The most used club in a golfer’s bag is often their sand wedge. Because this club is used for approaching greens from ideal conditions and for chips and pitches once something has gone astray, the need for a properly fit sand wedge is enormous. There is more to choosing which wedge to purchase than simply spin rates and carry distances.
To help golfers understand which wedge will help their games, we have teased apart the components that make up this critical club. The different parts of your sand wedge can be more important than the brand name it carries. Our list is developed to help golfers of all abilities and swing characteristics understand and select the best sand wedge for their short games.
Top 10 Best Sand Wedges
When Do You Use A Wedge?
Knowing which club to use if often the result of how far the ball must travel to reach its target. With sand wedges and wedges in general, this is true. Wedges also employ golfers to make decisions from areas on the golf course that can be difficult to navigate. Chip shots and pitches from near and around greens often utilize a wedge to help golfers attack pins. You will use your wedges from the fairways, rough, bunkers, and hazards so understanding the versatility of these clubs is paramount.
Finding the Right Sand Wedge for Your Golf Game
Each golfer requests different things from their sand wedges. Some use their sand wedges from all lies including bunkers. Others feel more comfortable chipping and pitching with lower lofted wedges. Depending on how often you use your sand wedge and when you choose this club can influence which model is best for your game.
Golfers should keep in mind that clubs can be expensive and that properly fit clubs can be achieved by buying clubs from prior generations and having them altered for their swings. Budget conscious players may find purchasing a wedge for the full MSRP of $150 dollars and beyond is less reasonable than getting a great product for less than $100 and paying a club builder fee of $15. Both approaches can create a valuable new club to help you shoot lower scores.
Types of Wedges
The types of wedges are categorized based on their lofts. Pitching wedges, gap wedges, sand wedges, and lob wedges are often grouped due to their full swing characteristics and subdivided based on thier more subtle intricacies.
Pitching Wedges (PW)
Pitching Wedges lowest lofted wedges and often carry the golf ball the furthest. Most pitching wedges come in lofts of 45, 46 or 48 degrees. Depending on the loft of your 9-iron, the loft of your pitching wedge should be matched to help you achieve the correct distance gaps.
Gap Wedges (GW)
Gap Wedges are designed most similarly to pitching wedges and come in lofts of 50 and 52 degrees. These wedges help golfers fill the gap between their pitching wedges and sand wedges and are aptly named. Most golfers will benefit from the use of gap wedges if their set currently does not have one. These clubs should be carefully tested and can simplify your short games.
Sand Wedges (SW)
Sand Wedges are often the most talked about wedges. This is for good reason due to their incredible performance and versatility. Combined with the putter, an ideally fit sand wedge can be the greatest differentiator in bringing your scores down. Most commonly sold in lofts of 54 or 56, the sand wedge is a tool around the greens and for full shots.
Lob Wedges (LW)
Lob Wedges compliment sand wedges but are often more difficult to hit from longer distances. Due to the increased lofts of these wedges, beyond 58 degrees, the lob wedge can be difficult for handicap golfers to strike consistently with full swings. These clubs hold their value around the greens and accessing tucked pins on the edges of greens.
Wedges are built around the lofts of the clubhead to provide golfers with forgiveness or playability depending on their specific use cases. Lower lofted wedges will provide golfers with more bounce and grinds that help them retain ball speeds on misstruck shots. Higher lofted wedges are crafted with more relief and become more playable around the greens when hitting higher and lower pitches and chip shots. Among similar lofts, the bounce and grind will allow golfers to find more consistency and forgiveness in models matched to their swings.
The clubhead of a Wedge is made up of:
Bounce and Leading Edge =The bounce angle of all wedge are created by the difference in the club’s leading edge and the ground. During the golf swing, this angle can effect turf interaction and accuracy. More on the different types of bounces later.
Grooves =Often the product of advanced engineering, the grooves in a wedge’s clubface help maintain spin rates and control the golf ball from lies in the rough and hazards. Having new, fresh grooves in your wedges can be the difference in getting repeatable distances and coming up short of the green.
Grind =The sole of a wedge is shapes to help golfers play many shot with only one club. The ability to manipulate bounce angles with grind shapes help wedge to be versatile and improve shots coming from the tall grasses and bunkers.
Loft is measured from the center of a golf club’s face and is usually stamped on the toe of specialized wedges. It is important to buy wedges that have the correct lofts that allows you to hit distances that carry between 12 and 15 yards between clubs.
Types of Bounces:
Low Bounce Wedges =Are popular in higher lofted sand and lob wedge models. These soles are great for players looking to high high chip shots to difficult pins. These clubs come with between 4 and 6 degrees of bounce.
Mid Bounce Wedges =Fit the widest range of golfers and wedge lofts. Every category of wedge is sold in a mid-bounce option and is great for a wide range of course conditions and approach shots. These clubs come with bounces between 8 and 10 degrees and should be the play many golfers start when testing wedges.
High Bounce Wedges =Offer the most forgiveness but sacrifice playability. For golfers struggling with their short games, these wedges are best. Offered with bounce angles typically between 10 and 14 degrees these wedges are ideal for pitching, gap, and sand wedge models.
Wedge finishes are used to enhance the durability of grooves and provide reduced glare when playing in heavy sunlight conditions. While finishes do not impact the performance across any wedge models, it is important to pick a finish that fills you will confidence. Many golfers will find a benefit from a darker finished wedge in their sand and lob wedges instead of fighting the sunlight in their eyes.
Many golfers are happy to play the shafts that the manufacturers provide in their wedges. However, most players will find improved feel and consistency by using wedge shafts more properly fit to their swings. Because it can be difficult to find wedges with different shafts for testing, it is often best to match your wedge shaft to your iron shafts. Another popular option is to play wedge shafts that are slightly heavier in weight than your iron shafts. Due to the length of these clubs being shorter, the added weight can help promote a uniform feel among your clubs.
Frequently Asked Questions
An often overlooked part of the club fitting process, wedge fitting is important. When choosing new wedge, we have included some common questions and answer to help you begin your search.
Q: What Degree is a Pitching Wedge?
A: Pitching Wedges are often marked with a “P” or “PW” and knowing your club’s loft can be difficult. Most pitching wedges that come standard with iron sets fall between 45 and 47 degrees. Manufacturers’ online spec sheets can offer a quick reference for your specific club. We recommend that golfers have their irons routinely checked by a club fitter to ensure that their lofts and lie are properly spaced and give the adequate carry distances.
Q: What Degree is a Sand Wedge?
A: Sand Wedges are often bought by themselves but can be purchased with iron sets. Most sand wedges are marked with their lofts on the toe of the golf club and is between 54 and 56 degrees. For clubs matched to irons, these sand wedges can be marked with “S” instead of their loft. The loft information for these clubs is available online.
Q: What Is a Gap Wedge?
A: Gap Wedges are loosely defined by any wedge between the lofts of 50 and 52 degrees. These wedges help golfers fill the “gap” created by iron-matched pitching wedge and specialized sand wedges. By inserting a gap wedge into their sets, golfers can more easily fit 4 or 6 degree loft gaps among their wedges.
Top 10 Best Sand Wedges
Mizuno S18 Wedge
Since it was first released in late 2017, the Mizuno S18 Wedge is the flagship wedge form Mizuno. Mizuno is known for their ability to produce the best feeling irons in golf and the S18 wedge uses the same forging process. Infused with Boron, the S28 wedge is the best feeling wedge on the market. The S18 was given a Gold medal from Golf Digest for its performance, feel, and looks.
Cleveland RTX 4 Wedge
The Cleveland RTX 4 Wedge is the perfect sand wedge choice for Cleveland Golf loyalists. Known as one of the best wedge makers in the industry, Cleveland Golf packs almost 40 years of experience in the RTX 4 wedge. Advanced groove technology ensures high spin rates from the fairway, roughs, and bunker; ideal for your sand wedge. Improved playability in a tour inspired package earned the RTX 4 a Gold medal from Golf Digest. The RTX 4 wedge is Cleveland’s best wedge for players looking to increase their performance from inside 100 yards.
Cleveland CBX Wedge
The Cleveland CBX Wedge was designed as a compliment to the RTX 4 wedge from Cleveland. The CBX wedge offers golfers the ultimate in forgiveness, perfect for lower lofted wedges. Golfers who struggle with distance in their sand wedge will love the improved ball speeds and cavity back design of the CBX wedge. If RTX 4 is a beauty, CBX is a beast. The second Gold medal recipient from Cleveland in this years awards, the CBX is an outstanding wedge for the weekend golfer.
Cobra King Black Wedge
The Cobra King Black Wedge is ideal for golfers who do not like to purchase a new sand and lob wedge every year. The Diamondized Black finish of the KING Black wedge improves durability. Durability is especially important when hitting shots from the bunkers and tall grass as debris can damage the sharpness of your club’s grooves. Cobra’s CNC milling process and DBM finish is great for golfers looking to achieve higher spin rates longer.
Callaway Mack Daddy MD4 Wedge
The Callaway Mack Daddy MD4 Wedge is the perfect compliment to any golfer’s short game. The MD4 wedge is the most versatile wedge Callaway has ever produce. Available in over 50 different combinations, there is an MD4 wedge for everyone. Groove-in-groove and perfectly placed centers of gravity give golfers the highest spin rates possible. Golf Digest made MD4 a Gold medal winner and we agree, you should testing the MD4 wedge.
Titleist Vokey SM7 Wedge
The Titleist Vokey SM7 Wedge is the next iteration of wedges from Titleist. The industry leader in wedge technology and performance, Titleist has given golfers more options than ever with SM7. Vokey offers golfer the option to choose from any one of six sand wedges available in retail stores and over 10 different models available for custom order. Bob Vokey crafts all of his wedge from direct feedback from tour players and SM7 uses his decades of experience to deliver exceptional performance in any configuration.
Ping Glide Wedge 2.0 Wedge
The Ping Glide 2.0 Wedge is Ping’s most forgiving wedge. The Glide 2.0 uses a cavity back design to help golfers increase ball speeds on mishits and promotes higher launch for more stopping power on the greens. The Glide 2.0 is great for handicap golfers looking for help in their short games. Available in a glare-reducing black finish, the Glide 2.0 makes an excellent choice in sand and lob wedge sets.
TaylorMade ATV Wedge
The TaylorMade ATV Wedge offers versatility on a budget. Instead of paying top dollar for your new wedge, the ATV is available for under $100. Sand wedges need to be playable from different lies and the ATV sole from TaylorMade was designed with that in mind. Offer heel and toe relief, the ATV grind is perfect for golfers looking to hit creative shots to difficult pins.
Mizuno T7 Wedge
The Mizuno T7 Wedge uses the same premium forging process available in Mizuno irons but at a fraction of the price. The T7 wedge offers golfers enhanced feedback from a soft feel obtained by Boron infused forging. This highly controlled forging process allows Mizuno to offer the best in spin performance to the mass market. The T7 wedge is available in many finishes, loft and grind combinations that will help make your short game more complete.
The Xe1 Wedge departs from traditional to give golfers relief. The Xe1 wedge is built with a wide sole that offers golfers maximum forgiveness, especially from bunkers and hazards. Golfers struggling to find wedges that instill confidence and help with their mishits should look to the Xe1 for help. Available below $100 the Xe1 wedge is worth a try. Helping you hit high launching, forgiving approach shots is what has given Xe1 the reputation of the best “as seen on tv” golf wedge ever.
What Sand Wedge Should You Buy?
Which sand wedge is best for you is a multifaceted question. When do you plan to use this club? Will you be hitting mostly full shots, or will you be hitting equal parts chips and pitches? Understand your golf preferences and knowing which parts of your game can use improvment can be a great place to begin when selecting a sand wedge. Keep in mind the types of courses you play when choosing your bounce options. Make sure the loft of your sand wedge fits between your gap and lob wedge clubs and the shape of your new club inspires confidence. With any new purchase, make sure that your new club is better than the one it is replacing or fills a gap in your current bag. Thanks for reading and happy hacking!