If you’re in a hurry and just want to find the Best Sand Wedge in 2020, here are our recommendations:
- Best Overall Choice – Ping Glide 3.0
- Best For Beginners and High Handicappers – Cleveland CBX 2
- Best for Mid and Low Handicappers – Callaway Jaws MD5
- Most Affordable – Wilson Staff Model
A sand wedge, while versatile, has one primary function: to get you out of a greenside bunker. My wife does not golf, but before we had kids she would ride 18 with me from time to time just to be together. The first time we ever did that was at a golf course in St Augustine, Florida.
I tried to explain to her that I was not very good, and that I used my 3 wood off of the tee a lot because I struggled with a driver. On the 1st hole, I hit my 3-wood about as far as I had ever hit a ball with any club in my entire life. In fact, I drove it into a greenside bunker about 330 yards down the fairway and right into a foursome of golfers that were finishing up on the green.
When we drove up to the hole I apologized, and told them I had no idea I could hit a 3-wood that far. They were nice and told me to go ahead and play through. I pulled my sand wedge out, and one of the top 3 most embarrassing golf moments of my life occurred in front of my wife and 3 strangers.
It took me 7 swings to get the ball out of the bunker. When I did, I flew the green into another bunker on the other side and proceeded to take 2 more swings prior to picking my ball up and driving to the next hole. Starting at that moment I would understand the importance of a sand wedge for the rest of my life.
We’re going to be reviewing the following sand wedges:
- Cleveland CBX 2
- Callaway Jaws MD5
- Titleist Vokey SM8
- Cobra King MIM
- Ping Glide 3.0
- Cleveland CBX Full Face
- Callaway PM Grind
- Mizuno T-20
- TaylorMade MG2
- Wilson Staff Model Wedge
What Is a Sand Wedge?
A sand wedge is an open-faced wedge with the widest sole in the wedge family and generally around 56 degrees of loft (anywhere between 54 and 58). The wider sole provides a little extra bounce and helps the club to glide through softer lies like sand without digging into it.
Top-tier golfers will hit a sand wedge close to 100 yards with a full swing, but it is more often used in bunkers or around the green. Until just a few years ago, the sand wedge was generally the highest lofted club in a player’s bag but as wedge play has increased in importance, most players carry a lob wedge as well.
How To Choose The Best Sand Wedge
Usually players choose a sand wedge that is in the same set or the same brand as the rest of their irons and wedges but this is not always the case. If you are looking to buy a sand wedge separately, my first advice would be to go to a local pro shop or golf store and hold some of the wedges in your hand.
See what they look like, set them down next to a golf ball, and feel the weight and balance of each club. You will be able to tell if the bottom is rounded or square, if the head is hollow or solid, how wide the sole is, and how the grip fits in your hand.
The next thing is to read articles like this and get a sense of what other players are saying about specific sand wedges. In the end, finding the right club for your swing is the most important thing when choosing a sand wedge.
How Important Is a Sand Wedge?
As I mentioned above, a sand wedge is vital. While their primary job is to help you get out of a bunker, they also perform well in pine straw, out of dirt or mud, and in thick rough.
If you find yourself about 80 or 100 yards off of the green, you can also take a full swing with a sand wedge and they are one of the easier clubs to hit well. While a good sand wedge will not make you a pro out of the sand, it will give you confidence and help make sure you do not make a fool out of yourself like I did so many years ago.
Features and Attributes That Differentiate Sand Wedges
Bounce. This is actually the most important attribute because it is one of the things that separates sand wedges the most. The bounce angle is added to a wedge to ensure it does not dig into the dirt or sand. The higher the bounce the more the leading edge of the club sits up on the turf.
Low bounce (4 to 6 degrees) clubs are better for players who sweep the ball, do not take big divots, and play in heavier/coarser sand. High bounce (more than 10 degrees) wedges are for players who take a deep divot, play in lighter/finer sand, and softer general conditions. Mid bounce clubs are somewhere in the middle.
Grind. The grind is the additional shaping of the sole of the wedge. It can change the bounce angle, make the club set differently, and give the wedge either a rounded or more squared shape.
Loft. Generally between 54 and 58 degrees, the loft of your sand wedge should really depend on the loft of those clubs surrounding it.
Price. If price is an object, like it is to most of us, I would not suggest swinging the higher end wedges because then you will know what you are missing. There are some good buys out there, just do your research and find a club that you can both afford and meets your needs.
Face Technology. Face technology has to do with the feel and spin that a sand wedge can put on a ball. This is generally reliant on the number, shape, and thickness of the grooves located on the sweet spot of the face.
How To Use a Sand Wedge
The first and most obvious answer is that you use your sand wedge to get out of greenside bunkers and close to the hole. This is the primary but not the solitary use of sand wedges. Chipping around the green and especially out of the rough can be and oftentimes will be done with a sand wedge.
Approach shots with higher lofted clubs are both fun to hit and generally more accurate, and a sand wedge can be a great approach club from 80 to 100 yards out. You can control the spin, get a high ball flight and soft landing, and use it to get backspin on chips. The sand wedge is actually a very versatile club, just make sure that it performs its primary duty well.
Best Sand Wedge in 2020 Reviewed
When you hear the name “Cleveland Golf,” your mind goes to wedges. Wedges are the bread and butter of the Cleveland name, and the CBX 2 sand wedge is another in the line of great Cleveland wedges. The large majority of golfers use game improvement irons, but the large majority of wedges are blades that are more difficult to hit.
The CBX 2 is a cavity back club with great forgiveness, high launch angles, and a huge sweet spot. This sand wedge still plays like a traditional blade and in essence combines the advantages of both types of club into one.
- A game-improvement, cavity back club in a high end wedge.
- The hollow cavity design adds more weight to the perimeter for more forgiveness.
- One of the best “full swing” sand wedges on the list.
- The groove system on the face provides great feel and spin for a cavity back club.
- “Feel Balancing” technology provides a toe-biased center of gravity for the natural tendencies of the average golfer.
- A mid range price for a top notch sand wedge.
- Looks different enough at address to throw some golfers off.
- Cavity back clubs just do not have the feel and flexibility of a blade around the green.
This is one of the best looking sand wedges on the market both at address and in your bag. They inspire a sense of confidence and they perform just as well. Callaway advertises the Jaws MD5 as having “the most aggressive groove in golf.”
While this may or may not be the case, what we can say is that it provides incredible spin and feel around the greens and it performs just as well out of the sand.
- Groove-in-Groove technology provides incredible back spin.
- You can choose different bounce angles depending on your game.
- A very large face provides a larger hitting area.
- The distinctive blue medallions on the back are a great addition to the look of the club.
- Very soft feel around the greens.
- We have to mention it one more time, these clubs generate incredible spin.
- Performance features focus on low and mid handicap golfers.
- On the expensive side.
Bob Vokey designing wedges for Titleist is a match made in Heaven. Vokey gained fame for designing Tiger’s wedges during the most dominant stretch of his playing career, and for good reason.
The Vokey SM8 look incredible at address and perform just as well.
- The most forward center of gravity in the Vokey line of wedges.
- Look great at address.
- Great for players of all skill level.
- Cuts through the sand and turf equally well.
- Produces one of the highest spin rates especially on full swings.
- Very consistent in distance and ball flight.
- Designed by the most popular wedge designer out there.
- A fairly high price tag.
- A pure blade design and small head may turn some golfers off, especially those used to big, cavity back irons.
The Cobra King MIM (Metal-Injection-Molded) sand wedge is all about feel. The fully CNC milled face maximizes roughness and spin and makes this sand wedge one of the softest feeling on the market.
The stainless steel head gives the Cobra King MIM a precision and consistency that cannot be found in other metals. In terms of softness and feel around the green, you cannot go wrong. They perform on full swings as well.
- The CNC milling process on stainless steel is incredibly precise and maximizes roughness for traction and backspin.
- The leading edge cuts through the sand as well as any other sand wedge on the market.
- Great feel and positive feedback.
- Great action out of the bunker and the rough.
- One of the smaller sweet spots make this club less forgiving and less consistent than others.
- Does not perform as well on half and ¾ swings as it does out of the bunker and around the green.
- On the expensive side.
Most of the sand wedges on this list were either designed years ago or were redesigned from a previous model. The Ping Glide 3.0 was a “from scratch” build. Ping wanted to tap into the “common golfer” market while offering features and performance that low handicappers desire.
The result is a great sand wedge that has a lot of forgiveness for beginners with the look and feel of the traditional blade. The head is slightly larger than most to build in some of that forgiveness, but at address you do not even notice the size difference. The result is a performance club with game improvement features.
- The classic tear-drop shape.
- A slightly larger head increases the size of the sweet spot without making it too big.
- Blade design with cavity back features.
- A lighter than average club adds to the feel around the green and the swing speed for approach shots.
- Precision milled grooves provide great back spin.
- Perimeter weighting increase the MOI and makes it a very forgiving club.
- A higher than average toe increases hitting surface area.
- A very versatile club.
- Plays well for all skill levels.
- One of the more expensive options.
- Not as much bounce as some of the other clubs on the list.
The “Full Face” name describes the fact that the toe of this club is noticeably higher than average which gives it a “fuller” or larger hitting surface. On top of that, the grooves cover the entire face of the club which gives it more forgiveness and makes it less likely for a mishit to occur.
The size and look of the club may be a little off-putting to some, but the performance of this club makes it worth it. Those added grooves also help the CBX Full Face to produce one of the highest spin rates on the market.
- Consistency. A consistent ball flight and distance from anywhere on the course.
- Great control out of the sand. You can make the ball stop on a dime even out of bunkers and rough.
- Graphite color minimizes glare.
- The “half cavity” design is unique but effective. It takes the advantages of a cavity back with the look and feel of a blade.
- One of the more forgiving wedges on this list.
- Performs as well on full and half swing shots as it does out of the bunker and around the green.
- In between each groove you will find 4 additional milled grooves for added back spin.
- A chunky head for a wedge.
- No additional bounce options.
Watching Phil Mickelson hit a ball out of a greenside bunker is a thing of beauty. He is one of the best wedge players we have seen and helped design and plays these wedges (the PM stands for Phil Mickelson).
The increased offset and higher toe make it a very hittable sand wedge while the groove-in-groove technology help provide one of the highest spin rates on the market. These clubs were designed by a golfer with the features that low handicappers desire.
- The higher toe design gives you more hitting surface.
- The leading edge of the club interacts with the sand as well as any.
- The premium grips look great and promote greater feel.
- The four holes, while they look great, were actually placed there to reduce weight and increase swing speed and control.
- Immediate feedback.
- Very soft feel around the greens.
- Groove-in-groove technology produces a lot of backspin.
- Designed by Phil Mickelson.
- Performs better around the green than as a full swing club.
- Tour quality clubs not built for higher handicap players.
- The higher toe looks differently at address and may turn some players off.
It has been a while since Mizuno put out a new wedge, and the T-20 did not disappoint. They have always put out some of the best feeling irons on the market, and the T-20 takes some of that expertise and puts into their wedge.
This is a forgiving club that was built for low handicap golfers and produces a lot of spin around the green. The hydroflow micro grooves allow this club to perform well in all conditions and environments while producing a consistent and accurate shot.
- Customizable with a wide range of lofts and a couple of bounce options.
- The blue ion finish looks great.
- Center of gravity was raised to promote forgiveness and prevent mishits.
- The hydroflow micro grooves provide backspin no matter the conditions or weather.
- Multiple bounce and lie options.
- Slightly bigger head helps out of the rough and the bunker.
- Grips the ball well out of the bunker.
- The leading edge and tear drop shape make it one of the best out of the sand.
- The grain flow forged process give it a great sound and feel.
- This forging process creates added density around the sweet spot of the club and making the sweet spot larger and easier to find.
- Does not perform as well on full swing shots.
- On the expensive side.
- It has been a while since Mizuno put out a wedge.
The TaylorMade MG2 (milled grind) sand wedge combines precision milling with raw face technology to create a rough face surface a ton of back spin. The front end of the club interacts with the turf and cuts through the sand as well as any other club on this list.
The raw face design and extra grooves make this an extremely accurate and “easy to stop” club on the green. This same face technology produces the same great spin and feel out of the bunker that it does around the green.
- Excellent spin and feel around the green.
- Gives immediate feedback that helps you learn from your mistakes and capitalize on your strengths.
- Looks great at address with the darker color and high bounce angle.
- TPU insert provides vibration dampening and creates good sound and solid feel.
- A thick head design that maximizes center of gravity and MOI.
- Aimed at low handicap players.
- One of the more expensive clubs on the list.
- Face rusts easily and shows scuff marks which, while not necessarily affecting performance, it can get in your head.
Wilson is not the premier wedge producer in America, but they have been producing a solid value club for years. The staff model looks great at address and it has some of the same features as the much higher priced wedges.
The higher toe gives more hitting area and helps to increase backspin out of the rough and sand. The forged carbon looks great, is durable, and provides an ultra soft feel.
- One of the least expensive wedges on the list.
- High bounce.
- Looks great at address.
- Performs very well out of the bunkers.
- On full and half swings, you get great spin, consistency, and accuracy.
- Not the same feel or spin as some of the higher priced models.
- Not as many options in terms of lie, loft, and bounce.
Best Overall Choice
The Ping Glide 3.0 is our choice for best overall wedge. This club will perform well for PGA professionals and weekend warriors alike. The perimeter weighting and high MOI make it a forgiving club, but the design and face technology make it great around the greens. It is also lighter than average with a slightly larger head than most. Other than the price tag, it is difficult to find a weakness in this sand wedge.
The leading edge is great in both the sand and the rough, while the slightly higher than average toe give the club a high hitting surface and increases the spin rate. This is the best overall club because it is so versatile and it fits the game of almost any golfer out there.
Best For Beginners and High Handicappers
The Cleveland CBX 2 is forgiving and easy to hit, it is one of the few high-quality, cavity back sand wedges out there.
Best for Mid and Low Handicappers
In terms of spin and feel around the green, you just cannot beat the Callaway Jaws MD5 and these features make it our choice for best sand wedge for mid and low handicappers.
The Wilson Staff Model Wedge is the least expensive wedge that still maintains good features and production.