***If you’re looking for the most recent reviews for 2023 gear, we will be updating this page in the summer after we’ve had a chance to review them!
If you’re in a hurry and just want to know our top choices, here they are:
I’m just going to go ahead and say it, I have wasted more good drives and decent long approach shots with poor wedge play than I could ever relate in an article like this one. The 3 most egregious “wastes” that I remember are:
- I drove a 3-wood into a bunker on a 320 yard par-4 just to swing my sand club 7 times at which point I picked up my ball and drove to the next hole.
- I was 110 yards out on a par-5 9th hole that would have finished my best 9 ever if I could have just parred the hole. My PW went 10 yards over the green, my first chip went back over the green, my next chip left me about 10 yards short, and I 3 putted.
- At a business outing, I nailed a drive and then laid up to about 120 yards out with a 7-iron on a par-5. To make a long story short, it took me 7 more shots to finally hole a putt leaving me with a 9 on the hole.
We all have stories like these, some worse and some not as bad, but wedge play is difficult. We should all be at least decent from 100 yards and in, but statistics are not with us. The following article includes a list and review of the best wedges for mid handicappers. Read the description and some of the extra content to see what you should be looking for in a wedge and which ones would best suit your game.
Best Wedges for Mid Handicappers In 2022 Reviewed
Callaway JAWS MD 5
On their own website, Callaway advertises these clubs with the phrase, “The most aggressive grooves in golf.” We can neither confirm nor deny that assertion, but we can say these wedges can make a ball stop on a dime no matter the lie or the green speed. This groove-in-groove along with milled ridges in between the groove give you as much friction as you could want for some of the highest backspin rates out there.
These are also really good for “full wedge” shots as well. Progressive face technology allows each club to be designed for its primary function so that lower lofts are built for full swings while higher lofts are more for opening your face up and getting as much spin as possible. These wedges really excel at providing extra spin for longer pitch shots and really good open face play for bunker and flop shots. There are not obvious weaknesses to the performance of these wedges but the feel and spin that they provide really set them apart.
- Really soft feel.
- Backspin rates are second to none.
- A lot of sole grinds and lofts from which to choose.
- A new wall angle of 37 degrees makes them sharper and better able to grip the ball.
- The surface area of the face is larger which gives you more clubface-to-ball interaction per shot.
- JAW groove design combines with the groove-in-groove technology to produce top notch friction and back spin on full shots and chips alike.
- Precisely shaped for a great look.
- Those blue circles on the back of the club head add to the look and aesthetics of the club.
- Effortless distance and spin.
- Great for full wedge shots and chips/pitches alike.
- Some difficulties with alignment.
- The leading edge could be longer and straighter.
- Not as forgiving as some of the wedges.
Cleveland RTX Zipcore
Cleveland has been a frontrunner in the wedge market for a long time now and the RTX Zipcore is another in that line of great wedges. The first thing that you notice is the look of the club. There are a few different finishing options, and the club just looks sharp at setup. Moving on you find the TourZip grooves that give you that feel and spin around the greens. If you are hitting a full shot, you can park the ball where it lands and you can run a ball up on a chip that stops in its tracks.
These muscle back wedges give you the feel and spin of a blade with the forgiveness that is usually reserved for a cavity back club. The versatility of these clubs should also be noted. There are numerous grind options that can provide you with stability on full shots and extra bounce when you open the face. The Zipcore technology features a low-density core that centers your sweet spot and gives you good weighting for a great ball flight. The Cleveland RTX Zipcore is designed to provide mid-handicap golfers with the combination of spin, feel, and forgiveness that will help take their game to the next level.
- One of the most versatile wedges.
- Progressive feel balancing technology, so the higher lofted wedges are more versatile for shots around the green, and the lower lofted work fine for full-length shots from far away.
- A lot of grind options to choose from.
- A good price for the quality.
- Great mix of feel and forgiveness make it ideal for mid-handicappers.
- The Zipcore technology gives you a more centered sweet spot, higher MOI, and a great ball flight.
- Cleveland continues to impress with one of the best wedges on the market.
- The look and feel of a blade and the forgiveness usually only found in a cavity back.
- A great look and a wide variety of finishes are available.
- An aggressive groove system for high back spin rates.
- Better players may want a straighter leading edge.
- No adjustability.
When you think of certain brands, a specific word or feature comes to mind. The word that comes to mind for Mizuno irons is “feel.” The forging process, the tradition, and the finished product all come out to one of the softest irons on the market. The Mizuno T-20 brings that soft feel to your wedge game and they do not disappoint. In addition to the feel, Mizuno studied the friction and traction provided by tire treads and came up with a face architecture and groove design that matches groove shape to the typical shot played at each loft.
In addition, the design increases friction in dry conditions while channeling moisture upwards in wet conditions to maintain great spin. There is also an extra groove low on the face to produce even better grab on partial shots and slight mishits. The grooves are CNC milled to ensure a consistent and specific groove pattern that performs the same every time. The result is one of the softest feels on the market with great spin and extreme consistency. This club is great for the skilled mid-handicapper who is not as worried about forgiveness but wants high end feel and spin.
- Incredible “Mizuno” grain flow forged feel.
- A lot of backspin regardless of conditions or lie.
- One of the most consistent clubs.
- Progressive face architecture that optimizes each loft depending on the most typical shot for that loft.
- A great sand wedge that produces some of the best results on the market.
- These are real players wedges with some great features for mid-handicappers.
- A very easy club to swing and hit.
- Looks great at setup.
- Not as much forgiveness as some of the other clubs.
- Made for better mid-handicappers and low handicappers.
Ping Glide 3.0
The Ping Glide 3.0, while not a lot different from the previous model, is a great mid handicapper wedge. The focus of the club is on spin with deep, sharp grooves and even an extra half-groove at the bottom of higher lofted wedges. The grooves are called “wheel-cut” and they are deeper and sharper to provide a ton of backspin around the green and on approach shots. There is a stainless steel head combined with a large elastomer insert to increase the feel of this club while that same insert also increases forgiveness.
At address the club is a little offset so that it is slightly easier to align and to hit. These wedges also have quite a bit of versatility with multiple grind options and one “eye2” option that is specifically created to perform out of bunkers. The resulting product is a wedge that produces high end backspin, has very soft feel, and has the forgiveness that some mid-handicappers still need as they move toward more players clubs. Ping’s tagline, “modern tradition” speaks to the classic look with modern features that these wedges produce.
- The wheel-cut grooves give you some of the best back spin on the market.
- An additional half-groove on the bottom of higher lofted wedges catches the ball more on chips and also provides some forgiveness on shots that you do not get down enough on.
- The grooves are precision milled for consistency in performance.
- Great full shot wedges while also performing well out of the bunker and around the green.
- A lot of grind options and combinations available to make these very versatile.
- A classic blade design that looks great at setup.
- Some game improvement features like increased forgiveness and larger surface area.
- Elastomer insert not only gives you improved feel but it also adds to the perimeter weighting providing additional forgiveness.
- The surface area of the face is very big which makes it more forgiving and adds to the amount of spin.
- Not as many game improvement features as some mid handicappers may prefer.
- Not as much bounce as some of the clubs higher on the list.
The raw face technology is just what it says it is, there is just not a finish on it. In fact, some players claim that as the club shows some rust on it because it is unfinished, it actually starts to produce more backspin. That is probably not the case, but what is true is that a lot of people love these wedges and the amount of backspin that they produce. The leading edge of these clubs, especially the sand wedge, cut through any terrain and lie to make solid contact with the ball.
The high-toe look of these clubs also help in the backspin production along with adding some to the forgiveness and shot making capabilities. These wedges are great around the green and just as good as full shot clubs. These wedges can get a ball to checkup and stop as well as any other club out there and the distance control is top notch as well. They are not as good as some of the other clubs in the forgiveness department which landed them a little further down the mid-handicapper list.
- Some of the best backspin production out there.
- Great turf interaction at every loft and especially great sand wedge.
- The “unfinished” or raw face produces some great friction, and many players claim that when it shows signs of rust, it produces more backspin.
- A great full shot wedge.
- The high-toe design gives you more contact time on each shot and is especially appealing when you open up the face.
- The leading edge of these clubs makes for consistent solid contact.
- Great distance control on full shot wedges, but they also check up really well on chips and land softly when you need to hit a flop shot.
- A more expensive option.
- Not as much forgiveness as some other clubs.
Titleist Vokey SM8
Designed by a legend, the Titleist Vokey SM8 are some of the best performance wedges on the market. A prevailing thought amongst golfers is that there are 2 brands who have set themselves apart in the wedge market: Titleist and Cleveland. The SM8 wedges combine feel, spin, and stability as well or better than any other wedges out there. In fact, if this list was for low-handicappers we may have put these wedges on top.
The progressive center of gravity is industry leading in terms of ball flight and MOI. As loft increases, the center of gravity also rises adding to stability and control. This year’s wedge, the SM8, takes it a step further and actually moves the center of gravity forward in the club to increase feel and MOI. These clubs have an incredibly stable and solid feel at impact with a little more forgiveness than they have had in the past. The spin milled grooves provide a lot of friction and backspin as well.
- The feel and spin of these clubs are unmatched.
- The design looks great at setup and is confidence inspiring. The full blade design with a compact head and more feel is what a lot of good golfers want.
- Weighted well for full wedge shots.
- The ball trajectory is high and the landings are soft.
- The progressive center of gravity allows each club to perform at optimal levels both around the green and for approach shots.
- A lot of versatility in terms of sole grinds and finishes.
- A very stable and consistent wedge.
- Very high end performance features.
- More suitable for lower handicappers.
- Not as forgiving as some clubs.
- The club head is too small for some golfers.
Cobra King MIM
The first club in golf to feature a fully metal-injection-molded (MIM) stainless steel construction. What that means is that every wedge has the most precise shape possible and are polished at the end through fully robotic polishing for an exact design and finish. Why is that important? Because if every variable is taken away from the equation, the end result is consistent. While you cannot take away every variable from the design and manufacturing process, Cobra has come close.
The Cobra King MIM wedge is all about backspin and feel, and they definitely succeed in making these things a priority. They are super soft around the green, land softly on approach, and will stop on a dime with the really high backspin rates produced. The CNC milled face that uses a spiral-milling pattern produces the highest amount of back spin that is legal on tour. The consistency, spin rate, and soft feel combine to make this one of our favorite wedges for mid-handicappers.
- Produces a ton of backspin and does it effortlessly.
- With the MIM construction, the consistency in design is unmatched.
- Consistency of design leads to consistency in performance.
- Great value for the money.
- Very soft feel around the green.
- One of the easier clubs to hit.
- Feels great in your hands and looks great at setup.
- Maybe the best half-swing wedge on the list.
- The clubhead shape leads to great turf interaction.
- Good variety of loft/sole options.
- Ball flight on full swings is not what you can find in some of the other clubs.
- The sound at impact is a little clicker and hollow.
Wilson Staff Model
The carbon steel head and high density grooves on the face make this one of the softest feeling clubs on the market. We were surprised at the level of feel and the amount of backspin that this wedge could produce. The higher density groove pattern means that the ball interacts with additional grooves each stroke giving you more backspin and additional control.
The grooves are precision-milled for a consistent shape and spin on each shot. You have a higher toe for increased hitting area on open face shots and increased forgiveness on full or half swings. They are very easy to hit and very versatile in the number of options provided. While these are the least expensive option on this list, they have the features and look of a much higher priced club.
- The least expensive model on this list.
- High end features and performance for a great price.
- The soft forged carbon steel gives you some of the best feel on the market.
- A really good full shot club, but the higher-density groove pattern makes it an even better option for mid-range shots and chips.
- Looks great at setup and feels like a high end wedge in your hands.
- Very accurate with consistent distance on every shot.
- Not as customizable as other options.
- Does not generate the same amount of backspin that you find in some other models.
Bettinardi HLX 3.0
Stunning looks and exceptional feel set the Bettinardi HLX 3.0 apart from its competition. Just holding the club in your hand and letting it sit behind your ball, you feel almost like you are holding a piece of artwork. You can also customize the club by loft, length, lie, bounce, and grind so that you can find the exact right club for your game. Bettinardi has been more well-known for their well-crafted and great feeling putters, and they have taken that attention to detail and high end materials to the world of wedges.
The feel is as soft as you will find anywhere, and the club is very responsive and easy to use. It is very accurate and produces great backspin. Just looking at the club you see the quality and precision of construction. It makes its way to the bottom of this list based on price and features. For a fraction of the price, you can find many of the same features and even better performance. However, if price is not a consideration and you want a high end, aesthetically pleasing club that produces high end soft feel and good backspin, the Bettinardi is an excellent choice.
- One of the softest clubs on the market.
- Produces high end backspin.
- Comes in chrome or black smoke and they both look great.
- Some of the best looking clubs that make you feel like you are holding a precise and high quality wedge.
- The honeycomb milling on the back of the blade looks great at setup.
- They are very easy to control both distance and spin, and will get you closer to the hole.
- A pure blade design but with some distance and a little forgiveness as well.
- Performs well from any lie, around the green, and on approach shots.
- You can open up the face and get a lot of extra spin.
- One of the most expensive options on the list.
- Not as forgiving as some of the other clubs.
- Can be difficult to hit and has a small sweet spot.
How Close Should You Be To The Hole From 100 Yards Out?
According to golf.com, the average professional golfer, from 100 yards out, ends up over 18 feet from the hole. From 115 yards out, only about 80% of pros hit the green. From 50 yards, PGA Tour players are within 12 feet of the hole just about 50% of the time. The point is…wedge play is difficult!
While about 65% of your shots will be within 100 yards, our accuracy and skill with the wedge leaves a lot to be desired. There are so many different shots, hazards, and variables to think through and overcome that having the right club should not be one of them. It takes practice and skill to be a good wedge player, but it sure does help to have the right tool.
We all wish we could be like these guys picking a ball clean of the green with a wedge right?!?
Features To Look For in Picking The Best Wedges For Mid Handicappers
There are 2 features that stand above the others; backspin and soft feel. This is a list of the top 4 features, in order, that you should look for if you are a mid handicapper on the market for a new set of wedges.
What Are The Benefits of a Wedge Designed For Mid Handicappers?
A wedge for mid handicappers should focus on 2 things above everything else: spin and feel. These are the 2 most important features, and almost every wedge on this list has those things in spades. Mid handicap players have worked on their game and their skill level has progressed to the point that forgiveness is not the most important thing anymore. They hit the sweet spot most of the time, they have really good distance control, and they have a lot of different shots in their repertoire. Clubs that provide high end spin and feel can take your wedge play to the next level.
Best Overall: Callaway JAWS MD 5
The Callaway JAWS MD 5 clubs are our choice for best wedges for mid-handicappers. With the aggressive groove technology and incredible feel around the green, they could be the missing piece for lower scores for many mid-handicap players.
They are setup perfectly for full wedge shots and are some of the best wedges out there for scoring around the green. They look great at setup and they have enough forgiveness when needed.
Most Affordable: Wilson Staff Model
These are by far the most affordable option on this list, but the Wilson Staff Model wedges are also some of the most desirable and sought after forged wedges on the market.