If you’re a high handicapper, one of the surefire ways to take shots off your score is to work on your short game. To achieve this feat, you need to know more about the best wedges for high handicappers to carry.
We’ve discovered that beginners often neglect the significance of having an excellent selection of wedges in their golf bag. As a consequence, they are ill-equipped to deal with the growing demands of today’s golf courses.
In this article, we’re going to discuss the importance of having a high-quality wedge as well as the key characteristics to consider when you’re buying one. Let’s begin.
What sets a wedge apart from other types of golf clubs is loft. While a 9 iron usually has a loft at around 44°, anything that exceeds 45° is already considered a wedge. By design, wedges are usually used on fuller shot attempts from 140 yards, depending on your swing speed.
The general concept behind wedges is to utilize them for controlled shots rather than power ones. For this reason, it’s well-known in the golfing world that you never hit a golf ball at full power using a wedge. Its primary job isn’t to cover long distances but to help you get closer to the hole.
Types of Wedges
Similar to irons, wedges come in two head types — muscle backs (commonly referred to as blades) and cavity backs. Cavity backs offer more forgiveness, while muscle backs are easier to control but are less forgiving.
As a high-handicapper, we recommend that you pick cavity backs over their muscle back counterparts. You’ll soon find out that even the short shots, such as chips or pitches, can be challenging to hit right at the sweet spot.
The best wedges for high handicappers are further categorized according to their loft, namely:
- Pitching Wedge — 46° to 50° of loft
- Gap Wedge — 50° to 54° of loft
- Sand Wedge — 54° to 58° of loft
- Lob Wedge — 58° to 62° of loft
Now that you know the types of wedges according to loft, here are the most common specifications provided when you’re choosing the best wedges for high handicappers:
Bounce is the angle created by the sole of the golf club resting on the ground, which determines how low or high the leading edge is off the ground. A club with a lot of bounce produces a high bounce angle, which indicates the leading edge is higher off the ground. Meanwhile, a wedge with a slight bounce produces a low bounce angle, which means the leading edge is less elevated from the ground.
Simply put, bounce indicates how much the sole of the clubhead lifts the leading edge.
There are three main types of finishes you’ll see on most wedges:
- Raw – a type of finish that will rust over time but provides additional spin to your shots.
- Chrome – has a gleaming appearance that can cause a good amount of glare on occasion.
- Matte/Satin – produces a duller finish with a softer feel than chrome.
The core idea behind the various types of finishes is that each aims to provide a different feel. However, the difference is quite subtle, if any at all. Ultimately, you’ll pick the one that appeals to you more.
Grind pertains to the manner in which the sole of the club is manipulated or “ground” to adjust how the club rests on the ground and affects the club’s bounce.
Simply put, choosing a club with varying grinds allows you to play a wider range of shots without altering the bounce of your club.
As a high handicapper, you shouldn’t be too concerned about having an extensive shot repertoire. At this point in your golf journey, you should focus more on getting the ball on the green in as few strokes as possible.
The amount of spin put into the ball is crucial in gaining accuracy and control with your wedges. Knowing how your ball will respond (with more or less backspin) when it touches the green is essential in getting the ball close to the hole.
One specific factor contributing to the type and amount of spin produced is the grooves on the clubface. Different manufacturers apply various technologies to deliver the required amount of spin. Some use more or less grooves on the clubface, while others draw on their proprietary expertise.
Whatever wedge you opt to use, make sure that the grooves on your clubface are always clean whenever you attempt a shot.
Most wedges nowadays come in standard steel shafts. As a whole, this type of shaft allows more accuracy than graphite and provides a better overall feel.
Since you use wedges primarily within a hundred yards, steel shafts are the better choice because their tighter shot dispersion provides you more accuracy than graphite.
When to Use Your Wedges
As you go along, you’ll find that wedges are among the most versatile clubs in your bag. They’re typically used when you’re inside of a hundred yards from the green since they produce more spin than other clubs.
As a high handicapper, you’re probably not going to hit many greens regularly. This means:
- getting on the green by your 3rd shot on a par 5
- finding your way to the green by your 2nd shot on a par 4
- getting on the green on a par 3 directly from the tee box
That said, you’ll most likely use your wedges for shots right off the green, such as blasting out of a sand trap, a high pitch shot over some deep rough, or a conventional chip shot that you aim to have as little air time and start rolling on the green as quickly as possible.
Key Characteristics of the Best Wedges for High Handicappers
As a high handicapper, versatility is more about having a variety of loft wedges in your bag. By now, you already know that it’s advisable to carry at least four wedges in your bag to have plenty of options without adjusting your swing type. Make sure to bring a pitching wedge, gap wedge, sand wedge, and a lob wedge at any given time.
Each of these wedges should provide you different bounces rates that you can choose from, depending on the situation on the course.
For instance, most sand wedges are designed to provide more bounce, which is what you need exactly to get you out of sand traps. This same bounce can also help you get off soft and squishy areas on the course.
While you’re still working to lower your handicap, you should stick with golf clubs that provide maximum forgiveness. The reason behind this is that it’ll take you time to develop the necessary skill to make solid contact, even on short shots.
As you improve your game, you may consider wedges with a pure blade design, but for now, we highly suggest those that have more forgiveness with some sort of perimeter or cavity weighting.
With wedges, you’re not going to see a significant discrepancy in prices compared with other types of clubs. Typically, the cost of drivers and irons can have a price difference of as much as a hundred dollars.
That said, you can expect to spend at least a hundred dollars for a good-quality wedge.
In closing, the best wedges for high handicappers are those that offer maximum forgiveness.
Before investing in one, make sure to pinpoint which loft is still missing in your golf bag. Also, consider the bounce that best suits your swing style. Wedges are a dream to play, and the accuracy of shots you’ll hit with them will surprise you.