Best wedges for beginners & high handicappers

Are you just learning the great game of golf? Do you have a high handicap, which causes you to use wedges more than 20% of the time? We will review the best wedges for beginners and high handicappers.

I know I am getting better at golf because I am hitting fewer spectators.” = Gerald R. Ford

Officially, "wedges" are irons, but they are usually designed for short shots requiring a lot of spin and loft. The wedge might be used for shots that are shorter than 100 yards or so (it all depends on the golfer).

Golf rules are quite "persnickety" - you are allowed only 14 clubs in your golf bag. Also, you must start and finish with the same clubs. So, make sure that you have the right club for each circumstance.

How many wedges should I carry?

While the average golfer might have 3 wedges, the novice might want to carry 4 or 5. Those with high handicaps are more likely to take unconventional paths to the green. Some would say that you follow the road less traveled.

The best wedges for novices will tend to be forgiving and easy-to-use. We tried to leave out the customized and adjustable versions, which might confuse you. Here is a review of the 7 best wedges for beginners and high handicappers (listed alphabetically):

One of these wedges could be your "nookie blanket" - helping you out of a jam.

Seven Good Beginner Wedges

The average player uses a wedge 20% of the time. The best wedge helps you hit a short target or loft over a hazard (like a tree or bunker.)

Wedges Buying Advice

You can purchase wedges with an entire set of golf clubs or separately. The primary three wedges are pitching, sand and lob. Usually, with a wedge you want a high spin rate and a high loft.

“It took me seventeen years to get three thousand hits in baseball. It took one afternoon on the golf course.” = Hank Aaron

The "loft" is the angle on your wedge. Wedges run from 46- to 72-degree (Yes, there is a crazy wedge that is that high made by Grenade.) Your wedge might be referred to by its angle degree or its functionality; typically, the "Sand Wedge" has a 46-degree loft.

Here are the primary parts of the wedge: 1. Toe is edge facing outward, 2. Face is where you hit the ball, 3. Back usually has a cavity and 4. Sole is width. The thicker width is better for lush grass.

Which wedges should I carry?

Remember that the wedge is a "tool" to help you hit a target. Golfing pros suggest you ask yourself: "When you try to hit a target, which wedge helps you achieve that goal?” You should carry wedges that "feel good" and fulfill a key function (i.e. hitting out of tall grass.)

Assessment Criteria for Rating Wedges

There are many important characteristics in wedges, but we have concentrated on the following: ease-of-use, forgiveness, technology and versatility.

Easy-to-Use

For our purposes, we have left out the “adjustable” wedges. If you are still learning the game of golf, you might not know which settings to use. Start with the basic clubs and master them, before you proceed.

Forgiveness

Usually, you want to hit the ball with the center of your club. But, some pros will intentionally make "half shots." With forgiveness, even when you "mis-hit" the ball, the shot is not disastrous.

Technology

It is all about mechanics, physics and concentration. The best wedge technology can turn your “flawed hack” into Beethoven’s 5th Symphony.

Versatility

The focus here is on the best “all-around wedge.” Which wedges can you use for different purposes? The best beginner wedge is as versatile as "duct tape."

Mini Review of Each Wedge

We are looking for a wedge "tool" to lower your score. Here are the mini reviews for the seven best wedges for beginners:​

1. Adams Golf Watson RC14

Affordability might be the best feature of the Adams Golf Watson RC14. Former 8-time major Champion Tom Watson has made his own signature line of golf clubs. These wedges have superior feel and forgiveness.

This Adam tear drop shaped wedge is not known for any new technological innovation, but is simply, easy-to-hit. Deliver a consistent shot with the Adams Golf Watson wedge.

PROS


  • Affordable
  • Consistent Distance
  • Large Deep Grooves

CONS


  • Harder
  • Less Spin

Roger Cleveland was involved in the design of the Callaway Mack Daddy 3 and added his technological innovation to create a cutting-edge product. The grooves might be the best in golf: laser-milled micro groove pattern, larger grooves on higher lofted wedges deliver extra spin and smaller grooves within the standard grooves provide extra spin.

Hockey is a sport for White men. Basketball is a sport for Black men. Golf is a sport for White men dressed like Black pimps.= Tiger Woods

This 8620 Steel beast even looks cutting-edge with its four hollowed-out ports in the rear cavity, giving you a higher toe and higher center of gravity (CG) for lower launch and more spin. Choose from three sole grinds and two finishes.

PROS


  • More Grooves
  • Larger Grooves
  • Cutting-Edge Technology

CONS


  • Matte Black Finish Rusts
  • Milled Not Forged

One of the most famous names in "wedge design" is Roger Cleveland. He is the founder of Cleveland Golf and has developed the Cleveland 588 RTX 2.0 wedge. He is given the credit for emphasizing the "bounce" options for your club's sole.

Roger Cleveland sold his company and is an independent designer now, so you might find his Cleveland-inspired golf clubs elsewhere. The Cleveland Golf RTX brand stands for "Rotex Face." RTX has larger grooves and a circular texture for added spin at impact. Beginners should choose the CB sole, which stands for "Cavity Back" - this increases the club's forgiveness on miss-hit shots.

Amongst golf professionals, Cleveland wedges regularly rate in the "Top 5" in terms of popularity. This wedge has a solid look, good feel and is high performance.

PROS


  • Bounce Options for Sole
  • Cutting-Edge Technology
  • Superior Texture

CONS


  • Grooves Wear Rapidly
  • Heavier

If you want to stand out, the Mizuno S5 is pretty special, according to Golf Guru Mark Crossfield. As he hit the wedge, he continually remarked on how cool the Electric Blue Ion Reflective Finish was. But guess what, the club performance was very good also.

The previous Mizuno wedges used a teardrop style, but the Mizuno S5 gives you a "silhouette" design. This is a bit more rounded, giving you a more aligned profile when striking the ball; it does not matter if the face head is "open" or "closed."

Choose from 25 loft and bounce offerings. Enjoy the Grain Flow Forged 1025E Mild Carbon Steel through the head and neck. The Mizuno exclusive "Quad-Cut" design gives you loft-specific grooves. Its rough surface provides more ball-stopping spin.

Mizuno is good for every man. It is cool, so you can take your clubs to the discotheque after 18 holes. This Mizuno wedge design was inspired by Luke Donald.

PROS


  • Accurate
  • Forged
  • Electric Blue Ion Reflective Finish

CONS


  • Faded Wear

All of these companies shoot below par for seven or eight of the "18 holes of wedges," but Ping seems to shoot below par for all eighteen holes. It starts with the simplistic branding of their Ping Glide wedges; this name is simple for people to remember. Most beginners don't need the full proprietary technological innovation listed on each of their clubs.

“When you have a wedge that’s just right for you, it doesn’t dig and it doesn’t bounce,” says Marty Jertson, Ping’s director of product development. “It just glides through the turf.”

Next, you are given a simple rating system for the four different soles: "Thin Sole" (TS), "Eye Sole" (ES), "Standard Sole (SS)" or "Wide Sole (WS)." The ES sounds really cool because it has two tiers; the WS might be best for high handicappers.

According to Ping, "everyone swings a wedge differently" and its clubs are meant to reflect this fact. The brand has also noted that chrome repels water - their scientists found that the Ping Glide's satin, chrome-plated finish was 220% more consistent in wet grass.

The Ping Glide wedge grooves vary by loft. More "bounce" has been added than what was found in previous models. It just seems like Ping has thought of everything.

PROS


  • Solid Design
  • Water Repellent

CONS


  • Many Options

TaylorMade is known as the brand, which started making "woods" out of "iron," so it has a good engineering pedigree. The TaylorMade ElectroFormed Nickel Cobalt 1025 Carbon Steel wedge finish has a really nice look to it. You just look like a "scratch player."

The best feature of this ElectroFormed (EF) groove face is its durability. You will not only get a great spin the first time, but you will get a great spin the 100th time you use the club. This Tour Preferred EF wedge is versatile, consistent and durable.

PROS


  • Classical Shape
  • Durable EF Face Plate

CONS


  • Few Grooves

Since 1976, Bob Vokey has been working on, improving and mastering wedges. He has created the Titleist Vokey wedges, which some claim has been #1 on the PGA Tour since 2004.

One of the latest "cutting-edge" technological developments is the "progressive CG," which allows players to control the club and not have the "club control them." Vokey has talked to amateurs and professionals, incorporating their wisdom into his clubs.

The Titleist Vokey SM4 uses a soft "Spin Mill" 8620 Carbon Steel micro-edge technology, giving the head more forgiveness. Extra texture enables you to control your backspin shots. When people use the phrase - "Classic Vokey Wedge" - you know you are an industry leader.

PROS


  • All Skill Levels
  • Creative Designs
  • Nice Finishes

CONS


  • Extremely Soft Milled
  • Grooves Chew Balls

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