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.
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.
Our Picks on the Best Wedges for High Handicappers:
The Best Overall: Cleveland CBX 2 Wedge
Most Forgiving: Cleveland Smart Sole 3.0 Wedge C
Best Sand Wedge: Callaway Sure Out 2.0
A Wedge To Grow Into: Titleist Vokey SM7
Evaluating Wedges for What You Need
There are really 2 main points to evaluate while selecting a wedge: you want to know the loft you’re looking for, and the bounce you’d like the club to have. The loft will be determined by the style of wedge.
Different Wedge Types
There are 4 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.
This is my favorite wedge to approach the green with. I like taking a full swing with this club from about 115 yards, and find myself using this shot several times per round. I also 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.
What makes this wedge so great is the versatility; you can use it anywhere from 115 yards to right up on 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, the loft also allows for a higher trajectory softly landed 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.
These wedges have the highest loft, typically between 60 and 64 degrees of loft.
It’s not recommended to take a full swing with these, as they’re best used to produce high spinning shorter shots and sand escapes.
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 bounce of a wedge 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.
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. This is suitable for most swings, from low to high handicappers.
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.
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. This allows for even more short game creativity.
What Wedges Do I Need?
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.
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.
As a true beginner, even just the pitching wedge and sand wedge will work.
Best Wedges: The Rundown
The Best Overall for High Handicappers: Cleveland CBX 2 Wedge
This wedge sits perfectly in a set of game improvement irons.
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.
Most Forgiving Wedge: The 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.
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.
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 SM7! I personally use the F Grind 56 Degree, and chose it because it’s a good “all around wedge” that doesn’t favor any particular shot.
Great for Spin and Control: Callaway Mack Daddy 4
These are the wedges that Phil Mickelson uses in his bag. Not enough? He actually designed them, along with legendary club designer Roger Cleveland.
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)
- Features Callaway’s proprietary Groove In Groove Technology for maximum spin
- 4 Center of Gravity weights produce optimal feel and sound on every shot
- 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.
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 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!