If you watch PGA or LPGA Tour, players hit wedge or chip shots at any given time then it is very easy to see that they know what to do with a wedge in hand. In order for them to shoot those impressive rounds in the 60’s on a regular basis it is very important to have a good wedge game.
The wedge game can be broken down into three different categories: wedge shots, chip/pitch shots, and greenside bunker shots. In order to improve your overall golf game it is vital to be able to grasp most of the shots that fall into these different categories. Although improving all aspects of your game is important, for example trying out a driving iron to enhance your tee shorts, or even investing in a set of irons from a trusted manufacter such as Mizuno, but when you ask the pros, short game is vitally important. Before we take a look at wedge characteristics and which wedges are the best for high handicappers, let’s first take a look at the three different wedge game categories.
Golf Shots Played by High Handicappers that Require a Wedge
A wedge shot can be classified as a full or three quarter shot with a wedge. For high handicap golfers this shot is very important. Most high handicap players struggle to hit greens in regulation, but if they are able to hit the green more often than not when they have about 100 yards to the hole with either their second or third shots then it will definitely improve their chances to shoot lower scores.
Chip and pitch shots are the short shots that a player needs to hit when they are around the green. High handicappers try to be fancy with these little shots, the golden rule is to always only chip once. It might mean that you won’t be able to go directly at the hole but 1 chip and 2 putts is a lot better than taking three attempts to make it onto the green.
Greenside Bunker Shots
Bunker shots can be a very daunting task for high handicappers, the golden rule of getting onto the green with the first attempt is even more important when we discuss bunker shots. Luckily wedges are designed to help with getting the ball out of the bunker with ease. We will take a look at a few wedge characteristics that will make greenside bunker play a lot easier later on in this article.
Characteristics That Define a Wedge Golf Club
In order to choose a wedge that is suited towards your skill level it is important to understand the characteristics that define a wedge. The following characteristics are what define different kinds of wedges: loft, bounce, finish and grind. Along with these characteristics golfers are also able to customize the shaft, lie angle and weight of a wedge to suit them personally. In order to get a better understanding of which wedge will be best for you let’s take a deeper look at the characteristics that define/make up a wedge.
The loft on a wedge ranges between 46 and 60 degrees. A standard pitching wedge (PW) is 46 degrees, a gap wedge (GW) 52 degrees, a sand wedge (SW) 56 degrees and a lob wedge (LW) 60 degrees. Clubs with more loft on them travel shorter distances thus the lob wedge is mostly designed for chip shots around the green. High handicappers in general tend to struggle with a lob wedge since it does take adequate skill to use it effectively. In general high handicappers and beginners are best off with a sand wedge when hitting chip shots around the green. A sand wedge has enough loft on it to get the ball in the air without too much difficulty, the perfect combination for any high handicap golfer.
The bounce of a wedge refers to how the bottom (sole) of the club interacts with the ground. For high handicappers it is best to use a medium/mid bounce wedge. High and low bounce wedges will only really benefit players that have a complete and efficient wedge skill set and that play on either very hard or very soft golf courses on a regular basis.
The grind of a wedge differs depending on the manufacturer. Different companies have different wedge grinds and they all have different names for each grind. The grind of a wedge refers to the shape of the sole of the wedge. Different grinds interact with the ground in different manners depending on the swing that the player makes. In general, a standard grind will do just fine for any high handicap player.
The finish of a wedge refers to the material that is used to finish of the clubhead. Chrome finished wedges delivers a wedge that has a softer feel to it, steel finished wedges deliver a wedge that has a harder feel to it. For high handicappers the finish of a wedge won’t make a big difference, thus any finish will work just fine.
Finding a good set of wedges to complement your irons is very important. The standard wedge that comes with a set of irons is normally not designed with performance as the driving factor behind the design.
It is recommended to buy a separate set of wedges instead of just using the wedges that came with your irons. For high handicap players it is important to have a reliable SW that can be used for bunker shots and chip shots around the greens. A good PW is also important in order to hit longer wedge approach shots into the green. Once a player feels comfortable with those two wedges then they can look at adding a GW and a LW to their bags.
With regards to bounce and grind a good rule of thumb to keep in the back of your head is to purchase the neutral option. High handicap players won’t be able to benefit from the differences that professional players benefit from by using either a high or low bounce wedge with different grinds. Wedge play is the difference between good and great, take the time to work on your wedge game if you are serious about improving your handicap. It is important to know what to look for in a good wedge, buy a wedge that is suited for your game and it will definitely make a big difference right away.
What to enhance your game further? Check out our following guides:
5 of the Best Wedges for High Handicappers
Cleveland Men’s Golf Smart Sole 2.0 S Wedge 58 Degrees
Cleveland is renowned for being one of the best wedge manufacturers in the golf business. Any wedge that carries the Cleveland name on it will without a doubt be a high quality, high performing, golf club. Cleveland designed the Smart Sole 2.0 wedge in order to assist golfers that really struggle with chip shots and greenside bunker shots. The refined sole design allows for smooth turf interaction which promotes clean contact with the golf ball. The club also features the optimal bounce combination for its design to ensure that bunker woes are a thing of the past. This club comes with 58 degrees of loft and would serve as an alternative to a sand wedge or lob wedge. If you are one of those golfers that just can’t get a hang of a standard wedge then give the Cleveland Smart Sole 2.0 wedge a go, it might just offer you the spark that your wedge game needs.
Cleveland Men’s Golf 588 RTX 2.0
Cleveland design some of the best wedges on the market, the 588 RTX 2.0 wedge is another industry leading Cleveland wedge. The 588 RTX 2.0 features a micro-milled ROTEX face pattern that enhances surface roughness. The 588 RTX 2.0 features tour zip grooves, the tour zip grooves along with the ROTEX face pattern ensures a wedge that offers optimal spin and control. The 588 RTX 2.0 wedge is without a doubt one of the best looking wedges ever designed by Cleveland. If a sleek, traditional look suits your eye then the 588 RTX 2.0 wedge will be love at first sight. Cleveland wedges have all the bells and whistles that one would want in a wedge. If you are going to invest money on a new wedge or set of wedges then your money will be well spent on a Cleveland wedge.
Cleveland RTX 3 Tour Satin CB Wedge
Cleveland has always been known for designing exceptional wedges, and the RTX–3 continues that legacy. The RTX 3 features a classic design that is jam packed with cutting edge technology. Three new innovations can be found in the design of the RTX–3, the first is Feel Balancing Technology, this technology moves weight from the hosel of the club to the clubhead,this leads to better feel and very tight shot dispersion. Secondly the grinds (dot system) on the RTX–3 features a V shape that adds shot control and consistency. The final piece of technology that makes this wedge very high tech is the new third generation ROTEX face design, which increases spin but also ensures that the spin is consistent. The RTX 3 CB offers a slightly larger cavity back shape that enhances feel and forgiveness. The RTX 3 CB is a high tech wedge that will make a huge difference in the bag of any golfer.
Mizuno S5 Forged Blue Ion Wedge
Mizuno isn’t one of the biggest golf club manufacturers in terms of volume, but in terms of quality they are definitely an industry leader. Mizuno are known for the high quality irons and wedges that they produce. Mizuno are also known for their signature blue ion finish forged wedges. The S5 Blue Ion forged wedge is one of the best Mizuno wedges to hit the market. The S5 wedge design was done in conjunction with Mizuno ambassador Luke Donald, with the help of Luke Mizuno wanted to design a larger profile wedge that is easy to hit for golfers all of skill levels. The S5 has Quad Cut CNC milled grooves to enhance spin and control. The blue ion finish does wear off over time but the feel and forgiveness remains the same. If you are in the market for a high performing wedge with great feel then look no further than the S5, and the blue finish is an added bonus that will help you with standing out from the crowd.
Callaway Sure Out Wedge
The name says it all, the Callaway Sure Out wedge is designed to help golfers that struggle to get out of tricky lies around the greens. Callaway golf partnered with world renowned golf instructor Hank Haney to design a wedge that will help high handicap players that struggle to hit greenside shots from either the rough or out of a bunker. The Sure Out has high a new enhanced camber with high bounce that helps players to get the ball out of a greenside bunker with ease and without having to open the clubface when hitting the shot. A wider sole and larger face design promotes solid contact on a more regular basis, a perfect advance for players that struggle to find the middle of the clubface. The Sure Out features a full face of grooves to ensure spin and control in order to get the ball to stop even on off center hits. If you are looking for a wedge that will give you that added bit of assistance, especially around the greens then look no further than the Sure Out wedge.