What are the most forgiving wedges in 2018?
A lot of golfers, especially beginners, tend to prioritize the distance game. Finding the best driver for the longest possible drive off the tee is a popular craze these days. But a driver will only get you on the green on the shorter straighter holes.
It should come as no surprise that in a typical round of golf, nearly 70 percent of the total shots are taken from within a 100 yards range. And when you are this close to the green, you don’t lower trajectory shots that roll a lot after falling to the ground.
What you need are clubs that help you launch the ball steeply in the air, and drop them onto the green with minimum forward roll or bounce.
And wedges are designed for this explicit purpose. They may not be as flashy as drivers or woods, but they will put you in scoring positions more often than any other club.
A good set of wedges can shave off crucial shots from your score card. Learn more about the most forgiving wedges for beginners and high handicappers in our buying guide/review. The short list for 2017 includes:
Our Roundup Selection
Editors Choice: TaylorMade Milled Grind Wedges
TaylorMade is well known for their high-quality wedges aimed more towards mid handicappers and better players, based on input from Tour Pros. The Milled Grind series is the replacement for the Tour Preferred line, considered by many to be one of the best golf wedges for mid-handicappers. The newer edition wedges are machine milled for more consistency compared to hand milled clubs. The wedges are available in low, standard and high bounce versions, with the most loft angles in the low and standard bounces. The available finish options include, satin, nickel, chrome, and antique bronze.
- Looks great with a classic blade design and different high quality finish options.
- Available in a wide variety of grind and loft options.
- Computer milled for precise manufacturing.
- High quality groove design improves spin and launch capabilities.
- May not be suitable for high handicappers.
- You might need the advice of a club fitter to find the best suitable configuration.
Best Value: Mizuno Golf S5 Wedge
Perhaps the most striking thing about the Mizuno wedges are their finishes, especially the sapphire blue version. Beneath than skin lies a forged wedge made from high-grade carbon steel. Though you don’t get different bounce levels to choose from, that is not a bad thing in a club that aspires to be one of the best golf wedges for beginners and high handicappers. You do get variable sole grinds depending on the loft, with lower lofted wedges having smaller heel and toe grinds. You get 6 lofts between 50 and 60 degrees, covering most angles that beginner players might need to cover.
- The blue finish is especially handsome looking, and only improves as it wears down.
- Big club head. and face provides extra forgiveness, making this one of thebest wedges for high handicappers.
- Decent distance control, with great feel and feedback.
- Easy to use from all kinds of lies, with variable grind options providing optimal impact.
- Better players might need more bounce and grind options.
- Spin is not on the high side, which is again more of an issue for mid handicappers and better players.
Best Seller: Cleveland Golf Men's RTX-3 VMG Wedge
The 588 series of wedges has long held a reputation for being among the best golf wedges since at least 1988, the year they were released. The RTX series is a successor to this legendary series, and aspires to be the best golf wedges on the market. To this end they have the specially milled Rotex face, whose grooves remain identical across all loft options and club head. sizes. These high quality grooves improve overall spin levels and launch capabilities. The RTX series is available in a wide range of lofts, from 46 degrees all the way to 64, with no less than 8 lofts ion between. You also have standard, V Sole and wide V Full grinds to choose from.
- Available in both blade and cavity back designs, the latter is one of the best golf wedges for beginners.
- The RTX groove face provides exceptional levels of spin.
- Feedback and feel remain excellent, both on the blade and cavity back wedges.
- The Tour Black finish is exceptionally long lasting, compared to similar wedges from other manufacturers.
- Some golfers are put off by the higher spin levels.
- Some high handicappers find the club face to be a bit too narrow.
Worthy Competitor: Callaway Mack Daddy MD3 Wedges
The Mack Daddy was a term coined by the great Phil Mickelson to describe a new, high spin groove design created by Roger Cleveland several years ago. Cleveland is the designer of wedges at Callaway these days and the MD 3 sports that same groove with a wider sole and newer grind options. The design has been kept lightweight by the removal of metal from three holes drilled at the back of the club head. Those 3 holes are visually striking and give the wedges a unique identity, while helping improve control and trajectory. This is overall one of the best golf wedges for mid-handicappers. It is available in eight loft options, with 3 sole grinds to choose from.
- The neon holes give a special look, especially in the black finish.
- Excellent spin levels offer great control on shot trajectories and distance.
- Great playability on all lies, especially in the rough.
- Decent feel and feedback on impact make these one of the best golf wedges on the market at present.
- Probably not one of the best wedges in golf for beginners.
- Too many options in grinds and bounce levels can confuse some buyers.
Worthy Competitor: Titleist Vokey SM6 Tour Wedges
Titleist have a devoted fan following among mid handicappers and aspiring better players, thanks to the emphasis they put on high level performance. Forgiveness is usually a secondary concern, and they tend to no belong in the category of the best wedges for high handicappers. But Titleist have simplified things somewhat with the SM6 range, streamlining their grind options. But there are still a fair few to choose from, four in all, and the design is still a blade style more suited for better players. The lofts range from 46 to 60 degrees.
- Probably the best golf wedges ever in terms of looks, with a classic blade design.
- Best in class feel and feedback.
- Top marks for control as well, one of the best golf wedges ever in that aspect.
- Options to suit every conceivable type of lie, swing ans shot style.
- Can be intimidating for weaker players.
- Not the most forgiving wedges ever.
Wedge Buying Guide
Types of Wedges
Wedges are a variety of specialized irons, with the shortest shafts and highest loft angles, usually in the 44-64 degree range. Those high loft angles make the ball jump high in the air on contact, making lobs ideal near the green, close to tree lines, and in rough lies like inside sand bunkers and even shallow water. Wedges are divided into four types based on their lofts:
Pitching Wedges (PW)
- Pitching Wedges (PW) have a loft range between 44 and 49 degrees and can hit the ball to a maximum distance of 125 yards in the hands of an average golfer. The PW is considered the starter wedge since it is the easiest to master for beginners.
Gap Wedges (GW)
- Gap Wedges (GW) are lofted between 50 to 54 degrees and was designed to cover the gaps between Pitching Wedges and Sand Wedges when manufacturers started reducing the lofts of Pitching wedges. They are also called attack wedges (AW). In the hands of mid-handicappers, GW can attain a top range of 100 yards.
Sand Wedges (SW) & Lob Wedge (LW)
- Sand Wedges (SW) are next in loft progression with angles between 54 to 58 degrees. Armed with a heavier club head which can power through sand and thick grass, these wedges get the ball to pop high into the air while minimizing any contact to nearby obstructions. With the high launch angle, the ball also tends to spin less, ensuring that there is minimal surface roll after landing on the green. SW also have a maximum range of around 100 yards.
- Lob Wedge (LW) are the highest lofted wedges with a loft range between 50-65 degrees or more. With the steepest trajectories and softest possible landings, shots with these wedges are ideal to avoid any obstacles that block your path to the green, like steep hillocks or even trees.
Wedge Loft And Gapping Guide
The loft describes the angle between the face of the wedge and the vertical line of the shaft. The degree determines ball trajectory and distance range on shots.
Gapping is the difference in loft angles between individual clubs in your set.
According to experts, uneven gapping between clubs is highly undesirable and should be avoided for optimal play. The ideal gap between clubs is thought to be between 4-6 degrees, according to none other than wedge specialist Sam Vokey. If you have a PW at 44 degrees, get a GW with 48 degrees, SW with 52 degrees and so on. With that gapping, you have all the distances and lies covered.
Bounce and Course Conditions
Bounce is the term for a part of the wedge, located at the bottom of the club head. This is the part that comes in direct contact with the ground, hence the term “bounce.” The term is used commonly to refer to the bounce angle, which is the angle at which the clubhead rests on the surface when held vertical. If a club head digs into the ground during your swing, it has a very adverse effect on your momentum and can result in poor contact with the ball. The bounce of a wedge is designed to minimize the chance of negative contact with the turf or sand. There are three categories of bounce angles commonly found on wedges:
Low Bounce & Mid Bounce
- Low Bounce is an angle between 4 to 6 degrees. These wedges are suitable for links courses with firm turfs. They are also ideal if your course has chunky and coarse sand or even bunkers with very little sand in them. Players who tend to sweep the ball will get better results with low bounce wedges.
- Mid Bounce is considered to be between 7 and 10 degrees. If you are unsure which bounce to opt for, this is the safest choice. It is versatile and can handle different swings and turf conditions.
- High Bounce is anything above 10 degrees of loft at the bounce. Get these if you consistently find your wedge swings digging deep into the turf. These wedges are better suited for parkland courses which have softer turf. They also perform well in bunkers with a lot of fine sand.
Since wedges have a general tendency to come into regular contact with the turf, manufacturers try different methods to improve their performance on the turf. One of the most common methods is to grind away additional material from the sole of the club, either at the heel or toe, to improve overall workability in different lies. Sole grinds change the way the club face sits at address, so the ideal choice for you is entirely dependent on your swing style and local conditions. Since these modifications also have an effect on club bounce, there are some performance trade-offs involved. If you are a beginner, the wisest and safest option is to consult a professional or club fitter at your local course to figure out the optimal setup for you.
Wedges Selection Guide
If you are a rank beginner, a PW is all that you need for the moment. And most iron sets come bundled with at least a PW, or a PW-SW combination, which should suit the starter golfer for short term. Once you are a bit more proficient in the game and find your handicap under 25, it’s time to start thinking about getting a gap wedge and lob wedge.
Shaft and Finish Options
Wedges only come in steel shafts, unless we are talking about graphite shafted iron sets. But those are usually aimed at senior golfers, so steel should suit everyone else. Stiffer shafts are preferred for wedges since accuracy and control are more important than swing speeds inside the 100 yards range.
Finish preferences are entirely subjective and determined by individual taste. If you want longevity, chrome and nickel finishes are what you need. If you prefer better looks, dark finishes are preferable, though they do degrade/wear off faster. Unplated or raw finishes have a minimal performance upgrade that kicks in over time as increased rust improves the spin levels somewhat.
Check out this YouTube video to learn some tips about hitting wedges, from none other than the legendary Butch Harmon:
Our shortlist includes some of the best golf wedges in 2017. With regards to overall performance, blade style tour wedges like the Titleist SM6 and TaylorMade Milled Grind wedges are probably the best wedges in golf at the moment. But they sacrifice some forgiveness in favor of accuracy and control. But forgiveness is important for beginners and high handicappers, and our vote in that vital aspect surely has to go to the Mizuno Golf S5 wedge, with its large club heads and generous sweet spots. The cavity back versions of the Cleveland RTX series also offer excellent performance for the weaker golfers looking for their first wedge upgrade or purchase.
Best Articles on Related Topics
- What are the Best Sand Wedges in 2018?
- What is the Best 60 Degree Wedge in 2018?
- What are the Best Wedges for beginners in early 2018?
- What are the Best Wedges For Mid Handicappers in 2018?
Or, browse the Best Wedges.