With wedge play, and as someone who's had up to five wedges in my bag, I can tell you with certainty, the right tools makes like easy for the workman!
The bounce and the loft of the wedge can make all the difference but few people understand how it impacts their game. If you hit the same three shots with the same loft, but changed only the bounce of the club, you'll get three different results. That is how intricate wedge play is.
With quality wedges like the Cleveland RTX, you can take advantage of the best wedges for mid handicappers to bring the score down inside the strike zone. I believe these are the best golf wedges on the market at the moment for bunkers, approaches, chipping and pitching combined.
The Best Wedges for Mid Handicappers 2022
- Cleveland CBX 2 Cavity Back Wedge (best for most golfers)
- Taylormade Milled Grind Wedge (best Tour level wedge for mid handicappers)
- PING Glide 3.0 Wedge (the most complete wedge for mid handicappers)
- Mizuno T20 Satin Wedge (best wedge for keeping for a long time)
- Cleveland Smart Sole 4 S Wedge (best for bunkers and green side chipping)
- Cleveland Smart Sole 4 C Wedge (best for chip and runs if you chunk a lot)
Best wedge on the market for majority of golfers
Cleveland is the foremost name in golf wedges and the new iteration of the RTX is another fantastic wedge for the mid handicapper. Since most of us (84%) use cavity back irons, it makes sense to extend the set with cavity back wedges for feel and consistency and the RTX-3 cavity back irons fit nicely into you set.
Hacking out the back of the wedge means they can put that weight around the outer rear edge for more perimeter weighting to add more forgiveness. So when I hit this wedge, I noticed even on mishits, it retained distance and direction far more than my current Mizunos. But there's something important to know to make sure you don't misunderstand the specifications...
What I really like about these wedges is the multiple loft options.
They come in lofts from 46 degrees to 60 degrees in 2 degree increments. So if you like your one wedge from Cleveland, you can finish off the bag with another one or two with whichever loft you like.
A rougher face and deeper grooves mean you're going to be ripping up the greens more often and more consistently thanks to the extra spin these puppies get on the ball.
Best for low to mid handicappers
Taylormade need to make special wedges because their Tour players need them to complete the iron set they sign up to play with, so there is a lot of work that goes into making them.
They've even gone as far as to offer three different bounce options. There are LB, SB and HB options: Low, Standard and High Bounce. I like the High Bounce for most golfers. Low bounce wedges are really for skilled players or guys playing off firm ground most of the season. High Bounce wedges will hit the ground or sand and bounce off, propelling the ball high and with a lot of spin. The LB & SB tend to dig into the ground and produce inconsistent results unless you're super grooved.
The heel grind and the red dot in line with the hosel as well as the minimalist sole of the club really sets the Milled Grind wedge off as a looker. Always a sucker for classic looking wedges, these appeal to me. The newly designed grooves suck the ball in and spit it out full of spin. I played this wedge for a year and then upgraded to the new Milled Grind 2 wedge.
It's a lot more expensive than the Milled Grind 1, but worth a look if you want the latest and greatest.
Like all good looking things we love, this club can be less forgiving. That is why I recommend it for low to mid handicappers especially the high bounce option. If you do want to try them out and you're unsure of which bounce to try, get the HB first and if that really isn't for you, try the SB. It's all about trial and error.
The most complete wedge for mid handicappers
PING make easy to hit clubs in general and this wedge is easy to hit, but functions as any wedge you'd expect.
The wedge has been designed to be lighter and more forgiving. PING designed grooves that change according to each loft so the right grooves impart the right spin. In the lower loft wedges (46, 50, 52), grooves are less aggressive because we usually swing full on those, and we don't want it spinning like hell.
For the higher loft wedges, grooves are made to to create more spin on partial shots which we hit often with the higher lofted clubs. The higher lofted wedges have an extra half-groove on the bottom of the face for a little more spin.
With the added forgiveness on mis-hits, combined with the redesigned grooves, weight and shaft and grip, this is a revolutionary wedge that will suit almost anyone.
Best wedges for chipping and bump and runs
This is a truly unique 42° club that's designed to help golfers struggling to get up and down around the greens particularly if you chunk your chip shots a lot. The C wedge from Cleveland is a little beauty around the greens to get up and down. Within 120 yards, it's a dart thrower.
With that super wide Smart Sole, duffed chips disappear and it's almost impossible to screw up shots with the club. Fat shots are saved by the wide sole to get the ball near your target.
Green side you just aim the ball, take a putting stroke with it and the ball goes where you want, it's that simple.
Longer approaches take some time to adjust to the unique looking club face but once dialed in, you'll be lethal.
The S wedge comes in 58° which in my eyes is ideal for a sand wedge - like a love child of a sand wedge and a lob wedge. There's massive bounce in the Smart Sole making every wedge shot something you look forward to. It's so difficult to make a mess of a pitch or bunker shot, they're practically fool-proof.
Here's where this thing shines. You'll never fear sand again.
So simple: Line up to the target. Don't manipulate the club face like you do with a normal sand wedge. Swing and hit the sand behind the ball. That's all! The club will do the rest. Is this a miracle club? I don't believe there are any, but yes this is the exception. Practice a little with this thing and you'll get out of the bunkers first time every time.
Simple good wedges
The Mizuno wedge is often the one that gets you hooked. You play one, and you keep it for a long long long time. Pro Mo from my channel even uses them so there is no problem with the top quality of these wedges.
Decoration and looks are secondary on these wedge as they are very minimalist in the bag when you look at them. I like that. It's just a wedge and it does its job very well.
You can select two colors with the satin chrome or ion blue but both have the same qualities and when you lay the wedge behind the ball, the leading edge looks nice and straight. Most wedges seem to have a rounded look.
Who is a mid handicap and which wedge is best?
There are more forgiving wedges such as cavity back wedges to suit the rest of your bag if you play a forgiving set of mid handicap irons.
Other wedges can be blade wedges which are generally more precise. Mid handicappers can have a wide ability level with a wedge in their hand. A mid handicapper might even want to have different wedges for different shots. A lob wedge for high approaches from short distances. Maybe he wants a low bounce, sharp edge pitching wedge for chipping. Does he like a big fat sole sand wedge to splash it out of bunkers?
Every mid handicapper must understand their priorities and select wedges for the area of their game that will get them into the low 80s and into the 70s.
How to Create the Perfect Wedge Set
Step 1: Select the best option
3 wedges for consistent gapping
4 wedges for tiny gaps to plug
3 wedges for comfort
The Three-wedge Consistent Gap approach is the simplest system. It also gives you more space in the bag for another fairway wood or hybrid.This is going to be best for most golfers so there is more room in the bag for hybrids and fairway woods for more forgiveness approaching the green.
The Four-wedge Micro Gap approach means you have a lot of wedge options. This is a good system for longer hitters who are confident with their drivers and boom the long ball down the chute and have between 150 and 90 yards into greens a lot of the time.
The Three-wedge Random Gap system is what most people have because they have a standard PW from the manufacturer and buy new wedges separately without knowing about the gap between the PW and SW. This is not a bad system but it's not optimal.
I moved from a 4 wedge micro gap system to a three wedge system after discovering 58° wedges. They work like lob wedges and since I use a lob wedge from the sand anyway, the 56° SW was my most underused club. I threw it out the bag and put a 15° three-wood in because my driver goes a long way the wrong way.
Step 2: Select the wedges
Most wedge manufacturers produce wedges in the following lofts:
50° 52° 54° 56° 58° 60° 64°
There is no wrong choice, it all depends on your needs, BUT...
It's best to avoid the 64° wedges. They're a nightmare for anyone except Phil Mickelson. Seriously, they're awful and more of a gimmick. You might use this club once in a round and screw it up anyway!
Select your wedge manufacturer and try buy the 2, 3 or 4 wedges from the same range/manufacturer so there is consistency throughout the wedge set. Similar feel and distance gapping from the same range of wedges will give you more confidence on approach shots.
How to select the best wedge
What's you distance with the pitching wedge on a full shot? What's the next wedges distance? What's the next wedges distance after that? Find out the distances and find the biggest gap to fill.
Bounce of the wedge
Low bounce wedges play best on hard fairways and tight lies where the grass is trimmed close to the ground. High bounce wedges are preferred in soft ground, wet ground and fluffy bunkers.
Wedges can have up to 18 degrees of bounce but sometimes you might find a pro or a particular player grind his bounce to 2 degrees on very very hardpan and dry courses. The bounce you choose will depend on how steep you hit into the ball, the conditions of your courses (soft, hard, fluffy) and how you play around the greens. Do you hit chip and runs, high floaty shots, or basic chips?
Matte or shiny or rusty finish
You can get a matte finish wedge for less glare from the sun when you open the blade. There are blue, black, brown and copper wedges if you like to mix it up besides with silver. Some wedges are made to rust to give them more roughness for spin.
Groove pattern and style
Some wedges have extra mini grooves milled into the face. The grooves themselves cannot be too deep or a certain shape. You get U shape and V shape grooves. You want to select a wedge that will spin but not too much and be rough on the face but not so much that you destroy your golf balls covers.
Step 3: Practice Practice PRACTICE
Take those new wedges and go to the range. Waste half a bucket or even a full bucket on just hitting your wedges. Practice at the chipping green for an hour at a time. Chip in the garden or over your house.
Within a couple of months you'll drop your score by at least 4 strokes with a decent set of wedges and a 2 or 3 hours of practice a week. Guaranteed.
Frequently Asked Wedge Questions
Here are some key points people want to know about wedge play and wedges especially when in the mid handicapper range.
How many degrees is a Pitching Wedge (PW)?
Pitching wedges range from 45 to 48 degrees and are stamped with a P or PW, sometimes even a 10 iron like in a Honma set. The pitching wedge does not have a big sole and big bounce like the sand, and lob wedges. You can use a pitching wedge for approach shots to your maximum distance with that loft, and it is especially useful around the greens as a chipping club.
In fact, if you're struggling with chipping, pick just the pitching wedge and become very good at it. It will be the club you lean on in the future as you get better and better at golf.
What Is a Gap Wedge?
Between the pitching wedge and the sand wedge there can be a gap and this can cause some distancing issues on approach shots. If you dedicate yourself you do not NEED a gap wedge - you can learn to hit partial shots with a pitching wedge.
The strange thing is that a pitching wedge can be included in your set, and also often a sand wedge will come with the set too. But the part that frustrates people is that a pitching wedge will have a loft of 48 degree and the sand wedge will be 56 degrees. That's an 8 degree gap, whereas all the other irons usually have a 4 degree gap from one to the next.
That is why we call this a gap wedge - it fills the gap between the pitching wedge and the sand wedge. Easy.
Currently I have an A wedge which is another name for a gap wedge. A stands for Approach wedge. It's 51 degrees and fits the gap perfectly.
How many degrees is a Sand Wedge?
Sand Wedges come in 54, 56 or 58 degree varieties. A sand wedge is the most valuable club for most golfers between handicap 10 and 24+. You can use it for chipping, pitching, sand play. You do not really need a lob wedge unless your course really requires it for the shots you need. A standard 56 degree sand wedge will fulfill the needs of 90% of golfers especially in the mid handicapper range.
I played golf all the way down to a 5 handicap without a lob wedge. I used only a 56 degree sand wedge and it was great for everything especially sand play. A nice big fat sole and heavy bounce will get you out of the sand trap all day!
You have all the knowledge now to select a great set of wedges or just one to fill a gap. Modern wedges are all very good but as with all clubs, it depends on your tastes and your requirements. Choose wisely and I hope you start to get out of the bunker in one shot, and start chipping the ball really close.