Creating a complete wedge setup that allow golfers to hit every shot that is required of them from golf courses is a challenging task. Golfers may find that maximizing their number of wedges and buying strategic, versatile models that their short game has more options. Selecting a pitching wedge is more than simply matching it with you iron sets. If you are a golfer struggling with your short game, choosing a more specialized pitching wedge can give you more weapons around the greens.
Below, we examine each part of the wedge category of golf clubs. Pitching wedges, gap wedges, sand wedges, and lob wedges all fill specific roles in a golfer’s bag. While most golfers accept the pitching wedge option that comes with their iron sets, that is not the only option. Continue reading to find out how a new pitching wedge may lead to lower scores.
Top 5 Best Pitching Wedges
- More Spin from Groove-In-Groove Technology
- Four Sole Grinds to Suit a Variety of Playing Styles, Attack Angles and Course Conditions
- Broad Range of Lofts and Bounce Combinations
- Head geometry delivers ideal impact feel and feedback
- Milled narrow/deep grooves optimized for stronger lofts
- Patented forging process ensures long, continuous grains to deliver soft, solid, consistent feel
- Rotex 4 generates more spin
- Muscle shaping on the back of each loft progressively adjusts the center of gravity
- Aggressive face milling for more precise control
- Cavity-back design inspires confidence when at address
- Incredible feel and forgiveness on off-center-hits
- Great from a wide variety of lies, including sand and the rough
- DBM provides extreme resistance to wear for longer lasting, better looking wedges
- CNC milled faces & grooves-cnc milling creates highly accurate grooves
- CNC milling technique delivers optimized surface roughness across the face
When Do You Use A Wedge?
When to use a wedges is as simple as when you are approaching the green from distances within your 9-iron carry and as complicated as choosing the wedge with the right sole grind for a 50 yard bunker shot. Ensuring that every wedge in your bag is built for maximum playability is your best chance to make you are never caught without an option to attack a pin.
Finding the Right Wedge for Your Golf Game
Finding the right wedge for your bag involves choosing a loft that goes the appropriate distance when struck with full shots, making sure that you are comfortable hitting every yardage inside 100 yards, and having enough options to take advantage of the diverse lies found among different golf courses. Wedge lofts, sole grinds, and clubhead engineering help make these clubs unique. Below, we explain all of these in detail to help you understand what is best for your game.
Buying four wedges at full retail price can become expensive. Golfers looking to save money can find older model wedges or wedge made by less prominent brands at a fraction of the maximum retail prices. When completing your bag, make sure to maximize value but do not overlook the importance of finding your ideal wedges.
Categories of Wedges
Wedges are subdivided into categories based on their lofts. Pitching wedges are the strongest lofted wedges, followed by gap wedges, sand wedges, and lob wedges in ascending lofts. These four categories help golfer distinguish when to use each wedge from a variety of distances and lies.
Pitching Wedges (PW)
Pitching Wedges are most commonly sold alongside golf iron sets. These wedges will have lofts that match the gaps between a player’s irons. Marked by a “P” or “PW,” the exact loft of pitching wedges can be found on manufacturers websites. Once a year, golfers should have all of their clubs checked for both loft and lie to ensure that they have not been altered by casual play.
Gap Wedges (GW)
Gap Wedges can also be purchased as part of an iron set. While it is very common for golfers to buy their gap wedges alongside their sand and lob wedges, choosing the set gap wedge ensures that the lofts match you irons. Typically between 50 and 52 degrees, the gap wedge is vital for golfers with stronger lofted pitching wedges and conventionally lofted sand wedges.
Sand Wedges (SW)
Sand Wedges are often the most used wedge in a golfer’s bag. The sand wedge is often used for full swings approaching the green and for various chip shots and pitches from the fringe and bunkers. Versatile soles are carved in modern sand wedges to help golfers navigate these different lies with precision. The loft of your sand wedge should match the lofts of the next closest gap or pitching wedge and your highest loft wedge if you include one.
Lob Wedges (LW)
Lob Wedges are the highest lofted wedges. Used by a fraction of golfers, these clubs are useful tools for hitting difficult shots around the greens. Due to their lofts, 58 degrees and above, these clubs can be difficult to strike during full swings and may only be used for pitching and chipping. Golfers should test their own comfort levels with these wedges before automatically including them in their set.
Making a buying decision with any club in your golf bag should boil down to one of two questions: Does this new club perform significantly better than the club it is replacing or does this new club fill a hole in my current bag? Picking wedges can be difficult because of the many components that make them unique. Immediately following we illustrate the different parts of these clubs and what you should be looking for to help you answer those two important questions.
Wedges are classified by their lofts and as such, the loft dictates the majority of the clubs performance. However, even within similar lofted clubheads, other aspects of the design can have a massive impact on its playability and performance between golfers.
The clubhead of a Wedge is made up of:
Face and Grooves =Designed to help increase spin and control distances from the tall grass and rough, the face and grooves of a wedge help stop the ball quickly on greens. These laser etched crevasses have become an important part of wedge technology and each manufacturer cuts their grooves in slightly different fashions.
Bounce =Wedges do not sit flush with the turf when in their playing positions. This angle formed by the intersection of the leading edge and the ground is called the club’s bounce. Different bounces will suit different style of swings and understanding how this angle affects the clubs performance is critical in finding your ideal wedge.
Grind =Beyond just the angle created by the clubface when it is square behind the golf ball, wedge grinds help to offer golfers more angles within one clubhead. The grind shape helps a wedge’s effective bounce angle change as it is rotated around the axis of the shaft opening and closing the clubface.
Types of Wedge Bounces:
Low Bounce Wedges = Measured between 4 and 6 degrees, low bounce wedges are great for players who pick the ball cleanly from the turf or play in tight conditions.
Mid Bounce Wedges =Measured between 8 and 10 degrees, mid bounce wedges are great for a wide range of players and are the most common bounces available. These bounces help golfers play from various conditions including dry and wet courses.
High Bounce Wedges =Measured 12 degrees and above, high bounce wedges are designed for players who strike the ball with a heavy descending blow. For players that generally take large divots with their wedge, high bounce options can provide forgiveness. Players who generally play in wet conditions should also consider high bounce wedges.
Type of Grinds
The shape of your wedge’s grind will add or subtract from its bounce angle as you manipulate the clubface. Crescent shapes help to provide golfers with heel and toe relief when they are opening or closing the face to hit shots around the greens. These crescent soles are great choices for sand and lob wedge options as they are more versatile and can help players from lies in the fairways, rough, and bunkers.
Choosing a Shaft
Most wedges are purchased with stock shafts that range between regular and stiff flex and weight around 100 grams. Many golfers do not think to test different shafts in their wedges. Club fitters often find that using the same shaft that is in a golfer’s iron set or selecting new shafts that are heavier in weight but lighter in flex help golfers improve consistency. Be sure that if you are going to spend the money for a new wedge you do not overlook the accompanying shaft.
Many wedges are available in a wide array of color options. Darker finishes are used to reduce glare caused by sunlight and can be valuable in higher lofted sand and lob wedges. Golfers can rest easily knowing that their wedge’s performance is largely unaltered by its finish and should be chosen based off its visual appeal. When buying any club, find something that looks great and inspires you with confidence behind the golf ball.
Frequently Asked Questions
Questions surround the buying process for new golf clubs, especially for wedges. We have addressed some common confusions that golfers express when looking to improve their short games.
Q: What Degree is a Pitching Wedge?
A: Pitching Wedges range in loft from 46-50 degrees.
Q: What Degree is a Sand Wedge?
A: Sand Wedges are usually 56 degrees, but can also be found in 54 and 58 degrees depending on the bounce angle.
Q: What Is a Gap Wedge?
A: Gap Wedges fill the gap between a sand wedge and a pitching wedge, making it easier to hit full shots when a pitching wedge is too much club and a sand wedge isn’t enough club.
Top 10 Best Pitching Wedges
1. Titleist Vokey SM7 Wedge
The Titleist Vokey SM7 Wedge will be many golfer’s number one choice for specialized pitching wedges. Bob Vokey places a specific emphasis on the design of Vokey wedges in 46 and 48 degree lofts. Urging tour professionals to incorporate these wedges into their bags, Bob Vokey truly believes in his product. Given a Gold medal by Golf Digest, it is difficult to go wrong with the SM7 from Titleist.
Titleist Vokey SM7 Wedge
- Incredible spin control from the fairway, sand, and rough
- Six different sole grinds make it easy to play from every lie
- Flop shots come out better than with any other wedge on the market
- High price tag may make it tough for some to purchase
- Higher lofted clubs are tough to play full shots with
- Could require a lot of testing to find the right clubs for your swing
2. Callaway Mack Daddy MD4 Wedge
The Callaway Mack Daddy MD4 Wedge is another wedge designed by a storied craftsman. Roger Cleveland has meticulously created the MD4 in collaboration with Callaway in hopes of creating the perfect blend of beauty and function. Available in various finishes, lofts, bounces, and grinds, the MD4 wedge covers the vast majority of golfers. A perfect compliment to any Callaway iron set and recipient of Golf Digest’s Gold medal, the MD4 wedge is the best performing wedge Callaway has ever produced.
Callaway Mack Daddy MD4 Wedge
- Very accurate and forgiving club with a modern design
- A solid performing club that will turn a lot of heads
- The sweet spot is about as big as a baseball
- Some players may not like the size of the club head
- May give too much spin for some players
- May feel sluggish when swinging through the air
3. Mizuno S18 Wedge
Since it was first released in late 2017, the Mizuno S18 Wedge is perfect for golfers looking to maintain a forged feel from their iron sets. The Mizuno S18 wedge blends perfectly into iron sets due to its Boron Grain Flow forging manufacturing process. The best feeling wedge on the market is a true continuation for any golfer with a Mizuno set of irons looking for a pitching wedge replacement.
Mizuno S18 Wedge
- Variable loft and bounce options allow for customization of perfect wedge makeup
- Forged clubhead provides players optimal feel and control
- Wide and deep grooves and variable center of gravity allow for consistent contact and distance
- Design features are for advanced players and may not be suitable for higher handicaps
- Price is comparatively higher than other wedges on the market
- Limited to only two finishes, which may not be what every player is looking for cosmetically
4. Cleveland RTX 4 Wedge
The Cleveland RTX 4 Wedge is a tour inspired wedge from Cleveland Golf. RTX 4 was made to fit the eyes of the World’s best players. Zip Groove technology allows the RTX 4 wedge to offer premium performance in a stunning package. Better players and golf purists will love the way RTX 4 looks and be surprised with its’ forgiveness in such a compact shape. RTX 4 was given a Gold medal by Golf Digest and we agree.
Cleveland RTX 4 Wedge
- Incredibly forgiving wedge especially when on off-center hits
- One of the most versatile wedges ever manufactured
- Produces a remarkable amount of spin compared to othes wedges
- May not be worth the extra cost if you already use the RTX 3
- Testing required depending on your typical playing conditions
- Requires adjustment if you’re not used to high spin rate wedges
5. Cleveland CBX Wedge
The Cleveland CBX Wedge is a fantastic option for golfers looking to add forgivness to their short games. A cavity back wedge, the CBX fits perfectly alongside modern irons. The CBX shines as a pitching wedge replacement and gap wedge options. Golfers looking to add versatility to their pitching wedge without sacrificing the forgiveness and playability of their cavity back irons with find the best of both world in the Cleveland CBX wedge.
Cleveland CBX Wedge
- Cavity-back design inspires confidence when at address
- Incredible feel and forgiveness on off-center-hits
- Great from a wide variety of lies, including sand and the rough
- May take a while to adjust to the non-standard design
- Lighter shaft can make the head feel a bit too heavy
- Although versatile, not as versatile as the muscle-back wedges
6. Cobra King Black Wedge
The Cobra King Black Wedge was designed with performance and durability in mind. Since pitching wedges are used mostly for full shots, the grooves on these clubs do not have to remain as sharp as sand and lob wedge grooves. Cobra’s Diamondized Black Metal finish ensures that your wedge will last round after round. The KING Black wedge is perfect for golfers looking to purchase a wedge they know will last.
Cobra King Black Review
- Diamondized Black Metal Finish is one of the most durable finishes on the market and does not wear off quickly
- Progressive Spin Technology CNC Milled grooves provide consistent ball flight, spin, and distance control
- The King Black’s thick face reduces vibration on mishits while also providing optimal feel and control on solid shots
- Diamondized Black Metal Finish is the only finish available which may be difficult for players used to a chrome finish
- The King Black has limited loft, bounce and grind options compared to other wedges on the market
- There is little that is new with King Black wedge other than the finish compared to previous Cobra models available
7. Ping Glide Wedge 2.0 Wedge
The Ping Glide 2.0 Wedge is regarded by many clubfitters as the best wedge of 2018. The Ping Glide 2.0 wedge is great for high handicap golfers down to scratch players. The cavity back design of the Glide 2.0 wedge makes it ultra forgiving. In pitching wedge and gap wedge lofts, the Glide 2.0 really shines. The Ping Glide 2.0 wedge is another product created by Ping that simply just works.
Ping Glide Wedge
- Classic pear-shaped designthat is aesthetically pleasing
- Adjustability features allow golfers to customize the driver to their swing
- You can really feel the clubhead throughout the golf swing
- Can feel a little too heavy for those with slower swing speeds
- Lack of loft adjustability requires a custom fitting to configure the proper loft
- Ball can feel a little sluggish at impact with a very muted sound
8. TaylorMade ATV Wedge
The TaylorMade ATV Wedge is perfect for the better player looking to use their pitching wedge from several different lies. If you find yourself chipping and pitching with your pitching wedge, the ATV sole will offer you more shots from more places. Golfers can find the ATV wedge at prices well below the MSRP since newer model wedges have become available from TaylorMade. Budget conscious golfers looking for enhanced playability will fawn over the ATV wedge.
TaylorMade ATV Wedge
- One of the most versatile wedges ever built
- It’s sole grinds makes shots from the fringe, rough, and sand easier
- Can cut through heavy sand and thick rough with ease
- Spins too much to be effective on full shots
- Requires a ton of practice to figure out with face settings work best
- Feels incredibly heavy, specially the higher-lofted wedges
9. Mizuno T7 Wedge
The Mizuno T7 Wedge continues the trend of outstanding feel at a great price. The T7 wedge uses the same Boron Grain Flow forging to create a soft feel. The T7 wedge is a golfers best option in a pitching wedge replacement that maintains the forged feel of their irons at a great price. Available for less than $100 the T7 wedge is great for players looking to experiment without making too large a financial commitment.
Mizuno T7 Wedge
- Many options in lofts, bounces, and grinds allow better players countless options in customization
- The steel head has the feel and playability of a forged club that can be bent to a specific loft but also allows for wider and deeper grooves that don’t wear quickly
- Competitively priced with other similar wedges available
- Wedge design, feel, and characteristics may not be suited for the mid-handicapper or high-handicapper
- There is little that is new or different in design or technology with the T7 compared to previous Mizuno wedge models and other similar wedges on the market
- The Blue IP finish may wear off quickly losing its new luster
10. Xe1 Wedge
The Xe1 Wedge is the only wedge available price below $100 at full retail price. The Xe1 wedge could be your answer to suring up inconsistent short game shots. Golfers looking for help in their wedges but unsure about spending hundreds of dollars should consider the Xe1 wedge from Xe1 Golf. Not your typical infomercial “as seen on tv” golf product, the Xe1 is a true performer.
- One of the easiest-to-hit wedges ever designed
- The ideal club for the player who prefers a simple approach to the short game
- Great overall performance when shooting from tight lies and firm sand
- Much lighter than most traditional wedges available
- Clubhead is cast instead of forged, which can throw off the feel of the club
- Design makes it difficult to apply the same spin rates as with other wedges
What Golf Pitching Wedge Should You Buy?
Most golfers will play the pitching wedge that comes from their iron sets. However, you may find that choosing specialized options help you gain feel and hit more shots with your pitching wedge. Understanding what to look for in your pitching wedge can help you decide which option is best for you. Don’t be afraid to test different pitching wedges in different loft, bounce, and grind options to see if you can shave some strokes from your game. Thank you, and happy testing!