I get it.
Early on, when you are still grappling with the basics of proper swing and stance, wedges are not a priority.
But these are the clubs you turn to when your relative lack of accuracy as a beginner gets you into sand bunkers and all sorts of nasty lies.
So instead of finding the best wedges overall, we'll have a look at what type of wedge is perfect for you as a beginner
Let's dive right in.
Table of Contents
The Best Wedges for Beginners in 2021
Wedges for Beginners: Buying Guide
What Are Wedges?
Just as a driver is a type of fairway wood, wedges are a sort of specialized irons. This is why most standard iron sets offer at least a pitching wedge (PW) as part of the package.
Some manufacturers offer an option to include multiple wedges along with their irons. So you can either buy wedges individually or have some as part of an iron set. Wedges are the highest lofted irons, with loft angles above and beyond the short irons. There are four main types of wedges:
Pitching Wedge (PW):
The lowest lofted wedge is considered a scoring club since it is used most often to land the golf ball onto the green with the minimal forward roll. This is the first wedge you must master as a beginner. You can use these for full shots and some of the longer chips towards the hole.
Loft angles: 44-48
Gap Wedge (GW):
The need for these newer wedges arose in the 1990s. At the time the decreasing lofts on iron sets and their Pitching Wedges created a gap between that club and the Sand Wedge (SW). Gap wedges are also called utility wedges or attack wedges. When you are in a lie that doesn’t need the distance of the PW or the loft of the SW, you can use a GW with your natural swing. Before, you had to use either of those other wedges with a light or heavy swing.
Typical Loft angles: 50-54
Sand Wedge (SW):
The oldest among wedges along with the PW, the sand wedge is used for hitting the ball high into the air from a sand bunker/tall grass. They are designed with a thick head and minimal spin. Low spin is essential if you want to prevent the ball from bouncing too much and rolling away from the cup.
Typical Loft angles: 54-58
Lob Wedges (LW):
These highest lofted wedges are also the newest kids on the block. As their name suggests, they are used to lob the ball high into the air, over and above tall obstacles. You can also use these wedges from a bunker near the green to land the ball softly on the green with minimal roll or bounce, much like a sand wedge.
Typical Loft angles: 59-65
YouTube is a great place to learn about the different wedge types and how to hit each. Here is an informative video about the best ways to hit wedges:
The Importance of Proper Gapping
The maximum range/yardage of a golf club is related to the loft angle. When designing an iron set, manufacturers ensure there is an even spacing between the loft angles of each club in the set. This way there no distance range uncovered.
The optimum gap between irons is considered to be around 4 degrees. To identify the ideal loft angle when shopping for your wedges, start with PW you get with your iron set. If it has a loft angle of 48 degrees, get a GW with 52 degrees, and an SW with 56 degrees, and LW of 60 degrees of loft for optimal spacing.
How Many Wedges To Carry
If you are focusing a lot on the shorter game closer to the green, it might make sense to get all four wedges into your 14 club set.
For example, a set including a driver, 3-5 wood, 4-5hybrid, 6-9 irons, and a putter, will leave you with the slots to include all four wedges. But if you want to bring along extra long clubs, you can switch to a three wedge combination and leave out the LW. For instance, there are some who believe that the best lob wedge for high handicappers doesn’t exist.
They argue that it is important for beginners to learn the lower lofted wedges first.
Most Tour Pros focus a lot on their short game and bring at least the regulation three, if not the full complement of all four wedges.
Suitability and Handicap
Wedges have no very clear indicators about player handicaps when compared to other clubs like drivers, woods or irons.
Unlike game improvement irons or max game improvement drivers, you will not usually find a list of the best wedges for high handicappers.
The reason is that wedges are the shortest clubs and pose fewer challenges for beginners when compared to longer clubs.
But, you will still find particular wedges with added forgiveness. These wedges belong are often some of the best wedges for high handicappers.
Other Features To Look Out For
The Bounce is the angle at which the leading edge of a wedge sits when the club is held perpendicular to the ground with its sole touching surface. The bounce of a wedge is usually within the 0-14 degree range. Bounce prevents the wedge from digging into the turf. The best wedges on the market will have a multitude of bounce options to choose from. Lower bounce (4-6) is ideal for firmer turfs and coarser sand, while high bounce (above 10) is for softer turf and finer sand.
These days, wedges are available with additional shaping on their soles, either at the heel or toe. This can improve the way you shape shots with a wedge. To learn this , you should ask a professional trainer/club fitter to choose the ideal sole grind to suit your individual play style.
This is almost entirely a subjective issue since it affects the looks of the club more than the performance.
Raw finishes are an exception since they can rust over time, increasing friction and improving the chances of adding extra spin. Other than that, painted finishes might wear down faster while chrome and nickel finishes tend to last longer.
The best wedges golf clubmakers produce in the higher price ranges will have more durable finishes.
Conclusion and Editors Choice
Recommending the best golf wedges for mid-handicappers and beginners is not a difficult task.
Particularly for beginners, the best golf wedges on the market need not be the best-performing ones.
If you buy the latest wedges from golf manufacturers with all the bells and whistles, you get great looks and technology.
But a lot of that doesn’t matter for beginners.
For a fraction of their price, beginners can get cheap wedges that give more value for money and get you started.
But if you want still want to spend top dollar, the Cleveland RTX 3 comes from a series famous for some of the best golf wedges ever and is highly recommended.
Meanwhile, the Callaway Mack Daddy 3 is one of the best golf wedges for mid-handicappers.
But if you want the best beginner wedge, our vote would go for the Wilson Harmonized series. They provide a solid build quality, excellent performance and good choice of loft angles all at an unbeatable price.
Before we go though, it would be incomplete if we failed to mention the Power Play Friction Face Wedge by Hireko Golf. They offer great custom fit wedges at a very appealing price point.
If you want even more affordable beginner wedges, go for the Power Play Friction Face Wedge. They are available in a wide variety of club lengths, shafts, and grips.