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When starting out in golf, a common mistake is to focus on your skill with a driver or a putter, without giving much attention to your short game – that is, shots 120 yards in or less. This impulse is understandable. Driving a ball hundreds of yards makes you feel all-powerful, and hitting a perfect putt makes you feel like Tiger at the Masters. Ultimately, though, it’s a bad impulse to have, as your short game will make or break you as a golfer. It can determine whether you’ll be 2 under par or 3 over. If neglected, it’ll probably be the latter. Of course, you can’t have a good short game without a good wedge. In this article, we’ll explain the purpose and science behind a wedge, as well as provide some recommendations on picking the best golf wedges out there.
The Best Golf Wedges for 2019
Now that you know a thing or two about wedges, it’s time to actually pick one. Below, we’ve compiled a brief list of the best golf wedges on the market.
1. Callaway Mack Daddy 4
This Callaway line of wedges is unparalleled when it comes to spin technology and customizability. We didn’t cover this in the science portion of this article but these wedges have milled grooves and raised ridges on the face of the clubhead that allows you to achieve tremendous backspin on even the shortest shots. This line also overs 9 different loft angles and 4 different sole grinds, so you’ll definitely find a club that suits your game.
2. Cleveland CBX
This wedge stands out thanks to its lightweight design and innovative head shapes. The sole in particular, is wider than usual, giving the player a more forgiving touch when bouncing off softer turf. This line of wedges also offers 8 differ loft options between 46-60 degrees.
3. Cleveland RTX-3
This club has a great “feel” to it that is scientifically supported. The center of gravity of this club aligns with the center of the face of the clubhead, giving the club more consistent performance. The RTX-3 also gives you a ton of options, with 18 different loft angles and 3 sole grinds.
4. Ping Glide 2.0 Stealth
This club stands out thanks to its dark finish, which is made through Ping’s “Quench Polish Quench” process. This gives it added durability, according to Ping. It’s also made with 8620 carbon steel, which gives the club a higher spin and a softer feel. This club also has 17 loft options and 4 different sole grinds.
5. Taylor Made Milled Grind
This club is like the Terminator of golf wedges. In producing this club, Taylor Made used computer-guided milling to create its 4 different sole shapes. This sort of precision allows for near-perfect bounce and superb spin on the ball, and led to the creation of one of the best wedges in golf ever created.
With this club, the interactions between your club and the turf will never be a headache. The power of your swings will never get lost in the weeds. This club also has 17 different loft options between 50-64 degrees.
What is a Wedge?
For the complete novices out there, wedges are the clubs with the highest loft in a set of golf clubs. Loft, here, refers to the angle of the clubhead. Because of their loft, wedges are used for a variety of shots including short shorts, chip shots, pitch shots, and bunker shots. Essentially, they are used for any shot in which you, the golfer, want the golf ball to ascend and descend sharply and quickly.
Types of Wedges
There are four different categories of wedges, differentiated by the sharpness of their loft angle.
A pitching wedge is the lowest-lofted of the wedges and is the most focused on distance out of all the wedges. For this reason, this type of wedge is an essential golf club for beginners.
Then, there is the lob wedge, which usually has a loft angle of about 60-64 degrees. As the name might have given away, this wedge sends the ball the highest in the air, if used properly.
The third kind of wedge, the sand wedge, also has a self-evident use. This wedge is used to hit bunker shots, and usually, have lofts between 52-56 degrees.
Lastly, there is a gap wedge, named because its loft angle sits between the pitching and sand wedges, with an angle somewhere between 48 and 54 degrees.
The Science of A Golf Wedge
The golf wedge has been imbued with a magical, esoteric science that allows for peak performance. In order to make a sound decision when buying the best golf wedges on the market, you need to understand the wedge’s scientific properties.
When you hear people talk about the pros and cons of wedges, you’ll probably hear them talk about bounce a lot. The “bounce” refers to the area of the club that hits the green, thus “bouncing” the club beneath the ball. Bounce serves to prevent any of the power in your swing from getting wasted by hitting the turf. The bounce of a wedge is determined by the shape and angle of the bottom side of the club head. The higher the angle in relation to the ground, the more bounce a wedge will have.
Higher bounce wedges are best suited for players that like to really dig under the ball when they swing and like to take deep divots when they take a shot.
Lower bounce wedges are preferred by players that take shallow divots, “sweep” the ball and play on firmer turf.
Then there are wedges with a medium bounce, that are more versatile than their counterparts. A medium bounce is also the best golf wedges for beginners.
The sole grind, while it sounds super technical, is actually simple. It refers to the additional shaping done to the underside of the clubhead. The sole grind works in conjunction with the bounce to magnify or negate the effects of the club’s bounce. There are many different sole grinds, but basically a wide sole helps get the ball airborne on softer turf and a narrow sole is better for firmer ground.