There is no question that the sand wedge is one of the most important golf clubs in your bag. The sand wedge can be used to save your score after a bad shot, and it can be used to give you those tap ins for birdie.
Having faith in your sand wedge is a vital part of a strong short game. Choosing a sand wedge that is right for your game can be difficult.
There are many options out there, and when they all start talking about their zip, tour, spin, bounce, grind, groove, and whatever other terminology they can send your way, you can quickly become overwhelmed.
We put together a list of some of the best sand wedges and then broke down the things you should consider before purchasing a wedge. Doing a bit of research before pulling the trigger could help you put a wedge in your bag that will stay there for years to come.
Our Best Sand Wedges in 2020
Best Sand Wedge Overall: Cleveland RTX 4
- Great for full swing or short game shots
- Designed to provide a balance between feel and forgiveness
- Good for the mid to low handicappers
- Tour Zip grooves for great spin
- V-Shaped Sole
- Not as great for the high handicappers
At the top of our list is the Cleveland RTX 4 sand wedge. The RTX 4 sand wedge is available in a few different loft options, but we would go with the 56 for your sand wedge. This is the fourth generation of the Cleveland Rotex Face Technology that provides some fantastic spin to your wedge shots.
Cleveland has what they call Tour Zip Grooves, and they are a progressive design. As you get down towards the 60-degree wedge, the club will work even hard to create spin on even the shortest of shorts. The laser milled face on the Cleveland provides amazing consistency and performance even when you miss the center of the clubhead just a bit.
The RTX 4 wedges are available in three different finishes, but we really like the black satin the best. The black helps to keep glare down on those bright and sunny days. The problem with the black satin finish on previous models is that it would fade or wear away over time. Cleveland developed a new PVD process that makes for a long-lasting and durable finish.
The RTX is more of a muscle back wedge (the CBX is the cavity back design). The muscle back shaping tends to appeal to the mid to low handicap player as they feel it will likely be a bit better. The good news about the RTX is that the center of gravity makes them very forgiving, and therefore even if you are a high handicapper, you could see some great benefits in switching to the RTX 4.
The V-Shaped sole of this wedge will help to improve turf interaction from any lie, especially on your bunker shots. The RTX is available in four different bounce options.
The options are high bounce, mid bounce, low bounce, and x low bounce. When deciding which is best for a sand wedge, try to think how often you will also be using this club from the short grass. High bounce is excellent from a bunker not so great from a tight lie on the fairway.
Alternative #1: Mizuno T20
- Two bounce angle options in the 56 degree
- Available in a wide range of lofts
- Great looking design with blue ion finish
- Best for golfers who want to control and stop the ball fast
- Not ideal for full swing shots
Mizuno is a golf club that low handicap golfers have been supporting for years. Mizuno makes some of the best feeling irons on the market, and they put out such a consistent product.
When it comes to their wedges, Mizuno can be kind of a hidden gem. Unless you are playing with the Mizuno irons, you may not even think to look at the sand wedges, but you should!
This Mizuno T20 wedge is offered in two finishes, and one of them is the highly talked about Blue Ion wedge. This is a much different color finish than any other manufacturer is putting out at the moment, and some people love the look.
The 56 degree T20 is available in either 10 or 14 degrees of bounce. If you plan on using this club mostly out of the bunker, go with the 14-degree bounce angle to help you out of the sand.
The shaft in the T20 is a Dynamic Gold S400 shaft. This is a golf club designed to give the lower handicap golfers the feel and precision they crave around the green.
If you are a slower swinging high handicap golfer, you may find this wedge to be a bit too heavy, and it won’t help you hit the ball far enough.
Certainly, a sand wedge should not just be used for full swing shots, but at times it is necessary, and you don’t want your sand wedge choice to hold you back.
The grooves on the Mizuno T20 wedge are CNC milled so you can expect great consistency. We really love the look of the leading edge on this wedge. The Mizuno continually provides a soft but consistent feel.
There are no sole grind options, just bounce on this wedge. The center of gravity is placed high on the T20 wedge making it a bit less forgiving but a bit higher performing than some of the other options on the market.
Alternative #2: Cleveland CBX 2
- Cavity back designed to provide forgiveness
- Great out of sand or for a full swing shot
- Will help the ball spin
- Better for lower swing speed high handicappers
- Can also get in a graphite shaft
- Not appealing to the high handicappers
- Greenside spin not as high
Where our first alternative for the best sand wedges on the market was more for a lower handicapper, this Cleveland CBX2 is designed for the high handicap golfer. There are lots of things that we love about this wedge, but it is not for everybody.
The CBX wedge is a hollow cavity back design. If you were playing with cavity back irons and worried about making the switch to a blade in your irons, the CBX 2 would be a great choice.
The center of gravity on the CBX 2 is low and in the center, so there is plenty of forgiveness at impact. What makes this sand wedge so great is that it is suitable from both the bunkers and from a full swing fairway shot.
If you feel a real gap after your pitching wedge when it comes to full swing yardages, the CBX sand wedges are a great choice.
The problem with cavity back wedges is always the feel. They won’t generally have as much feel or spin around the green than a blade design wedge has. The wide sole on the CBX mixed with the clean leading-edge give these clubs surprisingly good feel and performance.
Another reason we love the CBX 2 is that Cleveland did most of the work for you when it comes to choosing which wedges will work best in your golf bag. There are no sole grind or bounce angle options when it comes to the CBX 2.
All you need to do is pick the loft of the sand wedge you need, and Cleveland handles the rest. We love this for the high handicapper that does not need to worry about an alphabet full of grind codes at this point in their game.
Cobra King MIM
Best Sand Wedge for Mid Handicappers
- Brand new Metal Injection-molded technology
- Tour sole grinds
- Progressive groove technology
- Incredible feel
Next on our list is the brand new Cobra King MIM wedge. MIM is yet another new golf terminology for us this year. MIM stands for metal injection molded. This is a brand new innovation in golf wedge manufacturing, and there is no question that the MIM wedges will spin some heads and some golf balls this year.
The MIM does not come in a variety of finishes; it just comes with the 304 Stainless Steel Premium chrome finish. This CNC Milled face and grooves are considered to be more of a tour wedge.
The leading edge is very sharp and clean, and you can play with the sole grind on this club to get it to perform how you would like it to.
The MIM Wedge does have some progressive spin technology, which is an option we love not just in sand wedges but in lob wedge and gap wedge options as well. The weaker lofts of the MIM wedges will feature wider and shallower grooves.
As you move towards the 56-degree sand wedges, you are looking at the narrower tighter grooves. The progressive grove technology helps to produce some consistency in wedge shots when it comes to both distance and trajectory.
The MIM is not offered in any other sole grinds, but we didn’t find that to be an issue as far as performance is concerned with this sand wedge. If you need a fresh new sand wedge in your bag this year and you want some great spin-off of your bunker shots, the MIM is worth a try.
Cleveland Smart Sole
Most Forgiving Sand Wedge
- Low center of gravity
- Best sand wedge for forgiveness
- Suitable for beginners or high handicap golfers
- Best wedges for loft out of a bunker
- Not the best feel around the greens for lower handicap players
If you and the sand do not get along, the Cleveland Smart Sole could be a great golf club for you. In some of our other reviews, we talked about having to choose bounce angle and sole grind, but with this Cleveland Smart Sole, you don’t even need to select the loft!
The Smart Sole comes standard with 58 degrees of loft, giving golfers exactly what they need for bunker shots.
The weight on the Smart Sole has been redistributed towards the toe of the club. This sand wedge is built for maximum forgiveness. The Smart sole has a three-tiered sole to improve turf interaction and make this club a good choice not just out of the sand but for lots of shorter shots.
You won’t need to open the face of this club to get the ball up in the air and landing softly on the green. This wedge is absolutely designed for high handicappers. Low handicap golfers will not like the feel and forgiveness this club provides; it almost feels like you can’t miss with this sand wedge.
Callaway Mack Daddy 3 Chrome
Best Value Sand Wedge
- Great sand wedges for short game and bunker
- Good feel
- Works for a variety of handicaps
- Great value as they are a few years old
When we say that the Callaway Mack Daddy 3 Chrome is one of the best value sand wedges, we do not mean that it is cheap, it is just a great deal. The Callaway Mack Daddy wedges come in three different grinds to help you tackle each obstacle you may come across on the golf course.
The S grind is a great option when you are looking for versatility. You will be happy with an S Grind if you need a versatile shot that can get you out of the bunker but also need some help getting the ball up and down around the green as well.
Similar to the Cobra MIM progressive grooves, the MD 3 has the same technology. With Progressive groove optimization, you will get more spin as you move closer to 60 degrees of loft.
This technology in the Mack Daddy golf clubs helps golfers to control distances and spin from their pitching wedge to their lob wedge.
This is a milled face wedge very similar to the TaylorMade Milled sand wedges, but in our opinion, you get a bit more feel from the Mack Daddy sand wedges.
Best Cheap Sand Wedge
- Simple and classic design
- Mid to high handicappers will do best with this wedge
- Available in a few others lofts if wanted
- Very low price
- Not the best feel
- Spin is not as great as other options
If you don’t have a sand wedge in your bag but know that you need one, the Pinemeadow PGX is a perfect choice.
This club is priced at about ⅓ of the cost of any other sand wedge on the market, and it does a great job of getting the ball to stop on the greens.
There is nothing too fancy about this sand wedge. The Pinemeadow PGX comes with a steel shaft, and it is more of a blade style to it. It has decent forgiveness and is designed for the mid to high handicapper. If you are looking for the ultimate feel and spin from a club, there are better sand wedge options for you.
However, if you have been trying to get out of the bunkers using a nine iron, there is no reason at all for you not to purchase this club and add it to your line up.
Sand Wedge Buying Guide
Now that you have a line up of some of the best sand wedges that golf has to offer, how will you pick the one that works for you?
Choosing a new sand wedge is not hard, but you must make sure that you have a good understanding of the options out there. If you choose the wrong loft or sole options, you may struggle with the gaps between your pitching wedge and sand wedge.
Here is some information that is undoubtedly worth reading prior to buying your new sand wedge.
A traditional sand wedge is going to be about 56 degrees of loft. This does not mean that the only club you can use out of the sand is your 56-degree wedge. It also does not mean that the best sand wedge for you is 56 degrees of loft.
Look at the 56 degrees sand wedges as a great starting point. From there, you will need to figure out what works best for your game. You should know the lofts of all the other golf clubs in your bag to make sure that you fill in the gaps correctly with a club that makes sense for your set composition.
Most sand wedge golf clubs are sold with a standard wedge flex steel shaft. Although this shaft will work for the majority of golfers, it is not going to work for everyone.
If you are a slower swing player that struggles to get the proper launch angle on your shots, the steel flex is not going to be the best golf club for you. Wedges should very closely match the rest of the clubs in your golf bag as far as weight and forgiveness is concerned.
There is no reason to play with a tour style wedge if you are a 30 handicap. Keep in mind that golf sand shots are difficult, now is not the time to choose a sand wedge made for a fast swinging lower handicap player. Many wedges are sold in graphite shafts, do not be afraid to add this to your bag if needed.
When it comes to forgiveness in wedges, the most essential factors to look for are a low center of gravity and a wide sole. These two things will help you get the loft and spin that you need from your wedges. Also, pay close attention to bounce on the wedge as well. Sometimes a high bounce option can be a problem when you try and use a wedge from a tight lie.
Another factor that will add to forgiveness in a wedge is a cavity back as opposed to a blade type sand wedge. Cavity back wedges have a lower center of gravity and lots more forgiveness on the long and short shots. A blade wedge will not be as forgiving if you miss the clubface just a little.
If you are a mid to low handicapper, you will want the feel of the blade wedge. Eventually, the goal for all golfers looking to improve their game should be to have a blade style in their golf bag.
When it comes to a golf wedge and pricing, you will be happy to know that these clubs are generally priced much better than other golf clubs in your bag. The problem with the sand wedge is that you will likely also need a few other wedges in your bag. By the time you purchase all three or four clubs now, things may get a bit more expensive.
For a great sand wedge, you can expect to pay anywhere from $75 to $175. Most of the options will fall somewhere in the middle of this price range. Keep in mind that price is not the most important factor in choosing a wedge. If you find a club that is considered to be a cheap wedge, but it gets the ball in the hole, it really doesn’t matter what the price is.
Choosing a great sand wedge is hard, but luckily it is not a decision you need to make every year. We agree with most of the pros when you find a sand wedge that works well for your game, keep it for a while. If you have something more than five years old, you will likely benefit from the new spin and groove technology.
Our favorite option for both out of the sand and around the greens is the Cleveland RTX 4. This wedge is available in several different bounce and loft options, and it is the perfect mix of feel, playability, and forgiveness. In addition, the RTX is fairly priced.
If, for some reason, Cleveland is not your style, give the Mizuno T20 a try. This is a lesser-known sand wedge, but the performance that this sand wedge offers is quite high.
We don’t think you will be disappointed with any of the options we gave, as long as you take careful consideration and analyze your golf game strengths and weaknesses before purchasing.