If you’re a beginner or high handicap golfer, you’re considered to be average. Having a wedge or two is super important, but what’s even more important is having the right wedge for your skill level.
Here are the 3 best wedges for the average golfer:
- Cleveland CBX (best wedge for full shots)
- Cleveland Smart Sole (best wedge around the green)
- Wilson Harmonized (best budget wedge)
If I was a beginner or high handicap and was in the market for a new wedge, these are the three I’d consider. Which one you end up going with will all depend on your budget and what wedge you actually need.
What Handicap Is The Average Golfer
The average golfer has a handicap that’s somewhere around 28. This means you’ll typically shoot close to 100 on a par 72 golf course.
For people who actually record their handicap, the average score is 91. What doesn’t make that accurate is all the people who don’t keep track of their handicap.
Think about the people who keep track of theirs.
They’re probably pretty serious about golf and most likely practice and play a lot. This is why the number is quite a bit lower.
The average hacker who’s only out once or twice a month probably doesn’t keep track of their handicap, but if they did, they would bring the average score closer to 100.
So, if you’re a beginner or high handicap who normally shoots around 100, you’re considered to be average.
I don’t think there’s an exact definition of low, mid, and high handicap, but here’s how I look at it:
- If you shoot under 80 = low handicap.
- If you shoot in the 80s = mid handicap.
- If you shoot above 90 = high handicap.
Some of the wedges we’ll be talking about are designed for the average player and some of them are good for all skill levels. If you shoot in the 80s, you might want to check out our article for mid-handicap wedges.
How Many Wedges Should A Beginner & High Handicap Carry
A beginner or high handicap only needs to carry 2 wedges in their bag. The first is a standard pitching wedge and the second is a sand wedge with at least 10 degrees of bounce.
Pretty much every set of irons will already come with a pitching wedge. The loft of these irons is somewhere around 45 degrees and they’re one of the more versatile clubs in the bag.
What you’ll also want to do is go out and get yourself a sand wedge. I’m sure you could tell, the sand wedge is mainly used for hitting out of the sand.
Sand wedges have lofts between 54 and 58 degrees and normally have more bounce than the other wedges. This is what makes them better for the sand.
Just because it’s called a sand wedge doesn’t mean that’s all it’s for. You can hit it from the fairway, you can pitch it into the green, and you can lob it over a tree.
- 50 vs 52 Degree: The Gap Wedge For Average Golfers
- 54 vs 56 Degree: The Sand Wedge For Average Players
- 56 vs 60 Degree Wedge: Do You Really Need Both?
- 58 vs 60 Degree: Finding The Right Lob Wedge
Just make sure the wedge you get has at least 10 degrees of bounce. We’ll get into this more in a sec, but basically, more bounce helps you not dig into the ground as much.
As you work your way into mid handicap range you could add another wedge to your bag. I’d start with the one that’s between your sand wedge and your pitching wedge. The 60-64 degree wedge is the least important.
What Wedge Bounce Is Best For Beginners & High Handicaps
The best wedge bounce for beginners and high handicaps is 10 or higher. This will stop the club from digging into the ground and will make chipping a lot easier.
The most important wedge you can get right now is a sand wedge. It’s the most versatile and easiest wedge to hit consistently.
Sand wedges normally have more bounce than the other wedges and that’s why they’re the first to go in our bag. Here’s what more and less bounce looks like on a wedge:
A wedge with more bounce has more of the leading edge off the ground at address. The sole is normally wider and that makes the club “bounce” off the ground.
A wedge with less bounce has its leading edge closer to the ground at address. This is normally better for tricky shots and ones that need to quickly lob the ball.
If you hit a lot of fat/chunky shots then having a wedge with more bounce will help you out. That’s the most common fault for average players and that’s why the sand wedge is the play.
What Are The Different Types Of Wedges
The four types of wedges are pitching wedge, gap wedge, sand wedge, and lob wedge. The differences between them are their loft and bounce.
Pitching wedge: This wedge is normally around 45 degrees and is part of every single iron set out there. It’s called pitching wedge because it’s ideal for pitch shots (between a full shot and a chip).
Gap wedge: This wedge fills the “gap” between your pitching wedge and your sand wedge. It’s going to be somewhere between 48 and 52 degrees and can be used in a number of different situations.
Sand wedge: This wedge is the second most common and is ideal for hitting out of the sand. It’s going to be somewhere between 54 and 58 degrees and has more bounce than the other wedges.
Lob wedge: This is the last wedge to add to your bag and it’s going to be somewhere between 60 and 64 degrees. It’s designed to “lob” the ball over bunkers, trees, or whatever else is in your way.
When To Use Each Type Of Wedge
When it comes to what wedge to use it’ll depend on a number of factors. It’ll depend on the distance to the hole, what’s in front of you, and how firm the ground is.
Everyone’s going to prefer one or two of their wedges over the others and it’s something you’ll have to mess around with. Here are some general guidelines for what wedge to use in different situations.
Sand shots: The somewhat obvious answer here is that you’ll want to use your sand wedge. The extra bounce will help your club not dig as deep into the ground and will lift the ball nicely out of the trap.
Firm ground: The best wedge to use here is one that has less bounce. I find that if I use a sand wedge when I’m chipping off firm ground I’ll tend to hit a lot of topped shots.
Soft ground: The best wedge to use here is one that has more bounce. The extra bounce will help your club bounce off the ground and take less of a divot.
High shots: If you want to hit the ball up in the air you’ll want to use a higher lofted club (obvious). I find it a bit easier to hit a wedge with lower bounce (lob wedge).
Low pitch shots: The best wedge for this would be your pitching or gap wedge. You can still hit this shot with your sand or lob wedge but it’s definitely not as easy for most.
Best Wedges For Beginners & High Handicappers
If I was a beginner or high handicapper and was in the market for a new wedge, these are the ones I’d consider. Which one you get will depend on what you want it for and your budget.
All of them are solid options and I don’t think you could go wrong with either. Some of them are designed for higher handicaps only but some of them can be used by all skill levels (for when you get better).
Cleveland CBX (Best For Full Shots)
If you’re looking for a wedge to hit full shots with, this will be the option for you. It’s one of the more forgiving wedges on the market and will hit the ball longer than a traditional bladed wedge.
This is actually the wedge I have in my bag and absolutely love it. I have a CBX gap wedge but my sand wedge is more of a blade design.
I find the blade design to be a bit better for finicky chip shots but I wouldn’t recommend it for you. Having a cavity back wedge will be so much easier to hit and control.
Cleveland has always made some of the better wedges on the market and I’ve used them from pretty much day #1. Plus, the price is pretty reasonable.
The CBX comes in either 50, 52, 54, 56, 58, and 60 degrees. You don’t need all of them and if I had to pick one it’d be the 56-degree sand wedge.
The sole (bottom) of this wedge has a “v” shape to it and that’s going to help the club glide through the sand and ground. It’s not going to dig as deep into the ground and should help with chunky shots.
The first CBX came out in 2017 and the CBX 2 came out in 2019. The first CBX will be a bit cheaper and is all you’ll need right now. If you can’t find one for sale, the CBX 2 is just as good.
- Extremely long and forgiving.
- Great quality groves and face.
- Can be used as you get better.
- Not as good as a bladed wedge for lob shots.
Cleveland Smart Sole (Best For Chip Shots)
If you’re looking for a wedge that makes chipping around the green easy, this will be the wedge for you. It’s probably the most forgiving wedge I’ve ever used for short chips.
The sole on this wedge is wider than the CBX and that’s designed for the hacker who slaps the ball all over the place. We’ve all done it.
The wider sole will stop you from digging too deep into the ground and taking a 2-inch divot. Not the best for lob shots but I don’t think you should be worrying about that right now.
It’s almost like a more lofted putter. All you have to do is swing like you’re putting the ball and it’ll pop up and roll out nicely. Keep the game simple and you’ll play better golf.
There are a few different lofts available and the most common is the 50 (G) or 58 (S) degree wedge. If this is your one and only wedge, go with the 58-degree wedge.
It’ll be the best option for bunker shots and tight lies around the green. If you already have a sand wedge, go with the 50-degree option.
- Incredibly easy to get out of the sand.
- Good from all lies and ground conditions.
- Perfect for the chunky hitters.
- Not the best for higher or full shots.
Wilson Harmonized (Best Budget Option)
If you’re just getting started with golf or you don’t want to spend much money, this will be the wedge for you. It doesn’t feel as solid or it’s not as high quality, but it’s the best at this price point.
What’s nice about these wedges is that they can be used by all skill levels. They’re more of a bladed wedge so they aren’t going to be as forgiving as the others.
I’ve tried a number of wedges under 50 bucks and this wedge beats them by far. The only thing I didn’t like about it was the grip. I’d highly recommend you swap the grips if you go with this wedge.
It comes in either 52, 56, or 60 degrees. The 56 degrees is perfect because the bounce is somewhere around 12 degrees. That’ll make it easy to hit out of the bunker and will stop you from taking too much dirt.
What’s nice about these wedges is that if you like the 56 degrees you can go out and get the entire set for around 100 bucks. You can’t really beat that value anywhere else.
Since the wedge is a bit thinner compared to the others, I find it a bit easier to lob the ball up in the air. It’s not as forgiving and it’s not as long, but it does serve its purpose.
Also, as you get better you’ll want to be able to spin the ball. Just like with the CBX, this wedge can put some decent spin on the ball to have maximum control (you don’t need to worry about this right now).
- The price can’t be beaten.
- More of a traditional look.
- The overall performance is surprisingly good.
- The grip is thin and not very comfortable.
- The quality isn’t the best and will wear out.