If you typically shoot in the 80s, you’re considered to be a mid handicap golfer. Improving your short game is the fastest way to improve scores and picking the right wedge is the first step.
Here are the 3 best wedges for mid handicappers:
- Cleveland CBX (best wedge for full shots)
- Cleveland RTX-3 (best wedge around the green)
- Wilson Harmonized (best budget wedge)
If I was in the market for a new wedge, these are the ones I’d consider. I’m a mid handicapper myself and these are the wedges I’ve liked the best and what gave me the performance I was after.
What Handicap Is A Mid Handicapper
A mid handicapper has a handicap between 10 and 19. You’re considered a mid handicap golfer if you typically shoot in the 80s on a par 72 golf course.
If you’re somewhere in this range you’re actually better than the average player. I always thought mid handicaps were your regular weekend player but that’s not the case at all.
The average score for people who record their handicap is 91. If you take into account the people who don’t record their handicap the number would be closer to 100.
There really isn’t an exact definition of low, mid, and high handicap, but here’s the way I look at it:
- If you shoot under 80 = low handicap.
- If you shoot 80-89 = mid handicap.
- If you shoot over 90 = high handicap.
That just keeps things simple and gives you a concrete number to work towards. If you prefer talking about handicap numbers, here’s that:
- If your handicap is under 10 = low handicap.
- If your handicap is 10-19 = mid handicap.
- If your handicap is over 20 = high handicap.
If you can’t yet break 90 consistently then you might want to get a different wedge. We have a different article for that and the options might perform a bit better for you.
How Many Wedges Should A Mid Handicapper Carry
A mid-handicap only needs to carry two or three wedges in their bag. The first is a 45-degree pitching wedge, the second is a 50-degree gap wedge, and the third is a 54-degree sand wedge.
These three wedges are the most important and should be the first wedges you get. Pretty much every set will come with a pitching wedge and the next wedge you should get is a sand wedge.
A sand wedge is the most important because it can be used in a number of situations. Obviously, it’s the best option for hitting out of the sand but it’s also really solid when the ground is wet.
After you get a sand wedge, the next club should be between your pitching wedge and your sand wedge. I use a 50-degree wedge since it’s right in the middle.
- 50 vs 52 Degree: The Right Gap Wedge For You
- 54 vs 56 Degree: What Sand Wedge To Play
- 56 vs 60 Degree Wedge: Do You Really Need Both?
- 58 vs 60 Degree: Finding The Right Lob Wedge
Once you’re ready to take your game to the next level, you can go out and add a lob wedge. It’s the hardest wedge to hit and that’s why I think it’s the least important.
I’m not saying these lofts are the perfect solution for everyone because they might not be. It’s just what I’ve decided to go with. There are two options for wedge combinations.
The 3 wedge combo:
- 50-degree wedge.
- 54-degree wedge.
- 58-degree wedge.
The 4 wedge combo:
- 48-degree wedge.
- 52-degree wedge.
- 56-degree wedge.
- 60-degree wedge.
I prefer the 3 wedge options because it’ll cost less money and I’m not good enough to see any difference by adding or subtracting 4 degrees. The choice is really up to you though.
What Wedge Bounce Is Best For Mid Handicaps
A mid handicapper should have a sand wedge with a higher bounce (10+ degrees) and a lob or gap wedge with a mid bounce (7-9 degrees). Mid handicaps should avoid wedges with low bounce.
A lot of the decision comes down to your swing and where you’re playing but the most important thing is to not pick a wedge with low bounce.
If you don’t know the difference between them, here’s a picture that kind of explains it:
Low bounce wedges are between 4-6 degrees and have the leading edge closer to the ground at address. They’re good when you’re hitting off firm surfaces.
You really need to strike the ball well if you’re going to play these and that’s why I don’t recommend them. They’re going to dig a lot deeper into the ground and that’s not going to work out if you tend to hit the ball a bit fat.
Why use them at all then? They’re good if you need to hit a flop shot.
I don’t know about you but I don’t have the nerve to actually try that out on the course.
Mid-bounce wedges are between 7-9 degrees and are the most versatile of the three wedges. They’re designed for normal to firm ground conditions and will suit most conditions.
I find these wedges to be the most consistent around the greens. It could be for chipping or it could be for controlling the height of the ball.
For me, I prefer mid-bounce for my gap and lob wedge. I’m pretty confident you’ll feel the same way.
High bounce (or full bounce) wedges are anything above 10 degrees and are best for softer or wet ground (winter golf or soft bunkers).
These wedges have more of the leading edge off the ground and that’s going to help you not dig into the ground as much.
Most mid to high handicaps hit the ball a little fat and that’s why a low bounce wedge won’t be ideal. More bounce should perform a lot better.
Also, having more bounce should help you get a bit more spin on the ball. I can’t spin the ball back that well but I did notice a slight difference.
Since your sand wedge is for the sand, and so is a high bounce wedge, you should probably pair them up. My sand wedge has a higher bounce and yours should too.
If you do take massive chunks out of the ground with your wedge, you might want to consider going high bounce with your lob and gap wedge. Either that or you’ll have to work on your swing.
What Are The Different Types Of Wedges
The different types of wedges are pitching wedge, gap wedge, sand wedge, and lob wedge. The only real difference between them is how much loft they have and the degree of bounce.
Pitching wedge: This wedge is somewhere around 45 degrees and it comes standard with pretty much all iron sets. It’s called pitching wedge because it’s designed for pitch shots (between a full shot and a chip).
Gap wedge: This wedge fills the “gap” between your sand wedge and your pitching wedge. It’s going to be somewhere between 48 and 52 degrees and is a good choice for full wedge shots.
Sand wedge: This wedge is the second most important and is designed 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 you’ll want to add to your bag and it’s going to be somewhere between 60 and 64 degrees. It’s designed to “lob” the ball high up in the air and land softly on the green.
When To Use Each Type Of Wedge
Deciding on what wedge to hit will depend on a number of factors. It’s going to depend on the distance to the hole, what’s in front of you, and how soft the ground is.
Everyone’s going to prefer one or two of their wedges over the others and you’ll have to mess around with them to see what you like. Here are some general situations and what wedge you might want to play.
Sand shots: The kind of obvious answer here is that you’ll want to use your sand wedge. Having more bounce will help your club not dig as deep into the ground and will lift the ball nicely out of the bunker.
Firm ground: The wedge I like to hit here is one that has less bounce. I find that if I’m chipping the ball with my sand wedge and the ground is firm, I’ll tend to hit a lot of topped shots.
Soft ground: The wedge I like to hit here is one that has more bounce. Having more bounce will help your club bounce off the ground and take less of a divot. Less “fat” shots.
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 this harder to do with a wedge that has more bounce. I prefer a lob wedge.
Low pitch shots: The wedge I like to use for this would be a pitching or gap wedge. You can still hit this shot with your sand or lob wedge but it’s definitely not as easy.
Best Wedges For Mid Handicap Golfers
If I was in the market for a new wedge or two, these are the ones I’d consider. You really don’t need to go out and spend 200+ bucks on this year’s model.
Which one you go with will depend on your budget and what you need it for. They’re all really solid though and are what I currently play.
Cleveland CBX (Best For Full Shots)
If you’re after a wedge that’s super solid on full shots, this will be the option for you. It’s probably the longest and most forgiving wedge (not counting super game-improvement clubs) I’ve tried in a long time.
This has been the wedge in my bag for a while now and absolutely love it. I have a CBX gap wedge but my sand wedge is the next wedge on the list.
I find the design of the next wedge to be a bit better for finicky chip shots. The bigger sole on the CBX makes it a lot better for full shots though.
Cleveland has always built some of my favorite 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 sand wedge.
The sole (bottom) of this wedge has a “v” shape to it and that’ll help you get the club through grass and sand much smoother. It won’t dig as deep into the ground and should help with chunky shots.
The original CBX came out in 2017 and the CBX 2 came out in 2019. The original 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.
- One of the longest and most forgiving.
- The quality of the groves and face is great.
- It’s good for all skill levels.
- Not as good as the RTX-3 for lob shots.
Cleveland RTX-3 (Best For Chipping)
If you’re looking for a wedge that’s super solid around the green, this will be the one for you. This is the wedge I use as my sand wedge and would highly recommend it.
I find that it’s more consistent than the CBX when it comes to tricky chip shots around the green. That’s why I like having both options.
The good news is that it comes in both a cavity back and more blade design. If you want a bit more forgiveness, go with the cavity back. If you want a bit more feel, go with the non-cavity back.
If you have cavity back irons already then I’d probably recommend you stick with that in your wedges.
This wedge did come out a number of years ago but it still holds up to this day. The newer RTX–4 has come out since and it is a good option too, but I prefer the RTX-3 because it’s a bit more forgiving.
If you can’t find the RTX-3 but still want a wedge like this, go with the RTX-4.
One thing to note is that this isn’t the best wedge for beginners and high handicaps so hopefully that’s not you. It’s the perfect wedge for low to mid handicaps.
It’s not going to be as forgiving as the CBX, but the beauty is that its way easier to control the trajectory and spin of the ball. That’s why I love it for chipping/pitching around the green.
If you do get this sand or lob wedge then I’d probably go with the full bounce option. If you want it as your gap wedge then the mid bounce should be perfect.
- More playable than the CBX.
- Forgiveness is still there.
- High-quality grooves for added spin.
- Cavity back or more blade style available.
- It’s a bit older so you might need to get a used one.
- The cavity back still isn’t the best for draws/fades.
Wilson Harmonized (Best Budget Option)
If you don’t get out a bunch or you don’t want to spend much money, this will be the wedge for you. It definitely not as high quality, but it’s the best at this price point.
What I like about these wedges is that they’re pretty good for 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 few of these wedges under 50 bucks and most of them aren’t good at all. 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 great because the bounce is around 12 degrees. That’ll make it easy to hit out of the bunker and will stop you from taking too much ground.
What’s cool 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 CBX, I find it a little easier to lob the ball up in the air. The distance and forgiveness aren’t the same, 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 others, this wedge can put some decent spin on the ball to have maximum control.
- 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.