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 2.

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 lower 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

 

Cleveland CBX 2

The Cleveland CBX wedges are revolutionary.

Because the large majority of golfers use game improvement clubs, Cleveland developed a cavity back wedge that bridged the gap between the traditional blade wedge and the cavity back clubs most people used.  This changed the wedge market and set Cleveland up to continue to be the leader in wedge technology. The CBX 2 improved on the original by adding some flexibility in shot making with 3 separate grinds for the sand, pitching, and gap wedges respectively. The result is a cavity back wedge that plays like and has the flexibility of the traditional blade.

Pros

  • Brings the positive of a cavity back club to wedges.
  • Maximizes “full shot” wedge play.
  • 3 different sole grinds depending on the loft so that your club performs well in sand, through turf, and when you need to manipulate the face of the club from a specific lie.
  • The groove system on these clubs produces a lot of spin around the green.
  • Was designed for game improvement and ease of play.

Cons

  • It looks different at setup than the traditional wedge.
  • The design creates less flexibility on shots than traditional wedges.

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Cobra King MIM

The Cobra King MIM (Metal-Injection-Molded) wedges are all about creating a softer feel at impact.

These wedges feature a stainless steel head and MIM process allows for a rougher surface and greater spin. Using a stainless steel head creates a precision that cannot be found in other metals. The Cobra wedges can help lower your score by giving you incredible softness and feel around the green.

Pros

  • If you are looking for a soft feeling wedge, the Cobra King is great.
  • Added back spin and the flexibility to perform specialty shots are the strength of this wedge.
  • The rougher surface of the face produces spin while maintaining a soft feel around the green.

Cons

  • Better for working around the green than hitting approach shots.
  • Inconsistent distance and a smaller sweet spot than other wedges offer.

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Callaway JAWS MD5

Callaway advertises these wedges as having, “the most aggressive grove in golf.”

While we cannot say that is the case, we can say that the face of this club produces some of the best spin of any wedge on the market. The focus of the groves is to provide more spin on your shots as you get closer to the green and the face is designed to provide just that.

Pros

  • These wedges are designed to provide extra spin on shorter shots and consistent ball flight and distance on longer ones.
  • Looks great at setup.
  • 6 different lofts from which to choose.
  • 5 grinds to choose from depending on the loft and purpose of your wedge.

Cons

  • The Callaway Jaws wedges were developed for mid to low handicap golfers and would not perform as well for beginners.

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Titleist Vokey SM8

Bob Vokey is as much a golf legend as almost any player currently on the Tour.

He gained fame for designing Tiger’s wedges when he first came on the scene and he has continued his excellence ever since. That brings us to the SM8 wedges. These wedges are a thing of beauty at setup and perform just as well as they look.

Pros

  • Designed by one of the greatest club designers of the past 20 years.
  • They are designed to produce the spin and softness to control your shots and keep your ball on the green.
  • The groove technology has barely changed over the last few years because it just works.
  • The center of gravity of each loft is different so that the higher lofted clubs have a lower trajectory for shorter shots and the higher lofted clubs have a higher lofted trajectory for longer shots. 

Cons

  • A pure blade design with a small head makes it difficult for a beginner to hit well.
  • To make these clubs work for you, you have to have an established swing and game.

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Ping Glide 3.0

The new Ping Glide 3.0 is designed with forgiveness in mind.

In fact, while it still has the traditional look of a blade design, the forgiveness and larger sweet spot of the club make it feel like a cavity back. This is good for beginners because it lessens the effects of mishits and allows more shots to get off the ground and toward the tee.

Pros

  • It maintains the classic tear-drop shape while adding club head size and a larger sweet spot to the club.
  • The Glide 3.0 is lighter and easier to hit than previous models.
  • It has the blade design and flexibility with the forgiveness of a cavity back club.
  • An offset design keeps the club head straight and true through impact.

Cons

  • Not as much bounce or spin as some of the other wedges on this list.
  • The additional size in the club head, while adding forgiveness, makes it less appealing at setup.

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Our Choice

This was a difficult choice between the Ping Glide 3.0 and the Cleveland CBX 2, but ultimately we chose the Cleveland wedges.

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Cleveland has been at the forefront of wedge technology for a while, and their creation of a cavity back wedge that has the flexibility of a blade is a great choice for beginning golfers. After all, every other club in your bag is about game improvement and lessening the effect of mishits. It seems like this should be the case for your wedges as well.

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