So are you rated as a mid handicapper? The United States Golf Association (USGA) is the official organization setting this classification for American golfers, but the term is somewhat inexact. Some might argue that a mid handicapper is between 10 and 20, meaning you might average about 2 bogeys for every 3 holes played.
If you consider yourself average on the golf course – better than half and worse than half of the players – you might want a little help with wedge play. You probably understand the basics, but want to improve your accuracy. Here is a mini-review of the best wedges for mid handicappers.
“Well, here’s another nice mess you’ve gotten me into!”Laurel & Hardy
Wedges have more grooves, increased roughness, a larger surface area and a higher loft angle. These features create a shot with higher arc and more spin. You might grab this club when you are in trouble or simply want the “shot to grab the green.”
The best wedges for average players will give you the ability to get out of tough lies. These wedges will include customized and adjustable models. Here is a mini-review of the 5 best wedges for mid handicappers (listed alphabetically):
Our Best Wedges For Mid Handicappers
You can use these wedges to set up your next shot.
Five Wedges for Average Players
If you are in the sand, then you might rue your misfortune. Professional golf coaches emphasize that to escape this predicament, you should concentrate on “bouncing” your wedge sole off the sand to cause the sand to strike your ball.
It is kind of like spraying your sister with a hose. The water drenches your sister, you don’t physically touch her. Likewise, the force of the “moving sand” should cause your ball to fly upwards.
Fear the two-stroke penalty for bunker grounding.
The wedge industry might list four types of clubs, including the lob, pitching, sand and gap. The lob wedge has about a 60-degree angle used to “toss” your ball high over a bunker lip or tree.
The pitching wedge is at the opposite extreme, with a 46-degree loft.
The sand wedge is right in the middle. The gap wedge fills all of the other degrees of loft.
“To find a man’s true character, play golf with him.”P.G. Wodehouse
As wedge technology has added more grooves, the USGA has taken note. The industry goal is to add more, deeper grooves, which can remove the moisture, sand, grass and dirt as you swing.
Some players use their wedge as a “Wild card” or “Ace in the Hole.” The USGA created a “2010 Groove Rule,” which will be in effect until 2024.
What Is the 2010 USGA Groove Rule?
For each USGA event, there is a “Condition of Competition,” which is your acceptance of the rules for your clubs and other behavior.
The USGA has stated the following: “The optional groove regulations, which apply to all clubs except drivers and putters, are in effect for all USGA championships, including qualifiers. This optional Condition of Competition is recommended only for events played at the very highest level of amateur involving expert players.”
Therefore, in order to compete in USGA events, your wedges must adhere to this Groove rule.
The USGA groove specifications regulate the width, depth, spacing, edge radius, wall angle and roughness of each wedge’s grooves.
The USGA has continued to require that the maximum groove depth be 0.035” and the maximum width be 0.020” – the 2010 rule adds a restriction on groove volume and the cross-sectional area. This restriction has led to higher launch angles and less ball spin.
Wedge manufacturers must ensure that their deeper and wider grooves are farther apart. The 2010 USGA Groove Rule had a major impact on edges construction, stating that “grooves must not have sharp edges.” Some wedge grooves “shredded the balls.”
This rule change has also reduced spin, by anywhere from 30-50%, according to Titleist’s Oceanside Test Facility. The surface roughness rules have not been changed.
Wedges Buying Tips
A wedge will usually fill in the gaps of your golf game. You might look for a special sand wedge, which just feels right. Each manufacturer has its own special wedge characteristics.
Assessment Criteria for Rating Wedges
For our mid-level wedges assessment criteria, we are using the 4 F’s: features, feel, forgiveness and functionality. We also wanted to find a couple unique clubs.
Modern wedge technology allows you to both fine-tune your wedge to the exact loft degree and also hide your “weaknesses.” The best wedge has cutting-edge features and technology.
Feel is always subjective, but some clubs just feel too “clunky.” As an average golfer, you have mastered the basics and are ready to consider some of the “adjustable” wedges. You want to find a club with the right “feel,” allowing you to relax when striking the ball.
“Do you have anything to confess?” Even the mid handicapper needs to have a club that has solid forgiveness. A larger face might be more forgiving on mis-hits.
How far do you want to hit the ball? Find a good wedge for each distance, so you have the full complement of functionality in your golf bag.
Mini Review of Each Wedge
Each of these wedges satisfies an important niche in shot selection. Here are the mini reviews of the best wedges for mid handicappers:
As a mid handicapper, you might have trouble with just a few shots. Ben Hogan was the winner of 9 majors and dominated the game in the 1950s. He has created a very special wedge called the Ben Hogan Sure Out sand wedge to specifically help you “escape sand bunkers.”
“The most important shot in golf is the next one.” = Ben Hogan
This is actually a classical, large, powerful, forgiving wedge. It has most of its weight in the sole, which give it a lot of “bounce.” It lacks delicacy, but when you need a blunt hammer to save your game, the Ben Hogan Sure Shot delivers.
- Beautiful Look
- Weighted Sole
- Extreme Forgiveness
- Tough to Find
Mizuno keeps on creating artistic shapes for its clubs that are both classical and modern. Its teardrop shape just evokes the “good ol’ days.” It also keeps building upon successful designs of the past, while slightly improving its wedges to respond to the latest player concerns.
The Mizuno T7 wedge has longer-lasting grooves than the popular S5 model. Wedge grooves are kind of like soft tread on race cars. It is great for “gripping,” but will tend to wear out faster.
During manufacture, a single piece of steel is combined with boron (which is light and strong.) This Grain Flow Forged method creates the ideal “give” for the wedge. Also, with the quad cut technique, you have wider and shallower grooves for higher lofts.
A nice innovation is the “slight modification of the teardrop shape per wedge angle.” This helps you quickly differentiate between clubs. Choose from the Electric Ion Blue or Satin Silver Finish.
- Varying Teardrop Shape
- Long-Lasting Grooves
- Might Shimmer in Sun
When you want to use your wedges for a number of different purposes, the Ping Eye2 Gorge wedges might be the best bet. You can hit both a precise green approach shot and a bunker escape shot with your precision-milled Ping Eye2 Gorges.
Ping: “a short high-pitched ringing sound, as of a tap on a crystal glass.”
Mid handicappers can enjoy forgiveness and control due to the Ping wedge’s weight distribution. Choose either a sand wedge with loft of 56 degrees or lob wedge with loft of 60 degrees. These Eye2 Gorge wedges have a “fantastic grind” and non-glare finish.
- Mundane Look
- Lacks Tech Innovations
Players love the feel of the TaylorMade ZTP wedge. The club is deep milled with a more aggressive edge, created by the “Z” machine. These “Z” grooves deliver superior stopping power due to high spin rate.
“Success in golf depends less on strength of body, more on strength of mind and character.” = Arnold Palmer
Like always, the TaylorMade clubs simply look technologically advanced, professional and sleek. They look like they are precision tools, you might find in a doctor’s bag. The teardrop shape is also a classic.
During testing, both full shots and peppering shots were quite accurate. You can add the C-Grind to most lofts to improve playability. The smoked finish reduces glare.
- Good Feel
- Stopping Power
- Edgy “Z” Grooves
- Limited Bounce Options
- Limited Loft Options
- Poor Bunker Club
The Wilson Staff Harmonized wedge is a nice club for those on a budget. Sometimes, you simply need to fill a gap in your club selection. These might be available at flea markets.
“Golf is a puzzle without an answer. I’ve played the game for 50 years and I still haven’t the slightest idea of how to play.” = Gary Player
The Wilson wedges have a sleek, pleasing look to them. You can open the club face for higher loft due to the special sole grind. Choose from 52-degree, 56-degree or 60-degree lofts. This is a good club for getting out of that gnarly sand bunker. Choose between the High Polish or Black Matte finish.
- Digging Tendency
- Black Matte Finish Wears