- Reviews of the Top 7 Golf Wedges
- Final Thoughts
They should, however, rather pay more attention to their wedges. About 30% of your shots are played within 100 yards of the green and your skill with these shots could have an even bigger influence on your handicap.
So what should we be looking for when it comes to finding the best golf wedges?
The loft of the club, that is the angle of the clubface to the vertical, will determine the height of the trajectory and the distance of the shot. This is obviously critical to the performance of the wedge.
Most iron sets would include a pitching wedge that would have a loft angle of around 44 -48 degrees, and with a full swing would result in a distance of around 110-125 yards.
The sand wedge is equally common with a steeper loft angle of 54-58 degrees and as the name suggests is used to get out of greenside bunkers or maybe deep rough. This club would not usually be used for distance and would typically give you up to 70 or 80 yards.
The more serious golfer with a mid to lower handicap would also consider having a gap wedge in his bag. Instead of trying to force more distance out of the sand wedge or play a less than full swing on the pitching wedge, the gap wedge with a loft of between 50-55 degrees allows you to play distances of 80-100 yards more accurately.
This video gives some insights and explains how to use a gap wedge effectively.
Finally, there is the lob wedge which is synonymous with Phil Mickelson. With a loft angle of 59-68 degrees, this club allows you to skip over bunkers or other obstacles and land the ball softly on the green without rolling off the other side into another bunker or rough.
There’s a lot more to wedges than just the loft, and it’s important to understand the modern technologies built into these important weapons in our golf bags.
Bounce and Grind
The bounce is the angle between the leading edge of the club and the ground. This allows the club to “bounce” off the surface instead of digging in and slowing down the stroke. The lower angle would be preferred if you are playing on harder surfaces.
Alternately where you have softer sand or fluffy rough a higher bounce angle would be preferred. Check your divots, do you tend to sweep the ball off the surface or do you leave a divot, if so how deep?
The “grind”, the depth and shape of the sole or bounce of the club will also be a factor determined by the parameters above.
The treads on your car tyres grip the road surface and keep you safe on bends and camber and in all types of weather. So too do the grooves on the face of the wedge determine the grip on the ball which in turn will affect the trajectory and the spin on landing.
Most wedges come with steel shafts which give enough feel as you seldom hit at 100%. Graphite shafts are available normally come with a set of irons.
Wedges come in a variety of finishes from nickel/chrome polished to darker satin finishes and raw unplated. The satin finish chips and wears off with time and the raw will rust giving better friction and spin.
The bottom edge of the clubface is important, particularly when you have a poor lie. The average wedge is designed to deliver good spin but the design of the leading edge can vary from one model to the next. Ensure you find one that works well with your swing style.
Wedges can range in price so be sure to find a quality option that fits your budget. While the top-quality wedges have technology and design that will mean forking out a bit extra there are many well-priced wedges that will perform well without breaking the bank.
You want your clubs to look good in your bag. This is very much a personal preference but some wedges are undeniably better looking than others. Look for one that works with your preference and style and compliments your other clubs. While performance is of the utmost importance looks are still relevant.
Now that we know what to look for in a wedge, and how many we might want or need, let us take a closer look at the best on offer for 2020. Remember always that you can only carry 14 clubs in your bag, so try to select your clubs with a 4-5 degree difference in the loft to maximize your options.
How Many Wedges Should I Carry In My Bag?
You are restricted to a total of 14 clubs. Most golfers get away quite easily with two or three wedges. If you find it necessary to carry four wedges it will generally mean sacrificing a wood, hybrid or other clubs. Consider your needs and priorities in order to determine the ideal club selection.
Reviews of the Top 7 Golf Wedges
This mid-size, rounded profile wedge is a good competitor in the short game. Grain flow forged and infused with 1025 Boron in Hiroshima Japan, it presents a natural grain and superior strength.
The modern trend in wedges is to raise the center of gravity as the loft increases so as to maintain control, feel, distance and most importantly spin.
This is where the Mizuno S18 is visibly different from its rivals. To achieve this center of gravity shift Mizuno employs a progressively thicker beveled top line which causes the weight to shift up the blade on the higher lofts. This gives a more controlled and more consistent spin if the ball is struck higher up the blade.
Mizuno S18 is the best weight-balance loft specific wedge available.
This is a strong boast, but here’s how it works. Except for the 56 and 60-degree wedge they all have only one bounce option. The sole grind becomes more aggressive the higher the club loft. Each club is specifically designed with a loft/ bounce combination for its specific function.
The sole grind profile, the thickness of the bevel top line, the depth of the grooves, changes with each wedge. This design specific allows for opening the clubface without raising the leading edge too much.
The S18 has Quad cut grooves that are deeper and narrower on the lower angled wedges and wider and shallower on the higher degrees. Being forged steel they are stronger and longer-lasting.
The long continuous grain of the forge gives a soft and consistent but solid feel. Hit the sweet spot and hear the Mizuno “click”, when you mishit you will know it. Sadly the distinctive blue of the previous range has been discontinued and the S18 is only available in chrome and black.
It is priced at the upper end of the market.
The favorite club in my bag is a Cobra Baffler 5 wood, but let’s leave that in the bag as we are talking wedges here.
The Cobra King MIM might look like any other wedge at first glance but is very different in construction and manufacture. Most wedges are cast or forged, Cobra is the first to present a fully metal injection molded, MIM, head. This allows for the most precise shape possible and superior feel and interaction between clubface and turf.
Injection molding has great advantages in quality control and precision. Two types of metal, in powder form, are blended with a binder and under heat higher than the normal for a forge are injected into the mold.
An automated polishing process is then employed and the integrity of the weight and sole shape are retained and are more consistent. The complexity of machining and hand grinding required on wedges for the variety of shapes grinds bounce leading edge curves weight and polishing are all eliminated through this process. The overall result is a solid, consistent result across all lofts and has a softer feel.
The Cobra King MIM uses the “versatile” tour wedge grind, which provides extra toe relief. This versatility allows you to adapt for a bump and run or a flop shot over a bunker with ease.
The full face spiral milling pattern of the grooves, which radiates out from the center, delivers consistent friction even on open-faced shots. The grooves are deeper and narrower on the higher lofts and shallower and wider on the lower lofts.
The circular pattern increases spin on the softer shots around the green where the ball compression is less. The pattern also helps to find the sweet spot for a better ball strike.
Another interesting innovation as a result of feedback from tour professional Rickie Fowler is a notch in the back of the head that helps to keep the leading edge close to the ground.
The King MIM is offered in 6 loft variations from 50 to 60 degrees, all with the versatile tour grind. They come with Golf Pride Tour Velvet grips.
Spin like a pro, or is this where Phil Mickelson comes in? The MD4 is the best wedge for spn due to the unique design of the grooves. On top of the usual indented square grooves, they have added these micro inverted grooves resulting in greater grip and spin levels than ever before.
At first glance, one might be wondering, but these grooves are fully compliant with the USPGA rules.
Mack Daddy 4 offers a range of 9 lofts from 46 to 64 degrees, there is no 62. The natural feel is maintained by moving the center of gravity up as the degree of loft increases.
This is achieved by the indentations in the back of the club and the four weight ports. This combination of unique grooves, raised center of gravity and better feel should result in you getting more distance with your wedge.
Try getting a look at these grooves on an enlarged photo, quite fascinating. The lower lofts, 52 degrees and lower, have a 20D groove for better consistency on full shots. The higher lofts from 54 degrees and up have a 5D groove giving better control around the green and from the rough.
Mack Daddy 4 offers 4 grind options.
- C: this grind has an increased relief especially towards the heel, allowing for open face shots and shallow attack angles. The bounce is 8 degrees.
- S: S grind provides for solid open-face shots through a medium-wide sole and moderate heel, keeping the leading edge low to the turf. Bounce 10 degrees.
- W: Also keeps the leading edge close to the ground without digging in with the sole being wider at the toe and center, narrowing to the heel. This is also helped by a front to back camber. Bounce up to 12 degrees.
- X: X grind I a new introduction and features a crescent sole which is low near the front. This makes for good steep attack angles and is useful on medium to soft course conditions.
You have a choice of Platinum Chrome or Matte Black finish and you will know for sure that they will stand out proudly in your bag as they are great lookers.
As seen in the bags of Tiger Woods, Jason Day and John Rahm, TaylorMade is a name with a long pedigree and reputation for quality and performance.
Manufacturers are always looking for new technologies to enhance or improve their products. TaylorMade instead has opted to rather build on and refine an already excellent product. They have developed the original MG to the MG Hi-toe to the Milled Grind 2.
The most important features in a wedge, according to Brian Bazzell VP for product creation, is precision, feel and spin. Milled Grind was already spot on with precision, but player feedback was asking for better feel and if more spin could be generated, great.
By eliminating the chrome plating and going for the raw finish, the feel problem was addressed. Players generally favor the raw finish as it reduces glare, improves consistency and has more or better feel. With the chrome layer gone, a more aggressive groove design is possible.
The new grooves on the raw face are deeper, narrower and have sharper edge radius. Add to this the new laser etching between the grooves and the call for more spin is answered.
The laser etching additionally gives the surface a roughness that grips the ball and prevents it from skidding up the face of the club. Bazzell claims an additional spin rate of 200 rpm is achieved.
Another very interesting design feature is the thick-thin concept to improve feel. The thickness of the backing or face of the club is increased from 5.1 mm to 6.5 mm and the top line is reduced, or thine, from 5.1 mm to 4.5 mm. This improves not only the feel but also the balance and the sound.
TaylorMade Milled Grind 2 wedges are available in lofts 50 to 60 degrees at 2-degree intervals. They come with a standard bounce sole grind, and a C grind low bounce for lofts 54 to 60.
The finish options are Satin Chrome or Matte Black.
In looking at the best wedges for 2020 it would be unfair not to provide for the novice golfer or one on a tight budget. The Wilson Harmonizer fits the bill perfectly.
The Harmonizer does not display a lot of fancy design features and is aimed at the high handicapper or budget-conscious golfer.
The steel construction of the clubface and shaft make it a very durable product and it retains the “classic” look and appealing blade shape.
The loft offers are quite generous ranging from 50 to 60 degrees at 2-degree intervals. There is only one sole grind but it does allow flexibility to open and close the face and performs well from fairway rough or bunker.
The fewer choices are actually a benefit to the high handicapper as it gives more control and less confusion. Hit this wedge in the sweet spot and get a true flight, good spin and hold the green.
Bob Vokey and his team have earned a trusted reputation for innovation, design, and quality. The Titleist Vokey SM 7 is widely considered the best overall wedge on the market. It is a popular and well-loved wedge choice for many good reasons.
What makes the SM 7 special is the placement of the center of gravity which has been brought higher and forward. This improves the trajectory and distance and gives better spin control. This is achieved by adding tungsten to the toe and lengthening the hosel.
The spin milled grooves are designed specifically for each loft and finish. The lower lofts, 46 to 54 have deeper narrower grooves while the higher lofts, 56 to 62 degrees, have wider grooves. Progressive grooves allow for better control. This is quite obviously essential for approach shots.
The Parallel Face Texture produces sharper more consistent groove edges making for maximum quality tolerance. Thee design features translate into better spin control.
There are six grind options on offer:
- The F grind is a full sole grind best for square-faced and full swings. The F 54 and 56 are the most popular sand wedges on the PGA Tour
- The S grind was probably named for Steve Stricker and is more versatile on the square-faced shots
- M grind would suit those wishing to manufacture shots around the green by opening or closing the face of the club
- The D grind has the crescent shape of the M but with higher bounce
- The highest bounce is found in the K grind and is best for getting out of sand traps and is also most forgiving
- Lastly, the L grind with a vert narrow crescent shape. It is the most versatile but also the most unforgiving of the options. This is recommended for pros only
The Vokey SM 7 comes with True Temper Dynamic Gold shafts and the grips are Golf Pride Tour Velvet White.
The best wedge for feel is the claim of the Ping Glide 2.0 Stealth, many agree.
So what is feel? Pros talk about a feel for the course or feeling the ball or the feel of the club. No longer the feeling of frustration of beginners, with experience you develop this feel. How different clubs behave on contact.
The sound you get when you hit the sweet spot and knowing immediately when you missed it. This need for feel is most important on approach shots and short or chip shots around the green.
Feel comes through feedback from the clubhead up through the shaft. That is exactly what the carbon-steel construction of the clubface of this club achieves.
Precision wheel-cut milling is used to cut the grooves giving sharer edges. The lower lofts are cut with 20-degree sidewalls and 0.0005-inch edge radius aimed at best results on full shots.
The higher lofts 58 to 60, are cut with a 28-degree sidewall and 0.0004-inch edge radius for more spin around the green. Another unique feature is the additional half groove at the bottom of the 56, 58, and 60-degree wedges this is to maintain spin rates on shots lower on the clubface.
Although the clubhead is actually quite chunky, the very black finish makes it appear smaller. Other dark clubs are charcoal or dark grey, this Ping is very black, and very impressive, and makes a serious statement.
This finish is achieved by the use of the Q-P-Q technique, (Quench-polish-quench). This finish also reduces glare. The combination of carbon steel and this high gloss finish makes it a very durable club and a worthwhile investment, Priced at around $150.
The Glide Stealth offers lofts between 46 to 60 degrees and 4 different sole grinds.
- SS Grind: A mid-bounce, all-purpose sole that would suit most golfers. Relief on the heel and trail ends makes this a versatile option
- WS Grind: Has a full sole design with extra width for those with a steep angle of attack. A reduced camber has been added to prevent digging in
- TS Grind: For precision shot-making, the narrow sole with heel relief prevents leading edge sitting too high on open-faced shots
- ES Grind: The one for the bunkers, with a crescent cut, tapered hosel, and refined leading edge, is the ultimate sand wedge
We have looked at a wide range of wedges available in 2020 and yet this list is not exhaustive. We found wedges for beginners and novices in the Wilson Harmonizer to the TaylorMade MG 2 for the elite.
In between these extremes, we are spoilt for choice with the Vokey SM7 and the Mack Daddy 4 competing in the popularity stakes.
Personally, I have a soft spot for Cobra, and their injection molding seems to be the way of the future to achieve persistent and consistent quality and control.