If you’re in a hurry and just want to find the Best Gap Wedge in 2020, here are our recommendations:
- Best Overall Choice: Ping Glide 3.0
- Best For Beginners and High Handicappers: Cleveland CBX 2
- Best for Mid and Low Handicappers: Callaway JAWS MD5
- Most Affordable: Wilson Staff Model Wedge
In the past, it was common to see a golf bag containing 2 wedges, a Sand Wedge (SW) and a Pitching Wedge (PW). Today’s game is different. As equipment improves and people are driving the ball further and hitting a 9-iron 150 yards, wedges continue to grow in importance.
The Gap Wedge fills the “gap” between what is usually between a 44 and 46 degree PW and a 56 degree SW. As drives get longer and approach shots get shorter, the seemingly small loft differences in wedges can mean the difference between an awkward 75% swing a more confident full swing on the ball.
We will take the rest of this article to discuss some of the uses of the Gap Wedge and then review the best gap wedges in 2020.
We’re going to be reviewing the following Gap Wedges:
- Cleveland CBX 2
- Callaway JAWS MD5
- Titleist Vokey SM8
- Cobra King MIM
- Ping Glide 3.0
- Cleveland CBX Full Face
- Mizuno T-20
- TaylorMade MG2
- Bettinardi HLX 3.0
- Wilson Staff Model Wedge
What Is a Gap Wedge?
A gap wedge is the wedge that fills the “gap” between a PW and a SW. The average PW has a loft of about 45 degree while the average SW comes in at about 56 degrees.
This may not seem like a huge degree difference when it comes to the trajectory of the ball, but when you consider you generally find about 3 to 4 degrees of loft between most of the irons in your bag, that 10 degree difference is a lot.
The gap wedge became popular in the mid-1990s as golf equipment was making huge progress in terms of technology and distance. Players began to find themselves closer and closer to the hole on their approach shots while at the same time irons continued to travel farther and farther.
As those differences continued to grow, wedges began to play an even more prominent role in the game of golf.
What Are The Advantages of a Gap Wedge?
A gap wedge is important because it allows many players the opportunity to take a full swing on a ball rather than over swinging a SW or hitting a PW at 75%.
The loft of the gap wedge also lends itself both to a bump-and-run and a pitch shot that you want to get some air under. Probably the biggest 2 strengths of a gap wedge is the versatility that it provides and how easy it is to hit.
What Is The Best Way to Use a Gap Wedge?
When you add a gap wedge to your bag, you will probably notice it comes into play around the greens more than anywhere else. It is an easy club to hit an approach shot with, probably even easier than hitting a full SW, but that is not the most important role this club will play.
It is a great loft to hit a bump-and-run on a long green, but you can also open it up and get some real air under the ball so that it lands softly next to the hole. You can pitch the ball out of the rough, get your wrists into it, or even hit a straight arm pitch over a hazard.
After a couple of rounds with a gap wedge, it will probably become one of your favorite “scoring wedges” and will give you the versatility that you have been missing.
Do I Really Need a Gap Wedge?
If you are going to carry 2 wedges, then carry a PW and a SW. If you are going to carry 4 wedges, then add a lob and a gap wedge. Most players, other than beginners and high handicappers, will carry at least 3 wedges.
If you carry 3, then the gap wedge is a more important club than a lob wedge for most players. You can open up the face of a sand wedge for a flop shot or to get the ball out of the rough, but that 10 degree difference between a PW and a SW can set you up for some difficult swings.
What Differentiates Gap Wedges?
Loft. It is important to know what the lofts of your 9-iron, PW, and SW are so that you compliment them with a Gap Wedge. If your SW is 54 degrees, then purchasing a 52 degree gap wedge will not help you very much.
Brand. While brand and quality are not exactly synonymous, they are close. Most of the time you want to get a Gap Wedge that is very similar, if not the exact same brand and series, as the rest of your wedges. This helps with continuity and consistency and will give you added confidence right out of the gate.
Forgiveness. Depending on the quality of your game, you may look for a gap wedge with more feel or you may look for one with more forgiveness. In general, most wedges are blades rather than cavity back clubs. This lends itself to being more focused on feel than forgiveness, but many club makers still include game improvement aspects in their wedges. If you are a higher handicap player, look for a gap wedge that has some forgiveness built into it.
Bounce. Bounce is measured by how the club’s sole rests on the ground. A higher bounce angle, the less a club will dig into the dirt; the lower the angle, the bigger the divot.
Feel. You usually purchase wedges for the feel, and that is no different when buying a gap wedge. A blade with a low center of gravity that produces a lot of spin will generally give you the most feel and often at the expense of forgiveness.
Face Technology. The face technology includes but is not limited to the grooves, the material, the hollow or solid design, and the weighting of the club. Each of these things will change both the quality and the target golfer of the club.
Best Gap Wedge in 2020 Reviewed
The CBX 2 wedge series provides something for every golfer, and you can purchase this wedge at 2 degree increments starting at 46 degrees. For a Gap Wedge, you will probably be looking at the 50 degree club. Cleveland has always been at the forefront of wedge design and creation, and the CBX 2 is a great Gap Wedge.
It is a cavity back club with great forgiveness and distance at a full swing, but it also produces tour level spin around the green. In short, Cleveland’s goal was to create a wedge with all of the benefits of a game improvement club and all of the features of a blade.
- Cleveland makes some of the best wedges in the game.
- There are different lofts available so you can cater your Gap Wedge to whatever you already have in your bag.
- It is a great “full swing” wedge.
- The hollow cavity provides some of the most forgiveness you will find in a wedge.
- The groove system produces a ton of backspin.
- Designed to be easy to hit and with optimal game improvement features.
- The grind is designed with a v-shape sole to optimize turf interaction.
- Made for players who already use cavity back clubs.
- Better for beginners and high handicappers.
- Not as much flexibility as the traditional wedge design.
The JAWS MD5 are advertised as having the “most aggressive grooves” in golf. This may or may not be the case, but what we can say is that this Gap Wedge produces some major back spin both around the green and on approach shots. These clubs look great in the bag and at setup and they perform just as well.
With groove-in-groove technology combined with “JAWS” grooves designed with a steep wall angle for increased spin and better grip no matter the lie, you get some of the best feel in the industry. There are no real weaknesses to this Gap Wedge as it provides incredible feel around the green but also great distance and control on full swings.
- Great spin around the greens.
- A variety of loft and grind options.
- A larger hitting surface so that the club has more time to work and provide additional spin.
- Easy to hit with a full swing but also performs well around the greens.
- A very consistent ball flight.
- Produces even more backspin on longer shots because of increased swing speed. This additional spin provides additional control and a quick stop on the green.
- Incredibly soft feel.
- Designed for low handicappers.
- On the expensive side.
When the club designer who designed Tiger’s wedges in the late 1990s begins to design the wedges for one of golf’s most iconic brands, the result is the Vokey SM8. From the time you pick up the club initially to the time you hit your first ball, the club just looks and feels right.
This is an extremely accurate club with great feel and you can easily control the spin and distance on any shot. You can also choose the sole grind that is best for your game and the conditions in which you play. This Gap Wedge provides a lot of versatility in your game and it performs well on full shots and around the green.
- The Vokey’s progressive center of gravity means that the Gap Wedge is placed in the right spot to get the most out of your club.
- A large variety of grind options and lofts means that you can find the exact right club to fill the “gap” between your PW and SW.
- Designed by one of the greatest and most famous club designers of this generation.
- Great accuracy and distance without sacrificing feel.
- Some of the best spin control on this list.
- A high, pure, and consistent ball flight.
- A pure blade design with a smaller head than most other on this list.
- One of the more expensive options.
- Made for low handicappers, beginners and high handicappers may have trouble hitting this club consistently.
The “Metal-Injection-Molded” wedges are built for the softest feel possible, and the Gap Wedge is no different. A fully CNC milled face provides maximum roughness and exact grooves on every club which provides great spin and control around the green.
Cobra, in general, are known more for their drivers and woods, but these wedges have a lot to offer. They are great scoring clubs and can really help golfers of any level improve one of the most difficult aspects of golf, the short game.
- A more moderately priced option.
- One of the best “scoring clubs” out there.
- Multiple loft and grind options available.
- If you are looking for a club with soft feel, you may not find a better option.
- The rough surface provides great back spin, especially around the green.
- Not as good away from the green and for approach shots.
- A smaller sweet spot than some of the other Gap Wedges on the list.
Ping is one of those brands that only puts out a new club when they have something that set them apart. The Ping Glide 3.0 Gap Wedge is one of those clubs. Similar to the CBX 2, this club is all about forgiveness and a huge sweet spot.
It is a blade club that performs with the forgiveness of a cavity back. This makes this club especially effective on approach shots, and makes it great for low and high handicappers alike. This club also has great distance and produces top notch backspin.
- Lightweight and very easy to hit.
- A blade design with the forgiveness of a cavity back club.
- Great for full swing shots.
- 4 different sole options to choose from.
- 2 different lofts for the Gap Wedge (50 and 52 degrees).
- Interacts well with the turf.
- A very versatile club.
- Deep, sharp grooves provides great backspin.
- Not as much bounce as some of the other clubs on the list.
- The larger head size may turn off some golfers.
The Full Face line of Cleveland wedges starts at 56 degrees, so if this is a similar loft to your SW, you may want to look at another option for a Gap Wedge. If this loft fits what you are looking for, however, the Full Face line is a great option.
This is a high-toed wedge with grooves running the length and height of the club face. This allows for great backspin and a lot of feel around the green. For open-faced shots, you cannot beat the surface area and forgiveness provided. They also provide a lot of feel around the green.
- Great for open-faced pitches and flop shots.
- The “half cavity” design increases forgiveness without sacrificing feel.
- Performs very well on speciality shots and around the green.
- The graphite color reduces glare and looks good at address.
- The grooves running spanning the entire face produce a lot of backspin.
- The higher toe means a greater hitting area.
- In between each major groove are 4 additional laser milled grooves to provide even softer feel and higher spin rates.
- Because of the nature of the design, only higher lofted clubs are produced. The CBX Full Face starts at 56 degrees.
- Not a great “full swing” wedge.
With 5 different lofts to choose from on the Gap Wedge and additional bounce and lie options, this is one of the most flexible clubs out there. You can personalize this club to your game and to the conditions in which you most often play. The club looks great at address and has a pure blade look that some other club manufacturers are moving away from.
It also employs the well-known Mizuno forging process which has always produced irons and wedges with incredible feel. The higher the loft, the wider and more shallow the grooves are so that you get maximum roughness on your Gap Wedge for maximum backspin.
- The traditional look of a wedge with a modern twist that inspires confidence and performs well.
- The grooves provide great backspin no matter the conditions.
- With multiple loft, lie, and bounce options, you can create the perfect club for your game.
- A slightly larger head looks good at setup without being chunky. It also performs well in tighter lies.
- The feel and spin that you are used to in a Mizuno iron or wedge.
- The forging process used by Mizuno is second to none and produces incredible feel.
- Center of gravity was raised to prevent mishits.
- Better around the green than on approach shots.
- Made more for low handicappers than average golfers.
The MG2 features a very rough raw face design that produces great backspin and feel. This club produces some great feel around the green and equally good feel from 80 yards out.
While there is not a lot of options in terms of personalization of the club, most of the specs are pretty standard and would be what most golfers would choose anyway. This club looks great at address and produces everything you want a Gap Wedge to produce.
- The raw face design provides great feel and backspin.
- A really good “scoring” wedge.
- This is a player’s wedge and has the feel and blade design to prove it.
- The TPU insert provides increased feel and vibration dampening.
- The thick head design offers some forgiveness and cuts through the turf well.
- Maximizes center of gravity for the Gap Wedge.
- Immediate feedback in your hands helps you to pinpoint and correct mistakes.
- One of the more expensive options on the list.
- Only 2 loft options and no bounce or lie options.
- Aimed specifically at low handicappers.
The Bettinardi HLX 3.0 Gap Wedge is one of the best looking clubs out there. It is built to last and has some of the best feel in the game. You can also customize the club by loft, length, lie, bounce, and grind so that you can find the exact right club for your game. Bettinardi has always been known for their putters, but they have taken the precision and artistry of their putters and placed them into a wedge.
The HLX 3.0 is the result. This club produces a lot of spin, is very accurate, and did I mention that it is one of the best looking clubs out there? The price is higher than most, but the quality and precision is easy to see.
- Comes in chrome or black smoke.
- The honeycomb milling on the back of the blade.
- A pure blade design but with some forgiveness and good distance.
- Easy to control.
- 2 grinds from which to choose.
- Performs well around the green and on the approach.
- Made for low handicap golfers.
- Can be difficult to hit.
The first thing you will notice about the Wilson Staff Model Gap Wedge is that it looks and feels like a high end club but at a very inexpensive price. A slightly higher toe provides additional back spin and feel but may be slightly more difficult to hit on full shots.
A very soft feel helps you know when you hit a good shot but also provides great feedback on mishits. As always, Wilson has created a high quality club at a low price.
- One of the least expensive options on the list.
- Great spin and accuracy on full swing shots.
- Does not play like the least expensive club on the list.
- Looks great at address.
- Produces good backspin, especially on approach shots.
- The precision milled face combined with the advanced spin scorelines make it a consistent club with a lot of spin.
- No personalization options.
- Not the same feel and spin that you get on other clubs.
- Better on full swing shots than around the green.
Best Overall Choice
The Ping Glide 3.0 is our choice for best Gap Wedge in 2020. A Gap Wedge should be good around the green and it should also provide a “gap” distance between the PW and SW so that a full swing can be used from that distance. The Ping Glide 3.0 provides plenty of feel and spin around the green while also performing as one of the best, most consistent, and most accurate from 80 yards out.
It is also a very forgiving club. This combination of features make the Ping Glide 3.0 an ideal Gap Wedge for beginners and seasoned golfers alike.
Best For Beginners and High Handicappers
Bringing the feel of a blade with the forgiveness of a cavity back club, the Cleveland CBX 2 is easy to hit while still providing a lot of player’s features.
Best For Low and Mid Handicappers
The Callaway Jaws MD5 is our choice for best Gap Wedge for low and mid handicappers because of its precision both around the green and with a full swing.
The Wilson Staff Model Wedge is the least expensive option on the list while also providing a high quality Gap Wedge.