Best Sand Wedge 2019

Best Sand Wedge 2019

The challenge of playing good golf is to achieve a consistent strike. Ironically, to use a sand wedge effectively in a bunker, the challenge is not to hit the ball but get the club face to enter the sand a short distance behind the ball; the sand releases the ball into the air. When buying irons, regular sets often exclude a sand wedge with golfers regularly buying the best sand wedge as a separate purchase.

You’ve decided you want to take a few lessons and get better at this maddening game called golf. There’s only one problem, you don’t have any clubs.  In order to help guide you on making the best decision for your game, we’ve compiled our list of best irons for beginners.

Which Sand Wedge Should You Be Using?

PRODUCT

Callaway Daddy

DETAILS

  • Great look and feel
  • Choice of loft and shaft
  • Designed to provide the bounce and spin you are seeking from a variety of lies

OUR RATING

Editors Choice

5/5

5 out of 5

Our #2 Rated

Wilson Harmonized

  • Budget price
  • Available in a variety of lofts if looking for other wedges to match
  • Sleek, good-looking wedge

Best Sand Wedge for Seniors

4.6/5

4.6 out of 5

Our #3 Rated

Cleveland

  • High quality, cavity back
  • Provides confidence at address
  • Forgiving wedge for a variety of shots

Best Sand Wedge for Beginners

4.4/5

4.4 out of 5

Our #4 Rated

PXG

  • Mid-size sole
  • Large face to aid use in poor lies
  • Sharp leading edge

Best Sand Wedge for Mid Handicappers

4.1/5

4.1 out of 5

Our #5 Rated

XE1

  • 65 degree loft for elevation and soft landing
  • Large sweet spot from spread Center of Gravity
  • Easy to align

Best Sand Wedge for Juniors

4.2/5

4.25 out of 5

What Makes for a Good Sand Wedge?

I had to take advice when buying my first sand wedge although it important to realize that the factors involved in deciding which to buy may get different priority from different players.

We all think loft first of all and you must remember that different manufacturers offer a variety of loft. Some are as low as 54 degrees and others 60 or more. Likewise, wedges vary in the typical amount of bounce you can expect and that is regularly the result of the angle created when the sole is below the leading edge. When you are looking for the best sand wedge for you, it is worth getting advice about your own swing and what may be the club to try as a result of that advice.

The material used in the manufacturing and weight of the club can be a factor in the spin that is achieved although it is important to keep the grooves clean at all times. Your sand wedge should be heavier than your other short irons because its use does not depend upon your swing speed but your skill and the club’s ability to elevate the ball by moving the sand behind the ball.

Different Types of Wedges 

Pitching wedges come as standard in sets of irons but there are three other types of wedge that you can carry in your bag and they are generally bought individually. Sand wedges are one of them with the other two known as ‘’gap’’ and ‘’lob’’ wedges which have different degrees of loft.

While you may use your pitching wedge for shots of over 100 yards into the green hoping that the ball will not roll far, the other three wedges are far more specialized. A pitching wedge is rarely more than 50 degrees with  the gap wedge likely to be around 54 degrees. You will get a high flight if you require it but as a handicap golfer, it is unlikely that you will hit the ball 100 yards with it.

The ‘’gap’’ is called as such because it fills in the loft between pitching and sand wedge. The latter is the wedge of choice in a sand bunker but can be used with care for shots of around 80 yards. Lob wedges are also 60 degrees and more and often used with an open face to get over a hazard close to the green with minimal roll on landing.

Sand Wedge for bunker shots 

Many mid and high handicap golfers sigh when they hit sand. All sorts of things creep into their mind. In contrast, top professionals regularly prefer sand to greenside rough and often aim to hole from there. They rarely fail to get on to the green and regularly get close enough to hole the putt.

That is a real bonus for handicappers who are just happy to get out and only drop a single shot.

The secret to good bunker play is a long, smooth swing and follow through as well as the ability to decide how far behind the ball the wedge should enter the sand. The bounce provided by the base of the sand wedge when you open the face will do the rest. You must remember to make a full swing with the ball just ahead of center in your stance.

Lob Wedge for bunker shots 

The design of a sand wedge makes it far from ideal in a wet bunker because of the danger of the club’s flange bouncing rather than cutting through the sand. It makes the decision of selecting the club to help you get out of the bunker far more difficult. Your lob wedge may be the answer because of the increased loft and the fact that its edge will make it easier to cut through wet, heavy sand. You will slightly open the face but no more. It is an argument for carrying a lob wedge as well as sand wedge.

Characteristics of a Sand Wedge

Although it takes the name ‘’sand’’ with the name or an ‘’S’’ on the club as a description the sand wedge can be used in several situations, all but one being from a sand bunker.  That is because its loft is such that it can be played without an open face to hit the ball the appropriate distance.

Typical characteristics of the sand wedge are:

  • Loft between 54 and 56 degrees is the norm but may be higher.
  • Short shaft varying between 33 and 37 inches
  • Wide sole with a flange designed to produce bounce when the face is open in a bunker.

Sand Wedge and Beginners

Bunkers are the bane of high handicappers and those new to the game of golf. It is important for you to practise out of sand to master the technique of getting the ball back into play.

As a beginner, you may not want to spend too much on a sand wedge.  Your priority instead may be remembering the basics of playing out of sand rather than worrying about the subtle differences between the sand wedges in the marketplace.

If you are new to the game, you should certainly carry a sand wedge and every time you have to get into a bunker to get your ball out, clear your mind and remember the correct basics.

Our Review of the Best Alternatives

Callaway Daddy

Editor’s Choice

  • Quality
5/5
  • Price
4/5
  • Our Rating
5/5

Callaway’s expertise at designing wedges has taken the company to the top of the market for short irons. The Daddy looks and feels great, providing performance to match its appearance. It is a forged club in soft steel with a shape unique to Callaway.

It is minimally offset with a square toe and fairly straight leading-edge assisting control from a clean contact.  The Center of Gravity is designed to suit the loft of the club allowing you to achieve the trajectory you want even with high loft so you can aim for the pin with confidence.

Daddy’s spin is achieved because of the 16-groove design with an additional groove at the base of the Wedge near the leading edge. The sole grind has been devised to tackle a variety of lies and grasses, as well as firm and not so firm sand bunkers. Whether you need to open the face in a bunker or play a traditional chip from around the green, the Daddy should reward a precise contact.

PROS

  • Versatile and forgiving from sand, rough and greenside
  • Great feel with spin to suit
  • Variety of buying alternatives to suit you (3 different grinds)
  • Different groove packages

CONS

  • Perhaps marginally better for mid-range rather than high handicap golfers.

Wilson Harmonized

Best Sand Wedge for Seniors

  • Quality
4.2/5
  • Price
5/5
  • Our Rating
4.6/5

The Harmonized is an attractive wedge with a sole grind that allows you to open the face for effective shots. It is very competitively priced, durable and comes with an anti-glare option; the sand wedge loft is 56 degrees. While it only comes in right hand, if that is you, it is unimportant.

Its blade design and strong grooves is conducive to providing the spin you are seeking to get close to the pin. The classic design is true to the traditions of Wilson with the competitive price belying the consistent quality it is able to produce from a skillful shot.

The Harmonized is an attractive wedge with a comfortable grip and is made from true temper steel so attractive price is not a result of inferior materials. It comes in regular flex with 35-inch shaft as standard.

PROS

  • Very affordable wedge
  • Good both in firm bunkers and difficult rough
  • Sleek look adds to your confidence over the ball

CONS

  • Single grip option and only in right hand
  • Short of control in certain circumstances
  • Question of durability

Cleveland

Best Sand Wedge for Beginners

  • Quality
4.6/5
  • Price
4.2/5
  • Our Rating
4.4/5

This clean cut wedge is rare in the market place because of its cavity-back design which Cleveland has produced to increase forgiveness because of its perimeter weighting. The Dual V-Sole is new with weight moved from the hosel to change the position of the Center of Gravity move towards the middle of the clubface. That helps to counteract any slight issues in the strike and adds to the feel on impact. You can expect to achieve the spin you are looking for in a short shot whatever the loft you select. Cleveland offer a range of lofts for golfers seeking something specific to their ability.

PROS

  • Forgiving cavity back design
  • Versatile for a range of different shots
  • Available in a range of lofts
  • Good for providing required spin

CONS

  • Not the choice if you are using blade irons
  • Not ideal if you need low bounce

PXG

Best Sand Wedge for Mid Handicappers

  • Quality
4.7/5
  • Price
3.5/5
  • Our Rating
4.1/5

This sand wedge from Pinemeadow has a wide sole and large forgiving surface to promote ease of use from all lies. The grooves are ‘’U’’ shaped as standard. You can expect good feel and bounce when using the PXG and you will love its look. You can expect low flight and good spin from the PXG with weight-screws available for personalization.

PROS

  • Classic features to inspire confidence
  • Offers spin and control in different lies and from a range of distances
  • A forgiving wedge from a company committed to research and development

CONS

  • Expensive relative to the competition
  • Not ideal when looking for low bounce from tight lies
  • A little heavy

XE1

Best Sand Wedge for Juniors

  • Quality
3.5/5
  • Price
5/5
  • Our Rating
4.2/5

This 65 degree sand wedge provides all the loft any golfer might need which makes it a good club for anyone short of confidence about achieving elevation. It is not made by one of the major manufacturers so perhaps lacks such companies’ research and development knowledge, yet it is inexpensive and looks good.

PROS

  • Sole guarantees good bounce
  • Large sweet spot because of well-spread Center of Gravity
  • Easy to align

CONS

  • Cast iron so limited response and feel
  • Only really suitable for high handicappers who ‘’fear’’ a sand bunker

The loft in a sand wedge allows you to get the ball into the air although it is easy to mishit a shot by raising your head and making contact with the blade. It is an important club and golfers regularly buy a sand wedge when their other irons are a different brand. We believe that Callaway Daddy is the best sand wedge for you because of the feel and versatility provided in all circumstances.

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