If you are a golf newbie, there are chances you may not be familiar with the abbreviation ‘AW’. Also, many beginners who have just started out might be also wondering what is this ‘AW golf club’. Just like any other sport, golf also has many terminologies and abbreviations that are in everyday use by the players, experts, mentors, and authorities.
Let us put this initial question of yours to rest – ‘AW’ is an abbreviation for the Approach Wedge. We guess you must have heard this term before and possess a little knowledge about the same. If not, we will have a comprehensive look at the approach wedge and its various aspects.
To start with, let us commence this piece of information with the basic definition of an approach wedge. For the ones who have never heard this or might know about it very vaguely, beginning from the basics of an approach wedge is important. From definition to ideal usages, the unknown ones will get acquainted with this device of golf. Let us begin!
What is AW – Approach Wedge?
Also known as a gap wedge, an approach wedge is a golf club that is used to bridge the gap between the loft of a pitching wedge and a sand wedge. When the situation is such and you feel that it a pitching wedge would be too much and a sand wedge would not be enough, then an approach wedge becomes the best option for you – it will provide the perfect loft (when hit correctly) to fill the gap.
If we talk about the time when gap wedges or approach wedges were not in use, players only traveled with a pitching wedge and a sand wedge – and producing an in-between loft was a challenge. Thanks to the implementation of an approach wedge that this problem was solved in a much effective manner.
Is there any difference between an approach wedge and a gap wedge?
Now, this is something that has been a point of endless debate! This discussion has two polarized ends with some people believing that both these wedges are the same and there are some who firmly identify differences between these two types of wedges. Let us look at both perspectives!
So, a certain section of the golf community believes that there is absolutely no difference between a gap wedge and an approach wedge – and the differences that are claimed by manufacturers are just marketing tactics. They are just presented in such a way that would convince the public that differences between the two do exist. Talking about the performance of green, both these are the same and it just has two names attached to itself.
Looking from the perspective of the ones who believe that there are some differences between the two – they look to differentiate these two wedges on the basis of the loft degree and the target distance. A gap wedge is considered to produce 44 degrees to 54 degrees while an approach wedge produces 54 degrees to 60 degrees. Now, it is believed that when the target distance ranges between 100 yards to 130 yards, then using a gap wedge will be ideal. And in the case of having the target hole within a distance of 80 yards, it is perceived that you must use an approach wedge.
You must have noticed that there are very minute differences between a gap wedge and an approach wedge – and maybe this is the core reason why people among the golf community are of divided perception about them being different from each other. Let the debate go on! We must look at and discuss other important aspects of an approach wedge – like the swing required to fetch the best results out of an approach wedge.
Is there any specific way of swinging an approach wedge?
Many of the newbie golfers, what we call as golf beginners or amateurs believe that the concept of a gap wedge/approach wedge is a bit unorthodox (which is not wrong) and needs a specific way of application – this is something that is not rightly understood. There is absolutely no difference or special instructions required to swing a gap wedge or an approach wedge.
If you are a golfer who has been using the short irons effectively will have no problem in getting the swing right as the swing action required for both of them are the same – just to mention, you just need to have a stance where the ball is placed at the middle and then the swing has to be steep enough (depending upon your target) to make the ball go in the air.
Using an approach wedge or a gap wedge the conventional way is the best way you can achieve the desired results. Through this, you will be able to find that gap between the usages of a pitching wedge and a sand wedge. Still, this does not mean that you need to get complacent about the application of an approach wedge. Remember this, you must put more than the required amount of practice before actually getting on the greens and using this gap wedge/approach wedge.
It is always better to get the feel of this wedge in prior, try a range of shots for experimenting, analyze the areas that you excel in or lack in, and put in the required drills to overcome those. When things go in an ideally sequential manner, they are expected to fetch the best results.
Now, as you are keenly engrossed in the concept of an approach wedge, we must take you through some of the best brands that manufacture top-notch approach wedges. Also, it advised going through every recommended brand and analyzing their pros and cons in an in-depth manner – this would enable you to have a transparent picture of what to go with and what to avoid. And the top brands that we will mention below are all good, but their approach wedges differ on the basis of construction, material usage, etc. – so, a player must be aware of his/her game and the type of the approach wedge that will suit him/her the best.
Top brands that manufacture approach wedges/gap wedges
To be honest, there are quite a few! As a golfer who is seeking to buy a good quality approach wedge, you will have a great variety of brands offering their top-notch approach wedges for the best performance and overall feel. So, let us skip the crap and come across the names of the brands! These are Cleveland, Wilson, Cobra, TaylorMade, Callaway, Pinemeadow – to name a few. You can check their approach wedges online and easily compare their features, prices, and performance reviews by the folks who have already used the respective product.
If you are a beginner or an amateur, it is advisable to not overwhelm your pockets and go overboard with buying an approach wedge for yourself. We say this because it is not the price but the features extended by each approach wedge – you must try to buy an approach wedge that is well under your budget and can be used for experimenting – because there are good chances that you may opt for another type of approach wedge for trying out and compare their performances in accordance to your style of game.
So what are the differences between different types of wedges?
To clear things off at the start – it is the distance and the loft! Yes, each and every wedge is used by the golfers to target a specific distance, depending upon the target hole – and the loft produced by your shot. Majorly, there are four types of wedges that are put in execution: lob wedge, approach wedge, pitching wedge, and sand wedge. Always remember – the lower the loft, the farther the distance. Let us see the order of the wedges – producing less to more loft: Pitching Wedge – Approach Wedge – Sand Wedge – Lob Wedge.
Considered to be an unconventional addition to the world of golfing wedges, an approach wedge (also known as a gap wedge) is a golf club that is used to bridge the gap between the produced distance and loft of a pitching wedge and the sand wedge. This is an important tool for golfers as targeting a hole whose distance lies in between the impact of a pitching wedge and a sand wedge, is a much likely case to happen and golfers must have specialized equipment to counter the situation.
In this piece of information, we looked upon the debatable differences between an approach wedge and a gap wedge – to put our point of view, the differences between them are extremely minute and can be overlooked. Still, one must carry on with the tool that works best for him/her. Furthermore, we discussed various brands that you must look for while getting an approach wedge for yourself.
So, having an approach wedge in your golf kit is a very good way to ensure that you don’t fall short of targeting a specific distance that cannot be dealt with by your other wedges. Choose wisely and perform better!