Best Wedges for Mid Handicappers

Wouldn't it be nice to know you'll hit it close inside 100 yards and give yourself a make-able putt? How nice would it be to know you'll stiff every chip and bunker shot?

With wedge play, and as someone who's had up to five wedges in my bag, I can tell you with certainty, the right bow to shoot the arrows certainly makes life easier for the Indian. 

With quality wedges like the Cleveland RTX-3, the ball spins more, strikes are consistent and weighting in the club has been put in the right place to maximize results.  

Good wedges save shots, scores and golfing careers

With this guide, I want to show you the best wedges for mid handicappers to get you closer to breaking 80.

So in this guide, I've indicated which wedges are best for each type of golfer to help with the issues you might face. I believe these are the best golf wedges on the market at the moment for bunkers, approaches, chipping and pitching combined.

   Top Wedges for 2018
  1. Cleveland RTX-3 Cavity Back Wedge (best for majority of golfers)
  2. Taylormade Milled Grind Wedge (best Tour level wedge for mid handicappers)
  3. Tour Edge Exotics CB Pro S Wedge (best sleeper wedge)
  4. Cleveland Smart Sole 3 Wedge (best for bunkers and green side chipping)
  5. Tour Edge Triple Grind Sole Wedge  (best budget wedge)

The Best Wedges for Mid Handicappers


Best wedge on the market for majority of golfers

The wedge for 84% of golfers

Cleveland is the foremost name in golf wedges and the new RTX-3 is another fantastic wedge for the mid handicapper. Since most of us (84%) use cavity back irons, it makes sense to extend the set with cavity back wedges for feel and consistency and the RTX-3 cavity back irons fit nicely into you set.

Hacking out the back of the wedge means they can put that weight around the outer rear edge for more perimeter weighting to add more forgiveness. So when I hit this wedge, I noticed even on mishits, it retained distance and direction far more than my current Mizunos. But there's something important to know to make sure you don't misunderstand the specifications...

Many reasons to love this wedge

What I really love about the two dot 56 degree wedge is the 11° of bounce which is ideal for getting that ball out of the sand and hitting solid approach shots. Two dots? Yes, Cleveland has a dot system on the wedges:

•  One dot means a ground down sole for lower bounce of only 8°
•• Two dots means the sole is mildly ground down for a bounce of 11°
••• Three dots means the sole isn't ground down and you have full bounce of 14°

The choice is yours. If you play a soft wet course, hit the ball fat a lot with wedges or leave the ball in the bunker a lot, get the 3 dot. If you're a decent enough wedge player, get a two dot and if you're playing on very tight lies and firm fairways and bunkers, a single dot will do well for you.

A rougher face and deeper grooves mean you're going to be ripping up the greens more often and more consistently thanks to the extra spin these puppies get on the ball.

Pros
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    ​Cavity back for better shots even on mishits
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    ​Roughened up face with sharp grooves for spin
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    Multiple bounce options to dial in the performance based on your preferences
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    ​Fits in perfectly to your cavity back iron set
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    Sweet spot closer to the center of club face than other wedges - moved center of gravity away from the hosel
Cons
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    Reduced shot shaping as this is a Game Improvement wedge

Best for low to mid handicappers

Taylormade need to make special wedges because their Tour players need them to complete the iron set they sign up to play with, so there is a lot of work that goes into making them. And when you have Dustin Johnson on your staff, it's important to get these Taylormade Milled Grind right.

They've even gone as far as to offer three different bounce options like the Clevelands above. There are LB, SB and HB options: Low, Standard and High Bounce. I like the High Bounce for most golfers. Low bounce wedges are really for skilled players or guys playing off firm ground most of the season. High Bounce wedges will hit the ground or sand and bounce off, propelling the ball high and with a lot of spin. The LB & SB tend to dig into the ground and produce inconsistent results unless you're super grooved.

One of the sexiest ​wedges on the market

The heel grind and the red dot in line with the hosel as well as the minimalist sole of the club really sets the Milled Grind wedge off as a looker. Always a sucker for classic looking wedges, these appeal to me. The newly designed grooves suck the ball in and spit it out full of spin. 

Like all sexy things we love, this club can be less forgiving. That is why I recommend it for low to mid handicappers especially the high bounce option. If you do want to try them out and you're unsure of which bounce to try, get the HB first and if that really isn't for you, try the SB. It's all about trial and error.

Pros
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    ​Classic minimalist look
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    ​Excellent out the rough
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    ​Three styles of bounce
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    High bounce has optimal bounce for majority of golfers
Cons
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    ​Less forgiving​​​
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    ​Standard bounce and low bounce tend to dig

​Best sleeper wedge for any golfer

Minimalist look with forged iron feel. Sign me up. Wait, 14° bounce on the sand wedge? Even better! Tour Edge Exotics have always been well known for fairway woods and Game Improvement clubs but with this wedge, they've stepped up their game further making it one of the best wedges for mid handicappers even though you've never heard of it.

The CB Pro Forged wedge is markedly heavier than other wedges on the market and with that you get better shots more of the time. That 14° of bounce comes in handy when you hit a full shot to get the ball airborne. Out of the sand and around the green, you'll feel the fat sole bouncing off the ground instead of digging to get you closer to the hole.

​MONGO grooves in the club face mean you get the zip and rip on the greens you desire. The ball stops quickly and will rip back if that's your style.

Pros
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    ​Classic minimalist look
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    ​Extremely consistent shot shape and reaction on the greens
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    ​Dynamic bounce so lots of bounce with square face, less with open face
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    ​Tons of bounce to get out of bunkers and the rough
Cons
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    ​Slight loss of distance compared to other wedges
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    Limited lofts on offer

Best wedges for chipping and sand shots

This is a truly unique 42° club that's designed to help golfers struggling to get up and down around the greens particularly if you chunk your chip shots a lot. The C wedge from Cleveland is a little beauty around the greens to get up and down. Within 120 yards, it's a dart thrower.

The best wedge on the market to simplify chipping

With that super wide Smart Sole, duffed chips disappear and it's almost impossible to screw up shots with the club. Fat shots are saved by the wide sole to get the ball near your target. 

Green side you just aim the ball, take a putting stroke with it and the ball goes where you want, it's that simple.

Longer approaches take some time to adjust to the unique looking club face but once dialed in, you'll be lethal.

The Sand Wedge comes in 58° which in my eyes is ideal for a sand wedge - like a love child of a sand wedge and a lob wedge. There's massive bounce in the Smart Sole making every wedge shot something you look forward to. It's so difficult to make a mess of a pitch or bunker shot, they're practically fool-proof.

The bunkers-for-dummies wedge

Here's where this thing shines. You'll never fear sand again.

So simple: Line up to the target. Don't manipulate the club face like you do with a normal sand wedge. Swing and hit the sand behind the ball. That's all! The club will do the rest. Is this a miracle club? I don't believe there are any, but yes this is the exception. Practice a little with this thing and you'll get out of the bunkers first time every time.

Pros
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    ​Extra wide Smart Sole for the most forgiving wedges available
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    ​Get out of bunkers first time
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    ​Chipping could not be simpler around the green, no more fat or skulled shots
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    ​Simplified technique to escape bunkers
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    Good out of the rough with thick sole
Cons
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    ​Will take some practice to dial in how to hit these unique looking clubs
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    ​Only two options 42° and 58°

Best budget wedge

If you don't need a big Tour brand, this wedge suits your needs. Golfers in the know are very familiar with the Tour Edge name and the quality they bring to the table. And for the money, you could try a Pinemeadow, or you could use a trusted brand like Tour Edge.

The name Triple Grind Sole refers to the bottom of the club where they've ground off some of the bounce so you can manipulate the wedge open, neutral and closed for more consistent results. This isn't a game improvement point and shoot wedge like the Cleveland Smart Soles so you're able to get fancy with it.

Great first wedge upgrade

If you're getting your toes wet in the pool of golf wedges, this is a good first option. It's consistent, sturdy and higher quality than other wedges in the same price range. It's not always necessary to blow a wad of cash when something cheaper can get the job done just as well.

Pros
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    ​Unbelievably cheap for the quality​​​​
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    ​Easily manipulated open or closed
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    ​Tour Edge quality golf club
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    Good out of the rough ​and sand
Cons
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    ​Older model of wedge

​How to Create the Perfect Wedge Set

Step 1: Select the best option

3 wedges
Consistent gap

4 wedges
Micro gap

3 wedges
Random gap

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    ​50° ​pitching wedge
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    ​54​​​° ​gap wedge
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    ​58° sand wedge
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    ​48° ​pitching wedge
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    ​52° ​gap wedge
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    ​56° sand wedge
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    60° lob wedge
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    ​48° ​pitching wedge
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    ​56° sand wedge
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    60° lob wedge


The Three-wedge Consistent Gap approach is the simplest system. It also gives you more space in the bag for another fairway wood or hybrid.This is going to be best for most golfers so there is more room in the bag for hybrids and fairway woods for more forgiveness approaching the green.

The Four-wedge Micro Gap approach means you have a lot of wedge options. This is a good system for longer hitters who are confident with their drivers and boom the long ball down the chute and have between 150 and 90 yards into greens a lot of the time.

The Three-wedge Random Gap system is what most people have because they have a standard PW from the manufacturer and buy new wedges separately without knowing about the gap between the PW and SW. This is not a bad system but it's not optimal.

I ​moved from a 4 wedge micro gap system to a three wedge system after discovering 58° wedges. They work like lob wedges and since I use a lob wedge from the sand anyway, the 56° SW was my most underused club. I threw it out the bag and put a 15° three-wood in because my driver goes a long way the wrong way.

Step 2: Select the wedges

​Most wedge manufacturers produce wedges in the following lofts:

50°  52°  54°  56°  58°  60°  64°
There is no wrong choice, it all depends on your needs, BUT...

It's best to avoid the 64° wedges. They're a nightmare for anyone except Phil Mickelson. Seriously, they're awful and more of a gimmick. You might use this club once in a round and screw it up anyway!

Select your wedge manufacturer and try buy the 2, 3 or 4 wedges from the same range/manufacturer so there is consistency throughout the wedge set. Similar feel and distance gapping from the same range of wedges will give you more confidence on approach shots.

Step 3: Practice Practice PRACTICE

​Take those new wedges and go to the range. Waste half a bucket or even a full bucket on just hitting your wedges. Practice at the chipping green for an hour at a time. Chip in the garden or over the house.

Within a couple of months you'll drop your score by at least 4 strokes with a decent set of wedges and a 2 or 3 hours of practice a week. Guaranteed.

Leave a Comment:

5 comments
He says

Dear Sir/Madam,

I think your videos are awesome. Saw your youtube videos on breaking 100 and 90. Would it be possible for you to make a youtube video on how to break 80?

The golf strategy shown in the break 100 and 90 videos are great, but I believe that in order to get down into single digits and play in National competitions, you have to start breaking 80.

Would you be so kind to make a youtube video showing how you break 80? Thank you so much!

Warm Regards

Reply
    Matt says

    Hi there

    Yes, I have 4 videos in production now on breaking 80. I am just trying to figure out how to add maximum value so it won’t waste your time.

    I will let you know when it’s out!

    Matt

    Reply
Jay says

Hi, I’m thinking of getting some RTX 3 wedges, and noticed you listed wedge loft recommendations starting from a 50deg. or 48deg. pitching wedge.

I have Callaway XR irons with the wedges/lofts listed below, and I’m trying to work out how to add an additional wedge (lob/58?) with this gapping. It’s like they labeled what traditionally would have been a pitching wedge as a gap wedge, and shifted lofts back down through from there.

I could also replace the “sand wedge” (54) here if that helps, but not sure how to choose based on the wonky lofts of the XR pitching wedge and gap wedge.

Should I keep the Callaway AW at 49, then go to a 54 and 58 setup for sand+lob? Or do I need to also replace the AW and go full 50/54/58, and not worry about the 6 degree gap between the Callaway “PW” (44) and the new 50 deg.?

Callaway XRs – I don’t have the “LW”, just these three:
PW 44.0° 64.0° 35.75″ D2 RH/LH
AW 49.0° 64.0° 35.5″ D2 RH/LH
SW 54.0° 64.0° 35.25″ D2 RH/LH

Thanks in advance for any advice!

Reply
    Matt says

    As in the email I sent to you directly, don’t replace anything. Just add a 58° wedge. The difference between a 48, 49 and 50 degree won’t be massive enough to warrant getting rid of the clubs you already have. Let me know how it goes.

    Reply
Jake says

IMO, Mizuno T7 wedges are soft and most durable wedges. I have them for 2 years and grooves are still fresh. Amazing. Not to mention, they are best and most overlooked tour wedges.

Reply
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