Best Wedges For High Handicappers - The Golf Review
When you first start out playing golf, you’re probably going to wind up buying a set of golf clubs because that’s usually the easiest and most affordable way to get the basic clubs you need. Most sets will come with one wedge, generally, it’s a pitching wedge, although you might get a sand wedge, or you might get no wedge at all. Wedges are quite specialist clubs so we can understand why they’re so commonly left out of golf sets and the good news is that it’s easy enough to pick them up at a reasonable price - as long as you understand what you’re looking for, good job we have our best wedges for high handicappers guide to help......... you're welcome.
The first point to understand is what wedges are and what they do. Wedges are simply wedge-shaped clubs and they’re essentially specialized irons, with a high loft which are used to get the ball upwards rather than forwards. There are four of them.
Pitching wedges have the lowest loft out of all the wedges (44 to 49 degrees) and a distance of about 120 yards. It’s considered the easiest wedge to master, which is helpful because it’s the first one you’ll need to master. Pitching wedges are generally what you use to get the ball onto the green. Once you’re on the green, your pitching wedge can also come in handy for chipping.
Sand wedges have a loft of about 54 to 58 degrees and a distance of about 100 yards. They are mainly associated with getting out of sand bunkers, hence the name, although they are also useful for tall grass. The sand wedge as we know it is a relatively modern invention, dating back to the invention of the bounce (more on that later) in the 1930s. It is a club for which modern golfers should be deeply grateful - if you think sand bunkers are a challenge now, before the invention of the sand wedge, they were a whole lot worse.
Lob wedges are very high lofted, about 55-65 degrees and a distance of about 90 yards. These are relatively new clubs and are used to “lob” the ball over tall obstacles, often just in front of the green when you want minimal forward roll.
Gap wedges have a loft of about 50 to 54 degrees and a distance of about 110 yards. These clubs are a 1990s innovation. Manufacturers dropped the loft on pitching wedges and introduced gap wedges to fill the gap, literally. While cynics may note that this move added an extra wedge to the range of clubs a golfer might buy and thereby increased manufacturers’ profits, it is fair to say gap wedges have been very helpful to golfers too.
The role of wedges in a beginner’s game
As a beginner, realistically, the only wedges you are likely to need are a pitching wedge and a sand wedge. A pitching wedge is pretty much non-negotiable, which is why it is included as standard in so many beginners’ club sets and while a sand wedge is more in the line of a helpful extra, it’s certainly very useful and should easily find a place within the 14-club allowance.
Gap wedges and lob wedges, frankly, can wait for the intermediate stages and beyond, when you will have the skill to fine-tune shots and will need clubs which can translate your skill into action. You can, of course, buy them if you really want them, for example if you know that you’re totally committed to reaching the mid-handicap stages as quickly as possible, but you should be realistic that you’re probably going to get little to no use out of them until your game has advanced somewhat. Having said that, the following explanation of wedges will apply to them too, so could be useful later on.
Loft is basically the angle between the face (broad side) of the club head and the shaft, which as taken as being the vertical. The higher the loft, the higher the ball goes into the air and the shorter the horizontal distance it travels. As you improve in golf, you will need to think about the gapping between your clubs in general and your wedges in particular. This basically means ensuring that the clubs in your golf bag cover a sufficient range of loft, from the super-low loft of drivers to the super-high loft of lob wedges, rather than having all clubs with low loft or all clubs with high loft.
The modern understanding of the concept of bounce really dates back to the 1930s and owes much to the work of Gene Sarazen. It totally revolutionized the game and so it’s definitely worth taking the time to understand, especially as it’s actually quite simple.
In golf, “the bounce” itself is a flange attached to the trailing edge of the club head. It’s the part of the club which actually makes contact with the ground and the way in which it does so is determined by the “bounce angle” which is the angle at which the bounce is attached to the club head.
Clubs with low bounce (4 to 6 degrees) have a very streamlined profile and hit the ball side on, which is great for decent grass and low bunkers (meaning ones which are fairly flat without much sand) Your problem comes in the dreaded deep sand bunkers and long grass where clubs with low bounce simply won’t get enough contact with the ball to move it any meaningful distance (which is why it was so hard to get out of deep bunkers before the bounce was invented). You basically need to scoop the ball up from underneath, which is why you need more bounce (11 degrees or more would be considered high bounce). It will allow you to skip over the likes of sand, or long grass, rather than digging into it and basically wasting most of the effort you put into your shot.
A beginner’s pitching wedge is likely to have medium bounce (7 to 10 degrees) because that will cover most conditions. It will be streamlined enough to perform on regular grass, but still have enough bounce to help you get out of long grass and sand.
Wedges tend to have shorter shafts than regular irons, which automatically makes them a bit stiffer and the fact that wedges tend to have steel shafts, emphasizes that stiffness. Most golfers like this because the whole point of wedges is that (in experienced hands), they deliver pinpoint accuracy. There are, however, more flexible shafts out there if you prefer.
Never forget the importance of a good grip, it is far more than just a “nice to have”. Of course, grips are fairly easy to change but remember to factor this cost in to the headline price of a club.
Everybody will have their own opinion on aesthetics and so a club which seems gorgeous to one person may just seem ordinary to another - and vice versa. It’s entirely up to you whether or not you pay extra for a club with an appearance you find particularly appealing, what we will say, however is that you would probably be wise to think about the actual finish. Basically, clubs with a “high-sheen” finish, such as chrome” can really “light up” when the sun comes out, potentially making it a whole lot more challenging to judge your shot. How much of an issue this will be in the real world, will, of course, depend on various factors, not least of which being where you play and how sunny it tends to get there.
So now that you understand what to look for in a wedge, here are the........
Best Wedges For High Handicappers
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Callaway produce a starter golf set called “Strata” which is routinely recommended as the best set for beginners and, depending on what set you get, it will have a pitching wedge and/or a sand wedge. If you want to fill in (some of) the gaps, or just upgrade, then the MD3 is well worth a look. Although the price of the MD3 is higher than you might expect given the overall price of the Strata sets, it offers three sole grinds, plus groove optimization for the loft you choose plus a wide range of shaft and grip options.
- 3 grinds for every shot, every Condition and every swing: we've developed 3 unique grinds to suit the shots you hit, the courses you play and the Swings you make. It's the versatility and selection you need to get up and down from anywhere
- S-grind: our most versatile option. It's great for a wide range of conditions (Normal, soft or firm), shot types and Swings (moderate to sweeping attack angles)
- Progressive groove optimization: the MD3 milled line has progressive groove optimization - a 3 groove package milled into the Face of these wedges that optimizes spin as you Go up in loft. It creates a smoother spin transition from your irons to wedges
- Advanced shaping and design: Legendary Callaway wedge designer roger Cleveland took Tour Input and blended that with advanced cad design. The result is a balanced wedge with a high toe profile and a semi-straight leading edge
- Advanced weight ports: the weight ports in the back of the wedge gave US the freedom to reposition the weight for better shot-making, especially out of deep rough
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The Cleveland RTX-2 is a “last-generation” club, which means you lose a little technology and gain a lot of affordability. Even though it’s not “latest and greatest” it was still made with input from tour pros and offers three grind options, excellent groove structure and laser milling and plenty of options for your choice of loft angle and bounce. Overall these wedges are both consistent and easy to hit. The one potential downside of this club is the chrome finish, which produces the glare we mentioned earlier as soon as the sun hits it, so if you play in a location which gets a lot of sun, you may want to look elsewhere.
- Deeper grooves and a new micro-milled Rotex face pattern give these wedges the most surface roughness the USGA will allow
- Forth generation Tour Zip Grooves feature larger walls and sharper radii than ever before
- Advanced, 2-pass micro milling pattern provides a strategically designed roughness close to the USGA limit
- Fine tunes the micro-roughness for more consistency and texture across the face
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The RTX-3 comes in two designs, cavity back and blade and we’d recommend high handicappers went for the former because it distributes the weight more towards the edge of the club and hence is a bit more forgiving. This club uses “Feel Balancing Technology” which basically means Cleveland have shortened the hosel and used the resulting space to create a tiny cavity in the club head, this reduces the degree of motion when you hit the sweet spot and improves accuracy. It also benefits from a V-shaped sole grind which has been proven to be beneficial in terms of holding momentum through impact with the turf. The RTX-3 is definitely at the premium end of the market and you’re almost certainly going to need expert help to get the right grind, but if you have the budget, the RTX-3 is one superb club.
- Patent-pending feel balancing technology - nine grams of mass are removed from the hosel and redistributed to the wedge head for a center of Gravity closer to the impact zone
- V sole grinds add shot consistency and control - three Tour-proven grinds feature a V shape with more leading edge bounce to help the club head through the turf faster at impact for crisper feel and more consistent performance
- New Rotex face increases spin - the third-generation rtx face features a refined groove shape, a new Rotex micro-milling pattern engineered to optimize spin performance by loft, and laser milling
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We may as well start with the bad news. These clubs are only available as men’s right-handed orientation with regular flex and a grip which, frankly, could be better. On the plus side, if you are a right-handed male beginner, then you can get a set of three, very decent wedges for a very affordable price. They’re certainly not the best out there, but they are perfectly reasonable and what they lack in objective performance, they make up for in value.
- Built standard with high quality Pinemeadow steel from Apollo(R), a 125 gram shaft with a low to mid kick point for the same value, perfect for the beginning to average golfer
- Available in 52, 56, 60, 64, and the impossible to find 68 degree wedge
- Compare features and performance with the best classic wedge designs
- Largest face area of any wedge available making the toughest of lies seem like perfect lies
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Titleist Vokey SM6
Bob Vokey was never a champion golfer, but he’s long been respected as one of the best club makers in the world and is particularly respected for the wedges he’s created in partnership with Titleist. Some people might question including these in a selection of wedges for high handicappers, but we think that they are a good choice for committed beginners because the emphasis on feedback over forgiveness will really help you to learn how to handle the club and when you do, you’ll find these wedges have outstanding accuracy. What’s more, as the SM6 range is now “last generation” they are very reasonably priced.
- Titleist Vokey SM6 (Tour Chrome)
- The 100% inspected grooves feature a new parallel face texture that creates a more consistent groove edge and tighter quality tolerances for more spin.
- Bob�s tour proven grinds provide every player with enhanced shot versatility to fit their swing type and course conditions.
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Wilson FG Tour PMP
PMP stands for precision milled performance and basically means the grooves have been made wider. There are also laser-etched lines between the grooves which add further hold and spin. The price of this spin is distance, but on the other hand, you get great consistency and a choice of three tour grinds to address various lies. The Wilson FG Tour PMP sits right in the middle of the range of clubs on offer, both in terms of price and in terms of performance, but it is excellent in terms of overall value.
- Precision milled performance: maximum Volume HM grooves for spin on full shots, laser etched micro spin lines for increased spin on partial shots on a perfectly flat milled face for consistency
- Traditional, Tour grind or wide sole designs, plus three finish options - Tour frosted, oil can and raw, allow for a huge number of possible combinations with numerous loft and bounce options
- Kbs hi-rev 2.0 shaft: delivers a higher ball launch angle with increased spin for added stopping power, control and accuracy
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Wilson Harmonized Golf Wedge
Wilson has built its brand on delivering value and the Wilson Harmonized wedge is a fine example of this. There’s no denying that these wedges are on the lighter side or that the grip could be better, but then, on the other hand, there a great sole grind, with some aggressive grooves to maximize spin and offers a beginner-friendly combination of accuracy, forgiveness and versatility to adapt to diverse conditions.
- Classic, high polish finish and classic blade shape
- Perfect club for getting your ball close to the pin
- True Temper steel irons for high performance and reliability
- Sole grind allows players to open the club face further to hit higher shots with more accuracy, therefore improving performance
- Blade shape with modified bounce angles for dead stop spin and versatility from the sand, rough, or fairway