Best Wedges for Beginners for 2016

wedge-which-golf-brandSo you figured out you want to get a golf wedge eh? Good for you! (And your golf bag) but now the other trickier question… “What type of wedge and brand should I get?” Well if you’re expecting an answer from a golf pro or golf tech specialist, you surely won’t get it from me he he.

Like I already stated in my profile page and in a few posts here, I don’t pretend to be a pro nor a scratch golfer, but I’ve been playing for a few years now and have spent good cash in many golf products, golf clubs included. And that should give me some kind of knowledge from experience… at least enough to help newbies, and that is my mission!

Okay so enough jibber jabber!! let’s get down to business, so what wedges do I recommend for beginners? I will break my answer into 3 categories as follows:

1) BY WEDGE TYPE:

What kind of wedges do I need?

Like already explained a bit in the What Wedges Should I Carry I suggest if you are a beginner, you just have to worry about getting a SW (Sand Wedge) assuming that you already have a complete set that includes a PW (Pitching Wedge or 10-iron).

And last but not least, if you are already experimenting with flop shots you may want to get a LW (Lob Wedge).

Again, your wedge priorities while you’re a newbie are (in order of priority):

  • PW (44º to 48º) which is likely already included in your golf starter set.
  • SW (54º to 58º) this is crucial to play around the green and bunkers.
  • LW (60º to 64º) only if you want to get more creative with the short game, but you won’t need it for a while.

I have never found a need to buy a GW (or AW). I’ve tried that club borrowing it from a couple of friends a few times. I just can’t find a reason to trade a long iron or hybrid in my bag, in order to fit a wedge to make shots that I can do with the PW or the SW. But then again, maybe that’s why I’m not a scratch golfer lol.

2) BY BRAND REPUTATION:

What is the best wedge brand?

That’s really a broad question, and you can expect a broad and relative answer to it as well. You’ll hear different opinions regarding the top golf brands but to be fair, there are just too many golf brands that make very good wedges and models and besides, year after year golf research and newer technology keeps these big golf companies innovating on their models, so it’s a constant battle to define which brand is the best.

But, if we have to talk about reputation let’s start by mentioning 4 great personalities in the wedge related topic:

Bob Vokey, the head master craftsman at Titleist. Famous for his classic Vokey Design ® wedges. This guy has been fiddling and tinkering with golf clubs since 1976. Has a good reputation for listening to input from pro players in order to meet their requirements, but always keeping in mind the amateur player in order to create great golf clubs for all skill levels. There is a great page at Vokey.com explaining all the different Vokey Design ® model specs here.

Roger Cleveland, founder of Cleveland Golf, where their 588 Model was born and has been one of the best selling golf wedges among other clubs. Cleveland Golf was the first in creating wedges with different bounce options on the sole, and has innovated other club technology like the drivers. He sold the company in 1990 and went solo designing clubs for other competing companies.

Cleveland wedges have been in the top 5 player-preferred-wedges for many years now.

Phil Mickelson, this is a 5-time major champion (active player) and has a nickname as “The Magician” because frequently seems like he does magic when he pulls off amazingly difficult shots around the green with a wedge in his hands. Callaway has been sponsoring him for about 10 years now. Titleist was his sponsor before that.

Funny thing now, Roger Cleveland has recently designed the Callaway Mack Daddy Wedge for Mickelson.

Tom Watson, a senior player, 8-time major champion back in the late 70’s early 80’s was also popular for being a short game specialist, a skill that was essential to his success. Adams Golf has sponsored him for years now, and Watson has endorsed their golf clubs with his own signature.

What do you get from knowing all this? Well if it makes any sense, you can conclude that your have good picks on major golf brand for wedges, and those are Titleist, Cleveland, Callaway and Adams Golf.

That being said, and with a “face pattern” theme (for added spin), here are my suggestions on major brand golf wedges:

Golf Wedge Recommendations for Beginners


Titleist Vokey SM5 or SM4

(with sole type S, M or F)

titleist vokey sm5
Buy it from Amazon
Overall Rating
4.6
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Tech Innovation
Price Range
$109 – $129
Feel & Performance

The Vokey wedge is a classic, and has been improving greatly on technology since it’s SM4 version. SM stands for Spin Mill technology, which is a texture added to the face besides the grooves to enhance the spin reaction on the ball. This gives you more control when learning to shape shots and backspin shots to stop the ball when it lands.

Now with the SM5 model, the face is a little bigger, the grooves are narrower but deeper for more spin. It also offers wider selection of bounce-finishes configurations with up to 21 different configurations for all swing types…yes I know, sounds great but daunting right? Don’t worry, if you’re not sure what bounce (sole type) type to pick, you can choose one of these 3 types: S, M or F, which are the most balanced for beginners.

As far as finishes, well this is merely cosmetic so it’s up to you. You have 3 options: Tour Chrome, Raw Black, Nickel Black and Gold Nickel.

Click Here for Deals on the Titleist Vokey SM5

Cleveland 588 RTX

(CB sole for forgiveness, S sole for versatility)

Cleveland 588 RTX
Buy it from Amazon
Overall Rating
4.8
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Tech Innovation
Price Range
$99 – $119
Feel & Performance

 

Badge_EditorsPick

The 588 is another old classic for wedges, that has proven to be one of the preferred wedges by many players including golf pros.

Now the RTX version has larger grooves and a Rotex face pattern. A very cool circular texture added to the face (besides the grooves) with their CNC mill technology. This is their face pattern trademark that adds spin to the ball at impact.

This wedge has a really nice feel. The 588 RTX is the blade version for greater shot versatility for low to mid handicap players. And I like that Cleveland thought of the 588 RTX CB version for us mortal golfers he he. CB stands for “Cavity back” which is a popular head design in many brands to help beginners with a more forgiving club on miss-hit shots.

Click Here for Deals on the Cleveland 588 RTX

Callaway Mack Daddy 2

Callaway Mack Daddy 2
Buy it from Amazon
Overall Rating
4.5
Look
Tech Innovation
Price Range
$99 – $119
Feel & Performance

Talk about face patterns for added ball spin, and Roger Cleveland being the designer for this wedge to meet Phil Mickelson’s requirements. Laser milled micro groove pattern is the way Callaway makes a stand on surface texture technology. These are actually smaller grooves in between regular grooves … sounds like cheating right?? Plus this wedge now comes with larger grooves for extra spin on the higher lofted wedges.

Callaway really wants to come up front in the wedge competition; so hiring Roger Cleveland to accomplish this feat was not a surprise.

Click Here for Deals on the Callaway Mack Daddy 2

3) BY PERFORMANCE ON A BUDGET

Hireko Golf

If you’re somebody who likes golf but is not much into the hype or spending big bucks on popular brand name clubs… if haven’t you haven’t already, please consider reading the article about clone golf clubs here, because that’s an alternative for getting high performance on golf equipment for a fraction of what major brands cost.

And speaking of clones and custom golf clubs, you must know that Hireko Golf is a custom golf company that makes great clubs at very affordable prices, and wedges are not the exception. Hireko also owns several golf brands that perform as well as any other popular top brand like Acer®, iBella®, Power Play® and Dynacraft®, just to name a few. Some wedge models even resemble Cleveland and Titleist models.

This company has a great wedge selection for less than $50 bucks.

For Hireko here’s my recommended wedges:

Power Play Friction Face Wedge

Power Play Friction Face Wedge
Buy it from Hireko
Overall Rating
4.5
Look
Tech Innovation
Price Range
$24 – $35
Feel & Performance

Do you find Callaway’s Laser Milled micro grooves interesting? Well then you’ll like this Hireko wedge because it has a very similar face pattern. Using also laser accuracy technology this wedge offers microgrooves between the regular groves, creating a clubface texture with more gripping power to enhance ball spin.

Its unconventional cool design makes it stand out from the rest of the wedges.


Adams Golf

This company is not in the cheap golf category, in fact some of its club prices are similar to any top brand…maybe because it’s a top brand?? he he, yes well the fact of the matter is that Adams is a top brand, however it has many club models in the low to mid price range. They have to pay big bucks for the Tom Watson endorsements you know ☺

And speaking of Tom Watson, the good old Jack Nicklaus rival, being a short game genius, involved in sole design and endorsing Adams wedges with his own signature, that gives you something to think about. Plus Adams Golf is well known for making clubs with a great feel and very forgiving to the amateur golfer.

For Adams Golf I have to recommend:

Adams Golf Watson RC14

Adams Golf Watson RC14
Buy it from Amazon
Overall Rating
4.2
Look
Tech Innovation
Price Range
$45 – $60
Feel & Performance

This wedge although is not very innovating in terms of features or design, but it is a wedge with exceptional feel. I like the weight of the club and how easy it is to hit approach shots from the rough and fairway.

The grooves in it are the largest and deepest the USGA allow, so that’s a plus.

I think of this wedge as a good balance between forgiveness for the amateur golfer, and versatility and performance for scratch golfers.

Click Here for Deals on the Adams Golf Watson RC14


Wilson Staff

Wilson has been a respected sporting goods company for many years and have always kept his golf division as a low cost brand. Can’t say much about their golf clubs except to be a good low cost option for complete starter sets.

But for wedges, I really like the harmonized series. They give you a great club for the buck. In fact, these were my first wedges, the Wilson Staff Harmonized. I got my first SW from a clearance table in a Big 5 Sports Store for $20 bucks and maaan I fell in love with that club. A few months later I got the LW from the same model but that cost me about $40.

For Wilson I would recommend:

Wilson Staff Harmonized

Wilson Staff Harmonized
Buy it from Amazon
Overall Rating
3.8
Look
Tech Innovation
Price Range
$24 – $35
Feel & Performance

This is a pretty basic but effective design, they are well weighted and have a pretty good feel from the sand. Although I noticed if you make a steep swing this club tends to dig too much in the sand or turf.

I had the satin finish but now it comes in a high-polish and a cool black finish, but this later one does not appear to last for long. So I would go with the regular or high polish finish.

The ladies version women seem to love it, claiming it increases accuracy and it’s easy to hit.

Don’t know about the ladies version but I do know by experience that me being a beginner, I tried this club and it pumped my short game almost instantly. Or maybe my previous cheap PW wasn’t doing the job hehe.

Click Here for Deals on the Wilson Staff Harmonized

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