Wedges can be a scary thing for a high handicapper. Most of the time, the reason your handicap is so high is because your wedge, putter, and usually the driver are giving you some trouble.
Most high handicappers struggle with hitting the ball either thin (sculling it over the green) or hitting a few inches behind the ball and hitting a chunk shot. These are both terrible misses and can ruin what may have been a decent hole.
The good news is that there are plenty of golf wedges on the market that make the game a bit easier for the high handicappers. Looking for something with a large and forgiving face, a low center of gravity, and the correct loft, bounce and grind can be quite overwhelming.
The good news is that we put together a few of our favorite best wedges for high handicappers and beginners. We also included some information on how to choose the right one for your game.
Our Best Wedges For High Handicappers & Beginners In 2020
- Cleveland Smart Sole 4 Wedge (Best Wedge for High Handicappers)
- Cleveland CBX Wedge (Alternative #1)
- C3i Wedge (Alternative #2)
- Pinemeadow PGX Wedge (Best Cheap Wedge for High Handicappers)
- Cleveland RTX-3 Wedge (Best Wedge for High-Handicap Women)
- TaylorMade Hi-Toe Bigfoot Wide Sole Wedge (Most Forgiving Wedge for High Handicappers)
Best Wedge for High Handicappers Overall: Cleveland Smart Sole 4 Wedge
- Brand new and conforming design
- Easy to hit from turf or bunker
- Available in three lofts
- Aggressive milled grooves for added spin
- Not a traditional shape
The new Cleveland Smart Sole 4 Wedge is not your average golf club. This wedge is designed to help the high handicap golfer get the ball into the air without those dreaded mis-hits. The Smart Sole has added bounce at the leading edge, a center of gravity very close to the face of the wedge, and an extra-wide three-tiered sole.
The combinations of the technology included in this Smart Sole wedge make it the most forgiving wedge on the market. You can purchase this wedge in three different lofts: 42, 50, and 58. The 42 degree wedge would very likely replace your pitching wedge.
Cleveland did this because many golfers can hit a pitching wedge for a full shot but cannot use it to help themselves around the greens. The Smart Sole makes those shots around the green much easier to get in the air and stop quickly.
The Cleveland Smart Sole 4 has aggressive milled grooves to help the high handicappers gain some extra spin and stop the ball when needed. This wedge also makes the bunker play simple. No need to open your sand wedge and try and figure out a way to fly the ball out of the bunker, just let the Smart Sole do the work for you.
This is a brand new club, so the pricing is slightly higher than some of the other models on the market, but it is not high enough that price should be a deciding factor with this wedge.
Another thing we love about Cleveland wedges is that they generally offer their more forgiving wedges in a graphite shaft. If you play graphite throughout your entire set, there is no reason to stop for the wedges.
Trust us; we know the Smart Sole wedge does not look like your traditional wedge. If you are a bit proud of the golf clubs in your bag and only want something that is shiny, black, and could be in the bag of a tour pro, the Cleveland may not be for you.
We highly suggest putting the ego aside and learning how to use this wedge. Does it really matter who has the better-looking wedge or, the better-looking scorecard?
Alternative #1: Cleveland CBX 2018
- Tour zip grooves
- Cavity back design
- True Temper Dynamic Gold Steel Shaft
- Clean leading edge
- Not all golfers want cavity back wedges
Yes, we know, another Cleveland. We can’t help it that Cleveland leads the way when it comes to the best wedges for high handicappers. This Cleveland CBX cavity back wedge was one of, if not the best wedges 2018 had to offer.
The CBX is a cavity back design and does not look quite like a traditional blade wedge. It does, however, look more conventional than the Smart Sole.
When Cleveland decided to make this a cavity back wedge, they were able to reposition about 70 grams of weight into different areas of the clubhead and make this one of the most forgiving wedges of the time. If you struggle with wedge shots around the green or from the middle of the fairway, this wedge has you covered.
Although Cleveland had the high handicapper in mind and they kept the pricing down on this wedge, they did not forget any of the high-end technology. This club has the Rotex Face Tour Zip Grooves that will provide plenty of spin when you need it the most.
The designs are progressive, so as you get closer to the 60-degree wedge, you will see more spin, and the 46 and 48 are designed more for the full shots.
With the CBX, you won’t have to mess around with different sole grinds as each wedge comes with a V Steel Sole that is perfectly matched for its loft. The CBX is easy to hit out of the bunker and available in eight different lofts. If you want to fill your bag with these clubs, you most certainly can!
Alternative #2: C3i Wedge
- Best if used as a lob wedge
- Designed to provide easy loft
- One option has 65 degrees of loft
- Built specifically for those who struggle with short game, not versatile
Another alternative to the Smart Sole wedge is the C3i wedge. This is not a brand that you hear about too often, and this is some new technology, but this is one of the best wedges for high handicappers.
The C3i does not come in traditional lofts; instead, it comes in a 55, 59, and 65-degree option. It has an extra-wide sole and is meant to cut through sand and tight lies easily. This wedge is entirely tournament legal, although it may not look quite like that when you first see it.
The C3i is built for a particular shot. It is not intended to be used as a club to hit a full swing shot, instead for flop and lop wedge shots; this C3i provides a great option. We would not recommend a high handicapper puts three of these in their golf bag.
Having one as a go-to club when this type of sand or lob shot is needed is a perfect option, but having some versatility in your clubs to hit a variety of shots is likely a lot more critical.
This wedge is not customizable and comes with a standard steel shaft. It is priced about the same as the CBX wedge from 2018 that we reviewed. Again, this is a great option to get the ball out of the bunker or hit from a tight lie.
If you want to master your short game and continue to improve, you will need some more tools in your bag in addition to this golf club.
Pinemeadow PGX Wedge
Best Cheap Wedge for High Handicappers and Beginners
- Very low price
- Versatile bounce and grind
- Available in 52, 56 and 60
- Wide sole
- Feel is not as good
If you are looking to add a wedge to your bag but not looking to spend much money, the Pinemeadow PGX could be a great choice. The Pinemeadow PGX is one of the least expensive wedges on the market, and it is an excellent option for high handicappers.
The feel and spin ability on the PGX Pinemeadow is not going to be as good as some of the more expensive high-end wedges, but it is certainly enough to get the job done.
These are large faced wedges with a clean leading edge. For players looking to hit clean, crisp shots with versatile bounce and grind the PGX is an excellent choice.
This club comes standard with a basic steel shaft and a standard size grip. For the price on this wedge you can easily have it regripped to make it custom to your liking.
The Pinemeadow PGX is available in a 52, 56, and 60-degree loft. You can put three of these wedges for high handicappers in your bag for less than the price of one premium wedge.
Best Wedge for Women High Handicappers
- Built for women
- Comes in graphite shaft
- Reasonably priced
- Available in a few lofts
- Not as forgiving as other wedges
Many women golfers carry only a pitching wedge and sometimes a gap wedge. One of the quickest ways for women golfers to lower their scores is to add a sand wedge and a lob wedge and learn how to use them properly.
Not all shots around the green can be completed without getting your shots a little higher in the air. Having something with more loft can make the game easier as long as it fits you correctly.
The Cleveland RTX-3 wedge is a perfect cavity back option for women golfers looking to improve their short game. These wedges come in a 52 (gap wedge), 56 (sand wedge), and 60 (lob wedge). The RTX series of wedges feature the tour zip grooves that will help you get enough spin on the ball to stop it where you want it.
The RTX 3 comes in a graphite shaft, which is another reason that we love this wedge for the female golfer. Wedges with steel shafts are generally too stiff and heavy to help make a real difference in the game of a female golfer.
The RTX 3 can be used on both full swing shots and shots around the green, making them the best wedges for high handicap females.
TaylorMade Hi-Toe Bigfoot Wide Sole
Most Forgiving Wedge for High Handicappers
- High quality
- Wide sole
- Lower trajectory
- More control
If you are looking for something very forgiving with a ton of performance, the Hi-Toe wedge is a great choice. The Hi-Toe wedge helps players to keep the ball a little lower and control the spin a bit more.
There is a broad and flat sole on this wedge that keeps the leading edge from digging into the ground. This is a high-end wedge that has a milled grind sole. The TaylorMade Hi-Toe Bigfoot is one of the best wedges for high handicappers because it can be used from the short grass, rough, and bunkers.
The Hi-Toe wedge looks great with its unique copper finish. This finish will change over time and darken, giving it more of a classic look.
These Taylormade wedges are available in both a steel and graphite option. The graphite shaft wedge is a bit more expensive. Both shafts are high end and will help to keep the ball flight down.
Golf Wedge Buying Guide
Choosing a wedge for a high handicapper can be a little different than choosing one for a low handicapper. Players who struggle to keep their score down need wedges that are more forgiving and offer them some help with being able to stop the ball on both full shots and shots around the green.
Here are the most important things to consider when purchasing a wedge to help take you into the mid handicapper category.
Unfortunately, choosing the lofts of your wedges can be a bit confusing. You want to make sure that you keep the gapping between the different wedges as consistent as possible. Your set should have room to keep about four wedges.
As golfers improve, they will keep more wedges in their bag than the long irons and woods because they are more helpful when it comes to scoring. The four wedges you need are the pitching wedge, gap wedge, sand wedge and lob wedge. Each has a different purpose in the game.
Used mostly for full swing shots but also great for bump and run options approaching the green. Usually, have lofts anywhere from 42-46 degrees.
The gap wedge can sometimes be called the approach wedge. This wedge is built to fill in the gap between the pitching wedge and the sand wedge. Most gap wedges will have anywhere from 48-54 degrees of loft.
Although many golfers think that a sand wedge can only be used out of a bunker, that is not the case. Sand wedges are a very versatile club, and if you ask many of the professionals, they will probably say this club is used almost as much as their putter. Sand wedge lofts will range from 54 to 58 degrees.
A lob wedge is built for the most high lofted shots. This club will be the least forgiving of the wedges. When you learn to use a lob wedge properly, the shots you can hit will help to lower your score considerably. Bunker shots with high lips and chips where you need to stop the ball quick are the specialties of the lob wedge. Most lob wedges will be from 58 to 62 degrees. Sometimes you will find a lob wedge at 64 degrees, but those are rarer.
If you already have a wedge in your golf bag that you like (for instance, a 56 degree), you will want to choose something like a 52 and a 60 to work around it. If you don’t currently have any wedges in your bag aside from the pitching wedge, you need to investigate how much loft your pitching wedge has prior to purchasing a new club. If your pitching wedge is 41 degrees or if it is 46 degrees will make a difference as to what wedges you will need.
With a driver or a set of irons, it is usually pretty easy to see which clubs are more forgiving. Larger heads, offset, and wide soles are all things that will indicate a more forgiving club. When it comes to wedges distinguishing what is more forgiving than something else may be a little harder to figure out.
For starters, look for something with medium bounce. A medium bounce wedge and sole grinds are going to help you use the club for more than just standard chips. Another thing to look for is a cavity back wedge.
Years ago, the best wedges were all blade style, but now there are cavity back wedges that are just as effective. The more forgiving cavity back wedges have a lower center of gravity and will work much better at getting the ball up in the air fast.
Unless you are buying a brand new release wedge and getting it built with a custom shaft, most of the wedges golf has to offer are a standard steel wedge flex. This can be confusing for new players or those who struggle with their short game. If you play with a graphite shaft in your irons, should you switch to steel for your wedges?
This is a great question, and it will all come down to swing speed. Players with very low swing speed should be using graphite shafts in all of their clubs. Golfers who have a decent amount of clubhead speed are usually fine keeping steel in the wedges.
The significant benefit to graphite shafts in the wedges is if you plan to use them for full swing shots. On shorter chips and pitches, you will not notice much of the difference between the graphite and the steel.
Bounce and Grind
The wedges that we reviewed do not have versatile bounce and grind options. This is something that actually works better for the high-handicappers. The high handicap golfer is generally not going to be able to tell the difference between a club that has 8 degrees of bounce of 10 degrees of bounce. That is perfectly understandable, and golf club manufacturers know and understand this.
That is why most of the wedges geared toward the higher-scoring players come with what they call a versatile sole grind. These golf clubs can be used from a variety of turn conditions and lies, and they can be easily manipulated to achieve the results you are looking for.
Something like a Titleist Vokey has fantastic feel and spin capabilities, but they come in tons of options. For a high handicap golfer to choose what will work for their game both now and as they improve can be tough. We suggest going with the types of wedges that offer “mid” or “low” bounce and giving yourself a mix of options in your golf bag.
When it comes time to add some new wedges to your golf bag, you are making an essential step towards becoming a lower handicapped golfer. The best way to lower your scores is to become friends with the scoring clubs in your golf bag.
The Smart Sole wedges are affordable but not traditional. If you want a more traditional look, the CBX is a perfect option to consider. Regardless of the wedge you go with, read our buying guide to help make sure you get the proper wedge.