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Best Wedges for Beginners and High Handicappers in 2020

golf club wedge sitting behind ball in fairway

If you’re in a hurry and just want to find the Best Wedges for Beginners and High Handicappers in 2020, then we recommend the Cleveland CBX.

**UPDATE FOR 2020** If you’re looking for the latest reviews of brand new products released in 2020, we’ll be updating this post as we do our research and should be finished by the summer.  Please make sure to check back then!

It’s been said by Ben Hogan that the 3 most important clubs in your bag in order are the driver, putter, and wedge. Harvey Pennick, one of the great teachers, said the same thing but in a slightly different order; putter, driver, wedge.

Anyway you stick it, wedges are important part to helping you shoot lower scores and your handicap so that’s why selecting the best wedges for beginners and high handicappers is a critical decision.

In this article, we’re going to be reviewing the following wedges:

But before we get started about what to look for in wedges, let’s get you some basic information about these clubs.

Beginners Guide To Wedges

 

Types of Shots

The wedges in your set are some of the most versatile clubs in your bag but they are generally used when you’re inside of 100 yards from the green and produce more spin than other clubs.

As a beginner, you’re probably not going to be hitting too many greens in regulation (on a par 5 this means getting on the green by your 3rd shot, on a par 4 getting on the green by your 2nd shot, and on a par 3 getting on the green directly from the tee box).

That being said, you’ll most likely being using your wedges for shots just off the green like blasting out of a sand trap, maybe a high pitch shot over a some deep rough, or just a regular chip shot that’s designed to have very little air time and start rolling on the green as soon as possible.

Whatever it may be, wedges are the most important clubs to help you shoot better scores by setting up short putts that will allow you to save par or at worst make a bogey.

Wedge Types

Just like irons, wedges come in 1 of 2 head types; cavity backs or muscle backs (aka blades). Cavity backs are more forgiving, while muscle backs are less forgiving but allow for more control.

For beginners, we definitely lean towards cavity backs (even if it’s a small cavity) because even short shots like pitches or chips can be difficult to hit the sweet spot.

Now whether it’s a cavity back or muscle back, wedges are normally categorized by their loft as 1 of 4 types:

  1. Pitching Wedge – 46 to 50 degrees of loft
  2. Gap Wedge – 50 to 54 degrees of loft
  3. Sand Wedge – 54 to 58 degrees of loft
  4. Lob Wedge – 58 to 62 degrees of loft

Wedge Specifications

So separate of the type of wedge (based on loft), the following are common specifications provided when selecting a wedge:

Bounce

So this may sound a little nerdy and technical but bounce refers to when the sole of the golf club rests on the ground and creates the angle for how low or high the leading edge is off the ground. A club with a lot of bounce creates a high bounce angle that means the leading edge is more elevated from the ground. The reverse applies as well, a wedge with little bounce creates a low bounce angle that means the leading edge is less elevated from the ground.

What does this mean in English?! Check out the video below:

Selecting the correct bounce for your wedge is going to determined more by the conditions of the course you usually play. As a general rule, the firmer the turf conditions, the less bounce you should play and the softer the turf condition, the more bounce you should play.

Grind

Grind refers to the how the sole of the club is manipulated, or “grinded” to change how the club rests on the ground and therefore affect the bounce of the club. Bob Vokey provides a good explanation of how the grind affects the bounce.

In a nutshell, selecting a club with different grinds, can help you play a wider variety of shots without affecting the bounce of the club.

For beginners, this isn’t something you should be too concerned about since having a shot repertoire isn’t a big concern. At this point in your game you’re just trying to get the ball on the green with as few strokes as possible!

Finish

The main idea behind the different types of finishes is that each one supposedly provides a different type of feel. In our personal experience, the difference is subtle, if any at all. In our opinion, it’s more a function of how they look and which appeals to you more.

There are 3 primary types of finishes you’ll find on most wedges:

  1. Chrome – a very shiny look that can sometimes produce a good amount of glare
  2. Matte/Satin – a duller finish that can produce a softer feel than chrome
  3. Raw – an almost unfinished finish that will rust with time a provide more spin on shots

Similar to grind, this is something beginner golfers shouldn’t be too concerned about when it comes to performance. We suggest you find a finish that you like and makes you feel confident.

Grooves

A key feature in being able to have accuracy and control with your wedges is the amount spin put into the ball. Knowing how your ball react (more or less backspin) when it hits the green is a critical element in getting the ball close to the hole.

One factor that contributes to the amount of spin are the grooves on the club face. Different manufactures utilize different technology to impart the ideal amount of spin. Some use more or less grooves on the club face while others utilize some sort of proprietary knowledge.

Whatever wedge you decide to use, you want to make sure the grooves on your clubface are always clean when making a shot.

Shaft Type

Most wedges today come with steel shafts as the standard. As we mentioned in another one of our articles, steel shafts as a whole provide more accuracy than graphite and better overall feel.

Again wedges are primarily used within 100 yards so accuracy is a premium and we feel the steel generally makes the most sense because of their tighter shot dispersion.

For the older golfers who have trouble generating decent clubhead speed, graphite shafts might make more sense in your wedges.

How Many Should I Carry?

The R&A and USGA rules of golf (rule 4.1b) state that you’re only allowed to carry 14 clubs. The typical set makeup will at least look like this:

  1. Driver
  2. 3 Wood
  3. 4 iron/hybrid
  4. 5 iron/hybrid
  5. 6 iron/hybrid
  6. 7 iron
  7. 8 iron
  8. 9 iron
  9. Pitching Wedge
  10. Putter

With this makeup in mind that leaves room for at least 4 more clubs and we think at least 3 of these should be additional wedges.

We strongly suggest you carry a gap wedge, sand wedge, and lob wedge. With this composition you’ll have enough loft options between these clubs to avoid being in between club distances but you’ll also have a lot of options when you’re around the greens.

As we mentioned earlier, as high handicapper, you probably won’t be hitting too many greens in regulation, so it’ll be important to have a variety of options available to you in order to hit different types of golf shots. As opposed to making a different type of swing to hit a different type of shot, you can just swap out a pitching wedge for a lob wedge to get more height on your ball.

What To Consider When Choosing The Best Wedges for Beginners and High Handicappers

 

Forgiveness

We don’t want to beat a dead horse here, but high handicappers and beginners should be playing clubs that offer maximum forgiveness. The amount of skill needed to make solid contact, even on short shots, takes time to develop.

As you improve and reduce your handicap, you can start looking at the pure blade designed wedges but for beginners we’re going to suggest one’s that have more forgiveness built into them with some sort of cavity or perimeter weighting.

Versatility

For beginners, versatility is going to be more of a factor of having a variety of loft wedges in your bag. As we mentioned above, to have plenty of options available to you without having to make different types of swings, it’s best to have at least 4 wedges in your bag (pitching, gap, sand, and lob).

Each of these wedges should have different types of bounces that can be used for multiple types of course conditions.

For instance, most sand wedges are designed with more bounce to be used specifically out of sand traps. This same bounce can be used to help you hit off of soft squishy turf as well.

Cost

Unlike other types of clubs, like drivers and irons where costs can vary several hundreds of dollars, you’re not going to see a huge discrepancy in wedge prices.

You should expect to spend at least a hundred dollars for a good wedge.

Best Wedges for Beginners and High Handicappers Reviewed

 

Ping Glide 2.0

For this new wedge, Ping prioritized improved spin to provide golfers with more control of their shots.

Specifically in the lower lofted wedges, one groove was added and for the higher lofted clubs, two grooves were added. In addition, a new milling process increased spin rates on both full shots and short shots around the green

Finally, 4 different sole designs allows golfers to customize their wedges for a variety of different course conditions and swing types.

Pros

  • Very accurate clubs and tight shot dispersion
  • Outstanding spin especially for full shots
  • Multiple options for customization

Cons

  • Small, shallow cavity provides less forgiveness on less than perfect full shots
  • Not the longest wedges to hit

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Cleveland CBX

These clubs come with the clean, traditional design you can expect from their PGA Tour style wedges but with the forgiveness of a cavity back design for the beginner and high handicapper.

A Dual V-Sole allows for maximum forgiveness and versatility by allowing a player to cut smoothly through the turf but also get extra help to escape the sand.

The CBX wedges also feature their Feel Balancing Technology that removes weight from the hosel and positions the center of gravity more towards the center of the club face. This tech results in improved feel at impact and greater accuracy on full shots.

Finally, Cleveland’s Rotex Face Technology provides tour level spin for maximum control whether you’re hitting from the fairway or rough.

Pros

  • Cavity back design provides maximum forgiveness on less that perfect full swing shots
  • Classic design doesn’t feel bulky or chunky at address
  • Good spin on all shot types

Cons

  • Cavity back design provides less feedback on all shots and less control on full shots

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Mizuno JPX 919

These wedges are designed to match the distance gaps of their diverse JPX 919 Iron models but can still match perfectly with any set of wedges.

Featuring face milling lines and quad cut grooves, these irons are engineered to optimize spin for a variety of approach shots and shorter shots around the green

Finally, the softer X-30 steel provides enhanced feel while the matte finish is more durable and less glaring in sunlight.

Pros

  • Beautifully designed with classic feel doesn’t appear bulky or chunky at address
  • Soft feel, similar to a forged club, on solid strikes
  • Excellent spin control on all shots, especially around the green

Cons

  • Small, shallow cavity provides less forgiveness on less than perfect full shots

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Callaway Black Matte Mack Daddy 4

With a black matte finish, we sure do love the design of these golf weapons!

New for these wedges are the Groove-in Groove technology which provides maximum spin for maximum control. The lower lofted wedges feature a 20D groove which allows for consistent spin on fuller shots. The higher lofted wedges have a 5D groove for maximum control from rough and around the green.

With 4 different grind options and 9 different lofts, golfers have a total of 21 different options to customize your wedges for whatever conditions and shots you desire.

Pros

  • Beautiful matte black finish
  • Very accurate and tight dispersion on full shots
  • The most options available to customize your club

Cons

  • No cavity provides little forgiveness on non solid full shots
  • Black finish may wear with time
  • Less distance when compared to other wedges

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Our Choice

 

When it comes to wedges for beginners and high handicappers, there are a limited number of options available but we felt the 4 reviewed above were some of the best.

In our opinion we believe that forgiveness and good spin control are the two most important factors to consider for high handicappers. To be more specific, good forgiveness on less than perfect approach shots and good spin control for shorter shots.

With this in mind, we feel the Cleveland CBX wedges are the best choice.

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Although the cavity back design, gives up some ability to control your full shots, it’s groove technology allowed for good spin control around the greens. In the end, we believe the more forgiving design for full shots combined with good spin on short shots made the Cleveland CBX wedges the winner.

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