On the golf course, a 52 degree wedge is a flexible club that may be employed in a variety of circumstances.
It is commonly referred to as a “gap wedge” because, in terms of loft, it sits between the pitching wedge and the sand wedge and is frequently used to bridge the space between these clubs.
The 52 degree wedge can be used for a variety of strokes, including full swings from the fairway, low running chips, and high, soft pitch shots.
In order to improve your game on the golf course, we’ll go over when and how to use a 52 degree wedge in this article.
What’s a 52 Degree Wedge?
To appreciate the 52 degree wedge’s place in your golf bag, let’s talk about two of the most commonly wielded wedges among high-handicap golfers — the pitching wedge (typically between 44 and 48 degrees) and the 56 degree wedge.
Pitching is when you send the ball on a forward trajectory for maximum distance. Because you want maximum range, you’ll want to tame the arch. The pitching wedge is perfect for this purpose.
What if you want your ball to travel with more arch but less distance — like, say, out of a sand trap? This is where the 56-degree wedge comes in.
The 56-degree wedge has an angle that allows you to lob the ball higher than you’d be able to with a PW. Of course, you’ll be giving up range, but that’s not a bad thing if you’re hitting your ball out of the sand or rough.
You’ve got a wedge that’s great for distance and one that gives you lofting shots. Your wedge set is complete, right? Wrong!
Golf is a game of control and in-betweens, especially if you’re a high-handicapper. The area between the 120-yard rough and the green puts the green higher but at a shorter distance.
For this, you’ll need something that “fills the gaps” of the pitching wedge and 56: the 52 degree wedge.
The 52 degree wedge lobs the ball at an angle. This is perfect when you’re in a sticky sand trap situation.
Here’s the best part: you’re less likely to hit the ball past the green because of the arc you’re producing with the 52 degree wedge.
When we’re talking about wedges, the 52 degree wedge gives you the best of both worlds. It’s the wedge to reach for in many situations.
Scenario #1: Getting Out of a Sand Trap That’s Close to the Green
Picture this — the wind is blowing at a brisk six miles per hour. You’ve managed to sink your ball smack in the middle of a sand trap.
Do you reach for your 48? Sure, if you want to get out of the sand in two strokes. However, for maximum results, go for your 52 degree wedge to get out of a sand trap, as mentioned here.
Your 52 degree wedge angles to let you hit the ball at an arc. The high arc coupled with the wedge’s range can get you out of the sandtrap in just one stroke — if you’ve been practicing your chipping, of course.
The 52 degree wedge should be your go-to solution for a sand trap situation. Don’t hesitate to add one to your set of clubs, just in case.
Scenario #2: Hitting Against the Wind
As a high-handicap golfer, you’re familiar with how the wind can mess up your shot by a matter of feet. This is especially the case when your shot is low.
How do you work around the wind when it’s blowing towards you? You’ll have to generate a high arc with each chip. If you’re looking for a club that gets the job done, look no further than your 52 degree wedge.
Your 52 degree wedge will enable you to lob the ball onto the green even with the wind blowing against you. Because of the arc generated by your shot, the wind won’t affect your ball’s trajectory much. As a result, you won’t be far off.
For the best results, you’ll have to up the ante on your chipping game. If you’re looking for chipping drills to go from high handicap to no handicap, try these high handicap-friendly chipping drills.
With a 52 degree wedge and your chipping skills, your chances of hitting closer to the cup won’t be gone with the wind!
Scenario #3: When You’re Within 100 Yards of the Green
Are you hitting within the 100-yard mark? A 46-degree wedge will cause you to go over the green by as much as 20 yards. Meanwhile, you’re risking a major “overswinging” problem with the 56. When it comes to nailing that chip from the 100-yard sweet spot, the 52 degree wedge is where it’s at.
The 52 degree wedge is called a gap wedge for this reason. It closes the gap that the 46 and 56-degree wedges can’t. Why is this important?
After driving, you’ll find many of your shots within 100 yards of the cup. Sure, you can reach for your pitching and sand wedges to knock your ball into the green — but again, you’re sacrificing control in your range and accuracy.
Since your shots are likely to end up in the 100-yard sweet spot, you’ll need a different wedge. In particular, you’ll need one that’s somewhere in the middle of the range-arc continuum. The perfect wedge for this is the 52 degree wedge.
The 52 degree wedge will give you enough “oomph” behind your chips. Because of the wedge’s angle, you’ll be generating an arc that makes going over the green unlikely at 100 yards or less.
Scenario #4: Chipping Onto the Green and Closer to the Cup
Being close to the green shouldn’t be a license for you to grab your lob wedge. When you’re close to the green, you need a wedge that hits at an arc but generates more roll on the ball.
Lob wedges aren’t up to the task since the airtime comes at the expense of roll, and neither is your sand wedge.
When you’re close to the green, reach for your 52 degree wedge. The 52 is excellent for accurate chips when you’re around the green. Because the arc isn’t too high compared to the 46, the ball rolls more as soon as it hits the ground.
As a result, your chip not only ends up in the green, but you’re also more likely to get the ball closer to the cup. Who knows? You might even knock the ball into the cup for that game-deciding Hail Mary chip!
Scenario #5: Making an Approach Shot… From the Fairway!
We’ve mentioned how effective the 52 degree wedge is for closer shots and shots within the 100-yard mark, but believe it or not, the 52 degree wedge is also a great companion when you’re chipping from just outside 100 yards. We’re talking about approach shots from the fairway, like the one in this video.
Hitting an approach shot from the fairway will always require more power than a regular chip. Force application isn’t the deciding factor for a successful approach shot — it’s the angle of the wedge.
Pitching wedges may require the least force, but they can cause you to overshoot your approach shot. With sand wedges, you’re compromising range. You’d have to be in a sand bunker or near the green.
With a 52 degree wedge, your approach shots will be high enough to reduce the effect of the wind on the ball. At the same time, your ball will land on the green. If not, the ball’s roll will cause it to end up on the green — close enough for a putt.
In short, a 52 degree wedge is an excellent tool when you’re always on the fairway after the initial drive.
Key Takeaway: You Might Need a 52 degree Wedge
You’ll need a 52 degree wedge for several situations. First, it’s the perfect wedge for getting out of a sand bunker without sacrificing control. You’ll be out of the sand and in the green with a 52 degree wedge.
Because of the 52 degree wedge’s arc, you’ll need it for when you’re hitting against the wind. The arc also gives the ball an excellent roll on the green, benefiting you when you are within 100 yards of the green.
Lastly, approach shots are more accurate with a 52 degree wedge. With the perfect blend of range, lob, and roll, the 52 degree wedge is your club for an accurately placed approach shot.
You need a 52 degree wedge. It’s a worthy investment to improve your high-handicap game.