A utility iron (sometimes also referred to as a driving iron) is a golf iron that’s designed to work as a replacement for long irons (2,3,4) that some players find difficult to use. They’re built with heads that are larger than the average long iron, with a much wider base. They’re also hollow to allow greater trajectory for the ball on impact.
While they’re not classed as “game improvement irons”, utility irons can offer great forgiveness thanks to their increased clubface size. And they offer a suitable alternative for players who want to achieve great distance but would rather avoid the long irons and woods.
Falling between the pitching wedge and the sand wedge in terms of clubface loft, the approach wedge has between 47 and 50 degrees of loft. With most pitching wedges now featuring lofts in the mid-to-low forties, and sand wedges maintaining lofts in the mid-fifties, the approach wedge fills the void for players who want a versatile striking and chipping experience that falls between these two clubs in terms of distance and height.
There’s no set way to use an approach iron, you just need to squeeze it into your game in a way that works best for you. But as the name suggests, many players choose to use the approach iron as they approach the green with a strong chip or pitch.
This depends on who you ask. Some players believe an approach wedge and a gap wedge are the same clubs and perform the same function, while others would argue they’re slightly different.
They are very similar, but it’s generally accepted that the loft of a gap wedge can fall anywhere between 44 and 55 degrees. They’re most often used as replacements for 9 irons when players are around 100 yards from the green. When compared to 9 irons, gap wedges offer greater height, helping the ball sit and stay when it lands on the green.
Clubs like utility irons, approach wedges and gap wedges are all useful tools in the bags of golfers who know how to use them effectively. They offer small tweaks in club selection that can prove to be game-changing in a lot of cases. So if you’re an experienced player looking for a new club to expand your set, you may find one or all of these clubs useful. But if you’re a beginner, you’re better sticking off with the standard set before you move onto clubs like these.
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