Wedges Buying Guide:
Best Options and Comparisons
What is a Wedge?
Attributes of a Wedge
LoftGolf balls come in three main performance categories: distance, spin control, and Tour performance. Practice balls are also available for when you’re training or honing your skills. Let’s take a look at all four of them: The loft is a characteristic that is common among all golf clubs. This is simply the angle between the clubface and an imaginary vertical line. Others may also define this as the angle of the clubface between the ground, which is horizontal. When using wedges, you’ll need higher lofts to launch the ball over a short distance but with a high trajectory. This is opposite to how loft affects irons and fairway woods.
Leading edgeEvery club has a leading edge, but this edge appears to be more prominent for wedges. Fairway woods have broad heads and blunt edges, but wedges are the opposite. These edges are sharper, affecting the club’s interaction with the turf if you mis-hit the ball. If your swinging is faulty, the leading edge could “dig” into the turf or sand and hit the wrong side of the ball.
BounceThe bounce is the angle between the wedge’s leading and trailing edges. Each wedge in the market is rated for either low, mid, or high bounce. Ideally, wedges with lower bounces can hit and launch the ball higher over a shorter distance without hitting the turf. However, players with wider swings with a wedge should feel more at home with a mid-bounce wedge. On the other hand, players with tighter angles of attack can perform better with a high-bouncing wedge.
Sole GrindDepending on your playing style, the grinds on your wedge’s sole may be as broad or narrow as needed. There’s no cut-and-dried rule when selecting what type of grind you want from your edge; you’ll want to give the club a test run to decide which grind is the best for you. You’ll want to see how specific grind variations affect your swinging style and performance in certain course conditions.
GrooveGrooves are lines carved out of the clubface. The depth and width of these grooves directly affect the amount of backspin you produce during launch. Using a wedge with the right grooves for your playing style allows you to enjoy better control and achieve consistent launches on the green or off the bunkers.
The look of each golf club, including wedges, is more than just aesthetic. For instance, the shape of the club head can have psychological effects at address. A wide clubface can make a high handicap player feel more confident because of the more prominent sweet spot and impact surface. Some players are also more comfortable with specific color schemes that boost their concentration at address.
Aside from learning about these characteristics, you might also want to educate yourself on the various types of wedges. The following section will tackle that topic for you.
Types of Wedges
Pitching wedgesThe pitch angle has the lowest launch angle among the other three wedges. That setting makes it the safest choice when trying to chip the ball from the rough to the green. However, this club can hit the farthest distance; that’s why some players incorporate the pitching wedge into their full-approach strategy.
Gap wedgeThe gap wedge is between the pitching and the sand wedge regarding launching distance. This is due to its loft angle; at 52 to 54 degrees, this is higher than what the pitching wedge has but lower than the sand wedge’s loft. An ideal impact could send the golf ball 110 to 115 yards from the tee spot.
Sand wedgeAs its name suggests, the sand wedge is most at home in sand traps. With 54 to 58 degrees of loft, it has the high angle needed to get out of the steep side of bunkers without overshooting the distance. Still, its launching distance is shorter than that of the pitching wedge. This makes the sand wedge ideal for hitting the ball from the outer edge of the green to the hole.
The lob wedge can be used to launch the ball over an incline and into the greens above; it can literally “lob” the ball over high trajectories. Lob wedges have lofts between 60 to 64 degrees. When used in full swings, the lob wedge has the shortest launching distance among the other three types in this list.
Knowing the four types of wedges helps you pick the right one to add to your golf bag. You must make sure that the capabilities of your wedge complement what your other clubs add to your performance. It may be necessary to go over your inventory and decide which loft angle you want to add. You should also consider your swinging style, especially around greens or on trouble spots like bunkers.
Let’s take a look at what brands produce the wedges that are currently sold on the market. We’ll also take the opportunity to learn a bit about the company’s history and products.
Why Use Wedges in Golf?
As mentioned above, wedges can reach distances shorter than what fairway woods or long irons could make the ball go. However, they also have relatively longer ranges than a putter. That makes them ideal clubs for situations requiring the ball to fly higher but not farther than 120 yards.
One such scenario is when you want to attempt chipping the ball to the hole from the edge of the green. Putters can only hit a very short distance and cannot bounce the ball. On the other hand, wedges can make the ball jump from the edge to land close to the hole and roll the remaining distance. Players can score a “birdie” with enough power using a wedge.
Another situation where the wedge’s high arc can come in handy is when you find the ball close to a bush or a tree, with the green close by. You want the ball to rise higher over the two obstacles but not land too far from the target. This is impossible with a driver, with its shallow loft and a relatively longer distance than what the wedge could do.
Last but not least, you’ll find wedges handy when your ball lands at the edge of a bunker. The wedge’s high angle could make the ball fly high over the sand and land just close to where you want it to. Bunkers are generally placed close to the part of the fairway bordering the green; you don’t want to over-extend your trajectory.
Mastering wedges is vital to improving your short game or the series of shots you make close to the green where the hole is. When you understand how high your ball goes and how far it flies using a wedge, you can plan your approach to make as few shots as possible until the ball goes into the hole. The mastery of your wedges is also key to a consistent performance around and on the green.
Why Use Wedges in Golf?
Pitch shotsPitch shots are done at the outer edge of the wedge’s range or from the rough or fairway. With a pitch shot, you will want the ball to fly about 80% of the distance before it lands and rolls towards your target. Generally, this shot sets up a chip into the green or lands the ball close to the hole.
Chip shots are the opposite of pitch shots. Instead of flying most of the distance, the ball’s trajectory is shorter and will spend most of the time rolling. Chip shots can be used to attempt a birdie whenever the opportunity presents itself. Often, it is used to set the ball up for a close-up putt.
Whether you want to become a touring professional or a weekend golfer, you’ll want to master each of your clubs. Achieving control over your wedge’s capabilities will, for starters, reduce the number of shots that you’d have to make to score a hole. You may be struggling with bogeys now, but over time, you’ll learn to achieve birdies with your growing proficiency in golf.
The following section will look at what wedges the pros use in their most recent victories. This information should not be taken as recommendations. Some of the wedges in these golfers’ bags are too advanced for beginners or average golfers. They may not be ideal for your handicap level.
Who Is Using Which Wedges in Golf?
Jon RahmA member of Team Callaway, Jon Rahm eschewed the TaylorMade Milled Grind 2.0 in favor of Callaway’s Jaws Forged wedges. This model has three loft configurations, but Rahm picked the 60-degree model. However, he has also expressed an interest in the 56-degree version of the Jaws Forged wedge.
Phil MickelsonThe winner of six Major tournaments, Phil Mickelson has been playing with Callaway clubs for the past 18 years. His bag carries three custom-made wedges – the PM Grind ’19 “R.A.W.” wedges. The PM in the model name stands for his name since he collaborated with the company to create the wedges.
Scottie SchefflerAs of 2022, Scottie Scheffler is currently number one in the Official World Golf Ranking. He defeated names like Kevin Kisner, Billy Horschel, Viktor Hovland, and Tyrell Hatton between February and March 2022. Scheffler carries the Titleist Vokey Design SM8 wedge in his professional golf bag.
Sam BurnsSam Burns is currently the Valspar Champion after defeating Davis Riley in February 2022. The champ only has Callaway clubs in his golf bag, including Apex TCB A and the Jaws MD5 Raw wedges. Aside from these, he also plays with a Callaway Apex U.W. Hybrid and a Callaway Mavrik 4-wood with 17 degrees of loft.
J.J. SpaunA young golfer of Mexican-Filipino descent, John Michael Spaun Jr., a/k/a J.J. Spaun, has just recently bagged his first-ever PGA TOUR win at the Valero Texas Open. Part of his arsenal for this game is his three Cleveland R.T.X. ZipCores with 50, 54, and 60 degrees lofts. Spaun also uses a Callaway Mavrik Sub-Zero 18-degree 5-wood and Srixon’s Z-U65 and ZX7 irons.
Chad RameyJust like J.J. Spaun, Chad Ramey secured his first win for this year at the 2022 Corales Puntacana Championship in the Dominican Republic. Wielding his TaylorMade MG3 wedge and his array of exclusively TaylorMade clubs, Ramey defeated fellow touring pros, Ben Martin and Alex Smalley. Chad plays with two MG3 wedges with lofts of 52 and 58 degrees.
Cameron SmithLast month, Cameron Smith won a narrow victory against Anirban Lahiri with a birdie on his final hole in the Players Championship. Smith’s club line-up for this career-defining game includes four Vokey Design SM9 wedges with 46, 52, 56, and 60 degrees’ loft. Most of Smith’s clubs are also Titleist products, including his TSi3 driver, TSi2 3-wood and TS2 7-wood.
Ryan BrehmBrehm reaffirmed his status as a P.G.A. Touring professional with a victory at the Puerto Rico Open. He brought along three Cleveland R.T.X. ZipCore wedges for this game. Aside from these, Brehm also plays with a Srixon Z.X. hybrid and a ZX7 iron.
Sepp StrakaSepp Straka broke ground in February 2022 when he won The Honda Classic championship, being the first Austrian golfer to bag the award. This is also the 28-year-old golfer’s P.G.A. Tour victory as well. He joins the likes of Ryan Brehm and J.J. Spaun, all of whom carry Cleveland’s RTX ZipCore wedges to his games.
Harris EnglishHarris English bagged last year’s Travelers Championship, besting Kramer Hickok. English brought his Ping Glide 3.0 and the Ping Glide Forged wedges to this game. His Glide 3.0 wedges came in three settings – 46, 52, and 56 degrees. On the other hand, his Glide Forged has 60 degrees.
Joaquin NiemannJoaquin Niemann won the Genesis Invitational in February 2022. This win gave him his second PGA Tour victory so far. There are currently two wedges in his bag: the Ping Glide 3.0 at 46 degrees and the Glide Forged Pro. Niemann had the wedge’s 52, 56 and 60-degree settings in his inventory. While he uses mainly Ping clubs, Niemann plays with a Titleist Pro V1x golf ball. You could conclude that these players performed the way they did because of their equipment roster. However, the reality is a combination of both equipment and player. These touring professionals pick the clubs that complement or improve their existing skills. The selection process is highly personalized; that’s why some golfers’ choices may differ from others.
What Brands Produce Wedges
The genesis of Cleveland Golf began in 1979. It was then known as the Cleveland Classics. 11 years later, Skis Rossignol purchased the company and renamed it Cleveland Golf. Just like Wilson Staff, Cleveland Golf was a pioneer in wedge manufacturing. It has the distinction of being the first to offer multiple bounce options on the wedge’s soles. Cleveland Golf is also the first to use C.N.C. milling to design grooves on their wedge offerings.
Wilson Staff, the golfing unit of sports company Wilson, has its history tied to the sand wedge. Wilson Staff collaborated with the legendary Gene Sarazen, who held a 75-year partnership with the company, to create R-90. The R-30, which came out in 1933, was the first sand wedge to appear on the market.
Callaway Golf is a global brand specializing in a wide range of sports products. Aside from the main Callaway product line that produces wedges and other clubs, Callaway also has putter manufacturer Odyssey under its umbrella. Other affiliated brands include Ogio and Jack Wolfskin apparel makers and entertainment company Topgolf Entertainment.
One of the oldest manufacturers of golf-related equipment, Titleist bears votes of confidence from some of the most prominent names in golf. These endorsers include Tony Finau, Cameron Young, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, and Daniel Van Tolder. Although it started as a manufacturer of precision-built golf balls, Titleist has expanded to other products, including golf clubs.
Cobra’s mission is to help out beginner and average golfers. Its portfolio of golf clubs expresses that commitment in kind. Cobra is famous for its H.O.T Face and PWR-COR technologies and its lightweight materials in most golf clubs. In the wedges category, Cobra is known for bringing in its Cobra SNAKEBITE face-groove design.
EdelBased in Liberty Hill, Texas, Edel Golf is a privately owned company that wants to focus on building highly performing golf equipment, including wedges. The company focuses on innovating the development of products that provide golfers with the means to surpass their limitations and become better players in the sport.
PXGPXG is essentially a “Johnny Come Lately” to the golf club manufacturing scene. It traces its roots back to Bob Parsons, an entrepreneur who decided that he wanted to build clubs that surpassed any that the market offered in 2014. Parson utilized his resources to bring experts like Mike Nicolette and Brad Schweigert and put them to task in designing highly functional golf clubs.
Proto-concept results from a partnership between a Japanese firm and a global retailer of golf-related products. One of the partners, Endo forging house, forges irons and wedges for many brands, including Mizuno, Honma, Callaway, Srixon, etc. The other partner, Golf Partner, handles the marketing and distribution of resulting wedges and clubs through its extensive retailer network.
In the next section, we will look at some of the best offerings from these individual brands. We’ll focus on the golf clubs built for the average player, who’ll require consistency and forgiveness from each wedge that they’re interested in.
Best Options and Comparisons
Versatility is in store for the player when using the Wilson Harmonized wedge. This wedge sports some of the most aggressive grooves in its product class. If you’ve been struggling to work yourself out of tight spots like bunkers and roughs, the Wilson Harmonized is the perfect wedge for you.
The Wilson Harmonized’s groove design is intended to achieve maximum spin. Combined with the sharp angle of the wedge’s blade, this handy little club can easily gouge your ball out of difficult situations without slicing or hooking. Are you worried about bursting the turf? The Harmonized easily glides through the turf, thanks to its sole grind.
The Harmonized also features loft angles of 52, 56, 60, 50, and 64 degrees – all designed to launch the ball at a high trajectory but at a lesser distance than a long iron.
Cleveland brought together the best of both worlds – the forgiveness factor of cavity-backed irons and the higher lofts of wedges. These attributes combine in the Cleveland C.B.X., one of the most forgiving wedges for the casual or weekend golfer.
The C.B.X. has the most balanced club head among other wedges, thanks to the cavity-back design. Equal distribution of weight in the perimeter lets the player compensate for not hitting the ball square on the clubface. This feature allows the C.B.X. to minimize distance and directional aberrations that players can otherwise suffer from using non-forgiving wedges.
The C.B.X. also features the proprietary V-sole design. The V-sole improves performance on both turf and bunkers by ensuring optimal contact between the clubface and ball even when the player mistimes their impact.
Callaway Jaws Full Toe
You get accuracy and unparalleled feel when the Callaway Jaws Full Toe wedge is in your golf bag. The Full Toe designation indicates Callaway’s variable-weight technology. Full Toe allows you to adjust the center of gravity to suit your playing style or handicap level.
With the C.G. dialed in to your specific capabilities, you can enjoy the feel of hitting the “sweet spot” in every launch. This customized sweet spot also ensures consistency in performance and ultimately reduces your handicap in the long term.
The Full Toe technology works together with the C-grind sole design to ensure optimal performance in any part of the course. You can effortlessly execute chips and flops without sacrificing accuracy due to environmental conditions. Last but not least, the Callaway Jaws Full Toe wedge sports a unique groove design that enhances launch control and ball spin.
Titleist Vokey SM9
You can probably ask for nothing more from the Vokey SM9. The successor of the equally successful SM8 wedge, the SM9 combines clever aesthetic design, loft adjustment, and ideal C.G. placement. You get a wedge so versatile that you won’t believe the performance you get out of the club!
Most golfers tend to think of their performance as one of three types – digger, driver, or slider. These terms refer to how high the ball bounces with every shot when using wedges. What Vokey did with the SM9 was to standardize performance. This way, players don’t have to overthink when choosing wedges. True enough, the SM9 offers a flatter trajectory no matter what a player’s swing type is.
Vokey outdid itself in designing the SM9 by placing the center of gravity right in front of the clubface. The SM9’s design also puts the C.G. slightly towards the heel. Vokey complements this design element with longer hosels and thicker toplines.
Cobra King Cobra SNAKEBITE
Cleverly named SNAKEBITE, this wedge harkens back to the rich history of the Cobra brand. It brings back memories of the original King Cobra design, but with elements intended to suit the contemporary golf player.
SNAKEBITE refers to the new groove technology Cobra used to build this wedge. The SNAKEBITE provides a progressive groove design as the loft of each wedge increases. Wedges with lofts between 54 and 60 degrees sport narrow and deeper grooves. On the other hand, wedges with more than 60 degrees lofts have broader and shallower grooves. This design gives players better control over their trajectories and also optimizes ball spin.
The SNAKEBITE wedge is an ideal club if you’re looking for versatility around greens and lies and from the fairway. The rounded sole assures you of excellent forgiveness, which means more accuracy even on mis-hits!
PXG 0311 Sugar Daddy 2
The PXG 0311 Sugar Daddy II is P.X.G.’s latest innovation in wedge technology. P.X.G. boasts of these clubs being 100% milled. Milled means that each club has been built strictly according to specifications. Because of that, the Sugar Daddy II promises optimal performance and player satisfaction.
Precision weighting technology gives players complete control over the golf’s performance. Fitters will help adjust the clubhead weight to fully suit the golfer’s individual skills and preferences. The Sugar Daddy II also features High Toe Weighting that puts the center of gravity right where the ball and face meet during impact.
Last but not least, full-face grooves enhance forgiveness by providing players with a broader surface to hit the ball. Expanding the clubface helps boost confidence by ensuring consistent performance when using the wedge.
TaylorMade Milled Grind 3.0
Precision and consistency are yours to enjoy, thanks to the TaylorMade Milled Grind 3.0.
With the brand-new Raised Micro-Ribs technology, TaylorMade has turned the Milled Grind 3.0 wedge into a more accurate shot on the fairway and greens. The Milled Grind 3.0’s clubface features more texture and more surface interaction between it and the ball on impact. The Milled Grind 3.0’s turf interaction capabilities are also enhanced by the club’s 100% milled craftsmanship.
The R.A.W. Micro-Face technology provides the Milled Grind 3.0 optimal performance on wet surfaces while preserving the finish. Interaction between metal and liquids can result in rust, but the R.A.W. technology keeps much of the head from rusting. This keeps the club’s performance consistent and unaffected by wear and tear.
Proto-Concept Forged CB Wedge
The Proto-Concept Forged CB Wedge offers unparalleled forgiveness by combining milled construction, cavity-backed design, and a fresh sole design. All of these attributes boost performance regardless of the player’s handicap level.
The new sole design prevents bounces that usually result from overly strong swinging. The sole is also built with as much width as Proto-Concept can give it. The wider sole ensures that the downswing remains accurate even if there’s a degree or two of mis-hit from player input. The rounded design completes the boost to the golfer’s performance.
On the other hand, the cavity-backed design allows for more significant head size and improved balance. The cavity enhances the look of the golf club, enhancing confidence aside from performance. Finally, computer-aided Face Dot milling preserves spin consistency in every shot. The resulting face grooves boost control no matter what the environmental conditions are.
The SMS acronym in the name has nothing to do with the mobile messaging standard. Instead, it means “Swing Match Weighting System.”
Edel designed the SMS wedge to fit every player’s individual playing styles. Each player may follow the same manual when down swinging with a wedge, but there’s always a personal element to every technique. The SMS gives players absolute control over weight distribution by simply redistributing the three built-in weights until they find the wedge comfortable to wield and swing.
Adjustability has always been a premium for players regardless of skill level. The Swing Match Weighting System can help you gain more confidence by creating a club that fits precisely your own preferences or comfort level.
As you may have realized by now, flexibility and versatility are widely-sought attributes of a golf club. Wedges are no exception. C3i recognized that and came up with its sole wedge offering as of 2022.
C3i claims to have combined the capabilities of wide-soled wedges and the precise performance of a traditional sand wedge into one hard-to-miss weapon. The C3i wedge has an optimized center of gravity that allows optimal performance even in bunkers and lies. The Autoglide Extreme Sole makes sure that you can pull off any flop from these situations without worrying about accuracy.
Rounding these features up is the classic Wedge shape. C3i preserved the look and feel of the traditional web and improved it even further with a Polymer Insert. The Polymer insert absorbs excess energy upon impact and recreates the classic wedge feel all players have come to love. This feature also optimizes ball spin and the amount of forgiveness together with the AutoGlide Xtreme sole.
Golf is a great sport. You may not have appreciated geometry and physics as a youngster, but playing golf will help you build a practical knowledge of these two sciences. To set up a shot, you would have to envision a trajectory for the ball. You have to estimate the distance in yards, and then you decide what club you’ll take out from your bag for that specific launch.
Each club type in golf has its own launch distance and angle capabilities, and wedges are not an exception. These diverse abilities mean that you also have to familiarize yourself with what each club can do. You have to know how far in yards they can launch and at what angle for wedges in particular.
Wedges specialize in short distances and high launch angles. This makes them ideal for shots from within a bunker. Wedges can also be used for chipping and pitching around and on the green. Some players use wedges for short-distance full swings that set up their short game strategy.
When choosing a wedge, you’ll need to consider its specifications together with your personal preferences. The wedge must work with your playing style and not conflict with how you play your game. Thus, it’s essential to take some time to test your options before you make a final decision. You also need to think about your budget, your handicap level, and your future plans for your golf game.