Roughly two of every three golf shots come within 100 yards of the flag. Of that number, the majority will be hit with a putter. The rest will almost all come with a wedge.
Those numbers suggest a hierarchy among golf clubs in their importance to your score. Putters would be most important, followed by wedges, then perhaps drivers, short irons, long irons, and fairway woods. People may quibble about the precise order but there can be no doubt, based on usage, that putters are most important, followed by wedges.
We are here today to discuss the second in that order, wedges, to try to find the best of those on the market. But not just for any golfer. The best wedges for scratch golfers would differ greatly than for those who are merely beginners.
We are going to look at the best wedges for mid-handicappers, a wide swath of the golfing public.
What are mid-handicappers? The USGA, which administers handicaps in the United States, says the average handicap is about 15. Since many poor players never establish a handicap, let’s assume that the average then is somewhere just above 15.
At A Glance: Top 3 Wedges for Mid-Handicappers
We want to include golfers on both sides of the average, so for our purposes let’s call mid-handicappers those with handicaps from 10-20. To put it another way, a mid-handicapper’s most likely score on any hole is a bogey. Here then are some of the best wedges for bogey golfers, hereafter referred to as the best wedges for mid-handicappers.
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Best Wedges for Mid-hanicappers in 2020
There are two things that stand out about the JAWS MD5 wedges from Callaway. One is the impressive number of options to customize each club to your desire. Two is the remarkable amount of spin these wedges impart to the ball.
For the choices, you can get your wedge anywhere from 46 to 64 degrees. You can have either graphite or steel shafts, with a finish of either chrome or grey.
There are three different bounces available at 8, 10, or 12 degrees.
Then there is the grind options. Grind refers to the amount of material removed from the sole of the club. Each grind setting helps the club interact with different turf varieties. For the MD5 wedges, there are four different grinds.
The grind is part of the approach to the design of this club to help get the most spin possible. The other innovations come from the grooves.
Since you don’t deform the ball much on shorter shots, Callaway believes the angle on its groove helps give more spin. It has also added smaller grooves within grooves for even greater spin.
More spin means more control.
Cleveland describes The CBX 2 as a game improvement wedge. If you are wondering what that term means, game improvement clubs are those that are intended to be easier to hit. You might be thinking that’s for high handicappers only, but the fact is mid-handicappers (especially for those who are at the high end of that range with handicaps from 15-20) can benefit greatly from these wedges.
There are also a number of mid-handicappers who play well until they reach greenside, where the struggles begin. So this is actually a great wedge for both high and mid-handicappers.
So, how does Cleveland get forgiveness with the CBX 2? It does it the same way irons have long done, with a cavity-back design and perimeter weighting. Thing is, the CBX 2 still looks like a blade at address.
And it also still performs the job when it comes to spin and control.
Sure, these wedges from Cobra check off all the requisite boxes for great play: they’re durable, engineered with CNC-milled faces, and produce great spin with a fine groove pattern.
But really there is one characteristic that stands out about the Black One Length and it is staring at you right in the face with its name. These wedges are intended to be played in a set of irons that are all the same length.
Professional golfer Bryson DeChambeau must be credited with this development of manufacturers offering one-length iron sets. Cobra has been a leader in the movement with two different iron sets of the same length. DeChambeau, who is best known for his mad-scientist approach to the game and the maddening pace of play accompanying it, also has an endorsement deal with Cobra.
The idea is that it is easier to learn one swing with clubs that are the same length, with the variability coming in the loft of each club. A result of this is that long irons in such a set will travel less than its traditional counterparts, while short irons will travel farther. That’s due to the fact that each club is the length of a traditional 7-iron.
It is not easy to determine if this is a good approach or not, but suffice to say it will be different. If you choose to go this route, you will definitely be facing an adjustment period.
With its sleek and stylish look, these wedges are a pleasure to look at, giving the golfer holding them plenty of confidence. The “T” in the name stands for teardrop, with one look at these clubs telling you why.
But this is not just another pretty club. The T20 has been designed to perform well in wet conditions, thanks to its Hydroflow Micro Grooves.
The forged process used in making these wedges assures the user of consistency in performance, feel, and appearance.
The design means these are no game-improvement clubs. Players on the bottom end of the mid-handicapper range may not feel their games are suited for the T20. But those looking to make the jump from mid- to low handicapper could do worse.
Vokey is a specialty golf manufacturer, a maker of wedges partnered with Titleist. If you are looking for a great combination of looks, consistency, spin, and control, you might want to check out the SM7 wedges.
Vokey is a popular brand among professionals, but the SM7 is not just a good choice for pro or scratch golfers. Just about any level of talented golfers can benefit from the design implemented here.
The center of gravity on these wedges have been aligned with the impact position. This is achieved by a progressively different center of gravity on wedges of different lofts.
That individual attention has also been applied to grooves, which vary depending on the type of wedge. All of this ensures precision performance for each wedge, regardless of loft.
Keep an eye out for the next generation of wedges from Vokey, the SM8.
Tour Edge is known for making decent quality clubs at a decent price. It is almost always a good choice for budget conscious golfers. But we include these wedges not just for their value, but for an interesting construction.
For some time now, putters often included an innovation designed to make the task easier. Counter-balanced putters involve adding weight to both the club head and the grip. The aim is to create a higher moment of inertia that adds stability to the stroke. This is awfully important in putting.
But rarely do you see counter-balancing outside putters. But here you have wedges that do just that.
Here, the added weight makes it easier to hit shots from sand, as the club’s extra weight glides through sand with ease.
Unfortunately, these wedges fall short outside the sand, particularly on firm surfaces.
So what exactly do mid-handicappers look for in a set of wedges? Poor golfers only really need a pitching wedge and a sand wedge. Mid-handicappers are better off with at least three, and likely four, wedges. In addition to the pitching wedge and sand wedge, add a gap wedge and lob wedge.
Types of wedges
A gap wedge, as the name implies, bridges the distance gap between a full pitching wedge and a full sand wedge. A lob wedge works well for full shots on distances shorter than a full sand wedge. Having four wedges increases the number of shots where you can use a full swing. This is easier to pull off than hitting an abbreviated swing.
Mid-handicappers need to be concerned with the difference in loft between the wedges. If you carry four wedges, it is best to have a difference in loft between each wedge of around four degrees.
If your pitching wedge has a loft of 48 degrees, which is common, then you should carry a gap wedge of 52 degrees, a sand wedge of 56 degrees, and a loft wedge of 60 degrees. If you are among the worst of mid-handicappers with a handicap near 20, you might be better off chopping two degrees off each of those clubs.
If you are more comfortable using three wedges, it is typically better to leave out the lob wedge. The high loft angle on those wedges make them more difficult to master for many golfers.
It is better to practice lob wedges, as they are very handy in certain situations. If you have short-sided yourself and have a small amount of green surface between you and the hole, a lob wedge is often called for. Also, lob wedges can be great for getting over obstacles between you and the hole, such as sand bunkers or water. Lob wedges are great for shots where you cannot add much spin to the ball, but want it stop quickly. Use the high arc and land softly to stop the ball instead.
Aside from loft, we should also mention the bounce of each of your wedges. Bounce is the angle between the leading edge of the wedge and the lowest point of the sole. The greater the bounce, the farther the leading edge sits above the ground.
If you have a steep angle of approach, less bounce is better for you. Likewise, a shallow swing might do better with more bounce.
Some sand wedges are especially designed with a large amount of bounce. The extra material between the leading edge and sole of the club helps a sand wedge power through soft sand. You can, however, play any wedge from the sand, especially if the sand is not deep or is compact and firm. Hitting a club with a lot of bounce from a tight lie is almost impossible.
These are all fine clubs, and you might come to a different conclusion here based on your individual needs.
But rarely will you see a combination of options and craftsmanship as you do in the Callaway JAWS MD5 wedges. Of course, there is no reason you cannot mix and match here with different manufacturers. All of these clubs can be purchased through Amazon a la carte. That’s what makes JAWS MD5 our choice as best all-around wedges.
For golfers at the high end of the mid-handicapper range, we recommend Cleveland’s CBX 2 wedges. These are designed to help players improve their game. The cavity-back design and perimeter weighting makes the CBX 2 our choice as best game improvement wedge.
If you are on the other end of the mid-handicapper spectrum, with a handicap approaching 10, you might consider something a bit less forgiving and a bit more precise. Our choice here is the Mizuno T20 series of wedges. These wedges are forged, giving a beautiful and traditional look and performance. The Mizuno T20 is our choice for best forged wedge.