54 vs 56 Degree Wedge: What The Average Golfer Should Use

When I was in the market for a new wedge set I tried a number of different brands and combinations. Most recreational golfers only need two or three wedges in their bag, so if you had to pick, would it be better to play a 54 or 56 degree?

As a general rule, most golfers will find that a 56-degree wedge will be the right club to complement their pitching and gap wedge. A 56-degree wedge will give you an even gap between your wedges and will be the most versatile sand wedge.

That being said, it all depends on what clubs you already have and how many wedges you want to carry. The main thing you’ll want to do is space out your wedges evenly, but we’ll get more into that next.

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I want to hear from you. In the comments below, let me know which loft you have on your sand wedge.

Should You Use A 54 Or 56 Degree Wedge?

The majority of average golfers only need to have three wedges in their bag, and if that’s the case, a 56-degree is the better choice. For golfers looking to carry four wedges, having a 54-degree will evenly space out the wedges.

I’ve tried both of these wedges and it was pretty tough to tell the difference. 2 degrees of loft isn’t enough to notice a difference in distance, but I felt like the 56-degree was a bit more consistent around the green.

For me, the 56-degree was better at getting the ball out of the sand. It was also easier to get the ball up and over a bunker, tree, or whatever else. That’s why I have a 56-degree wedge.

When it comes to what wedges to carry, you’ll want to figure out how many you want in your bag. Some people have two wedges in their bag but I’ve also seen high handicaps with five wedges.

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  • As you start getting better, you might want to have 4 or 5 wedges, but for mid to high handicaps, you really only need 3 wedges:

    1. Pitching wedge
    2. Gap wedge
    3. Sand wedge

    Your pitching wedge will be between 42-46 degrees, your gap wedge will be 50-52 degrees, and your sand wedge will be between 54-56 degrees. You want to evenly space out the lofts.

    Here’s the ideal setup if you want to have 3 wedges:

    • 44-degree pitching wedge
    • 50-degree gap wedge
    • 56-degree sand wedge

    This is the same setup that I have. Here’s the ideal setup if you want to have 4 wedges:

    • 44-degree pitching wedge
    • 50-degree gap wedge
    • 54-degree sand wedge
    • 58-degree lob wedge

    The average golfer shouldn’t use anything greater than 58-degrees.

    Butch Harmon

    The main reason I go with the 3 wedge setup is that it’s cheaper. The second reason is that it follows the loft progression of my irons. Here’s what I mean:

    ClubLoftLoft Increase

    I think that having a 56-degree wedge as your highest lofted club will be perfectly fine for most golfers. It’s all I’ve had for a few years and it’s been completely fine for me.

    What Is A 54 Degree Wedge Used For?

    A 54-degree wedge is considered a sand wedge and is used around the green and out of bunkers. A 54-degree wedge is ideal for golfers who have a 58-degree lob wedge and another wedge close to 50 degrees.

    Pretty much all golfers have a pitching wedge and a wedge between 56 and 58 degrees. That leaves a pretty big gap in clubs and that’s why you’ll want to fill it as soon as possible.

    I don’t use a 54 degree myself but there are certain times when you’d want one. If your sand wedge is 56 degrees, there’s really no point in adding a 54-degree. If your lob wedge is 58 degrees, adding a 54-degree makes sense.

    Sand wedges come with different degrees of bounce, so that’s something else you’ll want to look at. If you play a lot of wet courses or hit behind the ball, you’ll want a wedge with a higher bounce (more than 10 degrees). If not, you can look for a wedge with 7-10 degrees of bounce.

    RELATED: What Wedge You Should Use Around The Green

    What Is A 56 Degree Wedge Used For?

    A 56-degree wedge is considered a sand wedge and is mainly used for hitting out of the sand and chipping around the green. A 56-degree wedge is one of the most used clubs and is the highest loft an average golfer should carry.

    Other than a pitching wedge, a sand wedge is the second wedge you’ll want to have in your bag. It’s one of the most versatile clubs in the bag since it can be used from the fairway, from the bunker, and around the green.

    Sand wedges come in either 54 or 56 degrees, but the most common loft is 56 degrees. If your pitching wedge is 43-44 degrees, having a 50-degree gap wedge and a 56-degree sand wedge makes the most sense.

    RELATED: 56 vs 60 Degree Wedge: Do You Need Both?

    For most golfers, you’ll want your sand wedge to have at least 10 degrees of bounce. More bounce will help you get the ball out of bunkers because it won’t dig in as much. Also, depending on what kind of shots you hit, you’ll want to pick the right wedge grind as well.

    How Far Should You Hit A 54 Degree Wedge?

    On average, golfers hit their 54-degree wedge 92 yards, but the range can vary between 75 and 110 yards. The higher number is for golfers who take a full swing with their wedges, but most golfers only take a 1/2 or 3/4 swing with their wedges.

    To find the most accurate numbers, I asked 8 different golfers how far they typically hit their 54-degree. Here are some of the responses I got:

    Golfer54 Degree Distance
    Average Distance92 Yards
    Average Sand Wedge Distance

    The range was actually pretty close overall. A lot of the time, you’ll use this wedge for shorter chip shots around the green, but these numbers were for normal shots from the fairway.

    For most golfers, if they were 90 yards out in the fairway, their go-to choice would be the 54-degree wedge. This is just a normal stock swing, which should give you the most consistent shots.

    How Far Should You Hit A 56 Degree Wedge?

    On average, golfers hit their 56-degree wedge 84 yards, but the range can vary between 75 and 105 yards. Longer hitters who take a full swing typically hit over 100 yards, but most golfers take a 1/2 to 3/4 swing with their sand wedge.

    Just like with the 54-degree wedge, I asked a few golfers how far they normally hit their 56-degree wedge. Here are the responses I got:

    Golfer56 Degree Distance
    Average Distance84 Yards

    The results did vary a bit more, and I think the reason was that most people don’t take full swings with their sand wedges. Wedges aren’t built for distance, they’re built for control.

    Taking a normal swing and not trying too hard will result in better consistency for most people. If you were to take full swings with your sand wedge, you could probably hit it somewhere close to 95-105 yards.

    If you were to take a 3/4 swing with your sand wedge, you would probably hit the ball somewhere close to 80-90 yards. This is the better choice if you’re looking to improve your short-game distance control.

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    Hey, I'm Jon. I started Out Of Bounds Golf to share my findings after testing golf gear for the past 10+ years. My goal is to make the game a little easier to understand, whether that's with finding the right product or answering common questions.

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