By Jamie Boudreaux
Last Update May 1, 2022

The Best Wedges for Beginners & High Handicappers

Best wedges for high handicappers and beginners

Hey Golfer Geeks! Welcome to our best wedges for beginners & high handicappers in 2022. 

So here's what the beginner or high handicap golfer wants...nay, needs in a wedge. Forgiveness

  • You want need your wedge to get your golf ball up in the air and on the green for a one or two put. And, you need all of this to happen with less than perfect contact. 

That is it. Meat and Potatoes. Get in. Get out. Next hole. 

Strokes start piling up when you start duffing or sculling chips and pitches. And, the fun melts away in a big hurry.

Frustrated Golfer yelling at golf ball

As a beginner or high handicap golfer, you must be able to look down at your wedge as it sits behind your ball and feel confident so you can swing confident.  

With that in mind, I’ve found a few wedges I think will make your golfing life easier and more fun. 

This Golfer Geeks guide to picking the correct wedges for beginners and high handicappers will show you

  1. Exactly which wedges you need to be carrying
  2. Which wedges need to match your set and which ones can be a different model
  3. The companies with the best wedges for your hard-earned money
  4. The good stuff & bad stuff about each wedge we recommend
  5. The best deals on each including available discounts

Best Wedges for Beginners & High Handicappers in 2022

  1. Cleveland CBX 2 (Editor's Pick - Best Wedge Set for Beginners)
  2. Cleveland Smartsole 4 (Best Specialty Wedges) 
  3. Callaway Mack Daddy CB (Great Game Improvement Option)  
  4. Cleveland CBX Full Face (Most Versatile)
  5. Cleveland RTX ZipCore Wedge (Best All Around))

Best Beginner & High Handicap Wedges Reviewed

Cleveland CBX 2 Wedges

Best Wedge Set
Cleveland CBX 2 Wedge

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The Cleveland CBX 2 wedges were made specifically for golfers that play game improvement equipment.

That means most of us...

They provide tour-level spin and performance while still offering game improvement features such as

  • Hollow-Cavity with a hollow chamber near the heal and added weight in the toe for increased MOI for max forgiveness across the face
  • Dynamic Sole with three different sole grinds optimized by loft for ultimate versatility 
  • Rotex Face with extra-sharp grooves and aggressive milling for max spin and control

Cleveland has been one of the top wedge companies for as long as I can remember. I played the 588 wedges for 20 years and still have one in the closet.

I think the CBX 2 sand wedge and lob wedge will work well for the high handicapper with just a little work on some wedge basics.

As a set, the CBX 2s can handle full swing shots as well as any shot around the green. 


  • Best full wedge set for High Handicappers
  • Very forgiving on mishits
  • Superior spin
  • Great feel
  • Not just for high handicap golfers


  • None. Great wedges
Cleveland CBX2 wedge customer review

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Cleveland Smart Sole 4 Wedge

Best Specialty Wedges
Cleveland Smart Sole 4 Wedge

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These are the best wedges for beginners or 25+ handicappers that

  • Suffer with chipping and/or sand shots
  • Also need more forgiveness on full shots

The soles of the Smart Sole 4 wedges are designed purely to keep you from chunking (the bane of every large handicappers existence) your pitches, chips, and sand shots. 

But...these are still Cleveland wedges, so you will get all the help you need with spin.

  • I'm recommending either the sand wedge or the chipping wedge or both. Use the gap wedge that goes with your current set.
  • OR
  • Replace your pitching wedge with the Smart Sole 4 gap wedge because it will be the same loft- 42 degrees.

NOTE: I've read a few customer reviews with single handicappers singing the praises of these wedges.


  • Best pure chipping wedge
  • Best against chunking
  • Great out of the bunker too
  • Most help for beginner golfers


  • Very specialized and you will grow out of them as your handicap drops.
Cleveland Smart Sole 4 Customer Review

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Callaway Mack Daddy CB Wedge

Golfer Geeks Approved
Callaway Mack Daddy CB Wedge

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  • Excellent consistency
  • Very forgiving


  • May have to substitute a premium grip or shaft for stock option because of shortages. 

The Callaway Mack Daddy CB wedges are Callaway's most forgiving wedge line. They are meant for golfers that play game improvement irons. They are perimeter weighted and have a deep cavity back for added forgiveness. 

They perform equally well on full or partial shots from the fairway or rough and on all shots around the green. 

The pitching and gap wedge have full sole grinds to mimic your irons and the sand and lob wedge have "W" grinds which add bounce for added forgiveness.

They all have JAWS grooves and the pitching and gap wedges have full face JAWS grooves. 

Recommendation: We think the CB wedge would make a fine option for any player looking for extra forgiveness in otherwise standard wedges. 

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Cleveland CBX Full Face Wedge

Most Versatile
Cleveland CBX Full Face Wedge

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  • Excellent accuracy
  • Superb spin and versatility
  • Superior feel
  • Lots of forgiveness


  • Potential 2-3 week delay in shipping due to high demand
  • Only sand & lob wedge options

The Cleveland CBX Full Face wedge specializes in Forgiveness & Versatility.

The low c-shaped sole allows you to open the face as wide as your heart desires for greater variety and versatility around the green. You also get the advantage of a hight toe design with the Rotex Full Face grooves over the entire face. 

Forgiveness comes from the half-cavity design. The cavity is near the heel with added material and weight behind the toe which moves the sweet spot to where you are most likely to make contact. All this improves feel and adds forgiveness all over the face. 

Loft Options: 56, 58, 60, & 64 degrees
Bounce: 10 degrees
Sole: C-shaped

Customer Reviews: Buyers rave about the accuracy, spin, and feel of the CBX Full Face wedges and a full 100% would recommend thesed wedges to a friend. The main complaint is there is no gap wedge option. 

Recommendation: We think this would be an excellent choice for mid and low handicap golfers. 

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Cleveland RTX Zipcore Wedge

Best All Around
Cleveland RTX ZipCore Wedge

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  • Superior spin
  • Superior playability
  • Superior versatility
  • Still looking
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  • Great from tight lies
  • Consistent & versatile
  • Mucho spin on partial shots too
  • Lots of forgiveness
  • More durable face
  • Superb out of sand


  • Potential 2-3 week delay in shipping due to high demand

We are large fans of Cleveland RTX ZipCore wedges at Golfer Geeks

They are not the most forgiving wedges, but they are legitimately forgiving and may be an option if you are a decent ball striker or if forgiveness isn't a priority, but a "nice to have". 

I know Cleveland makes every club in the bag, but I think of them as a wedge company first and foremost. My first good wedges were from Cleveland over 26 years ago. 

Here's why they are on this list:

  • They have optimized MOI (forgiveness & consistency) by moving the center of gravity behind the sweet spot
  • The Ultizip grooves produce excellent spin on all full, partial, and short game shots because they are deeper, sharper, and there are more of them because they are closer together.  
  • Bonus: the face is heat treated so those super-sharp and deep grooves will last longer - saving you money in the long run.

They also look really cool thanks to their classic styling. 

Customer Reviews: Users rave about the feel, versatility, and consistency of these wedges. 

Recommendation: We recommend the Cleveland RTX ZipCore for the better mid handicappers and low handicappers. 

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How to Pick the Best Wedges for Your Golf Game

Set of Vokey Wedges

What wedges should beginners or high handicappers carry?

We are going to have 2 to 4 wedges in our bag.

The number will depend on two things:

  1. How many woods, hybrids, or long irons we are carrying. (we can only have 14 clubs)
  2. Are you a newbie or on the higher end of high handicap.

Newbs and higher high handicaps should stick to the pitching wedge from their iron set and a sand wedge (54* to 56*) with 10* or more of bounce.

So, our wedges will include…

  • Pitching Wedge, Gap Wedge, Sand Wedge or 
  • Pitching Wedge, Gap Wedge, Sand Wedge, Lob Wedge

My rules of thumb:

  • Mandatory Wedges: Pitching Wedge, Gap Wedge, Sand Wedge
  • Once your game matures (you now have yardage gaps (gap wedge) or KNOW you need more loft on particular short shots: Lob Wedge, Gap Wedge

You will choose your sand wedge, and lob wedge based on your gap wedge loft. See below for more details

How to Choose the Correct Loft for Your Wedges

Standard wedge lofts these days:

  • Pitching wedges: 41 - 45 degrees
  • Gap (Approach) wedges: 48 - 52 degrees
  • Sand wedges: 54 - 56* degrees
  • Lob wedges: 58 - 64* degrees
Wedge Loft & Yardage Gaps

We try to maintain proper gapping in our lofts so we can maintain proper gapping in our yardages on the course:

  • Vokey suggests a 4 or 6 degrees difference in the loft between wedges. 
  • Other sources suggest 4-5 degrees. At this stage in your game, 1 degree will not make a difference.

What I’ve found: Gap wedges included as part of iron sets have 48 degrees of loft for every manufacturer I checked...and

The lowest lofted sand wedge is 54-degrees. So, that's a 6-degree difference.

54-degrees is the lowest lofted sand wedge any player will want to have and I consider that a little too low for beginners. (Mine is 56-degrees) are getting a lob wedge too

So...if you choose to have a 54-degree sand wedge, I’m going to insist you get a 58-degree lob wedge, which you will lean on around the green. (I lean heavily on my 56-degree sand wedge and have since I started playing)

If you are only getting one higher lofted wedge, make it a 56 degree sand wedge. It's the most versatile loft and allows for the widest range of shots.

Choosing the Correct Bounce for Your Wedges

What is bounce and what is it for?

Bounce is the angle from the leading edge of your wedge and the lowest part of the sole.

  • The higher the bounce, the higher the leading edge will be off the ground when the wedge is soled

Wedge Bounce

Looking at the image...

Which bounce do you think will dig into the ground more easily vs glide along the ground?

The purpose of bounce is to add forgiveness by allowing your wedge to produce good shots with imperfect contact.

  • It does this by gliding along vs. digging into the ground.

The bounce you choose will depend on the conditions of the courses you normally play as well as your angle of attack. 

  • Low-bounce wedges are better in firmer conditions & shallow angle of attack. 
  • High-bounce wedges are better in softer conditions & steeper angle of attack
  • Mid-bounce wedges give you a taste of both worlds 

Most beginners and high handicappers have a steeper angle of attack. So...

We recommend you have 10-12 degrees of bounce for your sand wedge and around 14 degrees of bounce for lob wedge. 

Buying Your Wedges

You’re going to have a couple of options when picking your wedge set.

  1. Get the wedge models included with your iron set
  2. Get different wedge models from your iron set...either from the same or a different manufacturer 

We are going to go with option #1 for our pitching wedge and gap wedge.


  • Pitching and gap wedges are generally used more for full swings than for touch shots around the green and are easier to hit since they match your existing set.

For high handicap golfers, I suggest you be just a bit pickier when picking your sand wedge and lob wedge because they will be your primary scoring tools and there are models specifically tailored to the high handicap and beginner golfer.

For beginners, it's completely acceptable to get the sand wedge and lob wedge that match your set...though there are specialty wedges that will make your life easier.

What is the best wedge for chipping?

The best wedge for chipping we've found is the Cleveland Smart Sole 4 C-Wedge or chipping wedge. It's sole is uniquely designed for the high handicapper to get the ball up and down in as few strokes as possible.

And, let's face will be chipping A LOT, so this may be a smart buy for the beginner especially. High handicappers with a particularly bad short game will benefit from this specialty wedge also. 

What is the best wedge for high handicappers out of bunkers?

The best wedge for bunker shots is the Callaway Sure Out 2 sand wedge from Callaway golf. It gets nearly universal praise as an instant fix for bunker woes.

The Sure Out 2 wedge works for beginners as well as more accomplished golfers wanting more help out of the sand. 

It's also proven to be a killer wedge from the rough and pretty much any where around the green you need a little help. 

What are the most forgiving wedges for high handicappers on the market?

I'm going to have to say the most forgiving set of wedges (keeping in mind how specialized they are) are the Cleveland Smart Sole 4 family of wedges

Should I buy cavity back or muscle back wedges?

Take advantage of cavity back wedges for right now. Forgiveness and fun are the name of the game for you. Cavity back wedges are your best chance at both.

Verdict on the Best Wedges for Beginners & High Handicappers

The  CBX 2 is and excellent wedge, along with the other choices on this page.

My #1 suggestion is to test before you buy. Head down to your local golf store or take advantage of Global Golf's Utry program. I use it and recommend it. 

Thanks for checking out our review of the best wedges for beginners and high handicappers in 2022.

Editor's Pick
Cleveland CBX 2 Wedge

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About the author 

Jamie Boudreaux

Okayist golfer I know. On a quest to get down to a 2 and take you along for the ride.