Best Wedges for Mid Handicappers to Save More Pars

Best Wedges for Mid Handicappers

Wouldn't it be nice to hit it close inside 100 yards for a make-able putt? 

How nice would it be to know you're going to stiff your chips and bunker shots?

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. 

The bounce and the loft of the club can make all the difference. If you hit the same shot with the same loft, but changed the bounce of the club, you'll get three different results. So intricate is the way of the wedge.

With quality wedges like the Cleveland RTX, 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 2021

  1. Cleveland CNX2 Cavity Back Wedge (best for most golfers)
  2. Taylormade Milled Grind Wedge (best Tour level wedge for mid handicappers)
  3. PING Glide 3.0 Wedge (the most complete wedge for mid handicappers)
  4. Mizuno T20 Satin Wedge (best wedge for keeping for a long time)
  5. Cleveland Smart Sole 3 S Wedge (best for bunkers and green side chipping)
  6. Cleveland Smart Sole 3 C Wedge (best for chip and runs if you chunk a lot)

The Best Wedge for Mid Handicappers 2021


Best wedge on the market for majority of golfers

The wedge for most golfers

Cleveland is the foremost name in golf wedges and the new iteration of the RTX 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 like about these wedges is the multiple loft options. 

They come in lofts from 46 degrees to 60 degrees in 2 degree increments. So if you like your one wedge from Cleveland, you can finish off the bag with another one or two with whichever loft you like. 

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
  • Cavity back for better shots even on mishits
  • Roughened up face with sharp grooves for spin
  • Multiple loft options to dial in the performance based on your preferences
  • Fits in perfectly to your cavity back iron set
  • Sweet spot closer to the center of club face than other wedges - moved center of gravity away from the hosel
Cons
  • 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. 

They've even gone as far as to offer three different bounce options. 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 nicest looking 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. I played this wedge for a year and then upgraded to the new Milled Grind 2 wedge. 

It's a lot more expensive than the Milled Grind 1, but worth a look if you want the latest and greatest. 

Like all good looking 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
  • Classic minimalist look
  • Excellent out the rough
  • Three styles of bounce
  • High bounce has optimal bounce for majority of golfers
Cons
  • Less forgiving
  • Standard bounce and low bounce tend to dig

The most complete wedge for mid handicappers

PING make easy to hit clubs in general and this wedge is easy to hit, but functions as any wedge you'd expect. 

The wedge has been designed to be lighter and more forgiving. PING designed grooves that change according to each loft so the right grooves impart the right spin. In the lower loft wedges (46, 50, 52), grooves are less aggressive because we usually swing full on those, and we don't want it spinning like hell.  

For the higher loft wedges, grooves are made to to create more spin on partial shots which we hit often with the higher lofted clubs. The higher lofted wedges have an extra half-groove on the bottom of the face for a little more spin.

With the added forgiveness on mis-hits, combined with the redesigned grooves, weight and shaft and grip, this is a revolutionary wedge that will suit almost anyone.

Pros
  • Classic minimalist look
  • Extremely consistent shot shape and reaction on the greens
  • High spinning with groove system specially made for higher loft
  • Less spin on the lower loft so when you hit it full, it stops instead of zipping back too far
Cons
  • Careful which one you get, there are 4 different options and may not suit you

Best wedges for chipping and bump and runs

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

Simple good wedges

The Mizuno wedge is often the one that gets you hooked. You play one, and you keep it for a long long long time. Pro Mo from my channel even uses them so there is no problem with the top quality of these wedges. 

Decoration and looks are secondary on these wedge as they are very minimalist in the bag when you look at them. I like that. It's just a wedge and it does its job very well.

You can select two colors with the satin chrome or ion blue but both have the same qualities and when you lay the wedge behind the ball, the leading edge looks nice and straight. Most wedges seem to have a rounded look. 

Pros
  • Great colors - I like the blue, it looks very different but you don't have to buy blue
  • Easily manipulated open or closed
  • Mizuno forged quality like their high quality irons
  • A lot of zip!
Cons
  • Blue color might not be to your liking
  • Lots of lofts and bounces can give you the FOMO feeling

How to Create the Perfect Wedge Set

Step 1: Select the best option

3 wedges for consistent gapping

  • 50° pitching wedge
  • 54° gap wedge
  • 58° sand wedge

4 wedges for tiny gaps to plug

  • 48° pitching wedge
  • 52° gap wedge
  • 56° sand wedge
  • 60° lob wedge

3 wedges for comfort

  • 48° pitching wedge
  • 56° sand wedge
  • 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 your 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:

7 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
André says

Good information thanks Matt; if only this was available when I was looking for my wedge set, currently I’m running second hand SM5 (50.08/56.10/62.08).

Home course is quite diverse in hard/soft sections all year around due to drainage, so My question is…is it wise to spread bounce dependant on club? Or manage a more routine bounce set?

Reply
Emu says

Hey Matt, for me problem with wedges was how to adopt them to the regular set of irons. My Pw from my iron set is 46 degrees which means it could also be a 9iron? after a lot of thinking and trying I now have your 4 wedge system (48, 52, 56, 60) and the 46 pw from the iron set. That makes 5 wedges, which seemed weird at the beginning. But fortunatly I’m a long hitter and it is working for me. All the best from Munich, Germany

Reply
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