The wedge is an essential club for golfers who are starting out. If you’re a beginner or a high handicapper, we’ve got the perfect wedge for you!
In this article, we’re sharing the best wedges for high handicappers and beginners in 2023.
Last updated on 2023-09-28. The links are affiliate links. Product images are served from Amazon Product Advertising API.
Table of Contents
- Featured Recommendations
- Different Types of Golf Wedges
- Wedge Basics
- 9 Best Wedges For High Handicappers And Beginners In 2023
- Questions & Answers
Different Types of Golf Wedges
Golf wedges are generally categorized into four main types – pitching wedge, gap, sand wedge, and lob wedge.
Pitching Wedge (PW)
Pitching wedge is the most famous and commonly used wedge, and is generally included in an iron set.
The standard loft is between 44 to 48 degrees, and it is used primarily for longer chip shots or fat shots into the green.
With modern irons being designed for longer distance, modern pitching wedge also follows the trend of the lower loft angle.
Gap Wedge (GW) or Utility Wedge (UW)
Gap wedges, as the name might suggest, is designed to fill the loft ‘gap’ between the pitching wedge and the sand wedge.
Sometimes, gap wedges are also called utility wedge (UW) or attack wedge (AW) and is also often included in an iron set.
The standard loft angle is between 50 to 53 degrees, and is commonly used for fuller shots, more variety around the green, longer chips, and half or three-quarter swing shots.
Sand Wedge (SW)
The standard loft for a sand wedge is between 54 to 58 degrees.
As the name suggests, the sand wedge was originally invented to escape from bunkers and sand traps, and is characterized with a wider, heavier sole.
Lob Wedge (LW)
The lob wedge is the newest addition to the wedge family, ‘only’ been introduced in the 1930s.
Before the lob wedge was invented, the sand wedge was the highest lofted wedge available.
This was then invented to produce more height and spin, especially for shots near the green.
For that purpose, this has a very high loft of around 60 to 64 degrees (modern lob wedges can offer even more loft).
With the high loft angle, full shots are often avoided with the lob wedge, and is more used for chips, bunker shot, and flops.
The ‘bounce’ of a wedge refers to the sole area that hits the turf during the swing.
As you might have guessed, the name ‘bounce’ originated from the phenomenon where this part of the club bounces through the course surface at impact.
Actually, there are several design elements involved in this part of the club: the width of the sole, leading edge, and the bounce angle.
Commonly, the technical discussions for the term ‘bounce’ refer to the bounce angle.
The bounce angle, by definition, is the angle formed between the leading edge to the part of the sole that meets the ground.
The differences in bounce angle is a design choice made to prevent a wedge from digging into the turf (or worse, sand), which will stop the momentum of the club head, and thus slowing the impact.
The lower the bounce angle, the less sole width we’ll have, and so it will affect forgiveness, and vice versa.
There are three main categories of bounce angle:
We can categorize a wedge to have low bounce angle if the angle is between 4 to 6 degrees.
Wedges with low bounce are better suited to players with a shallower swing (or often said to ‘sweep’ the ball).
For courses with firmer surfaces and coarse sand in bunkers, wedges with low bounce are also generally preferable.
Mid or Standard
Wedges with 7 to 10 degrees of loft angle belong to this category.
These wedges are generally the most versatile and can fit various swing types and course conditions.
If the wedge has more than 10 degrees of bounce angle, we can consider it as a high-bounce wedge.
In this condition, the leading edge sits higher than usual, and the sole is rested on the ground. So, a high-bounce wedge is preferable for players who dig their swings.
It is also generally a better choice for courses with soft surfaces or when the bunkers have soft sand.
The term ‘grind’ refers to additional shaping (or ‘grinding) of the wedge sole.
Usually, these additional grinds are done around the heel or toe part.
Many manufacturers are offering a different range of sole grinds in addition to their standard wedge sole.
For example, Callaway offers C, U, and S grind options with their Mack Daddy wedges.
Titleist, on the other hand, offers 5 different grinds (M, S, F, K, L) with their SM6 wedges.
So, with different manufacturers offering many different sole grind options, choosing between them can be difficult.
Yet, if we understand the key principles of the sole grind designs and how they will affect your game.
This will be a much easier process.
If the grind is made on the heel of the sole, the face can sit much lower to the ground because of the removed heel part.
This makes it easier to open the face at address.
A grind in the middle section between the heel and toe adds bounce to the sole, helping players with the tendencies to dig at impact.
On the other hand, a grind at the toe section allows an easier time to close the face at address.
For example, the ‘C’ grind of the Callaway Mack Daddy 3 wedges features a heel to toe grind, allowing it to be opened or closed to give more versatility – perfect for mid handicappers.
The ‘S’ grind stands for standard, resembling a standard wedge sole.
The ‘U’ grind, on the other hand, has a grind in the middle section to add bounce.
Check our article: Wedge Bounce Explained for Beginners
While wedge finish is mostly about looks, there are other areas that can be affected by different finish options. For example, the sun will glare with some finishes more than others. Some finish also scratch or rust easier than others, which will ‘create’ more spin as the wedge is used.
There’s also an argument that some finishes will provide a softer feel than others.
There are generally three main categories of finishes:
Many argue that the best wedges with a raw finish will provide a softer, more responsive feel.
While technologies have allowed chrome and matte finishes to come closer, this argument is still true, even if it’s very subtle.
Also, raw finish won’t glare with the sun, and generally won’t scratch or rust as much as other finishes.
Matte finish, which is commonly plated onto the wedge, has the advantage of not causing any reflection.
So, it won’t distract you during your rounds under the sun. Yet, matte finish is generally thicker than chrome finish, and so will ‘damp’ the feel and response of the club.
Chrome finishes will glare under the sun, but in general, offer a more responsive feel compared to matte.
There are also wedges that are offered in unique finishes. For example, the Titleist 200 are offered in ‘Oil Can’ finish, designed to rust more to add spin.
A cavity-back wedge is similar to a cavity-back iron in that it has multiple pieces that constructs the head. The cavity-back iron is typically hollow with a thin face to maximize swing speed. The back side of the head is scooped out, replaced by lighter materials that dampen vibration.
Cavity-back irons have larger soles, when compared to blades, to improve turf interaction and make it easier for the golfer to launch the golf ball into the air.
Blades, otherwise known as a forged iron, is made from one piece of material, such as steel. Advanced players use blade irons for more workability and control for their game from the fairway. Wedges with blade construction offer a compact hitting area that provides ultimate control over the golfer’s shotmaking.
Loft is the angle of the face of the club. Wedges have the most loft when compared to woods and irons. From 46-60 degrees, wedges cover a wide area, providing high launch with variable rates of spin. Whether the golfer uses a wedge on a full or half swing, the loft allows the ball to get into the air to clear trouble such as water or bunkers.
9 Best Wedges For High Handicappers And Beginners In 2023
Cleveland CBX Zip Core
Best Overall Wedge
- Loft: 44°-60°
- Lie: 64°
- Shaft Length: 35”-35.75”
- Swing Weight: D2, D3, D4
- Very forgiving face helps with accuracy on full swings
- Thick sole creates an easy launch with spin
- Premium turf interaction with wide sole
- Chunky sole could cause issues for golfers struggling with inconsistency
Cleveland’s highly capable CBX ZipCore wedge offers a nice mixture of spin, accuracy, and forgiveness for high handicappers and beginners that need better performance from inside 120 yards.
The wedge features a wide, inviting sole that provides exceptional turf interaction plus high, quick launch that gets the ball into the air with spin. The hollow cavity design also lightens overall weight to help increase swing speed on full shots.
The face also features the company’s patented UltiZip grooves that are incredibly efficient at keeping the spin tight and focused. From the sand and rough, the grooves help stopped my shots quickly on the putting surface.
While the CBX ZipCore wedge doesn’t offer a dazzling appearance sitting in your golf bag, the club makes up for it with its overall performance.
Callaway Mack Daddy CB Wedges
Best High Launch Wedge
- Loft: 46°-60°
- Lie: 64°
- Shaft Length: 35”-35.75”
- Swing Weight: D3, D4
- Enhanced forgiveness with plenty of spin
- Accessible sole grinds for any handicap level
- Low CG provides easy launch with high ball speed
- Bulkier club head may cause swing speed issues
Callaway’s exciting new Mack Daddy CB wedges are built for spin and speed, helping high handicappers and beginners increase their efficiency and consistency from inside 100 yards. Built with smooth rounded soles, the MD CB wedges offer outstanding control and an enhanced trajectory that quickly stops your golf ball on the putting surface.
From the sand and rough, I felt these wedges really excelled. They provided an easy launch with spin, two things I want from a wedge when trying to get out of trouble.
If you have a slow swing speed, these wedges may hinder your distance a bit, but around the greens, they can make up the difference when evaluating their overall potential to transform your short game.
Dynamic and punchy, the Mack Daddy CB wedges are fun to play and can definitely bring more muscle to your short game.
Best Wedge for Sand Saves
- Loft: 65°
- Lie: 62°
- Shaft Length: 35”
- Swing Weight: D0
- Ultra-wide sole offers premium turf interaction
- Smoothly moves through sand bunkers for easy launch
- Lower CG provides quick lift from deeper rough
- Doesn’t offer much versatility for experienced players
Another solid entry into the wide sole wedge market, the C3i Wedge is perfect for golfers struggling to get the golf ball out of the sand and deeper rough. The extra-wide sole cuts through high grass or thick sand without snagging or digging, producing solid contact.
What the C3i Wedge does well in the bunker is lift the ball to clear the lip for a soft, high landing on the green. From the rough, the wide sole slides easily through the grass to provide clean impact to the golf ball. Off tight lies, the C3i clips the ball cleanly off the shallow grass or dirt.
The C3i Wedge offers a simple to use, low-priced alternative over high-priced traditional wedges making it one of the best wedges for high handicappers.
The wedge’s balance from hosel to toe keeps the club square throughout the swing, great for the amateur that needs help with their short game consistency.
The C3i Wedge is available in three different loft options from 55 through 65 degrees. The 55 degrees models the closest to a sand wedge, while the 60 and 65 degree options are similar to lob wedges.
What wide sole wedges, like the C3i, provide over a traditional wedge is the ability to stand square to the landing area. You don’t need a wide, staggered stance with the C3i to gain results. Instead, all you need is a square stance with a steady, well-balanced swing.
Read the Full C3i Wedge Review
King Cobra (With SnakeBite Grooves)
Best High Spin Wedge
- Loft: 48°-60°
- Lie: 64°
- Shaft Length: 35.25”-35.75”
- Swing Weight: D3, D4
- Snakebite grooves offer high spin rates for stopping shots
- First-rate appearance provides confidence for golfers
- Thick-thin design keeps ball speed up while cleanly making contact
- Rounded face doesn’t offer forgiveness of comparable wedges
The King Cobra wedge, featuring their new Snakebite grooves, offers high handicappers and beginners a classically designed short-game weapon that generates the spin and provides trajectory control on full swings.
The King Cobra wedge offers versatility in any turf condition, featuring three different sole grinds. The progressive spin technology, powered by the innovative Snakebite groove system, works from within 50 yards. On half swings and pitch shots, I regularly found the wedges offer the “one hop stop” that most pro golfers want from their wedges.
Also, on full swings, I really liked the muscular feel of the King Cobra wedge, as it generated the distance I needed with plenty of rotation.
If you are a fan of collecting data during your round, the company uses the Arccos sensors that pair with their apps on your smartphone to help you maximize the potential of your King Cobra wedge.
Wilson Harmonized Black Chrome Wedge
Best Value Wedge
- Loft: 52°-64°
- Lie: 64°
- Shaft Length: 35”-35.5”
- Swing Weight: D2
- Clean appearance looks great in the golf bag
- Forged feel with lightning-fast responsiveness
- Outstanding spin rates from any lie or situation
- Tighter sole makes consistency harder for inexperienced golfers
Wilson’s Harmonized line produces an excellent black chrome wedge. With a thinner sole, outstanding balance, and large sweet spot, the Harmonized Wedge provides a terrific option for beginning golfers looking to improve their short game.
For the Harmonized Wedge, it begins with the special sole grind. Not only does the sole give the golfer wonderful turf interaction, but it provides outstanding forgiveness when impact happens toward the toe.
Regardless of what type of wedge you need, the Wilson Harmonized Wedge provides a clean look with high performance in a very affordable package for high handicaps.
The groove system comes coated with a texture that helps produce higher friction on the outer layer of the golf ball for higher spin. When using the Harmonized Wedge off the green, whether it be from the sand or rough, the spin rate helps control the shot with stopping power on the green.
It is also worth noting that the Harmonized comes in a black chrome finish that looks better than it has any business looking. For less than a green fee, the Harmonized provides excellent value with a sharp, sleek appearance.
The wedge is available in three different loft options; 52, 56, and 60-degrees. From longer distances, say over 75 yards, the 52-degree wedge provides mid-range flight with moderate spin.
From the sand and deep rough, the 56-degree sand wedge and 60-degree lob wedge, slide easily through the hazards to keep the face square through impact. If you are a fan of flop shots that rise high and fly over bunkers, the Harmonized lob wedge is quite effective. It’s one of the best wedges to buy today.
Tour Edge Hot Launch E522 Wedge
Most Forgiving Wedge
- Loft: 52°-60°
- Lie: 64°
- Shaft Length: 35”-35.5”
- Swing Weight: D3
- Extra large, completely milled face offers feel and forgiveness
- Hi-toe design provides high MOI for precise shotmaking
- Outstanding from sand and rough with clean turf interaction
- Very large face limits workability on full swings
TourEdge’s outstanding E522 Hot Launch wedge offers an engaging array of features, from an extra wide sole that easily cuts through trouble to a large, inviting hi-toe face that’s completely milled and grooved.
Very few wedges are easier to hit for high handicappers and beginners than the E522 wedge. The club features a deep, low CG that produces the elevated launch inexperienced players need on longer shots.
With a full-face groove system, the wedge provides an increased spin on full swings with plenty of forgiveness.
I really had an enjoyable time putting the E522 wedge into my bag during a few rounds. It doesn’t have the workability I’m after as an advanced player, but if you struggle to find consistency with your short game, this club offers the simplicity you need to find more greens.
Cleveland Smart Sole 4.0
Best Luxury Chipping Wedge
- Loft: 42°-58°
- Lie: 64°-66°
- Shaft Length: 34”-35.5”
- Swing Weight: D3, D5
- Wide sole prevents snagging and chunking the ball
- Broad face offers low controllable launch
- Different lofts sole grinds offer total short-game customization
- Wide, bulky body isn’t for all golfers
Cleveland’s popular line of wedges for high handicappers, the Smart Sole series, offers their latest creation, the 4.0, to help golfers get more consistent around the greens. The wedge delivers an extra wide sole to help the player smoothly through high grass and sand for clean, crisp contact that easily lifts the golf ball into the air.
While most wedges don’t help with forgiveness, the size and shape of the Smart Sole 4.0 creates high-grade correction on off-center strikes. Golfers can also take advantage of the large sweet spot to power the ball with confidence toward the target.
The secret to the Smart Sole 4.0’s success is the extended sole. For high handicaps that struggle from the sand, this wedge’s sole helps glide the clubhead through the obstacle with a smoothness rarely seen on short game clubs.
The sole’s shape allows golfers to play with a straight-forward stance to lift the ball. Rather than needing an open stance, high handicappers and beginners will find easy launch due to the design of this innovative wedge.
Another highlight of the wedge is the cavity-back design, but with a larger, more exaggerated version to help promote higher launch along with increased turf interaction. The broader club head allows golfers to easily get under the golf ball from anywhere on the course, whether it be from the fairway or heavy rough, the cavity-back design brings consistent contact to your short game shotmaking.
A real shining star in the wedge market for high handicaps, the Cleveland Smart Sole 4.0 produces high-quality short game shots that players at this skill level need to lower their scores and make the jump to the next level.
Cleveland CBX 2 Wedge
Best Distance Wedge
- Loft: 46°-60°
- Lie: 64°
- Shaft Length: 35”-35.5”
- Swing Weight: D2, D3, D4
- Larger club head offers nice mixture of forgiveness and accuracy
- Smooth, wide sole provides impressive turf interaction
- Exceptional feel and responsiveness around green
- Wider sole width can cause chunking and thin shots with inexperienced players
Built for high handicaps that prefer game-improvement irons, the Cleveland CBX 2 Wedge delivers high-grade forgiveness with exceptional touch around the putting surface. Created by the excellent club designers at Cleveland, the CBX 2 channels decades of fine craftsmanship to provide a first-rate short game weapon for golfers needing consistency.
First thing you’ll notice with the CBX 2 is the weight of the club at address. The wedge isn’t too heavy or too light, but rather feels solid in your hands. During the swing, the CBX 2 creates a connected feeling with your hands and arms, offering sync that helps produce exceptional shots.
When it comes to creating spin, the CBX 2 certainly delivers with flair. While you won’t see too much spin off the face, these wedges provide high handicaps with the ideal spin rate for controlling shots and getting balls to stick on the green close to the cup.
On full swing shots, the CBX 2 provides a forgiving nature on off-center strikes. Even when the ball impacts the area closer to the toe, the wedge maintains speed and holds the target line. If you are struggling to find consistency in your full wedge shots, a club like the CBX 2 offers upgraded performance.
The CBX 2 holds a deep, low center of gravity for easy lift, ideal for high handicaps that need more carry and a soft, high shot arc to produce better control and dependability.
When you find yourself just off the green, needing a solid pitch shot, the CBX 2’s hollow design and wide sole anchor the club for a smooth stroke that produces enough spin to stop the shot quickly.
A terrific wedge, the Cleveland CBX 2 is well worth your consideration due to its impressive performance at any distance.
Read the Full Cleveland CBX 2 Wedge Review
Square Strike Wedge
Best Value Chipping Wedge
- Loft: 45°
- Lie: 68°
- Shaft Length: 35.5”
- Swing Weight: D2
- Low loft produces consistent, reliable chips
- Wide, long sole doesn’t snag into turf
- Longer face offers forgiveness on toe hits
- Only for high handicappers and beginners that need short-game help
Offering a different way to attack the green, the Square Strike Wedge reduces the fat and thin chip shots that plague high handicaps. Created to look like a putter, the Square Strike hopes to emulate the putting stroke to help you generate more consistent contact.
When looking at the Square Strike, everything you see on the club is a deliberate attempt to reduce the frustrating chunks and bladed pitch shots.
First, the Square Strike is meant to be used with a straight-back, straight-through stroke similar to a putter. Rather than using an open stance, this wedge needs a balanced approach, meaning you’ll need to use a square stance when addressing the golf ball.
Available in three lofts running from 45 through 60 degrees, the wedge features an anti-chunk sole, a rounded leading edge that prevents snagging, anti-rotational weighting, and centered CG with high MOI.
Also the Square Strike also has a more upright shaft angle, helping further simulate the feeling of using a putter, although with more loft on the face.
When comparing the Square Strike to a regular iron there are a few subtle differences that help produce the shot quality most high handicaps are searching for around the green. First, the shaft length is 35.5 inches, while most irons have a 37-inch shaft.
Also the wide hitting area of the Square Strike encourages higher forgiveness over an iron. The extra weight on the toe of the Square Strike also keeps the face square at impact and minimizes twisting.
For golfers that need more help inside 35 yards, the wedges from Square Strike reduce fat chips, delivering more consistent contact that translates to shorter par putts to save your scorecard.
Read the Full Square Strike Wedge Review
Questions & Answers
How many wedges should a beginner or high handicapper carry?
High handicappers and beginners should consider carrying at least three wedges in their bag. What wedges do for golfers that struggle to repeatedly get the ball into the air is they give them high loft clubs that make obtaining launch and carry much, much easier.
Wedges have wide soles that offer terrific turf interaction and the leading edge of the club that moves through the soil on divots prevents the wedge from snagging or digging into the turf. This combination is ideal and a large reason why they should expand the number of wedges in their bag.
Because we are only allowed to bring 14 clubs in the bag during a game, deciding which ones to put in and which ones to leave out are always difficult.
Most golfers including pros are carrying two to four wedges in their bags, but there can be many different factors affecting their choices.
One of the most common mistakes in deciding how many wedges to bring is making the decision solely based on your wedge play.
Yet, to get the most of this decision, you should consider your overall playstyle.
The most important principle you should follow is you should carry the clubs that will allow you to save more shots.
If you are struggling with long par 4s and par 5s, it is probably a better idea to lose a wedge and add a fairway wood in its place.
On the other hand, if you have more issues with your half wedge and three-quarter wedge shots from below the 120 yards, you’ll most likely do better with an additional wedge or two in place of the fairway wood(s).
So, here are the key principles in deciding how many wedges you should carry:
- You can carry two wedges if you are confident with your half wedge and three-quarter swings. You can carry extra fairway woods or hybrids to help with your long game instead. In this method, you can carry a pitching wedge (PW) and sand wedge (SW). The key here is to balance your lofts with the 9-iron. A 9-iron is typically lofted between 40 to 42 degrees, so you can carry a pitching wedge with around 48-degree loft, and a sand wedge with around 56-degree loft.
- For the average player, the three-wedge system is a common choice, where you still get the room for two fairway woods or hybrids. Here, you can carry a pitching wedge, a gap wedge, and a lob wedge. Make sure the gaps between these three wedges and the 9-iron is around 6-degree each or so. Make sure the gaps are even.
- If you are struggling with half or three-quarter swings, you might want to opt for four wedges. As before, make sure the gaps between the wedges are even. For example. If your pitching wedge is 48-degree, your gap wedge should be 52-degree, your sand wedge at 56-degree, and finally the lob wedge at 60-degree.
What is the best wedge for beginners in 2023?
The C3i wedge is one of the best wedges especially for beginners in 2023. The wedge simplifies the game by offering a large, wide sole that cleanly moves through sand and rough to make clean contact on the golf ball.
The C3i wedge works best with a square stance, making it easy for the beginner to worry only about hitting the golf ball. The wedge comes in three different loft settings, allowing a beginner to get a full suite of C3i wedges for their bag.
What is the best wedge for high handicappers?
The Wilson Harmonized Black Chrome Wedge is one of the best wedges for high handicappers that we highly recommend. Offering a sleek forged look, the Wilson Harmonized is a low-priced wedge that any high handicapper can immediately add to their bag due to its versatility and ability to provide crisp contact from anywhere on the course.
The wedge offers a tall, rounded face with deep grooves that encourages high spin rates. Also, the wedge will grow with the golfer and adapt as they build their skill set.
What’s a wedge?
A wedge is a high-lofted club with a rounded head that makes it easy to use in rough and sand for easy lifting with high spin. Wedges are specially designed to work from short distances due to their high loft.
For example, a sand wedge routinely carries around 80-120 yards based upon the golfer’s swing speed. Wedges are built to create a tall arc with a soft landing that provides accuracy and distance control to the golfer.