This post was most recently updated on January 18th, 2022
The right wedge has great potential to help you reduce your score and achieve a lower round. If you are looking for the best wedges for the average golfer we will give you a few useful pointers as well as 5 reviews on some of the leading options. This review of the best wedges for 18 handicapper will help you to make the right choice for your needs.
Best Wedges For Average Golfer
Short on Time? Here's A Quick Product Synopsis
Some points about wedge selection for the average golfer
Our definition of an average golfer or a mid-handicapper
While most rules and aspects of golf are clearly defined, the definition of the average golfer or mid-handicapper is somewhat subjective. As this article is directed at the average golfer it is important to clarify what we understand to be the average golfer.
The USGA or U.S. Golf Association is the body that rules over the sport in the U.S. and is followed by most other countries. They control the handicap system in that area and offer statistics on the “average golfer”. The problem, however, is that many golfers simply do not have an official USGA handicap. This means that they are unable to calculate the average accurately or effectively.
We look at the average golfer as having a handicap of around 15 to 20, give or take one or two either side. Handicaps fluctuate but this is a good benchmark. This profile is for men.
A recent survey found the profile of the average golfer to be a 16 to 20 handicap with 1 to 5 years of experience. While there is no perfect definition of the average golfer, most will know where they fit in.
For the golfer in the 20 to 30 handicap range, check out our article on wedges for higher handicappers.
What Do Average Golfers or Mid-Handicappers Need from Their Wedges?
It is important to understand the various wedges, what they can do and when they should be used. A beginner, a mid-handicapper and an experienced player will all want something slightly different from their wedges. A mid-handicapper will generally want a fair amount of forgiveness and a comfortable sole. Mid handicappers want the same but with more playability and control.
It is important that the wedge feels comfortable and inspires confidence. It needs to be able to do what you want from it. Wedges are versatile and once you get used to one, you will get to know the distance you hit at a full swing or with a reduced swing. They can help you out of tricky situations such as sand, long grass or a poor lie. Knowing which wedge to use when and how to play it is crucial.
Your short game, particularly your wedge shots, will often do more to improve your score than any other aspects of the game.
- Cavity over blade wedges
While most average golfers use cavity back irons many still use blade wedges. This difference can cause confusion and difficulty and, as a result, cavity wedges are becoming more popular. They might offer slightly less playability but are more forgiving and easier to play. Again, it comes down to what you are used to and comfortable with. If blades work for you then great.
- Wedge Bounce
It is important to understand wedge bounce as it will have a significant impact on your shot. In soft sand or long grass, more bounce will help you get out of the situation. On hard ground or firm compacted sand a high bounce will work against you. It should also be related to your specific chipping style.
You should be able to see from the amount of edge that is off the ground as you address the ball. The more space the higher the bounce. It stops the club digging in on impact on soft turf or sand but on a hard surface, the bounce could cause you to make contact near the center of the ball.
Wedges are relatively easy to hit compered to longer irons or divers. A little forgiveness is however helpful, especially when you are starting out. Larger heads, cavity backs, and optimized weighting can all make a wedge easier to hit and more forgiving.
It is important to have control on your approach shots if you want to get closer to the pin. Some wedges have more control than others. What is most important is to get to know your wedge and what you do with it in order to become more consistent and accurate.
- Look and finish
While this is not really important to the performance, everyone wants their clubs to look good. There are a number of options to choose from with chrome being the most common.
How many wedges should I carry?
This is a question asked by golfers at all levels and a lot will depend upon your understanding of the various wedges, your games style and your need for other clubs in your bag. You are limited to only 14 clubs in a bag. Carrying additional wedges will mean sacrificing a few hybrids, fairway woods, irons or an additional driver.
While a pitching wedge and sand wedge are the basic minimum requirements for most golfers, many would benefit from a gap wedge and/or a lob wedge. Again, this will depend on your game as well as the course you are playing.
If you do not understand the lofts of other wedges and the distance you will hit, there is not much point carrying them. As your game improves you might find additional wedges a major blessing. Select wedges according to your needs as well as the course you will be playing.
Cleveland noted that many players are using more forgiving and easier to play cavity back irons while still using blade wedges. Based on this valuable insight they developed the Cleveland Golf 2018 Men’s CBX Wedge.
Sure, it is not the only cavity back wedge around but Cleveland went to a lot of trouble to make everything about this wedge as easy and forgiving as possible. Most golfers agree they did a pretty good job of that.
This is a popular and highly rated wedge with a lot going for it. First is the previously mentioned cavity back. Most of us have become used to playing with cavity irons so it makes sense that our wedges work in a similar fashion.
Cleveland did not stop there. The deep cavity allows for optimized perimeter weighting. The V-Sole has also been modified to create the Cleveland Feel Balancing Technology. This effectively means that the center of gravity (COG) is moved away from the heel and positioned in the center of the face. Then there is the Rotex face and the Zip Grooves.
All of these and the other material and design features combine to give a wedge that is highly-forgiving, easy to hit and consistent. It is suitable for a wide range of golfers from the beginner to the very low handicapper.
Despite the technology, design, and build, these wedges are great value for money. It is for all these reasons that the Cleveland Golf 2018 Men’s CBX Wedge is our editor’s choice.
A number of golfers might not be familiar with the Pinemeadow brand but the guys have been around for more than 3 decades. They offer quality clubs at affordable prices and don’t waste a bucket of money on marketing. If you are on a tight budget and want a decent wedge, the Pinemeadow wedges are certainly worth a look.
One feature that stands out about the Pinemeadow wedge is that it offers a good amount of backspin. This will help you with control and consistency around the greens. The spin is a result of the design and the U-Groove technology.
They offer a range of lofts from 52° to 68° so select the one that is right for your needs. Each loft has a unique and appropriate bounce rate but if this is important you, check it out first.
Another benefit of these wedges is that they are extremely light. This makes it easier to swing for most golfers. Despite the low price, Pinemeadow has still used quality materials. The majotity of golfers enjoy the feel and feedback from the wedge but better players might be looking for a little bit more.
The head is large and it has a wide sole that narrows to the toe. It makes the wedge forgiving and easy to play off the surface.
Surprise! Another Cleveland wedge made it into our top five. The Smart Sole 3 Wedge S has a number of design features and technologies that will make landing in the sand trap slightly less daunting. No one enjoys it but a quality sand wedge will inspire confidence and give you an easier out.
This wedge has an optimized loft at 58 degrees which makes for easier chipping out of the sand. It is also ideal for shorter approach shots and should get you close to the pin once you get the hang of it. You can loft your shots with greater ease without the complication of playing an open-faced shot.
The Feel Balancing Technology means that weight has been moved from the hosel area to nearer the toe. This makes the CG nearer to the center of the face and gives a good feel, greater accuracy, and more consistency.
The Three-Tiered Sole makes the sand wedge even more forgiving. It features 3 separate activation pads to improve turf interaction and make the wedge more playable from a range of lies.
This sand wedge is ideal for beginners or average golfers that have difficulty getting out of bunkers or struggle with distance and accuracy on short chips. The Smart Sole and other technologies make it easy to play and forgiving. Most golfers find it to be accurate.
The wide sole and rounded leading edge are designed to allow you to play a simple chipping shot without fear of digging into the turf.
OK, so it is no longer a surprise that the best chipping wedge we found is also a Cleveland product. They have spent a lot of time and money on research and development and this has made them market leaders in the wedge category. The Smart Sole 3 Wedge C shares many of the design features of the above club and this is what makes it so special.
The Smart Sole 3 Wedge C has the same Three-Tiered Sole which makes it easy to play even off a poor lie. The wide sole allows for good turf interaction and prevents you from digging into the turf as you chip. It allows most golfers to play a simple stoke that is accurate and effective.
As with the SS 3 Wedge S, this chipping wedge also has Feel Balancing Technology. Cleveland moved weight from the hosel towards the toe. The result is a more centered CG that promotes accuracy and improves feel.
The loft and lie have been optimized for chipping and the loft angle is 42°. It allows for simple and effective chipping without major effort.
You would expect this advanced technology to be expensive but this wedge offers great value for money. These are the third generation of Cleveland’s Smart Sole Wedges and they are extremely popular and highly rated. If you struggle around the green these might be a good option to consider.
Mizuno has really upped their wedge game with the S5 and this is a solid wedge that gives a good trajectory and distance. While distance should not be the only measure of a quality wedge, the S5 delivers consistency and good greenside control. Those are important features in a wedge.
It has a good sound and feel and most golfers enjoy the look of the1025E Pure Mild Carbon Steel design. The wedges are grain flow forged. The rounded head is large. This makes it forgiving while increasing playability.
The S stands for the Silhouette profile and this makes the wedge look aligned even when the face is opened or closed. The Quad Cut grooves are loft specific for better control.
This wedge will appeal to a wide range of players but is not ideal for absolute beginners. The trajectory will allow for a decent distance with good consistency for improved accuracy around the green.
We have reviewed some of the leading wedges for the average golfer. While they are all good for most average golfers, the Cleveland Golf CBX Wedge was an easy pick for our editor’s choice.
The hollow back design is familiar and easy for the average golfer to hit effectively. Combined with the optimized weight and the V-Sole, it is generally a trusted friend in your golf bag.
Look at your game and your needs, consider the points above and you will find the ideal wedge for you.
The Editorial Staff at Golfible is a team of golfing geeks and enthusiasts led by founder Alec Rose. All have the same obsession with golf tech, equipment updates and avoiding rain on the course.