The wedge is the most versatile club in golf, and each player must choose wisely.
Drivers drive, and putters putt. Fitting and customization can make every individual example a little different in length, loft or weight, but big clubs off the tee and butter knives on the green have very clear jobs to do. Unless you reach the green with a fairway wood, a rescue or a numbered iron, it’s the job of the wedge to seal the deal onto the putting surface.
From there, you have choices to make. Golf club designers create wedges to get you out of the sand, through thick grass or off of tight lies. They come in a wide range of loft degrees, climbing by twos from 48 to 64 (and beyond in extreme cases). Their groove designs can provide extra backspin or a softer landing. Different sole grinds can favor players who hit toe or heel first. All of these options depend on the player and his or her game.
This list offers some great golf wedges with a variety of design options. It might scratch the surface of the entire realm of wedges, but it’s a strong start at making some score-dropping choices.
1. Honma T//World W4 Wedge
Honma makes beautiful golf clubs, and the Honma T//World W4 Wedge fits in with the family nicely with its graceful lines and smoothly shaped sole. Designed ideally for turf use, especially in the rough, that smooth bottom edge improves what Honma calls “turf interaction.” That means “…it gets through the grass nicely…” to the rest of us. At the higher loft numbers like 58 or 60, you’ll really see some nice backspin off more lofted shots.
2. Miura K-Grind 2.0
The Miura K-Grind 2.0 is the most expensive club on this list, but you get what you pay for at Miura with their hand shaping and complex forging process. It’s easy to spot this sand wedge’s unusual sole with those three grooves — or knuckles, as Miura calls them. They’re not installed just for a unique appearance. If a wedge makes too much contact with the ground, the head can catch and twist open in your grip. The result is a slice or a shank. The idea of the three grooves is to reduce the amount of material on the bottom of the club, reduce drag along the surface of a bunker and prevent that twisting.
3. Wilson Staff Model Wedge
As effective as they are simple in appearance, and as well-made as they are affordable, the Wilson Staff Model Wedges are particularly useful as gap wedges — clubs to fill the spans between full iron distances. Such clubs come in handy if you find yourself still too far from the green to chip or pitch, but not far enough away to swing a full pitching wedge. Depending on the loft of the given Wilson Staff Model, these clubs will get you home comfortably from 60 or fewer yards away.
4. Cobra King Black One Length Wedge
Offering what just might be the most unique design concept on this list, the Cobra King Black One Length Wedge does away with the common design concept of making a lob, gap, sand or pitching wedge shorter than other golf irons. Regardless of the given iron’s loft, the Cobra King Black One provides one shaft length — and that’s from a seven iron. The result is a longer club that will feel more natural and more like a standard fairway iron. It’s perfect for the golfer who can’t seem to get comfortable hitting lofted approach shots with traditional wedges.
5. Callaway Jaws MD5 Wedge
That’s “MD” for “Mack Daddy,” folks. Really. The Callaway Jaws MD5 Wedge comes directly from lead designer Roger Cleveland and employs milled carbon steel. The shark-themed element in its name has nothing to do with Greg Norman. (He plays Cobra.) It refers to the special groove pattern laid into the club face. Those ridges are designed to “bite” into the soft coating of the golf ball and generate maximum spin. Just don’t sharpen those grooves like shark teeth. That’s illegal.
6. Titleist Vokey Design SM8 Wedges
Titleist partnered with club design professional Bob Vokey for this top-shelf line of wedges. Vokey historically works with professional players to custom create their short work clubs. The SM8 series of the Vokey wedges moved the club’s center of gravity forward, so the club feels like all of its weight is on the end of the shaft. That keeps the wedge in the swing slot better and encourages that pure release every golfer wants in his or her swing, regardless of shot distance.
7. Ping Glide 2.0 Wedge
The best feature of these Ping wedges is right there in the name. For the Glide 2.0, Ping improved the grinds on the sole of the club and refined the face’s lead edge to enhance the clubs ability to “glide” through thicker rough or sand. Less resistance and less friction means less interference in the shorter golf swing that a pitch, chip or sand shot demands. An unlikely added bonus is the name printed there on the club should remind any player of the best way to play a sand shot. Instead of chopping, you want to glide smoothly through the grit.
8. Mizuno ES21 Wedge
Unlike some of the less expensive entires on this list, the Mizuno ES21 Wedge is a more refined tool for the lower handicap golfer. These clubs are very spin-centric and designed for players looking to land, position and stop their sand shots, chips and pitches very accurately. The clubs employ a high sweet spot in the center of the club, taking advantage of a good golfer’s natural lag and weight shift. If you’re the kind of player who can consistently generate backspin off your pitches, this Mizuno offering should be in your bag. Mizuno makes some of our favorite golf balls to go along with one of the best golf wedges of 2020.
9. TaylorMade Milled Grind 2 Wedge
TaylorMade designs such a wide range of wedge choices that you need to know your specific needs as a golf shopper before perusing their line. This Hi-Toe model gets the nod in this list for the special design feature that gives the club its name. The toe is the front end of the golf club, as opposed to the heel at the back of the club beneath the hosel. By raising the toe of the club up high and making sure the club face grooves run all the way up, the ball stays in contact with the club face longer and generates more spin. It’s a club designed for maximum stopping power on the green and a great option for flop shots.
10. Cleveland Smart Sole Wedge
Cleveland Golf poured research and development hours into this season’s Smart Sole 4 Wedge. To cut through everything from thick rough to wet sand, the Smart Sole 4 offers a specially designed cavity back for improved perimeter weighting. It helps keep a short swing in the slot, while a thick bottom edge helps to push sand and grass aside to allow maximum contact and best feel. A few test swings should sell any golfer on the sweetness of this club.