A-Wedge: A Golf Club of Many Names

Cleveland Golf A-wedge in Tour Raw finish
Only the sand wedge and lob wedge have more loft among golf clubs than the A-wedge. Cleveland Golf

The A-wedge is a golf club that is another name for a gap wedge, which is used for shorter and softer shots, and one of the four main types of wedges, which include (from least loft to most loft) the pitching wedge, A-wedge, sand wedge and lob wedge. A golf club manufacturer might identify an A-wedge by stamping an "A" or "AW" on the sole near the toe of the club, but it's becoming more common all the time to stamp the wedge's degrees of loft there.

The "a" in A-wedge stands for either "approach" or (less commonly) "attack," and you might see a manufacturer use one of those names (approach wedge or attack wedge) instead of A-wedge. As already noted, A-wedge itself is just another name for the gap wedge, a club known by more different names than any other modern club in golf: gap wedge, a-wedge, attack wedge, approach wedge.

The reason for the A-wedge's versatility and variety of names is because of the history of golf clubs evolving to include more specific clubs for different situations. In traditional, 8-club golf sets, the pitching wedge was the last club. If a golfer added a sand wedge to her bag, she was left with a large gap in loft between the pitching wedge and sand wedge. The A-wedge filled that gap (hence its more common name: gap wedge).

What Is the Purpose and Loft of an A-Wedge?

In earlier times, golf wedges were fewer: You had your pitching wedge and you had your sand wedge. For much of golf history — at least after the 14-club limit went into effect — those were the only wedges found in the bags of golfers, even in pros' bags.

Beginning in the latter stages of the 20th century, lob wedges (sometimes called X-wedges) came along as the highest-lofted clubs in the bag, but that still left a fairly large gap — with typically eight to 14 degrees of loft difference — between a pitching wedge and a sand wedge.

So the gap wedge was created to, literally, fill that gap, to serve as a club with a loft that fell in-between the PW and SW, allowing a golfer to more precisely control both the distance of shots and their trajectory into the green.

And the gap wedge, or A-wedge, is typically lofted in the low-to-mid-50-degree range but can range anywhere from about 46 degrees to 54 degrees.