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Best Wedges for High Handicappers and Beginners

Upgrade your short game and watch your scores drop

Have you ever hit two shots to go 400 yards, and then 4 more shots within 100 yards of the green for a delicious double bogey?

That sticks with you, and usually affects the rest of the round too.

The secret to better golf is being lethal inside 100 yards and I want to help you become lethal inside 100 yards.

So what I've done is found the best wedges for high handicappers and beginners to give you some suggestions to get more joy on the course without breaking the bank and splurging on unnecessarily expensive equipment. I should also mention, I LOVE saving money on golf equipment so I don't usually recommend the expensive stuff.

If you get only one wedge, get a sand wedge

If you're unsure what kind of wedge you need, if you’re only going to buy one wedge, get a great sand wedge with either 56 or 58 degrees of loft and at least 10 degrees of bounce. Keep reading to find out why.

Top Wedge: Cleveland SmartSole S Wedge

Easiest wedge to get out of bunkers first time and chip around the green. With a bit of practice, it's a great club for approaches inside 100 yards.

The Best Wedges for High Handicappers and Beginners

  1. Cleveland SmartSole 3 S Wedge (best for bunkers and green side chipping)
  2. Wilson Harmonized Wedge (best budget option)
  3. Cleveland CBX Cavity Back Wedge (most closely resembles the rest of your irons)
  4. Ping Glide 2.0 Stealth Wedge (easiest to use premium model)
  5. Pinemeadow Pre 3 Wedge Pack (best introduction set of wedges)
  6. Callaway Mack Daddy Wedge (best performing wedge long term)

What makes a wedge lethal?

From our experience and taking inspiration from master club fitter Tom Wishon , we recommend a sand wedge with a wide sole to take your short game to the next level. This bigger sole gives the wedge what is called bounce. More bounce means it's easier to get the ball airborne.

But you’re probably thinking “what the hell is bounce”? Before we get into that, understand that it’s the most important characteristic of a wedge to give us more forgiveness. Forgiveness is our priority as higher handicappers so we can get the ball off the ground and going where we want when we want. Bounce helps us do that. 

To help you find the best wedge for high handicappers & beginners, I focused on bounce as the main criteria.

What is bounce?

“Bounce refers to the lowest part of the sole, that part of the wedge sole that is actually in contact with the ground at address and that causes the front of the sole to be off the ground at address.

Bounce angle is a measurement, expressed in degrees, of the angle between the leading edge of the sole and that lowest point on the sole. The higher the bounce angle, the more the leading edge of the sole is off the ground at address.”

Bigger soles increase bounce

How does bounce make a club forgiving?
Bounce moves the club through sand in the bunkers

Do you find it difficult to hit the ball out of bunkers first time? I know I used to. There's nothing more embarrassing than taking 4 to get out of a bunker. But check out my guide to hitting bunker shots for beginners.

For 90% of golfers, the wedge should have a lot bounce to literally bounce off the surface of the sand and float the ball out on a pillow of sand.

Bounce controls the digging of the club into the turf

When we start golf we all hit a lot of fat shots. Fat means you hit the earth before your ball.
If your SW has too little bounce, it will dig into the ground on a fat shot and your ball will go nowhere.

I
f the wedge has more bounce, it will literally bounce off the earth and make good contact, sending the ball to your target. This will help your shots inside 100 yards.


The Best Wedges for High Handicappers and Beginners Reviews


Best wedges for immediate results

Cleveland has been the foremost name in wedges for years. They’ve really thought about the higher handicap player with the way they've designed this wedge. Thick bottom and 58° so you don't even have to open the face up. 


Their data analysis showed that golfers with a handicap over 12, find the green only 54% of the time out of the bunker so they've created a sand wedge that will get you out 100% of the time.

Never fear bunkers again

The Smart Sole S wedge gets you out the bunker in one shot with almost no effort with the very wide sole. The weird looking underside is unnoticeable from the top when addressing the ball and actually looks like a standard wedge. The face is already 58° of loft so there really isn't much need to open the face like you do with other wedges.

But if you do want ti, you can because that big fat booty is not going to let you dig into the sand. It's going to bounce right out and get the ball floating out on a magic pillow of sand.

The weight behind the sweet spot has been distributed around the perimeter of the club like a standard iron. The Tour style wedges are designed with all the weight behind the sweet spot which makes them harder to hit.

This perimeter weighting makes the wedge even more forgiving and will more than likely match your cavity backed irons in design. 

These things work, period.

You can find me using both C and S wedge in this video on my Youtube channel. The newest version of these wedges now includes a G wedge so you have C, G and S for a full complement of wedges. 

Further options in this model for further from the green

Add the C wedge and G wedge in unison with the Smart Sole range and you have two potent wedges that are going to severely lower your scores. The C wedge is 42 degrees which is pretty much an 8 iron while the G wedge is 50 degrees to give you a nice gapping between the C and S wedge These 8 degrees allow for a lot of versatility for the shots inside 100 yards.

Beyond bunkers

With the large sole of the club, you're going to glide through tall grass and fairways alike. Around the green you're not gonna hit those duffed chips that go a a foot or two. You know, the ones you hit and look around to see if anyone noticed...

The C wedge has less loft at 42°and has been designed for playing around the green but can be used just as effectively from 125 yards with a full swing. While it looks quite radical, this club gets the job done every time. The G wedge at 50° is the between club for more chipping precision and a bit of a shorter full shot than the 42° club. 

Recommendation

Easily the best wedges for a high handicapper or beginner struggling with the short game or looking for their first wedges. These two clubs have the potential to rapidly revolutionize your short game from bunkers to green side to pitch shots within 100 yards. No BS.

Pros
  • Playable from any lie
  • Get out of sand FIRST TIME
  • S wedge purpose built for bunkers and preventing CHUNKS
  • C wedge purpose built for chipping and running balls up from the fairway
Cons
  • Unusual shape that will take time to get used to
  • A few rounds to get used to hitting full shots

Best Value for Money Wedge

Wilson is a very underrated but excellent golf club manufacturer. They’ve designed a winner with this range of wedges and it’s going to be very difficult to find better value than the Wilson Harmonized Golf Wedge at this price.

Maximum bang for your buck

The 56° option has optimal bounce of 12° which promotes forgiveness and helps you strike clean wedge shots consistently. For this price, it's going to be difficult to get better bang for your buck.

The leading edge of the club is designed to get under the ball and prevent too much digging. The feel off the face is responsive and the ball flies high and drops with spin to stick on the greens. 

Consistent distance control made easy

If you find you enjoy your 56°, Wilson produce 52° and 60° models to add to your set. For very little money, you can get your hands on 3 wedges: 52°, 56° and a 60°. That makes a perfect 4° gap between the pitching wedge in your set (48°), the Gap (52°), Sand (56°) & Lob (60°) in the Wilson Harmonized wedges.

One warning though. As a new player or high handicapper, banish the thought of a 64° wedge. These are not recommended if you are learning with wedges. They are INCREDIBLY difficult to hit consistently even for skilled players and while Wilson make one, I would avoid it like the plague.

These are the best wedges for beginners to start with and getting the consistent gapping between your wedges will help with hitting the right distances from 120 yards down to 70 yards time and time again. The confidence you’ll get by not having to hit half shots into greens will change your outlook on life.

Pros
  • 56° sand wedge has ideal 12° of bounce to get through the turf
  • Classic blade shape wedge 
  • One of the best value for money options
  • Look for the black versions to reduce glare from the chrome ones
  • Wide range of lofts in Harmonized range 50, 52, 56  and 60 degrees
Cons
  • Highly reflective chrome finish will cause glare into your eyes
  • AVOID the 64° club at all costs - it's just a gimmick

Cleveland CBX Wedge (Cavity Back)
Most forgiving premium wedge

Once again Cleveland appears on this list. There’s no escaping the quality of their wedges. I really like the 56° Cleveland CBX  wedge. This wedge is really easy to hit because Cleveland have put 12 degrees bounce on this club with a nice thick sole to glide through the turf, getting the ball into the air easily. 

Cavity back makes it more forgiving

The cavity-back design in the CBX is more forgiving than the blade wedges most often found nowadays. Forgiveness is the magic word for high handicappers and beginners and in a wedge, it's even more important so you can get onto the green easily to putt for some pars.  

With the cavity back and chunky sole on the CBX, it's going to be much easier to get out of the bunkers, prevent chunked chips around the green and improve approach shots onto the greens.

Like with irons, the cavity back allows for more perimeter weighting which is unique for a premium wedge.The perimeter weighting means you’ll still get distance and spin on off-center strikes because of the extra weight behind the ball even on mishits.

This premium wedge functions as a game improvement club by bringing all the elements of forgiveness to the club head. It's always a safe bet with Cleveland wedges but this is easily of the best wedges for high handicappers and beginners looking to upgrade.

Pros
  • High and soft spinning bunker shots
  • Extra forgiveness through the thick sole and cavity back
  • Famous Cleveland quality grooves, spin and shot making properties
  • Matches the feel and look of your existing cavity back irons
Cons
  • Pricey for your first try with a specialty wedge but worth every cent

PING Glide 2.0 Stealth
Famous yet unknown contender

PING make superb irons and drivers but their wedges are just like the rest of their clubs - easy to hit and easy to use.

The PING Glide comes with a specially designed grip with white markings on it to use as a guide for where to put your hands when gripping down. They designed the wedge from the hands down so you an be in control as much as possible.

Weighting has been shifted to the perimeters to improve the off center strikes on the longer shots so there is less distance variability. This is a massive help because those partial shots are everyone's worst nightmare.


Best Budget & New-Player Wedge Option

Not everyone is looking for expensive premium wedges or wants to spend a ton of cash on golf. You might be someone who plays very casually, for business or on a shoestring and this might be the first time you've looked for wedges.

Whichever way you play this game, the wedge set kills three birds with one stone.

Non-stop rave reviews for the Pre Wedges

The wedges are an incredibly popular club and for the price it’s easy to see why. You get a set of 52°, 56° and 60° with wide soles and sleek stainless finishes.

Get these to learn how to use wedges first

The Pinemeadow  Wedge set are the best wedges for high handicappers and beginners looking for a one stop solution. For a low investment, you can punish and put these through their paces. You can learn the ins and outs of wedges with this set and once you've learned enough, you can go ahead and get yourself a premium wedge. 

Pros
  • Quality is excellent for the price
  • Well-priced to get all your needs in one pack
  • The best introduction to wedges for a newer wedge player
  • Heavy clubhead to help with more solid contact through the turf
  • Large bounce and sole for easier sand and rough play
Cons
  • Grips wear out very quickly
  • Probably will not be a set you keep for a long time

There are 4 confusing options when selecting one of these wedges. The S-grind option will suit most golfers with 10° of bounce. It's perfect for use on multiple styles of turf and for the majority of people's swings. You can use it in the sand, the rough, the fairway and hard pan.

What you'll notice with premium manufacturers is they will offer wedges in many increments instead of the standard 52,56, 60 configuration of the other manufacturers. Callaway offer this Mack Daddy in 2° increments from 50 degrees up to 64 degrees. 

You can get your gapping really fine with all these options. Start off with a 56° or 58° and see what you need after that.

The 4 holes drilled into the sole allow some weight to be moved to make the wedge more forgiving and create a ball flight that stops quickly. Phil Mickelson uses these wedges with Roger Cleveland behind the design, you'll find that you buy these wedges and keep the for a very very long time.

Pros
  • Very good for players who hit it toward the toe
  • Many loft options to craft a whole set of wedges in future
  • Glides through the turf with the S grind on many types of turf
  • Will not need replacing other than if you wear out the grooves - these are top quality
Cons
  • The head shape is a bit large with a larger than normal toe - make sure that it tuits your eye
  • Too 'firm' of a feeling for some people - not a soft feel as it hits the face

Short guide on the best wedges for high handicappers and beginners

What’s a wedge?

What defines a wedge from an iron is loft. The 9 iron normally has around 44° of loft. Anything above 45° is considered a wedge.

Wedges can be used on fuller shots from 140 yards and in depending on your swing speed. It’s often said that a wedge should not be hit at full power. The idea behind wedges is to use them for controlled shots instead of power shots. Their job is to get you close to the hole, not long distances.

The higher loft produces higher ball flight and often more spin.

What wedges should I use as a high handicapper or beginner?

If you only own the Sand Wedge from your set, you can definitely try a stand alone wedge. But you need to know what you're looking for. Then you can narrow down what you should purchase and try out.

There are a handful of reasons people have for needing wedges in all skill levels. I will list them here in order most applicable to higher handicaps down to what is more applicable to lower handicaps.

  1. Get out of bunkers first time: If your primary concern is just getting out of that damn bunker, I definitely would go with something with a VERY thick sole and loft between 56 and 59°. You can start with a Cleveland Smart Sole or one of the other crazy fat soled wedges like an X-out or Tour Edge 1out. These are great for JUST GETTING IT OUT OF THE SAND.
  2. Chipping: Now here you can actually get away with chipping with your irons if you learn the bump and run style chip which I promote on my Youtube channel. But of course, you may find yourself in some tricky spots as a high handicapper and want to chip over bunkers and water and obstacles.
    You want a wedge that will be versatile from the rough as well as the fairway so something with a cavity back like a Ping Glide or a Cleveland CBX wedge can really do wonders for you. The Smart Sole is also very suitable for chipping as well. The G wedge in the Smart Sole range is a potent chipping club.

    The loft range for these types of shots can be 50° up to 56° and you will be fine with one or two of these wedges.
  3. Shots from 30-100 yards: These are going to be clubs with 58° loft down to 50° which are swung more 'full'. The types of wedges that are best for this are up to you entirely. You just need to practice with the one you choose and find the distance you hit it with a FULL SHOT and a HALF SHOT. Then adapt your game to use that club and that swing for the specific distance it goes. 

HERE IS MY MAXIMUM WARNING FOR ALL HIGH HANDICAPPERS AND BEGINNERS!

Forget the 'flop shot' and the high lobber. You DO NOT need to learn this shot at this stage. Learn the very basic chipping and pitching move which you can find on Mr Short Game's Youtube channel as well as my Youtube channel and just GET THE BALL ON THE GREEN. Those flop shots you see the pro's playing took YEARS to create. 

Our goal as normal golfers is to get it on the green and then try make a putt and at worst, two putt. EASY LIFE.

When do we use wedges?

We use wedges from bunkers and for chipping around the green. Most golfers end up finding one club they like to hit out of bunkers with, chip greenside with and hit ¾ shots with. Personally I like a pitching wedge for greenside chipping, lob wedge from the sand and sand wedge for ¾ approach shots as well as chipping from the rough.

The choice is yours and there is no right or wrong way when you find what works but starting with the above best wedges for high handicappers and beginners will make life a lot easier.

We also use wedges inside 100 yards. This is the absolute most important part of golf and most professionals will tell you that if they took over the game for a 24 handicapper inside 100 yards, that 24 handicapper will play off no more than a 12 handicap. 

Armed with a decent wedge and a LOT of practice, you can significantly SLASH strokes off your score. Treat yourself to a nice investment in a wedge and watch how you quickly nip and tuck a stroke from the bunker here, a stroke from a chip there and some more from inside 100 yards here and there. 

Four Main Wedges

Pitching wedge

The pitching wedge is most common and has a loft between 44° and 48° which you will get in your set of irons. These are great for greenside chipping.

Gap Wedge

50° to 53° which fills the gap between PW and SW for when you need to close the gap in distance.

Sand Wedge

The sand wedge normally has 54° to 58° loft with fat soles that have 10° to 12° bounce which is essential for bunkers and shots within 100 yards. The thick underside helps to glide through longer grass and sand while also getting the ball airborne off shorter grass. In our opinion, the best wedge for high handicappers and beginners is a sand wedge.

Lob Wedge

The lob wedge at 60° to 64° loft is perfect for hitting it over bunkers around the green, short bunker shots and within 80 or 90 yards. It can add another dimension to your game allowing you to take fuller swings inside 100 yards instead of those tricky half swings with sand wedges! Lob wedges over 60° are not practical for the average golfer.

Here is how all four wedges work:

How wedges fly

Are wedges really that important?

Yes. Specialized wedge clubs are a dream to play and the number of shots you'll hit with a wedge will surprise you:

If we add up the total shots you play per round with these few clubs in these situations, you’ll see it can be up to 40% of your of the game.

What is the best wedge for high handicappers and beginners?

The best wedge for high handicappers and beginners is one with maximum FORGIVENESS.

My main aim is to help you pick the best clubs for your game without breaking the bank or being lured into buying crappy clubs that will disappoint you. I hope this guide was helpful and you find yourself a decent wedge or set of wedges to take your game to the next level from within 100 yards.

Best Driver for Beginners & High Handicappers – Most Forgiving Drivers


Putt for Dough. Drive for Dough.


The biggest handicap drops I've seen in my group of 40 or so golf buds after they sorted out their short game, have come from introducing one club into the bag - a great driver. 

best driver for beginners and high handciappers

Brian on my channel, was having a torrid time and learned to hit his Cobra F-Max. He went for one lesson and it changed his whole world. I highly recommend getting a lesson or two from a good pro when you consider using a driver if it costs you more strokes than it helps you.

I am a firm believer that you can get into the mid teen handicap with nothing more than a fairway wood and hybrid, but if you do want to get some more distance off the tee, for some more "in with the crowd" feeling, make sure you can hit it well at least 7 out of 10 shots before bringing it to the course. 

But 'Drivers are a waste of time for high handicappers'

Of course you can get around the course and shoot brilliant scores using your irons and hybrids. The short game is equally important with good course management but getting into more advantageous positions off the tee will help you to get into better positions near the green.

Introducing the driver on wide open holes is a great way to break it out on the course with minimal frustration. Once you're confident with a good driver for high handicappers, you can start slashing that score down further.

Drivers have advanced so much in the last 20 years that big and straight bombs off the tee are accessible to everyone. But always remember, if you have trouble and the club costs you more strokes than it helps you, do not be afraid to put it back in the bag and use something else until you can figure out the problem!

They're easier to hit than ever but selecting the best driver for beginners and high handicappers can be confusing. I hope this guide helps you select the best, most forgiving driver possible. 

Ideal specifications for forgiveness and distance
  • 10.5° to 14° loft 
  • Regular flex shaft
  • 460cc head size
  • Adjustable loft preferred

The Best Drivers for Beginners and High Handicappers

I've included some budget options and second hand options so you don't have to spend top dollar on a club that works the same as the newest model. Drivers are limited in what they can do by the rules of golf. Most clubs in the last 4-5 years perform exactly like the newest models in the manufacturers range. 

  1. Cobra King F9 Speedback driver (best all round driver for any golfer)
  2. Cleveland Launcher HB Turbo driver (best for slower swings)
  3. Taylormade M4 Driver (best value for money)
  4. PING G400 driver (best for upgrading drivers)
  5. Wilson D7 Staff (best budget driver for high handicappers)

PING is the go-to name for so many golfers when it's time for a new driver. Their range of clubs never disappoints. You will almost never hear a golfer telling you the latest PING is crap. The simple fact is, PING drivers are brilliant. 

Forgiving High Launch

The Taylormade Aeroburner and the Ping G400 are probably the two most popular drivers I have seen in my golf groups.

PING have made this G400 launch high and with that, you get more carry than other drivers. I've hit it myself a few times to try out. There is no mistaking the ease of use with a PING.

When you center strike the G400, you can feel a deep THWACK - it feels like a cannon. There's no more cake tin "ping" sound. The ball comes off the face hot and while you may look up wondering where it's gone, the answer is, it's probably going straight and at a higher launch angle than you expect.

The head is a little smaller and features a matte finish with some spines on the crown. If your preferred look is shiny and plain on a very LARGE crown, this one isn't for you. You could look at the G400 SFT which is larger and assists in negating a right to left ball flight.

Pros
  • Adjustable loft to aid in forgiveness and launch angle
  • Large sweet spot launching higher for more carry and ball speed
  • Beautiful crown design including alignment aids with matte finish
  • Cannon-like sound
Cons
  • No adjustability for center of gravity like most modern models
  • Not for golfers who want to shape the ball flight

Cobra King F9 Speedback

Rickie Fowler has done a lot as Cobra's marketing tool on the Tour in the last few years to raise brand awareness. But Cobra's been in the game for ages. They've always been known to make drivers like the King F9 that maximize distance for the average Joe.

Straight shooting long bomber for higher handicappers

Once you find the right settings for you, it's difficult to miss fairways and distance is one of the longest in the Game Improvement driver category. Some golfers report that even on toe hits the is out-driving their previous drivers. 

A pleasant pop sound at impact rounds off the show-stopping looks of the driver. JMac from the channel uses one of these and has reduced his handicap from 19 down to about 15 at the moment with this bad boy in his arsenal.

Adjustability made simple

You can easily adjust the loft of the F9 at the hosel between 9 and 12 degrees at increments of 0.5°.

What's more is you can also change the ball flight by switching the heavier weight on the sole to the front and the back. Putting the weight in the back will produce a higher ball flight while putting it in the front will lower it.  

Pros
  • Funky colors that look impressive as you rip this out your bag
  • Weight system and hosel adjustment is simple to use
  • Previous model with the new SZ out, so the price will be good
  • Absolutely brilliant sound and trajectory similar to the PING
Cons
  • No adjustability for center of gravity like most modern models
  • Not for golfers who want to shape the ball flight

Cleveland Launcher HB Turbo

Best for slower swing speeds

Cleveland may seem like a name that is not heard much on tour, which it isn't. Jamie Sadlowski and Shane Lowry play Cleveland and Srixon (the same company) but the truth is that Cleveland make EXCELLENT clubs for the high handicapper. Their drivers are also in the game improvement category to help launch it higher and longer.

I used a Cleveland driver back in the day to get down to a scratch handicap. They've always made very simple-looking driver faces and very forgiving hitting areas. They fit high end shafts and you can pick one based on your swing speed to maximize your abilities. 

Looking down at the club, it looks like a PING with the matte finish and spines running across the crown. It's simple to swing and easy to hit but mainly for slower swingers. If you swing like a brute, there will be minimal benefit for you.

If you are not looking for an offset driver, just a reminder that this one has offset to help eliminate the slice.

The club comes in 9, 10 and 12 degree versions. Usually I would say anyone with a slower swing speed would do well to pick a higher lofted driver to get it launching longer with more carry. 

Pros
  • Easy to swing and look down at - looks similar to PING 
  • Clean design with matte finish and lines on the crown for easy alignment
  • Very friendly on the pocket
Cons
  • Loud 
  • Offset is not for everyone and this is not for HIGH swing speeds

Couple models older, and excellent value

The Taylormade M range has gone all the way up to M5 and M6 but with the release of the SIM, that means the M4 is a couple models old but offers brilliant value to the high handicapper and beginner. Technology is creeping along slowly and with the release schedule of Taylormade so regular, these types of deals should be snapped up.

Taylormade's M4 offers forgiveness and also superb looks. The twist-face technology ay be a laughing point among golfers, but have they ever hit one? That's the difference. Once you hit one of these M4's the laughing stops because the club works. 

The twist-face has been design to reduce action from toe and heel strikes, straightening up the ball flight and keeping the ball speed high for more distance. 

There is a weight in the back o the sole but it's not moveable. This is great for the high handicapper as we don't need to get too involved with adjusting weights if you're looking for a simple driver. With a Hammerhead" slot behind the face, the face can be more flexible yet be reinforced for a springier impact.


Pros
  • Easy alignment with the silver and black crown
  • Simple point and shoot no frilly weight adjustments
  • Twistface makes it one of the most forgiving drivers out there

Sleeper Pick

Wilson are making some top notch clubs lately and while not the premium brand that you'll see plastered everywhere, it's a solid choice for budget and introduction to drivers. 

The face is super simple which is always nice. The graphics they're putting on the faces of drivers nowadays detracts from the look at address. Wilson have also made a lightweight crown on this one that has that carbon look, similar to the Callaway Epic.

What makes a driver easy to hit is a nice tall face, enlarging the hitting area which means more forgiveness up and down the face. The Wilson has a lovely deep face. 

The driver is not adjustable and that's perfect for people who want a simple point-and-shoot driver. Adjustable weights and hosels can confuse people and leave you wondering if the setting you have it on is hurting or helping your game. That's not a thought you want to have while playing a round of golf.

9, 10.5 and 13 degree options are available and for a newer player, I would er on the side of higher loft while a high handicapper with some experience can decide if he needs more or less launch angle and select the loft accordingly.

Wilson's D7 is on the friendlier side price-wise and for the money, it's hard to argue better value in another option. The technology is good and the ball goes straight and long. The only thing to get over is whether you are okay jamming a Wilson and not a Big Name Brand.

Pros
  • Increases swing speed in slow to moderate swings
  • Weighting has been arranged according to lofts so higher loft has weight back and lower loft, adjusted to increae launch angle
  • Lightweight and stress-free swinging for more distance
Cons
  • It's a Wilson and some golf club snobs will look down at it

What makes the best driver for beginners and high handicappers?

FORGIVENESS

What makes a driver forgiving?

Forgiveness refers to how much or little a driver punishes a bad strike. If you miss the sweet spot of the club, there'll be a loss of distance and direction. Forgiving clubs lose much less distance and promote straighter ball flights on mishits than tour spec drivers.

Luckily, modern drivers aimed at the casual golfer are the most forgiving ever made. Mishits are very common for new golfers. Older drivers used to punish mishits with pain in your fingers, shots that went nowhere and lost balls. Mishits now go further and straighter than ever before making it easier to find the best driver for beginners and high handicaps.


Higher loft means more forgiveness

A driver has the lowest loft in the bag. Automatically that makes it harder to hit in the air and keep straight. An easy analogy is the difference between a 3 iron and a 9 iron. The 3 iron (24° loft) is difficult to control while a 9 iron (44° loft) is very easy to hit high and straight due to higher loft.

Pros use lower lofted drivers (7°-10°) and because their swings speeds are incredibly fast (110+mph), they are able to get the ball flying 280+ yards.

Amateurs generally swing at 80-90 mph and require much more loft to make up for the slower swing speed. The additional loft also creates more back-spin which prevents too much movement left or right in the air.

For maximum forgiveness for a beginner, we recommend loft of 10.5° to 14°


Softer shafts for slower swings

The shaft is the most important part of the driver. It will determine how the ball flies through the air and consistency of your shots. Shafts in the driver are all graphite now and steel is used only in irons and putters.

Shaft flexibilities are labelled in the following ways:

  • L for Ladies
  • A or M for Senior FLex
  • R for Regular
  • S for Stiff
  • X for Extra Stiff also called Tour

The faster your swing, the stiffer you need the shaft to be, so you can hit a consistent ball flight. A shaft that is too stiff for your swing produces a ball flight that goes low and to the right. A shaft too flexible for your swing causes an inconsistent shape on your shots

In general, beginners’ swing speeds are between 80 and 90mph so we recommend a Regular ( R ) flex shaft to help promote a straighter, consistent ball flight.


Big club heads for big forgiveness

Nowadays, all drivers’ heads are between 440 and 460 cubic centimeters (cc). This has increased the club face size and with it, the sweet spot. It is always advisable for newer golfers to go with a 460cc driver head because well, it’s the maximum!


Adjustability technology increases options

Adjustable & Fixed Weights

In the latest drivers there are weights attached to the sole of the club head that can be adjusted by sliding them around into different positions to alter the shape of the shot. This technology sounds good, but it can be highly confusing for a new player to grasp all the combinations and effects on center of gravity and MOI and all the other jargon terms used to market the clubs. We don’t recommend these expensive drivers for new golfers.

On the other hand there are weights that can be replaced or moved to fixed locations which are much easier to play.

Adjustable Lofts

For the purpose of this guide, which is to find you a simple-to-hit and forgiving driver, this is the technology that can help you most. Some of the recommendations here have this technology.

The shafts can be unscrewed from the head and rotated to increase or decrease the loft of the driver from 9° to 14°. This is very valuable tech for a new player to adjust the loft to their preferred number.


Difference Between the Pros and Us

Feature

High Handicappers

Pros

Swing speed

75-85 mph

105+ mph

Loft 

10.5° to 14°

7° to 10°

Shaft

Regular

Stiff/X Stiff

Forgiveness

High

Moderate

Club Head Size

460 cc

440-460 cc

It's tempting to think the clubs the pros play on TV are the ones we should be playing. There is a massive difference between pros and amateur golfers so there is no shame in playing different clubs to the guys who do it for a living.  Play what works for you. That could be a used club from the junk store or it could be the latest Titleist 8.5° monstrosity. 

Also remember, the clubs on television are "Tour Issue", that means they have been made available only to the Tour players. The driver you find in a retail shop is NOTHING like the one the pro's are playing. I only state this so you can make a selection based on performance and looks to YOU, not what brooks or Dustin or Tiger is hitting. 

Conclusion

I hope this guide was useful and if you decide to get a driver to take your game to the next level, always have it fit with a shaft by a professional club fitter to fully maximize its potential. It can literally change your life.

best golf balls for high swing speeds

Best Golf Ball for High Swing Speed in 2020

Boom! That feeling when you nut one down the middle and everyone's staring in wonder as you pick up the tee casually. Just another day in 100 mph plus heaven. 

But with great power comes great responsibility. And by hitting booming drives with no short game, wedge or iron play, you're letting down the rest of us big bombers. We're being painted with the same brush worldwide... big hitters with no finesse, no touch! 

So I'm here to help you long hard swingers out there. Hulking brutes without a delicate touch, heavy hammer swingers lacking tenderness at their finger tips. I've found the best golf balls for high swing speed to help you hit it long, knock it closer and shoot lower scores. Go forth and prosper. Keep reading below.

My own swing speed

I swing at around 100 mph and was up to 117 mph when I was 22. A desk job and less playing time has reduced it a bit!


The Best High Swing Speed Golf Balls

  1. Bridgestone Tour B XS (The ball designed and played by Tiger) 
  2. Taylormade TP5x (Top value brand name ball)
  3. Vice Pro Plus (For Pro level fast swings)
  4. Snell MTB-X (The Dark Horse, the sleeper pick)
  5. Callaway Chrome Soft X (Best patterns)
  6. Srixon Z-Star XV (Most durable)
  7. Kirkland Signature (Best value urethane ball for wild hitters)

Are Pro V1 and Pro V1x the best golf balls for high swing speed?

The number one ball in golf is Titleist. But does that mean their Tour balls are the best for amateurs too? If you're a consistent 2 handicap through to + handicapper, then I say a firm MAYBE. For everyone else, I don't think so at all.

You're going to be able to get great performance out of the Titleist at your swing speed but only....ONLY....if you're a consistent player. If you're shooting 78 one week and 86 the next losing 4 golf balls, I don't see the value in playing Titleist Pro V golf balls.

Golf gets expensive like that and with the options that are available out there, you can get the same benefits as the Pro V range for much less money. As amateurs, we can't really tell the difference between a Bridgestone B330, a Pro V and a Vice Pro Plus. They're all multi-layer balls with urethane covers. They all spin the same and travel the same distances. The results are almost identical between premium golf balls for us.

Only the scratch and '+' handicaps will be able to truly use the Pro V to the maximum value. Overall, I don't recommend the Titleist Pro V range at all for amateur golfers and urge you to give some new ones a try. You'll be very pleasantly surprised. 

What about higher handicappers with high swing speed?

I recommend that you play off a solid 15 handicap or less to benefit from using the balls on this list. Check out this list to find some more budget friendly, yet acceptable balls to try first.


Best Golf Balls for High Swing Speed Reviews

Of course, the Titleist Pro V1 and Pro V1x are the most famous and probably the trend-setters in professional level golf balls. While they are the number 1 ball on Tour, supplying that many balls, to that many pros, pushes the costs onto you the consumer. Below are my best alternatives to the Pro V1 golf balls.


Callaway Chrome Soft X

Best for showing off the Truvis pattern like a boss

The Callaway Chrome Soft is the most popular ball at golf shops but you know, there's something additional they want to give us high speed swingers. So Callaway produce the Chrome Soft X

They've used a four-piece construction with a harder Dual SoftFast core to get the ball to go as straight as the Chrome Soft but when your high speed swing makes contact with the Chrome Soft X, it goes further and gives you more control over the shot shape.

A compression of 90 makes the Chrome Soft X the same as the Pro V1 but as usual the Callaway ball features hexagonal dimples. Truth be told, we don't know why they didn't just call this the Callaway Harder because it is a harder version of the Chrome Soft. 

Bottom line is the ball works well for higher swing speeds. Callaway needed to create a supplement to their popular Chrome Soft range to have something that big bombers and tour players can use and provides an all-round good performance.

Pros
  • Available in soccer ball Truvis print.
  • Soft feeling on the face of all clubs.
  • Stops close to the pitch mark with not as much rip backwards.
  • All round performance makes it one of the best golf balls for high swing speed
Cons
  • Since I use this ball, I can't find anything particularly wrong with it.

Bridgestone Tour B XS

For maximum distance and Tour spin played by Tiger

Bridgestone - the famous tire and Nike golf ball manufacturer - have made it super easy to find the best golf ball for high swing speeds. It tells you on the box! Tiger has started playing since Nike abandoned putting their name on Bridgestone golf balls.

These balls are for people swinging the driver faster than 105 mph. The 'S' on the end of the name stands for Spin. The Tour B XS has a soft feel to it for golfers wanting more feel and spin around the greens. 

In the B XS, you get oodles of control and feel. Distance is equal to any other premium golf balls with the swing speed above 100 mph. But the feel and spin from wedge shots and short irons is something to behold. A redesigned SlipRes cover keeps it gripped to the club face longer for more spin and high trajectory. 

My experience

Overall, one of the best golf balls for high speed swings. I did notice the balls scuffed easily on harder driving wedge shots. Along with that came up to 6 feet of zip backwards when hitting the greens.

You'll need to control that spin when hitting these. The dimple pattern is a little different to what you may be used to and seems much shallower. Sometimes these looks put us off. But you have to hit them to understand it makes no difference and the ball performs just as well as others in the premium category.

Pros
  • Penetrating flight through the wind
  • Soft cover with harder compression for Tour level spin
  • Excellent value/performance price ratio
  • Distance is equal to top premium balls
Cons
  • Cover is soft and gets scuffed really easily

Taylormade TP5x

Well priced brand name premium ball for high swing speeds

The balls have the fifth layer to help golfers who trap the ball against the ground with their irons instead of sweep it away. Results of every shot become predictable with this ball. You know where the ball is going off the tee, you know where it's going on approaches and you know it's going to stop near the pitchmark.

My experience

An interesting observation using the TP5x for a round was how the ball held a straight shot shape in the air.

But what I also noticed is that it's a bit firmer and the wedge shots didn't spin quite as much as the TP5. They've made the feel a bit firmer and reduced the spin. As you know, when you crunch one with a wedge, at high swing speed, you want the ball to stop near the pitch mark instead of ripping back 10 feet. That's what the TP5x does. It feels pretty much like a Pro V1x.

A value option

An alternative and more value option is the older Taylormade Tour Preferred model which is very similar in performance to the TP5x.

Pros
  • Durable cover
  • Lower launch off the irons for high ball hitters
  • Straighter shots with less big shape on them
  • Thicker cover for softer and improved feel
Cons
  • Less workable left and right

Vice Pro Plus

Good for very fast swings - 110 mph +

The Germans have produced a minimalist and slick-looking four-piece urethane covered golf ball with the Vice Pro Plus. But look at that logo. If that doesn't scream sexy, nothing does.

Vice take on Pro V1x with the Pro Plus

The Vice Pro Plus feels firmer than the Titleists - pretty similar to the B XS from Bridgestone reviewed a little higher up. With a four-piece construction, golf balls fly a little lower, so if you're looking for a more penetrating flight, the Vice Pro Plus works beautifully. 

Sound off the driver is also different to Titleists Pro V1x. It gives a bigger smack and with a faster swing, the Pro Plus feels firmer and hotter off the face than a lot of Tour balls.​

For you big hitting beasts who want some finesse into the greens from inside 150 yards, this ball stops where it drops. The trajectory is high, generating a lot of spin, making the ball stick right where it lands. Can I say it's identical to the market-leader? No, but how about 90% as good? Yes. For so much cheaper, this is a tough competitor to the best golf ball for high swing speeds, the Pro V1x.

Pros
  • Penetrating lower ball flight
  • Firm feeling with moderate spin for more control​​​
  • Pleasant firm feeling on the putter similar to best premium balls​​​​
  • Also comes in bright green and red colors
Cons
  • Cover is very soft and cuts occur more than just scuffs
  • Low brand recognition

Snell MTB-X

Best for golf ball snobs to have their minds blown

Dean Snell, the man behind the Snell golf brand is a golf ball superhero. He holds 40 patents in golf ball manufacturing. Then there's his resume.

Golf Ball Designer Extraordinaire

He's been in the business of designing golf balls for 28 years. 18 of them were at Taylormade where he created the Burner, Noodle, Rocketballz and Project (a) golf balls. Before that, he worked at Titleist and is the inventor and co-inventor of the Pro V1, Professional and Tour Prestige! In 2015 he started his own company and now produces some of the best golf balls for high swing speeds in the premium category.

The cast urethane cover on this ball is the same as what you find on balls like the Pro V1 and Taylormade TP5 giving it that soft, thin and durable property. 

It's a three-piece golf ball and boasts a low compression to reduce the spin with the longer clubs giving you handsome distance. Around the greens, the ball is a star. The check on chips and pitches is comparable to the very best on the market.​

My experience

I noticed a gain in yardage off the tee with the MTB-X. It wasn't a huge difference but around 5 yards or so. With my long irons, I noted the usual clubs I hit on the par 3s at my regular course were overshooting the usual landing areas by no more than 3 yards on each hole. Off the putter, the ball felt firm with a little 'give' from the soft cover. 

I must say I don't play these balls because I did hit them out of bounds during a bad round and even though it's not their fault, that is my mental state with them. They are superb golf balls, probably the most similar to a ProV1 golf ball out of all o them.

Pros
  • Durable urethane cover
  • Distance gains off the tee
  • Spins in between a Pro V1 and Pro V1x
  • Very wallet-friendly
Cons
  • Larger than normal logo on the ball
  • Model names like 'Get Sum' and 'My Tour Ball' sound a bit childish

Srixon Z-Star XZ

The durable underdog

Srixon make some great golf balls and even the Q-Star Tour is a great choice but fits more along the lines of the Taylormade Project (a).

4-Piece Construction starts soft on the inside, and gets firmer at the cover

What makes this golf ball a contender for the high swing speed basher is the construction where the core is softer and the inner layers become firmer toward the outside. 

The compression in the ball has been lowered to 102 from 105 in the previous models but that remains in the higher range for the fast swings. The feel around the greens is exceptional but remember, your short game needs multidimensions to take advantage of that. If you swing it fast but have little feel around the greens, the ball will be softer but that's all.

If you're more of a bump and runner, and rely less on spinny shots, you really could consider one of their more medium range balls like a Soft Feel. But if you're looking for holding power inside 120, and better spin from bunkers and stop and drop style shots, this is definitely the ball you'll prefer in the Srixon range. 

I jam these balls any time anywhere. This and the Q Star Tour.

Pros
  • More durable urethane cover than most
  • Low spin off the tee gives a little boost in distance
  • One of the cheaper premium balls out there
Cons
  • Be careful to get the Z Star XV and not the Z Star which is the softer, shorter ball

Kirkland Signature

The greatest budget urethane golf ball

These balls are rare to find where I am so I ordered some online and I have to tell you, if I lived in the US, this would be my ball of choice. It's so cheap yet goes like a rocket. I don't really like to proclaim too much distance off the tee with a ball but this one was really quite phenomenal. I noticed distance gains, but I was skeptical about their stopping power. 

Cheap but not nasty!

In this Youtube on my channel, I was playing with Steve and included a couple of my shots with the Kirkland signature and on the 10th hole, it was amazing to see how quickly the ball stopped. On the 11th hole, I hit the longest driver I have ever hit on that hole and then followed it up on the 12th with a 6 iron that stopped BEHIND the pitch mark.

I can safely recommend this ball to anyone who is on a budget, hits it hard and doesn't want to lose expensive premium balls!

Pros
  • Absolutely cheap no two ways about it
  • Stop on the spot and don't rip BACKWARD
  • Booming off the tee from my experience
  • Bulk packs are great value
  • Excellent for bump and runners like me - not the best spin for floppers and low skidders
Cons
  • Very firm feel closer to a budget ball feeling off the longer clubs
  • The first few hits with the firm feeling may have you doubting the spin and feel

Conclusion

Most of the top end balls will suit your game it just depends on your skill level. If you are consistent and don't lose many balls, the premium balls are for you. If you're a bit erratic, it's going to be best to test a few balls. The urethane covered premium balls will give you more feel and spin around the greens which the harder balls won't do with your fast swing. 

At the moment, I alternate between Srixons, Kirklands, Vice Pro and Taylormades.


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