***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:
To see our other most forgiving golf clubs in 2022, check out this article: Most Forgiving Golf Clubs in 2022!
Did you know that roughly half of all golf shots occur within 100 yards of the green. While that includes putting and chipping, it is also clear that wedge shots between 40 and 120 yards fall into that number.
I started thinking how often I got up and down (or even on the green for that matter) from 50, 80, or 100 yards out and the truth is…Not very often. At the driving range, how many people do you see do more than the cursory 10 warm up shots with their wedge before they move on to “bigger and better” things like the driver, 3-wood, and hybrid?
For a lot of people, the “half to full swing” wedge shot has become something that we assume we can do when the reality is…we usually cannot. The following is a description and rating of some of the most forgiving wedges on the market. These wedges will give you that extra forgiveness and reward your long drives with the scoring they deserve.
Most Forgiving Wedges in 2022 Reviewed
Cleveland CBX 2
The cavity back Cleveland CBX 2 wedges are some of our favorites. Cleveland, in general, has always been at or near the top of the wedge market. By creating a high end cavity back wedge with the technology and capability to provide great feel and spin around the green, they will definitely remain on top for a while longer.
The CBX 2 does just that. With 3 different sole grinds to provide optimal performance at different lofts and a groove system that provides really high spin rates, these wedges are good for any skill level. There is also a TPU insert to control vibration and increase feel around the green and on full shots. The hollow cavity design gives the club the perimeter weighting that makes it one of the largest sweet spots on the market so that off center strikes can produce better results. When it comes to forgiveness and performance together, there is just not a much better wedge than the Cleveland CBX 2.
- The performance of a blade with the forgiveness of a cavity back.
- Great distance and forgiveness on long shots without losing the spin and feel in your short game.
- 3 different sole grinds to optimize performance of each wedge.
- Designed to be forgiving and easy to hit.
- Good bang for your buck.
- Great distance control and accuracy on approach shots.
- Like other Cleveland wedges, the stock shafts are top notch.
- Some of the best “full and half shot” wedges on the market.
- Tour zip grooves give you a really high spin rate and good feel around the green.
- The combination of forgiveness, feel, distance control, and price are as good or better than any other wedge out there.
- A slightly different look at setup than a traditional blade wedge.
- Less flexibility in shot making and feel around the green.
Callaway Mack Daddy CB
The Mack Daddy CB wedges are kind of the game-improvement version of the Mack Daddy 5 wedges that you can find in a lot of bags on the PGA Tour. These are cavity back wedges with wide soles and good perimeter weighting. The head is also larger and thicker than most with a thicker topline like what you would find in a traditional cavity back iron.
In fact, these wedges were made to be the transition from cavity back irons to wedges. Many manufacturers expect even higher handicap players to use blade wedges since that is what has always been there, but those same players need more forgiveness. That is where the Mack Daddy CB wedges step in.
- Very forgiving, user-friendly wedges for mid and high handicappers.
- The cavity back design gives you the perimeter weighting that increases the size of the sweet spot considerably.
- The larger head gives you a higher MOI.
- The wide soles provide a lot of bounce so that these clubs can withstand strikes to the sand, turf, or other terrain prior to making contact with the ball.
- A good full shot club.
- Confidence inspiring at address.
- The groove system still provides adequate spin rates for most golfers.
- Wide soles limit versatility.
- Not as much spin as the wedges listed above.
- Many golfers that are used to always using the smaller profile blade wedges will not like the cavity back look.
- More difficult to open up the club face with the lower lofted wedges because of the size of the sole.
Ping Glide 3.0
The Glide 3.0 looks like your more traditional wedge but plays with a lot of forgiveness and a lot of feel. Most manufacturers produce the same basic club year-after-year with some slight modifications, or they use other designs and tweak them a little to make that design their own. Ping started completely from scratch with their Glide wedges. They went to their tour pros and asked what they wanted in a wedge.
They then went across the country to amateur players to find what features they most desired. The result is a forgiving club that performs as well from 80-120 yards as it does from just off of the green. The grooves are deep and sharp and produce a lot of friction and backspin. The cavity of the Glide 3.0 produces a really high MOI so that mishits do not happen as often. On top of that, there is a lot of surface area on the club and the sweet spot is bigger than any other wedge Ping makes. The cavity and grooves together, along with some other features, give these wedges that cavity/blade combination that many golfers are now looking for in their wedges.
- A very high MOI for a wedge.
- A huge face with a huge sweet spot.
- A really good full shot wedge.
- The groove system produces one of the highest spin rates out there. They are deep and sharp and produce a ton of friction and spin.
- A lot of customizations and flexibility available.
- A really light club, especially the shaft, so it is very easy to control.
- A combination of the pros of a blade with the pros of a cavity back.
- Has the classic blade look that most golfers are used to in their wedges.
- Though there are some game improvement components, these wedges are aimed at lower handicappers.
- A much better club for those who have a steep swing plane.
Cleveland Smart Sole 4
While the Smart Sole wedges may not be the most attractive on the market, they are definitely some of the most forgiving. The large topline and huge sole are evidence of this club’s focus on forgiveness. The MOI of this club is second to none and the huge sole bounces right off any surface ensuring good contact with the ball.
The face is huge and all of the weight is spread out behind the face meaning that the sweet spot is also huge. Even if you make terrible contact with the ball, you can end up with a fairly straight shot and the possibility to get the ball off of the ground towards the target. This is really one of the easiest wedges to hit and provides some of the best results on approach shots.
- The huge 3-tiered sole interacts with the turf really well ensuring good contact with the ball.
- The huge face is perimeter weighted so that the sweet spot covers more surface area of an already overside face.
- The MOI is really high so that the club will not twist at impact.
- One of the straightest and most accurate wedges out there.
- The aggressive milled grooves provide increased spin.
- You do not have to open up the face as much on chips, sand shots, and flops which means they are a little easier to hit as well.
- Great interaction with the turf, maybe the best of any wedge out there.
- The increased bounce makes these clubs playable from virtually any lie.
- The club heads are a lot bigger than your traditional wedge.
- Your spin and feel around the green is not what it is in other wedges.
- Many people will not get over the look of these wedges to find out how well they actually perform.
Callaway Big Bertha B21
The Big Bertha B21 wedges were the first to be designed using the well-known Callaway Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology. The result is a very forgiving, very high launching, and very high spinning wedge. These are cavity back wedges so the head, sole, and top line have much larger profiles, but the sweet spot is a lot bigger as well. The tungsten energy core is a weight placed toward the bottom of the club to give a lower center of gravity along with a little more spin and feel.
These wedges feel as good or better than any other cavity back wedge out there, and their performance around the green is almost as good as any blade. The “urethane microspheres” absorb vibration and sound giving the club a lot of feel while also maintaining distance. The groove technology developed by AI is top notch and adjusted for each loft.
- Very long, consistent, and forgiving on full wedge shots.
- Produce a lot of spin around the green.
- The additional vibration usually added by bigger club heads with more active faces is dampened with urethane microspheres.
- The wedges have a lot of feel, especially for cavity back clubs.
- The perimeter weighting and high MOI make these very forgiving wedges.
- A lot of bounce.
- The Big Bertha name has been really good for a really long time.
- Made for mid and high handicappers.
- Really good for players who struggle to get their wedges as high and as soft as they would like.
- On the expensive side of the wedge market.
- While it performs well around the green, the optics of the larger head make it difficult for players who are used to a blade.
- More difficult to open the face in the sand or when you are hitting a flop shot.
TaylorMade SIM Max OS
The first thing you notice about these wedges is how great they look and feel in your hands even before swinging the club. The SpeedBridge is evident and the technology that supports the topline of the club promotes confidence before you even take a swing. The forgiveness of these wedges stem from high MOI, a huge sweet spot, perimeter weighting, and the stability of the topline of the club.
All of these things add together to give golfers every chance to complete a high performing shot. The ultra thin face with an enhanced groove system works for your approach shots as well as it works for your chips. These clubs can help bridge that gap from 100 yards and in.
- A very forgiving club.
- One of the most consistently long wedges on the market.
- The groove system allows you to maintain feel and spin with a club that was designed primarily for forgiveness.
- The Speed Pocket maximizes face flexibility for even more forgiveness and speed.
- The ECHO damping system lessens vibrations to increase feel and feedback.
- A very high MOI.
- The sweet spot is huge and the face of the club is very long as well.
- The shape design of the club head and face promote forgiveness.
- Progressive shape and grooves maximize the performance of each loft.
- Not as good around the green as some of the other clubs on this list.
- TaylorMade is still trying to catch up with its competitors in the wedge department.
- Can be too big for many players.
Do You Really Need a Forgiving Wedge?
Yes! You do really need a forgiving wedge. Well, at least you probably do if you are not a scratch golfer who has spent a lot of time on your 120 yards and in game. With groove and face technology being what it is in today’s game, you can build a forgiving club that is easier to hit and allow technology to add the spin and feel.
Instead of being overly concerned with our drivers and what our “150 yard” club is, how great would it be if we were really good from 100 yards and in? To do that, our suggestion is to find a forgiving club that is perimeter weighted, cavity backed, cuts through the turf well, and has a huge sweet spot.
More than likely a wedge like that will also have technology to provide that extra feel and spin around the green.
Features That Add Forgiveness
Sweet Spot. The sweet spot is the area on the face of your club that provides the best and straightest ball flight. The size of the sweet spot of your wedge directly effects how forgiving that wedge will be.
MOI. The “Moment of Inertia” (MOI) is the idea that a club head will naturally twist one way or the other and especially on off center strikes. If you have enough mass in the club head, this effect can be greatly lessened.
Perimeter Weighting. The perimeter weighting actually increases the size of the sweet spot, but it is by spreading out the weight of the head that the sweet spot grows.
Is Forgiveness The Most Important Aspect of Wedge Selection?
We cannot say that forgiveness is the most important aspect of wedge selection, but we can say that it is top 3. Wedges are not easy to hit like so many people believe them to be.
They are shorter and easier to control so you would think forgiveness would be far down the list in terms of what you need, but that is not true. Like we mentioned before, think about how many strokes you lose from 120 yards and in.
My guess is that you have as much chance to get up and down from 80 yards as you do from 180 yards. That should not be the case. People take for granted the difficulty of hitting a wedge so the focus is always on spin and chipping.
It is more likely, however, that a good forgiving wedge will also produce adequate feel than a club built for feel will also be good to hit full from 100 yards out.
Best Overall: Cleveland CBX 2
We could type out all of the positives of this club, but that would take a long time and they are listed in the above product reviews. The CBX 2 wedges are really forgiving and good at full shot wedges. They are also really good around the green and put a lot of spin on the ball. There is just not much not to like.
While they are slightly larger than a blade, they do not look that different at setup and they actually build some confidence because you know the ball is going to go straight. You basically get the best of both worlds (cavity back and blade) with these wedges and they are our pick for most forgiving wedges on the market.
Most Affordable: TaylorMade SIM MAX
While most of these clubs are virtually identical in price, the SIM Max are slightly less expensive than their competitors.