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.”
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.
Last updated on 2020-12-05. The links are affiliate links. Product images are served from Amazon Product Advertising API.
Table of Contents
- The Rundown:
- Featured Recommendations
- Best Wedges For High Handicappers & Beginners In 2020
- What To Look For In The Best Wedges For Beginners & High Handicappers
- Questions & Answers
Best Wedges For High Handicappers & Beginners In 2020
xE1 Sand & Lob Wedge
Best overall: Best Wide Sole Wedge for High Handicappers
- 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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Best Gap Wedge: Most Affordable Wedge for High Handicappers
- 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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Alternative Option: Best Wedge for Sand and Rough for High Handicappers
- 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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Pinemeadow Pre Wedge
Most Dependable: Low-Priced Wedge for High Handicappers
- 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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Wilson Harmonized Black Chrome Wedge
Most Versatile Wedge for High Handicappers
- 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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TaylorMade ATV Chrome Wedge
Best High Spin Wedge for High Handicappers
- 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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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.
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.
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:
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.
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:
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, 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.