The 6 Best Wedges For Beginners & High Handicappers

Jordan FullerEdited by: Jordan Fuller
John MarshallReviewed by: John Marshall

Last Update:

The Rundown:

Best Overall: xE1 Sand & Lob Wedge
“The xE1 Wedge will help high handicappers get the ball out of the rough and sand with little effort great for golfers looking to cut corners & improve fast with their short game.”

Best Gap Wedge: Pinemeadow Wedge
“For the high handicapper looking for controllable flight with moderate spin, this wedge is a strong option to add to the bag – at an unbeatable price.”

Alternative Pick: C3i Wedge
“For high handicappers, the C3i Wedge offers a simple to use, low-priced alternative – this wedge has all the essentials you need to move forward with your short game.”

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The wedge is an essential club for golfers who are starting out. In this article, we will review the best wedges for beginners and high handicappers in 2020.

Sources researched
21
Sources researched
Customer reviews
16,841
Customer reviews
Hours spent testing
15
Hours spent testing
Products tested
6
Products tested
Product Name
Best Overall
Best Gap Wedge
Runner-Up Pick
Ranking
Ranked #1
Ranked #2
Ranked #3
Thumbnail
xE1 Sand Wedge & Lob Wedge– The Out-in-One Golf Wedge, Pitching and Chipping Wedge– Legal for Tournament Play Golf Club for Men & Women (Right, Steel, Wedge, 55)
Pinemeadow Wedge (Right-Handed, 52-Degrees)
C3i Sand Wedge & Lob Wedge–Premium Right Hand 65 Degree Golf Wedge- Escape Bunkers in One, Easy Flop Shots– Legal for Tournament Play, Quickly Cuts Strokes from Short Game- High Loft Golf Club
Our Rating
Our Rating: 98/100
Our Rating: 97/100
Our Rating: 95/100
Pro 1
Three different loft degree options provide exciting choices for improving shots from around the green
Very affordable, straight-forward gap wedge that works well from moderate length
Wide sole smoothly moves through sand and rough for crisp, clean contact with high spin
Pro 2
Wide sole keeps the face square through impact without snagging in rough or sticking in sand
Large sweet spot with wide, accommodating face for better forgiveness and control
Played best with square stance, ideal for high handicappers looking to improve fundamentals
Best Overall
Product Name
Ranking
Ranked #1
Thumbnail
xE1 Sand Wedge & Lob Wedge– The Out-in-One Golf Wedge, Pitching and Chipping Wedge– Legal for Tournament Play Golf Club for Men & Women (Right, Steel, Wedge, 55)
Our Rating
Our Rating: 98/100
Pro 1
Three different loft degree options provide exciting choices for improving shots from around the green
Pro 2
Wide sole keeps the face square through impact without snagging in rough or sticking in sand
Best Gap Wedge
Product Name
Ranking
Ranked #2
Thumbnail
Pinemeadow Wedge (Right-Handed, 52-Degrees)
Our Rating
Our Rating: 97/100
Pro 1
Very affordable, straight-forward gap wedge that works well from moderate length
Pro 2
Large sweet spot with wide, accommodating face for better forgiveness and control
Runner-Up Pick
Product Name
Ranking
Ranked #3
Thumbnail
C3i Sand Wedge & Lob Wedge–Premium Right Hand 65 Degree Golf Wedge- Escape Bunkers in One, Easy Flop Shots– Legal for Tournament Play, Quickly Cuts Strokes from Short Game- High Loft Golf Club
Our Rating
Our Rating: 95/100
Pro 1
Wide sole smoothly moves through sand and rough for crisp, clean contact with high spin
Pro 2
Played best with square stance, ideal for high handicappers looking to improve fundamentals

Last updated on 2020-12-05. The links are affiliate links. Product images are served from Amazon Product Advertising API.

Best Wedges For High Handicappers & Beginners In 2020

xE1 Sand & Lob Wedge

Best overall: Best Wide Sole Wedge for High Handicappers

xE1 Sand Wedge & Lob Wedge– The Out-in-One Golf Wedge, Pitching and Chipping Wedge– Legal for Tournament Play Golf Club for Men & Women (Right, Steel, Wedge, 55)
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KEY FEATURES

  • Three different loft degree options provide exciting choices for improving shots from around the green 
  • Wide sole keeps the face square through impact without snagging in rough or sticking in sand
  • Eliminates fat chips and chunked shots with AutoGilde sole that moves smoothly through impact zone

The xE1 Wedge, is another entry in the market for short game clubs that are easy to hit. Wedges, like the xE1, help high handicappers get the ball out of the rough and sand with little effort.

Available in three different loft options, including 55, 59, and 65-degrees, each wedge brings a different shot shape to a high handicapper’s game.

Great for high handicappers looking to cut corners with their short game, the xE1 Wedge offers a reliable option that produces results immediately.

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For the xE1, the secret is the extra wide sole. The wedge is made to be hit with a square stance with a straight back, straight through swing. The sole’s shape and width is built to slide through the rough or sand to create perfect contact. You won’t find too many fat chips or bad pitch shots with this club.

If you’ve always wanted to hit those nice, tall flop shots that the pros hit but haven’t had the skills to recreate those shots, the xE1 cut the corners to replicate those shots. No matter what loft you play with, the xE1 Wedge will produce a staggeringly high arc with a soft landing.

The rounded face offers an inviting sweet spot that catches the ball cleanly at impact. The groove system isn’t anything to write home about, but the loft takes care of the spin you need to stop the ball on the green.

If you like playing in local tournaments, rest easy because even though the xE1 may look unorthodox, it is completely legal to use.

Pinemeadow Wedge

Best Gap Wedge: Most Affordable Wedge for High Handicappers

Pinemeadow Wedge (Right-Handed, 52-Degrees)
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KEY FEATURES

  • Very affordable, straight-forward gap wedge that works well from moderate length 
  • Large sweet spot with wide, accommodating face for better forgiveness and control
  • Moderate spin rates help stick the ball on the green from lengths of outside 50 yards

The Pinemeadow Wedge provides a nice alternative to more expensive gap wedges. For the high handicapper looking for controllable flight with moderate spin, the wedge is a strong option to add to the bag.

The Pinemeadow Wedge comes in a 52-degree model with a wide sole, large sweet spot, and high-quality steel foundation. Ideal for the beginning golfer and high handicapper, the wedge is a little on the heavy side, but that keeps the club low and steady through the impact zone.

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When using the gap wedge from the fairway, you can expect to see moderate spin with mid-range flight. From anywhere inside 100 yards, the Pinemeadow Wedge delivers accuracy with the ability to shape your shots.

You can use this gap wedge around the green for modified pitch and chip shots. If you move the ball back in your stance and deloft the wedge a bit, the club responds by checking up nicely before allowing forward roll to the cup.

Another feature that we enjoyed when testing is the wide sole. The turf interaction stands out for a wedge at this price point, offering crisp contact with each swing.

The groove system has a textured feel on the face for enhanced spin that settles nicely when you hit the green from distances over 50 yards in length.

C3i Wedge

Alternative Option: Best Wedge for Sand and Rough for High Handicappers

C3i Sand Wedge & Lob Wedge–Premium Right Hand 65 Degree Golf Wedge- Escape Bunkers in One, Easy Flop Shots– Legal for Tournament Play, Quickly Cuts Strokes from Short Game- High Loft Golf Club
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KEY FEATURES

  • Wide sole smoothly moves through sand and rough for crisp, clean contact with high spin
  • Played best with square stance, ideal for high handicappers looking to improve fundamentals
  • Three different loft options provides full complement of wedges for improving short game

Another solid entry into the wide sole wedge market, the C3i Wedge is perfect for high handicappers 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.

For high handicappers, the C3i Wedge offers a simple to use, low-priced alternative over high-priced traditional wedges.

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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.

Pinemeadow Pre Wedge

Most Dependable: Low-Priced Wedge for High Handicappers

Pinemeadow Pre Wedge (Right-Handed, Steel, Regular, 60-Degrees)
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KEY FEATURES

  • Stainless steel finish gives the wedge a classic look that blends well with current club set
  • Extra wide sole improves turf interaction for cleaner contact for better spin and shot height
  • Heavy feel helps keep the club grounded through the impact zone for more power on full swing shots

Pinemeadow’s Pre Wedge offers a classic look with versatile performance making one of the better wedges for high handicappers. Available in several different lofts for a very low price point, the Pre Wedge is hard to ignore if you are on a budget.

The Pre Wedge is designed to help high handicappers smoothly create clean contact. Regardless of whether you find your ball in the rough or sand, the Pre Wedge’s wide sole produces a square face at impact.

At the low price, the Pinemeadow Pre Wedges trio of degree lofts provide a simple way to round out your short game clubs.

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The sole’s extra width offers superb turf interaction. Rather than digging and snagging into the soil, the wedge’s head moves easily into the golf ball. The sole also becomes more narrow toward the toe, rounding for better forgiveness and more balance.

A U-shaped groove system offers mid-to-high spin rates, especially for the 56 and 60-degree wedge options. The face doesn’t have a lot of texture, so don’t expect high spin rates from this entry-level wedge.

Although the club is a bit heavy, for a high handicapper, the extra weight provides excellent balance to keep the wedge low through the impact zone. If you are a fan of opening your stance and hitting flop shots, the wedge does lend itself to this type of shot with accuracy and precision.

The Pre’s stainless steel finish provides a nice touch for golfers who like a classic look to their clubs

Wilson Harmonized Black Chrome Wedge

Most Versatile Wedge for High Handicappers

Wilson Staff Men's Harmonized Black Chrome Golf Wedge, Right Hand, 60.0-Degree
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KEY FEATURES

  • Specially designed sole grind improves turf interaction and quality of contact from any lie
  • Anti-glare finish provides clean look and appearance that works well with other irons
  • Available in 52, 56, and 60-degrees for complete suite of wedges for less than cost of a drive

Wilson’s Harmonized line produces an excellent black chrome wedge for high handicappers. 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 handicappers.

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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.

TaylorMade ATV Chrome Wedge

Best High Spin Wedge for High Handicappers

TaylorMade Golf Clubs ATV Grind Chrome Wedge, 56°/12°(SW) Steel Wedge Flex Shaft
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KEY FEATURES

  • ATV sole channel produces staggering high spin rates for shot stopping power around the green
  • MG2a groove technology creates consistent spin for reliability from any distance
  • Ideal sole grind and bounce for high handicappers for versatility from sand, rough, and fairway

The TaylorMade ATV Chrome Wedge provides high spin with exceptional control around the greens. Incredibly affordable, the ATV club is a terrific value for high handicappers looking for a dependable wedge.

The ATV’s success centers around its sole channel. The All-Terrain Versatility (ATV) channel helps the golfer play any shot they’ll face. From sand to deep rough, the excellent turf interaction provided by the wedge’s sole will produce clean contact for fabulous control.

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When testing the groove system, we noticed that our spin rates ranged toward the higher end with the ATV. For high handicappers, these results were extremely encouraging to see. The benefits of high spin for inexperienced golfers that need help stopping the golf ball on the green is unmistakable. Not only does shorter putts result in lower scores, but it also helps the golfer concentrate on becoming a well-rounded player.

Another feature worth mentioning is the textured face of the wedge. The texture helps create friction against the outer layer to produce more spin, a big positive for high handicappers looking for higher control.

While the TaylorMade wedge won’t dazzle you with its appearance, the club provides a nice chrome plated look that integrates nicely with your other irons.

The wedge is available in either a 52-degree or 56-degree model. If you are in the market for a dependable high spin gap or sand wedge, then the TaylorMade ATV Chrome Wedge should produce the results you are looking for from your short game.


What To Look For In The Best Wedges For Beginners & High Handicappers

As with other clubs, we can’t assess the quality of a golf wedge by judging just one aspect, but instead by assessing all the different aspects and the overall balance.

Here are the key areas we should consider:

Price and Value

Golf wedges come with various price tags from below $50 to thousands of dollars.

Obviously, we can’t expect similar features and technologies between them. So, the first criteria for determining the wedge’s overall quality is assessing whether the price tag is justified, or even exceeded by its overall value.

A very cheap wedge offering surprising technologies and features above its price tag can be considered excellent.

On the other hand, a $2,000 wedge performing below a $300 wedge is simply not worth it.

Durability

Tied to the first point of the discussion, an expensive wedge from high-end brands will generally be more durable, while cheaper wedges are generally less durable.

You will need to find a nice balance between the amount you are willing to pay and your requirements.

Versatility and Control

Control and playability are the most important qualities of a wedge.

You will need to find a wedge where you can comfortably control the spin and the trajectory according to your needs (again, we should consider the price because more expensive clubs generally offer more control.

Also, wedges with more versatility that can perform in many different scenarios are generally a better choice.

Technology

Different brands can offer different approaches to technology and design. Some wedges are designed to be more forgiving.

Some others are designed to give your more playability.

Be careful while assessing technological features of a golf club. Just because it has a fancy techno-jargon in its feature list, it won’t mean anything if the technology doesn’t provide any value in performance.

Again, you should assess technology and design features based on its price tag.

If you are assessing an expensive wedge, obviously you should expect more in the technology department.


Questions & Answers

What are the different types of wedges?

Wedges are generally categorized into four main types:

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 wedge, as the name might suggest, is designed to fill the loft ‘gap’ between the pitching wedge and the sand wedge.

Sometimes, a gap wedge is 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 Wedges (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.

The lob wedge was then invented to produce more height and spin, especially for shots near the green.

For that purpose, the lob wedge 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.

How many wedges should a beginner or high handicapper carry?

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 wedge bounce?

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:

Low

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.

High

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.

What is the wedge grind?

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.

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.

What is the wedge finish?

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:

Raw Finish

Many argue that wedges with the 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

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 Finish

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.