If you’re a high handicapper, chances are you lose a lot of shots in the short game.
Wedge shots cause nerves in most new golfers. The margin for error is pretty big, and there’s no worse feeling than seeing the ball go just a couple of inches, or seeing it hit the blade and fly to the other side of the green.
These mistakes can be compounded if you have the wrong equipment.
Wedges come in different sizes, lofts, grinds, bounce angles… the list goes on and on, and if you’re new to the game it’s easy to make the wrong choice.
Fortunately, our team tested 25 of the most forgiving wedges in the game to determine the perfect wedge for beginner golfers. Whether you’re looking to invest in an expensive club or get a quick easy fix, our guide will help you find the perfect wedge.
Below you will find a rundown of our favorite high-handicapper wedges and detailed information on what makes them helpful.
We also get into the nitty gritty of bounce and loft and the different types of wedges available.
Ready to start getting up-and-down? Let’s jump in.
Best Wedges For High Handicappers: Best Wedges Quick Summary
If you don’t have time to read everything, here are our top choices for the best wedges for high handicappers:
Runner Up: Titleist SMP Vokey Wedge SM9 (click to see)
Best Value For Money: Cleveland CBX 2 Wedge (click to see)
Best On A Budget: Wilson Harmonized Golf Wedge (click to see)
Best High Handicapper Wedge For Bunkers And Traps: Cleveland Smart Sole 4 (click to see)
Wedges For High Handicappers Specification Table Comparison
|Wedge Name||Cleveland CBX Zipcore Wedges||Titleist SMP Vokey Wedge SM9||Cleveland CBX 2 Wedge||Wilson Harmonized Wedge||Cleveland Smart Sole 4|
|Our Rating||9.6/10 |
Best Value For Money
Best On A Budget
Best High Handicapper Wedge For Bunkers And Traps
|Pricing||Jump To Pricing Section||Jump To Pricing Section||Jump To Pricing Section||Jump To Pricing Section||Jump To Pricing Section|
|Lofts Available||44⁰ / 46⁰ / 48⁰ / 50⁰ / 52⁰ / 54⁰ / 56⁰ / 58⁰ / 60⁰||46⁰ / 48⁰ / 50⁰ / 52⁰ / 54⁰ / 56⁰ / 58⁰ / 60⁰||46⁰ / 48⁰ / 50⁰ / 52⁰ / 54⁰ / 56⁰ / 58⁰ / 60⁰ / 62⁰||50⁰ / 52⁰ / 56⁰ / 60⁰ / 64⁰||42⁰ / 50⁰ / 58⁰|
|Bounce / Sole Grind||9⁰ / V-Sole, 11⁰ / V-Sole, 12⁰ / S-Sole, 10⁰ / C-Sole||8⁰-14⁰ / F-Grind,10⁰ / S-Grind, 12⁰ / D-Grind, 8⁰ / M-Grind, 4⁰ / T-Grind, 14⁰ / K-Grind, 4⁰ / L-Grind||9⁰ -11⁰ / V-Sole, 12⁰ / S-Sole, 10⁰ / C-Sole||8⁰-12⁰ / Special Sole Grind||Extra Leading Edge Bounce / Smart Sole 4C, Smart Sole 4G, Smart Sole 4S|
|Shaft||True Temper Dynamic Golf Spinner 115 Tour Issue||True Temper Dynamic Gold / KBS Tour Lite 95 / Tensel AM2 Red (Regular) / Tensel AM2 Red (Ladies)||Dynamic Gold 115 Wedge (Steel) / Rotex Precision Graphite Wedge Flex (Graphite)||Wilson Steel Wedge Shaft||Smart Sole Steel 130g / Smart Sole Graphite 106g|
|Grip||Golf Pride Tour Velvet 360||Golf Pride Tour Velvet 360||Lamkin 360||Standard Wilson Grip||Golf Pride Tour Velvet 360|
|Read Review||Jump To Cleveland CBX Zipcore Wedges Review||Jump To Titleist SMP Vokey Wedge SM9 Review||Jump To Cleveland CBX 2 Wedge Review||Jump To Wilson Harmonized Wedge Review||Jump To Cleveland Smart Sole 4 Review|
Mini Product Reviews of Our Best Wedges
Cleveland CBX Zipcore Wedges
Rating: 9.6 /10
- More grooves with deeper cuts make spinning the ball easy with this wedge.
- Three different sole grind options available so you can select the best angle for your game.
- Some of our testers reported the club created too much spin.
We set out to find the ultimate wedge for players with a high handicap and Cleveland’s CBX Zipcore wedges were the clear top choice on the market today.
We tested over 20 wedges with our group of beginner and higher-handicap golfers and the CBX Zipcore was the preferred choice for almost all our golfers.
If you want a wedge that will allow you to hit the ball from any lie with confidence, can be tailored to the way you play and even make it possible to spin it like the pros, the CBX Zipcore is for you.
This club makes beginners look like seasoned pros when approaching the green.
So, what makes the CBX Zipcore so effective?
What you’ll notice immediately is the way the grooves look on the face of the club. Cleveland calls this design “Ultizip” and the grooves are closer together, deeper and sharper than their competitors.
This means shots from any lie can experience a great deal of spin because the ball will contact the club’s grooves easier, and shots from good lies will spin much more than with any other wedge.
For beginners, the ability to spin the ball and hold the green on approach shots or chips is a big advantage.
The Zipcore name comes from the inner material of the club; a lightweight core which promotes consistency on every shot by keeping the club from twisting on the downswing.
Another great feature of this club are the three different sole grind options. You can select the bounce angle which works best for your game. A lower bounce is best for players seeking clean ball contact, while a higher bounce is better for a player who takes a bigger divot.
Either way, our testers loved the ability to pick the wedge that worked best for their game while still taking advantage of the club’s other great features.
What we love about the Cleveland CBX Zipcore Wedges
- Grooves Promote Spin: The unique Ulitzip pattern helps hit consistent shots from any lie and makes it easy to spin the ball.
- Lie Angle Choices: With three sole grind options, you can pick the one that works best for your game.
Drawbacks of the Cleveland CBX Zipcore Wedges
Too Much Spin?: Our testers weren’t used to putting so much spin on the ball, so some had to become accustomed to how much the ball moved with this club.
We found Cleveland’s CBS Zipcore wedge to be perfect for beginner golfers due to its unique tech which promotes consistency and spin.
Titleist SMP Vokey Wedge SM9
Rating: 9.5 /10
- Progressive center of gravity helps players make solid contact.
- Styling, brand name and reputation of quality.
- Beginner golfers were overwhelmed by the grind choices.
After playing the top wedges in the game, we found the SM9 version of the classic Vokey wedge to be a solid choice for high handicappers.
If you’re looking for a wedge that will promote solid contact, help you spin the ball easily and will add instant credibility to your bag, the new Titleist SMP Vokey Wedge SM9 is a great choice.
The SM9 will help you make consistent contact better than any wedge on the market.
The use of a progressive center of gravity is the star of the design, when it comes to use in a beginner’s bag.
This center of gravity helps the club naturally make contact with the ball on the downswing. For a beginner golfer, we found this meant better contact. This means fewer bladed shots that fly over the green, fewer shots that only go a few inches and more that land on the green.
The grooves in the SM9 are what sets a Vokey wedge apart. SM stands for Spin Milled, which means the club’s face has grooves made by a special saw to ensure maximum spin, so even beginners can spin it like the pros.
Buying any Vokey wedge, let alone the latest model, will instantly add credibility to your bag. These clubs are damn good looking and are the most popular model on tour, so if you can afford the price tag, you’re getting top of the line wedges.
What we love about the Titleist SMP Vokey Wedge SM9
- Easy Contact: The progressive center of gravity helps beginners get the ball in the air easily.
- Vokey Reputation: These clubs look good, perform well and add instant credibility to any bag.
Drawbacks of the Titleist SMP Vokey Wedge SM9
Too In-Depth: There’s a reason Vokey is best on tour, it’s a great wedge for the pros. While our beginners loved the wedge, some were overwhelmed by the sole grind choices.
One of the best wedges of all time, the SM9 lives up to its legacy and is a great choice for any golfer.
Cleveland CBX 2 Wedge
Best Value for Money
Rating: 9.4 /10
- Cavity-back design creates a very forgiving and versatile club for consistent shots.
- Sole grind depends on the loft of the wedge, making it perfect for beginners who want to make good contact.
- Only available in one finish.
In our quest to find the best wedge for high handicappers, we found one model which held up against the top offerings today and was at a much better price point.
We found the Cleveland CBX 2 wedge to be the best value wedge for high handicappers. It’s designed for players who just want to have more fun on the course and helps beginner golfers enjoy the game more on full wedge shots and around the greens.
This wedge is designed exclusively for beginners, and it delivers great results.
The biggest reason it’s great for higher handicappers is it’s designed like a cavity-back iron. Traditional blade-style wedges are designed for experienced golfers who shape shots and change their swing, stance and club position to hit certain shots.
If we’re being honest, most of us don’t do that and just want a club that can help us get the ball in the air, and the CBX 2 delivers. The cavity back design and weighted sole promote solid contact and can help you hit consistent, simple shots from 100 yards in.
The CBX2 also takes the guesswork out of wedge selection. So many wedges have multiple grinds to choose from, and beginners often pick one that makes it harder to hit simple shots.
Cleveland made the sole grinds on the CBX2 dependent on the loft of the club, so it appeals to almost all golfers with a 10+ handicap and again promotes solid contact.
What we love about the Cleveland CBX 2 Wedge
- Cavity Back: Like game improvement irons, the cavity back promotes solid contact instead of the ability to shape shots. Perfect for beginners.
- Simple Grinds: The CBX 2 is made to appeal to higher handicappers, so the sole is crafted to help make consistent, solid contact from any loft.
Drawbacks of the Cleveland CBX 2 Wedge
Only One Finish: It’s purely cosmetic, but the wedge only comes in a chrome finish. It says a lot that this is our only drawback.
We found the Cleveland CBX 2 creates great value for high handicappers who just want to enjoy the game and hit more solid shots.
Wilson Harmonised Wedge
Best on a Budget – Under $75
Rating: 9.2 /10
- Great transition club from irons to traditional wedges.
- Game improving features not common to other wedges at this price point.
- Not as forgiving for beginners.
Our testing also revealed the best choice for cost-conscious golfers. If you’re looking to make short game improvements on a budget, there is no better choice than Wilson’s Harmonized Wedge.
If you’re ready to take the step from using the standard pitching wedge that came with your iron set around the greens to a more specialized sand, gap or lob wedge, the Harmonized wedge provides some great features for its price point.
You’re getting top-level features at bargain prices with this wedge.
It’s designed for beginners and has a large face. When you’re standing over the ball, it will look a lot like your traditional cavity back wedge but it provides the advantages of a blade style.
This will allow you to hit the ball with confidence whether you’re 80 yards out, chipping from the fringe or you’re in a greenside bunker.
You also get features like a sole grind which allows for open face flop shots, grooves that can help you spin the ball like the pros and a choice of black or chrome finish.
These features are absent in most clubs in the same price range, so you’ll be able to hit more shots with confidence while spending less money.
What we love about the Wilson Harmonized Wedge
- Perfect Transition Club: The Harmonized wedge is designed to help beginners transition to hitting specialized wedge shots.
- Packed with Features: From the sole grind to the spin-promoting grooves to the multiple finish choices, this club has far more features than any comparably priced choice.
Drawbacks of the Wilson Harmonized Wedge
Forgiveness: Since it’s a blade-style wedge, we found some testers had to get used to the new club style and it lacked forgiveness against more expensive options.
With features common to more expensive wedges and a comfortable feel, Wilson’s Harmonized Wedge is perfect for cost-conscious higher handicap golfers.
Cleveland Smart Sole 4
Top Pick for Bunkers and Traps
Rating: 9.0 /10
- Extra wide sole helps you get out of the sand easily.
- Milled grooves promote spin, even out of the trap.
- Sand wedge is only useful in the trap.
In our testing to find the top wedge for high handicappers, we hit a lot of bunker shots.
Playing out of the sand is an important part of your short game, and for beginner golfers the Cleveland Smart Sole 4 sand wedge was our top choice for getting out of bunkers.
This club gives you the best chance at getting out of a trap in one swing, period.
The first thing you’ll notice about the club is how wide the sole is. This wide sole combined with weighting in the center of the face is made exclusively to help you cut through the sand and get the ball up and out of the green.
You’ll love the weight of the club and this big, wide sole will help you get out of traps with ease.
The club also features an advanced groove pattern to remove sand from the face on the downswing, so you can hit shots which will stop on the green rather than continuing to roll off the other side.
What we love about the Cleveland Smart Sole 4
- Extra Wide Sole: The wide sole not only helps beginners feel more confident, it effectively cuts through the sand and helps get the ball in the air.
- Specialized Grooves: The grooves in the club are designed for spin, even when hitting out of the sand.
Drawbacks of the Cleveland Smart Sole 4
Only for the Sand: While the Smart Sole 4 does have a chipper and gap wedge option, if you’re only adding the sand wedge it won’t be very useful for other greenside or full swing shots.
If you want a wedge that will give you the best chance to get out of the sand, Cleveland’s Smart Sole 4 is a great choice for any handicap.
What Are The Best Wedges For Beginners To Carry?
More often than not high handicappers struggle to find the green in regulation. This is nothing to feel concerned about, as your game will improve over time. But you need the right equipment to help make that happen. Finding the green is challenging, even to some experienced golfers.
Whether it’s problems off the tee or difficulty with approach shots, if you’re playing off a high handicap you’re less likely to find the dance floor at the first time of asking but do not be discouraged. Because if you have the right clubs, you will be amazed how your game can improve.
That’s why it’s really important you have a good selection of wedges at your disposal. Having a wide variety of wedges, knowing how they work and what their individual strengths are, can drastically improve your golf game.
There are lots of factors to consider when choosing your wedges and it’s vital you understand a few particulars such as loft and bounce.
Do not be discouraged by this use of technical terminology. The notions of loft and bounce in a wedge are actually very easy to understand once you get the hang of it.
These variants will determine how the club reacts to certain lies, how much spin you’ll put on the ball and ultimately, the range of different shots you’ll be able to play.
Having a good understanding of these, will strengthen your golfing strategy and afford you more options, especially when trying to make those particularly tricky shots. The more tricks you have up your sleeve, the stronger your golf game will be.
So here are all the important bits you need to know before choosing which wedges to put in your bag.
Types of Golf Wedge – Pitching Wedge, Gap Wedge, Lob Wedge, Sand Wedge
When you buy a set of irons they’ll usually come with two wedges: A pitching wedge (PW) and sand wedge (SW).
These are usually designed very similarly to the golf irons, both in terms of construction and aesthetic; the major difference is that they have a more lofted club face and therefore produce very different golf shots.
A pitching wedge typically has between 44°- 48° of loft and is most commonly used for shorter approach shots and those pitch-and-runs from just off the green.
The standard sand wedge usually has between 54° – 58° of loft and, true to name, is predominantly used to help escape from those sand filled green-side bunkers.
If it’s the only other wedge you have in your bag, you might use it for other shots around the green as well, especially those that require a little higher trajectory than your pitching wedge can provide.
Here is where we start to see the importance of understanding a wedges loft. This refers to the shape of the wedge’s club face and will cause your ball to react differently, depending on its size and shape.
Your sand wedge may be designed for rescuing your call from sand traps, but with its face being more lofted than the pitching wedge, it can be very useful in other situations too. Knowing when and how to take advantage of the different types of loft, can make or break your golf game.
There are two other types of wedges, often overlooked and certainly underrated, and it’s very unlikely either will come with a set or irons: the gap wedge and the lob wedge.
Adding these to your bag will add variation to your short game, both in terms of shot selection and distance control.
As the name suggests, gap wedges are in your bag to help bridge the gap between pitching wedge and sand wedge.
This one is for all the shots where the pitching wedge is too small, and the sand wedge is too large. When you need just that right amount of loft for that particularly difficult shot, and when standard clubs just will not cut it.
Think of it as a middle man—a happy medium between the two standard wedges. Considering the average dimensions of the PW and SW, a gap wedge should have around 50° – 54° of loft.
This comes in extremely helpful when you’re playing approach shots onto the green from distances just in-between clubs. And this happens far more often than you would think in golf.
As much as golfers learn to gain better control over their shots and the ball, often you will be faced with situations where the standard clubs are just not quite right for the shot you need to make. This is where such specialty wedges come into play.
It means you’ll have to make fewer half-swings and effort shots to find the pins, so you’ll never sacrifice accuracy.
The lob wedge has the most loft of all the wedges, 58° upwards, and makes it really easy for you to get the ball flying higher and landing softer.
This one will see you making minimal effort to achieve those higher arches, as well as minimising problematic bounce which can throw off your accuracy and see your ball ended up far from where you want it to be.
There will be times when you’ll need to get extra height on your shots, perhaps when playing out of steep bunkers and having a lob wedge means you won’t have to manufacture extra loft by playing around with your grip or stance.
Importance Of Loft And Bounce In A Wedge
The more lofted the club face, the more height you’ll get on your shots.
Needless to say, this higher flight comes at the expense of distance, so each of your wedges will travel different yardages with a full swing.
This is why it’s really important you have a good selection of wedges in your bag.
As a general rule of thumb, every 4° of loft will account for around ten to fifteen yards of distance.
If you can remember this and learn to adjust for it, your game will be on point in no time.
Controlling distance by altering the length and effort of your swing is less reliable than having clubs with varying degrees of loft.
Following trends in the modern game, most standard pitching wedges that come with irons will have around 44° of loft.
Now consider the average sand wedge has around 56° of loft and you can see that there’s a pretty large gap to bridge when it comes to distance.
Having a wedge to fill that void will give your game that extra distance control.
Loft will also determine the range of shots you can play closer around the greens as well.
If you don’t have a lob wedge in your bag (let’s say anything with more than 58° of loft) then playing shots such as the lob and the flop become increasingly more difficult.
Having at least three variations of loft amongst your wedges is a great place to start.
Another really simple way to get one step ahead is to pay close attention to the bounce of your golf wedges.
Tailor it to suit your style of play, and the way you swing the golf club.
Bounce is the angle between the leading edge and the sole of the club—it’s why a wedge never lies completely flat on the ground.
When we talk about bounce we’re really talking about the section of the club face that hits, or ‘bounces’, the ground when you play a shot.
Buy a new golf wedge and the bounce is usually labelled on the clubhead and, just like loft, is measured in degrees.
Whether you’ll want wedges with low bounce or high bounce will depend on your swing and the type of shots you like to play around the greens.
A lower bounce wedge, 4° – 6°, will have a slightly flatter sole and lends itself to those golfers that have a shallower swing path—those who have a tendency to ‘scoop’ the ball.
They’re great for firmer conditions; courses that will leave you with tight lies around the greens and in the bunkers.
If you tend to hit clean shots with your wedges, leaving less of a divot, then you’ll probably want a wedge with low bounce.
A high bounce wedge, 8°+, will have more of a rounded sole and lends itself to those golfers that have a slightly steeper swing path—those that hit down on the ball a little more.
More bounce, more of an angle on the sole, will help prevent the leading edge digging too sharply into the sand or turf and fight against what we call ‘dragging’.
If you have a habit to strike your wedge golf shots a little fat, then you’ll probably want a wedge with high bounce.
Why Forgiving Wedges Are Best For A High Handicapper
Being a high handicapper, having wedges that are easy to use, or relatively ‘forgiving’ as we like to say, is a must.
While choosing the right mix of loft and bounce for your clubs is very much down to personal preference, we think that picking a model that’s forgiving is essential for all high handicappers.
A lot of this is down to the design, and in particular the shape of the wedge.
Manufacturers make certain clubs easier to use than others.
We’ve steered away from any wedges that have a more traditional, blade-shape design, instead opting towards wedges that have more of a cavity back and a slightly thicker leading edge.
Remember, we’ve only picked the best wedges for high handicappers.
So all of our club selections are easy to use and provide extra forgiveness when you fall foul to the occasional miss-hit.
Wedges for High Handicappers Conclusion: The Best Wedge to Improve Your Game
So there you have it, our list of the best wedges for high handicappers in 2023; five clubs that are guaranteed to help take your short game to the next level.
The Cleveland CBX wins our top Editor’s choice award the best club for a high handicapper thanks to its ease of use and availability in a range of different lofts and bounce—the truly perfect wedge for high handicappers.
Remember, before you buy any wedge, figure out which loft your bag might be missing and the type of bounce that best suits your style of swing.
What wedge grind is most forgiving?
The K-Grind in Titleist’s grind lineup is considered the most forgiving. These wedges have the highest bounce. You can use this grind out of bunkers as well and open up the face for flop shots.
Are high toe wedges good for high handicappers?
High toe wedges are great for high handicappers. The wedges have a round leading edge which adds forgiveness to the club. A wide sole also allows golfers to make good contact when striking the ball, especially on greenside chips.
Are Cleveland RTX 4 wedges good for high handicappers?
The Cleveland RTX 4 wedges can be used by high handicappers but they are not considered a game improvement club. Unlike the CBX lineup, the RTX’s do not have massive cavity backs that make them extremely forgiving on mishits.