When you have a wedge in your hand, you’re typically in a situation that can truly make or break a hole. The approach you take with a wedge can be the difference between a birdie and a bogey, or even worse. The golf wedge is one of the most versatile clubs you can have in your hands; from full swings to pitches and chips, these clubs need to become the most trustworthy items in your entire bag.
Most high handicap golfers struggle to hit the green in regulation, and often end up a bit short, spraying their shot to one side, or taking a lovely trip to the beach. Having a wedge that is packed with forgiveness gives you a chance get the ball closer to the pin on short approaches, and lower your scores more consistently. We’ve covered the market and evaluated the best wedges of high handicappers and beginners. Read our full guide below!
Short on time? Our pick for the Best Wedges for High Handicappers is the Cleveland CBX 2 Wedge
Best Wedges for High Handicappers: Our Top Picks
Our Top Pick: Cleveland CBX 2 Wedge
This wedge sits perfectly in a set of game improvement irons, and is perfect for a high handicapper who wants a forgiving wedge in their bag.
For me, the detail that gives this wedge an edge over the competition is that it has a hollow cavity back. As a beginner it is highly likely that your irons will have a cavity back. The hollow cavity on the CBX allows an easy transition between iron and wedge. Most wedges aren’t explicitly marketed toward either beginners or advanced players, and it is refreshing to see this wedge was carefully made for the high handicapper, yet doesn’t give up feel or spin while doing so.
At a Glance:
- The Hollow Cavity Design provides a heavy toe and perimeter weighting, to maximize the moment of inertia for maximum forgiveness on shots that are not hit perfectly
- The CBX has great feel at impact thanks to the Enhanced Feel Balancing Technology, with a toe-bias center of gravity
- The dynamic sole provides versatility to the wedge, so it can be used in just about any situation
- The Rotex Face Technology delivers optimal spin and control
- Sleek design, that mimics the look of a blade wedge without a cavity back
Overall, this is a well-designed, easy to hit wedge. If you find you miss hit or duff your current wedge, the cavity design on the CBX will help smooth some of those shots over. If there is any drawback, it’s that the club sounds a bit different when you make contact, because of the cavity. Most people will be able to overlook this.
Best for Beginners: Cleveland Smart Sole 3.0 Wedge C
This club is billed as a Super Game Improvement wedge and is made to help all high handicap players.
The Smart Sole comes in two variations: S or C.
The Smart Sole S is a higher loft of 58 degrees and is made for improving your game out of the bunker. The data Cleveland collected shows golfers are 30% more likely to get on the green with their bunker shot with the Smart Sole S vs a competitor club. If your biggest issue is getting out of a bunker, this will definitely help.
Th Smart Sole C has a loft of just 42 degrees, and is perfect for chipping or generally shots inside of 100 yards. I think as a beginner it will probably be more useful to go for C because it can be useful right off the green or on approach.
At a Glance:
- The Smart Sole has an extra wide Three Tiered Sole, which helps produce cleaner and more crisp contact with optimal turf interaction
- The Center of Gravity of this club is redistributed toward the center of the face through feel balancing technology. This helps with feel and consistency with a much tighter shot dispersion
- This club is ideal for chipping, with an optimal loft and upright lie
- Doesn’t allow for shot creativity, and has suboptimal control
- Produces minimal spin
This club is great for someone who struggles with consistency in their chipping and short game. You may give up some spin and control, but in turn this club is as forgiving as they come. If you’re brand new to the game, or find the idea of your short game to be an absolute nightmare, give these wedges a shot.
Best Sand Wedge for High Handicappers: Callaway Sure Out 2.0
The Callaway Sure Out 2 is designed specifically with the bunker shot in mind, and makes every attempt to make it easy to get out. Out of the sand, this club is meant to be forgiving and produce a shot that produces a lot of spin to stop quickly. The bunker shot is one that takes a lot of work; if you struggle to hit consistent shots out of the sand, the Sure Out is definitely worth checking out.
At a Glance:
- Callaway have refined the sole of this wedge and increased the bounce to make it easy to get under the ball in the sand and get it out consistently
- Features 17 grooves covering the entire face, designed to put maximum spin on the ball for it to have optimal stopping power
- The bounce of the club makes it much easier to hit a cleaner shot from the fairway, and produces better misses
- Only available as a sand wedge or a lob wedge
A Wedge to Grow Into: Titleist Vokey SM7
Titleist’s Vokey line of wedges are notorious for being some of the best wedges on the market. This is not a wedge that’s marketed specifically to high handicappers, but can be useful to any player. If you want to look into a wedge you can use for the next 10 years and not have to upgrade, I’d strongly consider this one. We recommend the SM7 instead of the SM8 for a higher handicap player, mostly due to the price difference. This is a great club that isn’t missing a ton when compared to the latest model. This is a great value pick for a premium club.
At a Glance:
- Features a progressive center of gravity that is based off the bounce, loft and grind of the wedge. This helps with both distance control and feel
- Vokey’s Spin Milled grooves provide market leading groove edges, translating to maximum spin on the course
- 6 Grinds and multiple degree options available for total customization to your game play
- Not a beginner’s wedge, more suitable for a mid to low handicapper
This is the #1 most used wedge on tour, with over 125 Professionals using the Vokey lineup on tour! I personally use the F Grind 56 Degree SM7, and chose it because it’s a good “all around wedge” that doesn’t favor any particular shot. A Vokey is an investment into your game over the long run, and is easily our favorite pick for any player.
Want the newer version? Check out the Titleist Vokey SM8 here.
Great for Spin and Control: Callaway Jaws Mack Daddy 5
The Callaway Jaws MD 5 is the most cutting edge wedge Callaway has put out to date, designed by legendary Chief Wedge Designer Roger Cleveland. The clubheads are made with 8620 mild carbon steel, which is meant to produce a soft and satisfying feel off the face. This wedge is all about spin and bite, hence the name “Jaws”. Callaway deploys their groove in groove technology on the face of the wedge to produce the maximum amount of spin possible, billed as the most aggressive grooves in golf.
At a Glance:
- Highly Customizable, available from 46 to 64 degrees of loft in 2 degree increments and options in 4 different Grinds (S,W,C,X) and several different bounce options
- Features Callaway’s proprietary Groove In Groove Technology for maximum spin
- Compact shape and tight radius produce clean contact in tight lies, resulting in optimal spin and control
If you are looking for a wedge that will help you with distance control and spin, this is a great option. Callaway is well known to produce exceptional wedges, and the Mack Daddy 5 is no exception. This is another wedge geared toward the more advanced player, and is a wedge you can grow into over time. If you’re looking for maximum forgiveness, I’d stay away from this one for now.
Evaluating Wedges for What You Need
Before we start looking at what makes a great wedge for a high handicapper, it’s important to understand the basic wedge types and how they fit into your bag.
Basic Wedge Types
This is a standard wedge, included with just about every set of irons out there. These wedges normally have about 44 to 48 degrees of loft, and will be useful on longer approach shots to the green. An average golfer will be able to hit their pitching wedge about 100-125 yards with a full swing. You can use this wedge for a standard pitch to the green around 50 yards, but I also love to use the PW for a bump and run when I’m on the edge of the rough, or right on the fringe of the green.
The pitching wedge will have the lowest loft of all your wedges, and in turn will produce a lower shot trajectory than your other wedges.
A Gap Wedge might also be referred to as a Utility or Attack Wedge, and generally will be 50-54 degrees of loft; my gap wedge is a 52 degree. The gap wedge is commonly sold as part of a set of irons, but you might find you’d like a different loft or some updated technology for this critical club.
This is my favorite wedge to approach the green with. A gap wedge is a weapon in the hands of the right player, and it’s a club you can be really aggressive with as you practice and hone in your yardages. I love taking a ½ or ¾ swing when I’m around 75-90 yards; this shot feels like I have plenty of control and stopping power to shape my shot and put myself in a scoring position.
The gap wedge should be a club you get very familiar with. It’s the perfect club to take full approach shots with, and at the same time brings a good amount of loft and short game versatility right around the green.
As the name suggests, the primary function for a Sand Wedge is to escape from sand traps or bunkers and cozy the ball up to the hole. These wedges are higher loft, typically between 54 and 58 degrees.
While that’s the primary function, you can use a sand wedge in any situation that you need a high lofted, soft landing shot. When I have a shot over a bunker or with very little green to work with, I’ll use my 56 degree to take some of the danger out of the shot; the last thing you want is to hit it straight in the hazard.
As a high handicapper, get to know how to use this wedge too. Being able to use the loft of the sand wedge to your advantage and avoid danger is a very useful tool on the golf course.
These wedges have the highest loft, typically between 60 and 64 degrees of loft.
We don’t recommended to take a full swing with these, as they’re best used to produce high spinning shorter shots and sand escapes. Taking a full swing approach with a lob wedge is a high risk shot that can result in a chunked shot more often than not. The lob wedge is best suited for higher trajectory short game shots. The lob wedge takes a ton of practice and feel, but can produce some amazing shots out around the green.
Buyers Guide on Choosing the Right Wedge
One of the first factors to look at when you’re buying a wedge is the bounce. There are wedges with low, mid and high bounce, and they all accommodate different styles of play and different course conditions. The bounce of a wedge is defined by the angle created by the leading edge of the club, and the lowest point of the club which is the trailing edge. The back edge is what creates bounce, and is what produces forgiveness in the club.
A lower bounce, somewhere between 4-6 degrees, functions best with shallower swings who take very little divot. Wedges with lower bounce are ideal of firmer conditions, and tend to create very clean contact with the ball.
A mid bounce wedge will have an angle between 7 and 10, and appeals to the widest range of players because of the trajectory it creates, and the precision you can achieve with these clubs. A mid bounce wedge is well suited for play in normal and firmer conditions on the golf course. If you’re not sure what bounce is right for your game, most high handicappers will do just fine grabbing a wedge with 7 to 10 degrees of bounce.
A wedge with high bounce will have an angle of more than 10 degrees. This will help players who typically take a big divot cut through the turf without getting caught up. These wedges play best in softer conditions, and function well in fluffy lies and softer sand from a bunker.
This is a term you’ll run up against when you’re looking into purchasing a wedge. Wedge Grind is the removal or manipulation of the material from the sole of the club, helping improve your contact with the turf. Different Grinds will let you play with different aspects of your game; spin, flight, power etc. The grind of a wedge is what allows for more creativity in your short game.
As a higher handicap player, it might be wise to talk to a pro about what grind would work best for your game, or at least do some thorough research on the subject. Each brand has their own unique grind styles and types, so make sure you do your due diligence here before you pull the trigger.
Wedge finish is the aesthetic and outer coating applied to the clubhead that gives your wedge its final look and feel. There are 3 basic finishes used, which include Chrome, Matte/Satin, and Raw, each bringing their own feel and characteristics to the club.
Chrome is the most basic finish, and is the same look and feel you’d find across any standard iron. Chrome is familiar, and you know exactly what you’ll get from it; there aren’t any distinct advantages, and the only disadvantage is the chance for some glare off the wedge face. The Matte finish used on wedges is a dull black that will reduce glare, and give a slightly different feel when you hit the ball. The only disadvantage is that matte tends to wear our faster than chrome. Raw wedges have no applied finish on the clubhead, and rust over time. Raw wedges are very popular on tour as well as among amateurs who want a lot of feel in their short game. Raw wedges produce no glare, and will produce more friction and spin over time due to the rusted face.
Raw is easily the most popular style finish, but this will come down to your personal preference!
What Wedges Do I Need?
Most high handicap golfers (handicap of over 18) will get by perfectly with the three main wedges: pitching, gap, and sand. The lob wedge really isn’t necessary, however as you become a more advanced golfer it will be worth checking out, just to add a bit of variation to your short game.
I carry all 4 different wedges with me, and ironically I use the Pitching Wedge the least. Different wedges will help you based off the situation you find yourself in.
As a true beginner, even just the pitching wedge and sand wedge will work, but these are the bare minimum wedges you need in your bag. The smartest move is to carry 3 or 4 wedges; as you improve in your golf game, you’ll have all the tools you need to master your short game.
Frankly, there are only a few options for high handicap golfers to get a wedge that will produce maximum forgiveness and maintain the feel and control you want from a wedge. In my opinion, the clear winner for the category is the Cleveland CBX 2; this wedge is a true game improver, providing much more forgiveness than average and no compromise on spin or control.
If you want a wedge to grow into and learn to use, go for the Titleist Vokey SM7.
Thanks for checking us out!