54 vs. 56-Degree Wedge: Which One Should You Use

As you continue to pursue your passion for golf, you’ll learn that various tools are needed to play this sport. One of the golf tools you must familiarize yourself with is wedges. Wedges come in various forms and sizes, and choosing the right one for you takes a lot of consideration.

A common debate among golf players and avid golf fans is choosing the suitable loft for a sand wedge. Most players believe a 56-degree wedge is ideal, while the other half argues a 54-degree wedge is the best.

In this blog post, we’ll unpack everything you need to know about wedges, which loft is perfect for you, and the pros and cons of both choices.

A Quick Refresher About Wedges

Wedges are subsets of golf clubs typically made of iron. They come in various degrees of loft or the angle between the club face and a vertical plane. Wedges are one of the essential tools that can help you get out of golfing trouble spots.

Golf wedges are designed to help golfers with short, precise shots, typically from within around 100 yards of the green. These clubs are usually used for lobs, pitches, chips, and bunker shots. Wedges come in wide varieties, which are:

  • Pitching wedge: This is the most basic wedge with the lowest loft, usually around 44 to 46 degrees. This wedge is used to hit shots at about 90 to 120 yards.
  • Gap wedge: This wedge is higher than regular pitching wedges with a loft of 50 to 52 degrees. Gap wedges are usually used to hit shots at a distance of 75 to 100 yards.
  • Sand wedge: Aside from pitching wedges, sand wedges are the most commonly used wedge in most games. This wedge is lofted at 54 to 58 degrees and is used to hit shots at 60 to 80 yards.
  • Lob wedge: Lastly, lob wedges have the highest loft of 60 to 64 degrees and are used to hit hyper-accurate and short shots.

What You Need To Know About the 54-Degree Wedge

A 54-degree wedge is what you’ll primarily consider a sand wedge. In general, a 54-degree sand wedge is the most substantial lofted option compared to its 56 and 58-degree counterparts, which is why it’s a more common option.

When Should You Use a 54-Degree Wedge?

As a sand wedge, 54-degree wedges are made primarily to help golfers hit shots from the bunker and other tricky spots. Its loft allows the ball to stay airborne for a more extended period, thus giving it more distance and spin than other wedges.

Another application of 54-degree wedges is for bump-and-run shots. Bump-and-run shots are shots that roll a lot more than they fly. You can also use this wedge for chip shots when you want to roll the ball near the hole.

How High Do You Need To Hit It?

Most golfers use a 54-wedge to hit shots within 80 to 100 yards. You’ll often see them use this loft for shorter chip shots and bunker shots. However, remember that this will differ once you factor in wind conditions and your swing speed.

Pros and Cons of Using a 54-Degree Wedge

Ideally, a 54-degree wedge is suitable if you need extra distance or spin. With its 54-degree loft, you can expect the ball to fly farther than usual with more spin. Additionally, more experienced players can use this loft to hit bunker shots accurately and precisely.

However, using a 54-degree wedge can be tricky if you don’t know how to adjust your swing accordingly. Too much speed or too little of it can ruin the shot completely.

What You Need To Know About the 56-Degree Wedge

A 56-degree wedge is another common loft variation of a sand wedge. At this angle, golfers can expect the ball to fly further with less spin, which is ideal for escaping sticky situations. Although many golfers prefer 54 over 56, there are intricate differences between the two that can make a difference in your performance.

When Should You Use a 56-Degree Wedge?

Similar to the former loft variation, you can use a 56-degree sand wedge to hit bunker and chip shots. However, this loft variation is also suitable for hitting full shots and getting yourself out of the fairway or even at the fringe.

You can also use a 56-degree loft to get over a tree. At the right swing speed, you can maximize the trajectory of your shot with this sand wedge.

How High Do You Need To Hit It?

In general, a 56-degree wedge travels around five yards less than the former loft. That being said, golfers usually hit shots with a 56-degree wedge at 75 to 95 yards. Golfers who typically use a full swing to hit their shots could hit over 100 yards, similar to a 54-degree wedge.

Pros and Cons of Using a 56-Degree Wedge

Because of the extra loft provided by a 56-degree wedge, you can easily use this to maximize your trajectory and hit the ball higher to avoid awkward situations. In general, this loft variation is ideal for a chip or flop shots around the greens.

However, 56-degree wedges can’t travel as far as 54-degree wedges, which puts them at a disadvantage in some scenarios.

What Sets These Two Apart?

Now that you have a clearer and more in-depth understanding of 54 and 56-degree wedges, the next step is to decide which one you should carry. Let’s expound further on their differences to help you make an informed decision.


As mentioned, 54-degree wedges can fly further than their 56-degree counterparts. With the correct technique and swing speed, you can hit shots beyond 100 yards with a 54-degree sand wedge. On the other hand, a 56-degree sand wedge is better used for shorter distances due to its loftier angle.

You can opt for a 54-degree wedge if you want more distance, whereas 56-degree wedges are ideal for short-distance shots that require less spin.


Wedges with lower lofts are easier to maneuver and control than their higher-loft counterparts. You’ll find it more challenging to make accurate shots without proper control with a higher loft wedge.

If you want to yield better accuracy, a 54-degree wedge is your best option. Otherwise, if you need more loft to avoid obstacles and hit shots over trees, then 56 degrees are the way to go.


Usability in golf wedges refers to how easy it is to utilize various swing speeds to hit shots. In general, sand wedges are meant to be used with a 3/4 swing, small pitch shots, and chip shots. However, you can easily use a 56-degree wedge to hit a complete shot in the fairway or fringe.

Since a 54-degree wedge is the standard loft for sand wedges, hitting a full shot is trickier. With this loft, you’re better off hitting your shots with a 3/4 or minimal swing.


Launch is just a different term used to refer to lofts or the angle of your wedge. As mentioned, 54-degree wedges come with a lower launch than 56 degrees. This means that 54-degree wedges can travel further than their counterparts and hit the ball lower due to their angle. On the other hand, 56-degree wedges are more suitable for hitting higher shots because of their extra two-degree loft.


Wedges are often sold as bundles comprising three loft angles for each wedge type. You’ll usually end up with a 56-degree wedge when you purchase a wedge set. This is because most professional golfers prefer to use this loft for chip shots and flop shots around the green.

You can still purchase 54-degree wedges, but it might be a challenge or more expensive because you’ll purchase them as a standalone.

Which One Should You Choose?

Choosing the best sand wedge loft to add to your golf bag ultimately depends on your game style and goals.

If you want to hit the ball farther, then a 54-degree wedge is the right choice. You can easily use this loft angle to hit your shots over a hundred yards. On the other hand, if you want more loft and higher trajectory when hitting shots around the green, then opt for a 56-degree wedge instead.

More experienced golf players might opt for a 54-degree wedge and supplement this with a 56-degree wedge for chip shots around the green. However, high-handicap golfers will benefit more from a 56-degree wedge.

Ultimately, you want to choose a wedge to help you make the best shots, given your skillset and golf goals. With an informed decision, you’ll surely have the right sand wedge in your bag, whether it’s a 54-degree or 56-degree one.

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