A sand wedge is an essential golf club for the average player to carry, thanks to its ability to produce chip, pitch, flop, and full shots. These wedges are available in 3 lofts, with the strongest a 54-degree and the weakest a 58-degree club.
However, in this post, I focus on the middle loft and review the best 56-degree wedge for 2023.
I have compiled a list of the best wedges I played in the last 12 months. These range from high spin, low flying, and soft feel premium wedges to entry-level products that work for beginners looking to keep expenses down.
Looking for wedges for women? Check out that article next.
Top 3 56-Degree Wedges
|Best Overall||Best Budget||Most Forgiving|
|Titleist Vokey SM9||Wilson Harmonized||Cleveland RTX Zipcore|
|Rating||4.5 Stars||4.5 Stars||4.5 Stars|
What Is A 56-Degree Wedge Used For?
A 56-degree or sand wedge is used to play chip shots, flop shots, bunker shots, and bump and runs. Golfers also use it for approach shots from close range, where they need to get the ball up and stop it dead on target.
What Are The Benefits Of A 56-Degree Wedge?
The weaker loft of a sand wedge helps you launch your golf ball high and land it softly. This is ideal when you must clear a bunker or water and generate maximum bite on a tight green.
As one of your weaker lofted golf clubs, this wedge produces optimal spin to improve your control on full strikes and chip shots. In my experience, these wedges often carry deep, sharp, and narrow grooves which bite into my ball at contact.
The added grip boosts friction and increases spin for drop and stop control on greenside shots.
Clean Turf Interaction
Sand wedge manufacturers often produce different sole grinds for a 56-degree wedge to cater to all attack angles and turf conditions. In addition, I find they prompt crisp turf interaction for a clean strike from the fairway and the rough.
Read next: The Best Sand Wedges this year
The Best 56-Degree Wedges For 2023
1. Titleist Vokey SM9 Wedge – Overall Best 56 Wedge
- Compact profile
- Generates exceptional spin
- Delivers a controlled flight
- 3 sole grinds
- 3 head finishes
- More expensive than other wedges
- Not as much forgiveness as its peers
The SM9 56 degree Titleist wedge is the overall best mid-loft sand wedge thanks to its compact appearance, buttery-soft feel, controlled ball flight, and rampant spin. Plus, Titleist gives you the option of two sole grinds for superior turf interaction from any lie on the golf course.
I thoroughly enjoyed the controlled ball flight produced with the SM9 wedge, which stemmed from a forward center of gravity (CG). I feel lower handicappers will appreciate this quality. However, I noticed it was easier to square the clubface at contact for greater accuracy than previous SM wedges.
With this 56-degree wedge, Titleist opted to cut the grooves right to the edge for sensational spin. When I tested this wedge, my ball followed a controlled trajectory before hitting the green and stopping rapidly. I felt in total control of the ball spin and shot shape.
The SM9 is crafted in three sole grinds to suit varying attack angles and conditions. Although the F-grind is the most popular on tour, I preferred the forgiveness and neutrality of the D-grind. Finally, the Titleist SM9 is crafted in three finishes. They are Jet Black, Tour Chrome, and Brushed Steel.
I felt the Jet Black did its best to prevent glare and help me remain focused at address. However, from a pure aesthetics perspective, Brushed Steel is king.
Read next: The Best Wedges this year
2. Wilson Harmonized Wedge – Best Budget 56 Golf Club
- Lowest priced wedges
- Versatile sole grind
- 2 clubhead finishes to choose from
- Consistent spin
- Clean blade shape golf club
- Not the softest feeling wedges
- No sole grind options
Cheap and cheerful is seldom associated with quality, but Wilson bucks that trend with their Harmonized wedge range. I appreciate this blade wedge’s clean and simple appearance, but its versatile sole won me over.
I found it easy to open up my clubface and get the ball high effortlessly, something I notice beginners and high handicappers struggles with. This made it simple to play flop and bunker shots, which removes one less worry for high handicappers.
In addition, I felt the groove design worked well to produce enough spin on chip and pitch shots for greater greenside control. It also preserved spin and ball speed across an expanded clubface area for consistency on all strikes.
Besides its performance, I appreciated the option of a classic, polished clubhead or a gunmetal finish. The classic polish provides a tour-like look, while the black clubface prevents glare during your swing.
3. Cleveland RTX Zipcore – Most Forgiving 56 Wedges
- Maximum Forgiveness
- High MOI to resist twisting
- Consistent spin
- Durable grooves
- 3 sole grind options
- Restricts workability
- It does not deliver as much spin as its competitors
Amateurs have praised the forgiveness and affordability of Cleveland golf clubs for most of my 28 years in golf. The RTX Zipcore continues this trend, earning the prize for the most forgiving golf 56-degree wedge in 2023.
A high moment of inertia (MOI) design helped me resist twisting the clubface during my swing for greater short-game accuracy. It felt easier to square the clubface at contact and promote straighter shots, which beginners and high handicappers will cherish.
Added to its accuracy is rampant spin delivered by its acute, deep, and narrow groove structure. It increased friction at impact and imparted plenty of spin on my ball to enhance control around the green.
I also approve of the heat treatment applied to the grooves, which enhances their durability for a longer-lasting spin. Finally, Cleveland offers the RTX Zipcore wedges in 3 sole grinds for every condition and attack angle.
The midsole delivered the most versatile performance in my case. However, the low-sole works for shallow attack angles, and the full-sole for steeper attacks.
4. Cleveland CBX Full-Face – Best 56-Degree Wedge For Flop Shots
- Simplifies flop shots
- High spinning face
- Glare resistant
- Increased greenside control
- Chunky profile
- Limited sole grind options
A fair quantity of amateurs struggles with the flop shot and regularly catch the ball in the teeth, sending the ball yards over the green. The Cleveland CBX Full-Face simplifies this task with its high toe profile, which is easier to glide under your golf ball.
In addition, the design reduces the challenge of bunker shots for the average golfer, enabling you to take enough sand under the ball for a controlled stroke. Its ability to get under the ball and launch high is attributed to its unique Low C-Shaped sole, which opens the clubface angle.
I produced improved spin with the CBX compared to the RTX Zipcore owing to the Rotex Full Face construction. The design combines Tour Zip Grooves with a laser-milled face to cover every area of the clubface for optimal ball speed and spin on every strike.
Lastly, Cleveland applied a Black Satin Finish to the CBX Full Face, which reduces glare during setup.
5. PowerBilt X-Grind – Best 56 Wedge For Beginners
- Entry-level price point
- Easy to launch
- Produces clean turf interaction
- Generates a high launch and a soft landing
- Versatile sole grind
- Limited Technology
- It could provide more spin
PowerBilt is often overlooked for its entry-level price, but in my experience, its products are ideal for beginner golfers. They produce forgiving, consistent, affordable golf clubs to forgive off-center strikes. The PowerBilt X-Grind provides sufficient leniency and a versatile sole grind.
The X-Grind sole is built for the average player who needs a jack of all trades that chips and produces consistent flop and full shots. I found it easy to open the clubface and get under the ball for a consistent launch and a soft landing.
I felt the grooves provided tolerable spin but nothing sensational. It is sufficient for the average high handicapper yet to master distance control.
Overall, it is affordable, produces crisp distance control from any lie, and preserves spin across the clubface for consistent results.
6. Callaway Mack Daddy CB – Best 56-Degree Wedge For Mid Handicappers
- High Forgiveness
- Consistent spin
- Enlarged sweet spot
- 2 wedge grinds to choose
- Shot stopping control
- Restricts workability
- It does not feature the offset groove in groove technology
Forgiveness, increased spin, and clean turf interaction are prime qualities for mid-handicappers in a 56-degree wedge. These wedges, like the Callaway Mack Daddy CB, ensure optimal shot-stopping ability, accuracy, and consistency.
The cavity back design of this Mack Daddy wedge equips the clubhead with perimeter weighting for a wider sweet spot. As a result, you preserve ball speed and spin on all strikes for improved distance control on full and flop shots.
I appreciated the JAWS Grooves because they produced rampant spin, thanks to their precise sharpness. These edges gripped into my golf ball cover and prompted greater friction and spin around the green. This improved my control and ability to stop the ball close to the target.
Callaway engineers offer the Mack Daddy CB in two wedge grinds, including a full and W-grind. However, I found the W-grind produced a clean turf interaction and forgiveness on more shots than the full grind. As a result, I feel it best suits the average golfer.
7. Mizuno T22 – Best 56-Degree Wedge For Low Handicappers
- Compact appearance
- Buttery-soft feel
- Consistent spin
- Sheds moisture in the wet
- Available in 3 sole grinds
- Durable grooves
- The wedges are designed to rust, which I like, but others complain about
- Some golfers may struggle with the lower ball flight
Lower handicappers demand a wedge with a compact profile, buttery-soft feel, and a controlled launch. In my experience, the Mizuno T22 delivers the goods by providing consistency to aid the finest players on off-center strikes.
Its compact design and expertly forged clubhead were a pleasure to lay eyes on at address, and it delivered a soft feel on all strikes. This enabled superb feedback on chip shots for better judgment and distance control around the dancefloor.
My feel was further enhanced by the Harmonic Impact Technology, which helped the engineers dine tune the clubhead for enhanced feedback at contact. In addition, the broader and shallow groove structure prompted rampant spin off the clubface.
The laser-etched HydroFlow Micro Grooves shed moisture in early morning dew or rain to limit spin drop-off and promote a controlled flight and landing. Finally, Mizuno offers the T-22 wedge range in 3 sole grinds, with the D-grind best suited to the average golfer seeking a versatile setup.
8. Cobra Snake Bite – High Spinning Golf Wedge 56-Degrees
- Produces optimal spin
- Provides greater shorter game control for the average golfer
- Generates crisp turf interaction
- Available in 3 sole grinds
- Chunky profile
- I faced some glare challenges with the chrome finish
The Cobra Snake Bite ranked as my best 56-degree wedge for spin in 2023 and retains its title in 2023. I feel the average golfer can produce consistent spin thanks to its SnakeBite Groove Technology, which refines the edges for greater friction at impact.
The Technology is aided by a full-face groove design to enhance the active zone and preserve ball speed and spin on heel and toe mishits. As a result, I produced optimal bite on lengthy approaches and flop shots. Plus, the increased spin provided superb control on chip shots to put me in a position to get down in two.
Besides spin, it produced impressive accuracy, which resulted in an attractive dispersion chart. I attributed my consistent accuracy to the versatile sole grind, which offered toe and heel relief from the fairway and the rough.
However, Cobra has golfers with neutral and steep downswings covered, with the Classic and Widelow designs. My biggest gripe is that the wedges flange appears large at address, but this may help mid and high-handicappers with confidence on sand wedge shots.
9. TaylorMade MG3 SB – Best 56-Degree Wedge For Feedback
- Buttery soft feel
- Increased spin
- Produces precise flight
- Available in two finishes
- The Satin Raw Black is glare resistant
- Only one stock sole grind
A soft feel and optimal feedback are essential for consistent distance control in your wedge game. Without a delicate touch, it is challenging to determine the necessary power for your shot. The TaylorMade MG3 SB stood out in this category and delivered an accurate flight for greater control.
Raw Face Micro Ribs combine a raw clubface with raised grooves for superior texture across the club face. I noticed the slots gripped my golf ball superbly at contact, imparting exceptional spin to help me stop my ball rapidly near my target.
The ZTP Raw Groove design boosted the spin performance of the MG3 by preserving spin in the wet and across an expanded area of the clubface. In addition, superior golfers will appreciate the broad weight distribution for an accurate flight and drop and stop spin.
The best TaylorMade 56-degree wedge is offered in a standard Satin Raw Chrome, which resembles a tour player’s wedge. Alternatively, there is the choice of Satin Raw Black, which I prefer because of its glare-resistant qualities.
Lastly, the engineers crafted the MG3 SB with a standard sole grind which suits the average player with a moderate angle of attack.
10. PXG V3 0311 – Most Versatile Sole
- Versatile sole grind to encourage clean strikes from any lie
- Generates ample spin
- Soft feel
- Crisp acoustics
- Enhanced durability
- The single sole option may discourage some golfers
- I endured some glare at address
With all the choices of sole grinds, it is challenging for the average golfer to find a one-size fits all design. Fortunately, the PXG V3 0311 contains a versatile sole that makes it easy to open your clubface and deliver flop and full shots from any lie.
The high-toe weighting design of the wedge made it easy to catch the sweet spot with an open clubface for maximum spin on flop shots. Plus, I noticed this construction enhanced the overall consistency of contact and forgiveness.
Next, the Full Face Grooves stretch the clubface perimeter for an increased surface to strike. As a result, I produced optimal spin on all shots, including common mishits off the toe area.
Finally, the V3 0311 wedge is triple forged from 8620 Soft Carbon Steel, which creates a super tight grain structure for a soft feel and crisp acoustics. It also enhances the durability of the grooves for longer-lasting performance.
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What To Consider When Purchasing A 56-Degree Wedge
Blade or Cavity Back
A compact, forged blade wedge is a pleasure to lay eyes on and typically provides exceptional feel, turf interaction, and acoustics. However, these wedges often provide less forgiveness than a cavity back wedge. They are better suited to golfers with a superior short game.
In my experience, a cavity back wedge provides mid and high handicappers with the added support of perimeter weighting. The mass around the clubface expands the sweet spot to help you preserve ball speed and spin for consistent results on mishits.
A sole grind is vital with wedges as it impacts the bounce of your golf club. Most wedge manufacturers construct a variety of offerings to cater to neutral, shallow, and steep attack angles. In addition, the grinds suit varying turf conditions.
As I see it, I thrive with a versatile grind that works for neutral attack angles and makes it easier to open the clubface. However, steeper attack angles may excel with a high bounce wedge that prevents the clubhead from digging into the turf.
On the contrary, shallow attack angles may demand a grind with less bounce to avoid topping your shot.
Your desired ball flight should guide your 56-degree wedge decision as it impacts how easily you can launch and control the ball. Although high-flying wedges are better for the average golfer to swing, they reduce your control on approach.
Wedges with high flight often carry a low and deep center of gravity (CG), while a forward CG prompts the lower flight.
An example of an easy launching wedge for the average golfer is the Cleveland CBX Full-Face, which suits mid and high handicappers.
Conversely, low-flying wedges enhance your control and drop and stop spin. However, it can make it challenging for the average golfer to get them airborne. The Titleist Vokey SM9 is the ideal alternative for low handicappers searching for controlled flight and enhanced spin.
Optimal spin is vital in a wedge. Otherwise, you relinquish control in your short game and struggle to produce enough bite on the dancefloor.
Ideally, you want sharp, deep, and narrow grooves in a 56-degree wedge to grip your ball at contact. This notion leads to greater friction and increased spin for superior greenside control.
Which 56-Degree Wedge Should I Get?
The best 56-degree wedge in 2023 is the Titleist Vokey SM9 for its buttery-soft feel, rampant spin, and clean turf interaction. In addition, it provides piercing ball flight for greater control and spin on approach.
However, mid and high-handicappers may prefer a more forgiving cavity-back wedge like the Callaway Mack Daddy CB.
What Is The Most Forgiving 56-Degree Wedge?
The most forgiving 56-degree wedge is the Cleveland RTX Zipcore, thanks to its enhanced MOI, wide sweet spot, consistent friction, and heat-treated grooves.
What Would You Use 56-Degree Wedge For?
A 56-degree wedge is a versatile golf club used for chip shots, bunker shots, flop shots, full shots, and bumps and runs. Essentially you can use this wedge for any golf shot near or around the green.
Can You Hit A Flop Shot With A 56?
Yes, you can hit a flop shot with a 56-degree wedge, and I did for most of my career as a golfer. Although I now use a lob wedge for this shot, the 56-degree offers sufficient loft angle for you to get under the ball, launch it high and stop it rapidly.
Read next: The Best Lob Wedges this year
A 56-degree wedge is highly recommended for your setup as it bridges the gap between your pitching and lob wedge. This versatile golf club allows you to play full shots, chip shots, flop shots, and bunker shots. This equips you with an all-around short-game club.
Every option on this list is a worthy feature and performed highly against its peers in individual categories. However, there can only be one true winner, and the best 56-degree wedge for 2023 is the Titleist Vokey SM9.
The SM9 looks good, feels soft, spins high, and flies along a lower trajectory to give golfers optimal shot-stopping control on approach. Finally, Vokey engineers managed to equip the wedge with greater forgiveness than past models, to cater to mid-handicappers.