you personally. For example, a wedge with a wide sole will typically have more bounce and benefit if steep angles are on the course. 

If you have to decide between picking one over the other, you will likely have more luck with a sand wedge. This is because they are extremely versatile and have the ability to get you unstuck from tough places.

Conclusion

It can be difficult to tell the differences between a sand wedge and a lob wedge, especially if you are new to golf. At first glance, you might think that there isn’t a difference between the two irons, and that’s because there isn’t very much difference between them at all.

The main difference between a lob wedge and a sand wedge is the loft degree. Sand wedges will have a loft between 54 and 57 degrees, while a lob wedge will have a loft degree between 58 and 64.

There are also some smaller differences to keep in mind when considering the differences between a lob wedge and vs. sand wedge, including the clubface.