A wedge is a particular type of golf club. Officially it is categorized as an iron, but it is really more than that. It is a specialized iron that is deserving of its own category.
When you buy a set of golf clubs, you will get a full set of irons which includes all the irons from a pitching wedge, 9 iron and all the way down to a 3 iron. So a pitching wedge is the only type of wedge generally included with the other irons.
There are many other types of wedges. There are lob wedges, gap wedges and sand wedges. Sand wedges are typically found with a loft of approximately 56 degrees. This can fluctuate based on manufacturer and preference. Sand wedges are specialized with a greater loft than a pitching wedge for the purpose of making it easier to get out of a sand bunker. Many people find this to be a difficult task, but for the pros, it is actually a fairly easy shot.
Lob wedges can vary in loft and are often referred to as loft wedges with a specific degree of loft. One example would be a 59 degree loft wedge. There are also different types of wedges based on manufacturer. One might refer to a particular wedge as a cleveland wedge. Many golfers are quite particular about what type of clubs they will or will not use. Some golfers will only use custom cleveland wedges made to suit their particular skill set and preferences.
Gap wedges are niche wedges that fill a particular gap. They may bridge the gap between a pitching wedge and a sand wedge. A gap wedge would most likely range from 50 degrees to 54 degrees.
Wedges are meant to be used at close range and are made to enable the golfer to get the ball to land as accurately as possible. They are quite often referred to as scoring clubs because they can get you in position to put the ball into the hole. With the high loft of a wedge, a golfer can use the club to get over a tree or bush that is standing in the way of the hole. Another use is to get over a bunker that stands in your way.
Wedges (excluding the pitching wedge) are harder to hit with than a standard set of clubs. They require a higher skill level and are often hit poorly by a beginner. Once you have developed a good touch with your pitching wedge, you will want to start acquiring skills with other wedges. The most common wedge found in a golfer’s bag other than a pitching wedge is a sand wedge. Personally, I think this is a necessary wedge for any serious golfer.
Wedges fill an important spot in the golfer’s bag of tricks and without them, the game would surely be more difficult than it already is.