Golf wedges are obviously your favorite club in the bag, correct? Ok, let’s be real. Majority of players love smashing drivers the most and seeing if they can hit farther. However, as we mentioned in our article ‘Best Golf golf wedges for High Handicappers’, your short game is where you score and shave strokes off your game. Next to your putter, wedges should be the most frequently used golf clubs in your bag. They are the most versatile clubs and can help you escape trouble from any spot. This was true when you were a high handicap player, it is still true now that you have leveled up to a mid handicap player.
Inside 100 yards to the green, golf wedges will still be any player’s go to club. Golf wedges will always be your scoring clubs for sticking your shots close to the pin and eliminating strokes off your score. We believe that having the right golf wedges are key to mid handicap players improving their scores. We hope our guide helps you either shoot consistently in the 80s or even breaking through into that elusive 70s realm. A good golf wedge game can change a mid handicap player into the low handicap level.
Below we highlight our selection of best golf wedges for mid handicap level players. We also provide you guide to determining the proper golf wedge set up for your bag. In our golf wedge article for high handicap players we give an introduction to basic golf wedge functions, designs and components. We will dive further into the gritty details so our readers are well informed.
Best Overall Golf Wedge
Cleveland RTX Zipcore
Best Overall Golf Wedge
The Cleveland RTX Zipcore wedge is a top of the line option when it comes to a forgiving and soft club to stick the ball close to the pin
The Zipcore golf wedge has an innovative technology that shifts the center of gravity, increasing the MOI while adding spin and added control. This is a truly top of the line wedge with a new heat treatment process that enhances durability to keep your performance steady for multiple seasons on the course!
Best Budget Golf Wedge
Tour Edge Rally
Best Golf Wedge for the Money
Looking to save some cash and not buy the top of the line model, the Tour Edge Rally gives you excellent performance for a much better price point
The Rally wedge has a high-toe design that caters to higher shot arc and better touch around the greens. This is a versatile wedge set that is designed specifically for forgiveness and improving all aspects of your short game, both from your approach shot to finesse chips around the green.
Runner-Up Best Golf Wedge
Callaway JAWS Mack Daddy 5
Makes the cut Golf Wedge
The Callaway JAWS Mack Daddy 5 golf wedge is a great option to hone in your shot game with a soft feel and multiple customization options
The Callaway JAWS Mack Daddy 5 wedge has definitely made a mark on golfers with its high spin rates and exceptional stopping power. These Cleveland golf wedges exude comfort and feel on approach shots, but also give you the added versatility around the greens.
Cleveland RTX Zipcore
Best Overall Golf Wedge
Cleveland golf wedges have long competed with Titleist Vokeys, and the new Zipcore technology has resulted in some of the most forgiving and soft golf wedges on the market today
Tour Edge Rally
Best Golf Wedge for the Money
Our top value pick is the Tour Edge Rally wedge, as the name of the game for this line is versatility and improving all aspects of your short game from approach to chip.
Callaway JAWS Mack Daddy 5
Runner-Up Golf Wedge
The Callaway Mack Daddy 5 gives golfers improved spin rates for better control on the greens. Even on the hardest greens you will find your able to control your shots and dial in.
Our Research and Findings
The Best Golf Wedges for Mid Handicappers in 2021
Table of Contents
- 1 The Best Golf Wedges for Mid Handicappers in 2021
- 2 How Many Golf Wedges Should a Mid-Handicapp Player Carry
- 3 Golf Wedge Buying Considerations
1. Cleveland RTX Zipcore
Best Overall Golf Wedge for Mid Handicappers
- Low density core increases MOI and control
- Ultizip grooves providing higher spin and improved soft feel
- Manufactured using heat treatment ensuring consistency throughout the clubhead
- Provides a great combination of feel, forgiveness and control for mid handicap players
- Multiple different sole grind options available
- Improved spin capabilities compared to previous year’s Tour Zip grooves
- High price
- No other disadvantages it is a great performance golf wedge
The new Cleveland RTX Zipcore is the upgraded version to the previous year’s RTX 4 golf wedge and it doesn’t disappoint. Here we choose the RTX Zipcore as our top performance pick for mid handicap players. They feature an amazing level of spin and control with forgiveness that is also welcome to players of any caliber! They also come in a variety of finishes and sole grinds.
One of Cleveland’s main improvements from previous year’s versions it the new Ultizip grooves. Compared to previous year’s Tour Zip grooves, the Ultizip grooves are sharper and slightly deeper and spaced closer. This allows the ball to contact more grooves thus creating more spin and feel for the player. Combined with the heat treatment technique in manufacturing this golf wedge, players can achieve consistency and good control on their golf wedge shots.
What is also new is the low-density material Zipcore placed at the hosel bottom. This core effectively increases MOI of the clubhead providing a decent level of forgiveness on off-center hits. Players will still get consistent results if they miss the sweet spot.
The Zipcore golf wedges also come in Low, Mid and Full sole grinds. The Low grind is great for drier turf conditions with tight lies, while the Full grind is best for softer turf and deep rough conditions. The Mid grind falls in between the two ends. Cleveland’s RTX Zipcore golf wedge provides a rare combination of feel, control and forgiveness. The Cleveland RTX Zipcore is our pick for the best wedge for mid-handicappers!
2. Callaway JAWS Mack Daddy 5
Runner-Up Best Golf Wedge for Mid-Handicapp Players
- Proprietary JAWS grooves design with Groove-In-Groove microfeatures
- 8620 Mild Carbon Steel material
- Multiple grind options available
- Available in Platinum Chrome and Tour Grey color finishes
- Incredibly soft and lightweight feel
- Produces high spin on full-swing and chip shots
- Grind options allow players to find the golf wedge with the right bounce and turf interaction
- Not the most forgiving golf wedge
- Players may not like the high amount of spin
The Callaway JAWS Mack Daddy 5 golf wedge is one of the best golf wedges on market. If you played the Mack Daddy CB in your high handicap level days and are looking for an upgrade, the Mack Daddy 5 is a great choice for you.
You may not find another golf wedge with a softer and most satisfying feel than this choice. The Mack Daddy 5’s head is manufactured with 8620 Mild Carbon Steel, one of the softest feeling steel alloys. When striking the ball, you may feel as if the ball stays a little longer on the club face, at least that is our personal feedback when testing this golf wedge.
Callaway offers this golf wedge in 5 different bounce / grind setups. Each one is custom to the player’s swing type (Shallow or Sweeping type swing) and typical playing conditions. The ‘C-grind’ is suited for players with a flatter, sweep-like swing who takes shallow divots and plays in firm and dry conditions. The ‘X’ and ‘W-grinds’ are for the opposite type of player, steeper swings that take large divots in soft conditions. However, the ‘X-grind’ can be used on slight drier conditions. The ‘low bounce W-grind’ is also for moderately soft conditions but is best suited for shallow swinging players. Callaway’s ‘S-grind’ is the middle of the pack choice. It is playable in all kinds of golf course conditions, soft or dry, as well as all swing types.
You will also find the Mack Daddy 5 golf wedges produce a high amount of spin no matter where you hit your shot. Not only are the JAWS grooves sharp but themselves, but Callaway has added microfeatures on top of the grooves that generate a bit of extra spin. Essentially, they are grooves on top of grooves. The Mack Daddy 5 from Callaway is designed for players looking for a high level of control and accuracy. It is one of the best premium golf wedge options that provides an amazing soft feel and a wide range of bounce/grind customization options.
3. Tour Edge Rally
The Best Golf Wedge for the Money
- Rounded edge to reduce toe and heel interaction with the turf
- High-toe shape for increased surface area
- Medium-bounce design for versatility
- Attractive price
- High toe design gives larger surface area and more forgiveness
- Can easily open the face for flop shots
- Grooves aren’t the sharpest and don’t generate the most spin
Mid handicap players don’t always need to buy premium brand golf wedges. A great design such as the Tour Edge Rally can also serve you well on the golf course for a much cheaper price. If you have been a previous Tour Edge player like myself, you will be surprised at the quality of the club design. Here we feature our budget pick.
The Rally golf wedge features a fairly traditional clubhead with a couple of tweaks. The clubface is a high-toe design increasing the surface area. This gives players a bit more forgiveness and makes it easier for players to open the clubface for bunker and flop shots. This golf wedge also features a curved sole design, where it is paired with minimal bounce on the toe and heel of the sole to minimize club-turf interaction. Translating to English, this is an easy-to-hit golf wedge that reduces your chances of hitting shots fat.
This golf wedge comes in 54° to 60° lofts with two choice of bounces, 10° and 13°. One drawback would be the grooves. It is your standard design, but aren’t the sharpest we have seen. You likely won’t be putting backspin on your shots and it may be harder to control your shots around the green. If you have just entered the mid handicap stage and shot your first couple of rounds in the 80s, this is a good golf wedge to have in your bag to keep your short game consistent. For the price you pay, the Tour Edge Rally is a high-quality club that is easy to hit, and our choice for the best budget golf wedge for mid-handicappers.
4. Cleveland CBX 2
Most Forgiving Golf Wedge for mid-handicapp golfers
- Hollow Cavity Design featuring a hollow chamber near the heel with a heavy weight to maximizing forgiveness
- Three different sole grinds for the lob golf wedge, sand golf wedge and gap golf wedge
- Rotex Tour Zip Grooves featuring aggressive milling for maximizing spin and shot control
- Enhanced Feel Balanced Technology features a Gelback insert to reduce vibration and improved feel. Also included is a toe-bias center of gravity for additional forgiveness
- Cavity-back design offers high level of forgiveness and large sweet spot
- V-shape sole grinds allow players to adapt to different lies and conditions
- High quality grooves maximize spin for players
- golf wedges offered with steel or graphite shafts
- High price per golf wedge
- Clunky look with cavity-back design
We picked Cleveland’s CBX 2 as our top performer in our ‘Best golf wedges for High Handicappers’ article, and it shouldn’t be any surprise we feature them here again. They remain a great choice even for the mid handicap level. Although they are more forgiving than the RTX Zipcore golf wedges, they deliver the performance needed for players looking to score and save strokes!
For this cavity back golf wedge, we highlight its control features offered to mid-handicap players. Cleveland’s aggressive face milling technique and the Tour Zip grooves creates a soft feel at impact and plenty of spin for short game shots. These golf wedges come with three different sole grind options (V, S and C-shaped) with bounce angles ranging from 9° to 12°. The V-grind is for firm conditions and players with a shallower attack angle when striking the ball. The S-shaped grind is for softer conditions and players with steep swings taking large divots. The C-shaped grind is a moderate filler in between the V and S grinds.
If you like the hollow-cavity design of this golf wedge, we recommend you stick with what you know. The benefits of this design are increased forgiveness compared to the RTX Zipcore and higher launch angles. The Gelback TPU insert reduces vibration at impact further delivering a soft feel.
If you played larger cavity back golf wedges in your beginner days, such as Cleveland’s Smart Sole 4 golf wedges, and are looking for more performance and control, the CBX 2 are an excellent choice. We like that you’ve graduated to the mid handicap level and you should be rewarded with lower scores.
5. Cobra King MIM Black
Best Portable Putting Training Aid
- Metal Injection Molded (MIM) manufacturing process using 304 stainless steel
- CNC Milled clubface and progressive grooves
- Matte black finish with three different grinds
- Nice visual contrast with the matte black finish
- Soft feel and produces high spin
- Grind options give players ability to customize their golf wedges
- High Price point compared to other wedges in a similar category
Cobra King isn’t the most popular brand of golf wedges, but after trying these beauties ourselves, we wanted to showcase them here. The craftsmanship and amazing feel makes the MIM Black one of the best golf wedges for mid handicappers.
MIM stands for Metal Injection Molded. The golf wedge is constructed from 304 stainless steel metal powder, which is literally injected into a mold, then heat treated for a consistent build. Cobra claims this technique evens out the metal density in the clubhead and creates a softer feel. We can attest to this after trying the golf wedges.
The clubface itself features Cobra’s CNC milling technique as well as progressive grooves. The grooves are shallower and wider spaced on golf wedges with high lofts (56° to 60°) and deeper with narrower spacing on lower lofted (50° to 54°) golf wedges. This helps keep spin rates consistent throughout each golf wedge. The CNC milling creates a circular pattern that helps further optimize spin throughout the clubface.
The MIM golf wedges come with three sole grinds: classic, widelow, and versatile. Classic has the highest amount of bounce, widelow has the lowest, and versatile falls in the middle of the range. Aside from the relatively high price, we are surprised at the high level of performance of the MIM Black golf wedge. The price of this golf wedge is totally justified given the quality and club features.
6. Titleist SM8 Vokey
Top used Golf Wedge on the PGA Tour
- High level of control
- Groove design creates plenty of spin
- Amazing soft feel
- Great choice for players transitioning from mid handicap to low handicap level
- Less forgiving than other mid handicap level golf wedges
- One of the most expensive golf wedges on market
Titleist Vokey golf wedges are always worth mentioning especially in the mid and low handicap space. They aren’t the easiest to hit but if you get the hang of it, you will be plenty rewarded with up-and-down par saves and close approach shots leading to tap-in birdies. The SM8 is Titleist’s newest golf wedge that performs very well and is geared towards mid handicap players looking to breakthrough into the low handicap level.
For many years, Titleist has been featuring a spin-milled clubface and grooves. The SM8 is no different, however in between the grooves are micro-grooves. The additional grooves give players more spin capabilities and results in a softer feel at impact. Where the SM8 also differs from previous year’s Vokey golf wedges is the new progressive center of gravity feature. Higher lofted golf wedges such as the 60° will have a longer hosel length and tungsten weight placed higher in the clubface for a higher CG (center of gravity). As the lofts decrease for longer sand golf wedges, the hosel lengths become shorter, and the tungsten weights are placed lower in the clubhead. This results in lower CG creating higher launch. This set up ensures consistent feel and performance throughout each golf wedge.
As mentioned, Titleist offers the SM8 in various grinds and finishes. The finish colors are tour chrome, brushed steel, jet black and raw. The grinds come with a variety of bounce degrees to adapt to any golf course conditions. Just remember, higher bounce is best for softer conditions, lower bounce is best for firm turf conditions. Having a Vokey golf wedge in your bag will serve you well. A word of caution, if you have never played one before, they are less forgiving than other mid handicap golf wedges and are likely the most expensive on market, but PGA tour quality comes at a price!
7. Taylormade MG2
Runner-Up Tour Quality Golf Wedge for mid-handicapp golfers
- Solid feel at impact
- Produces plenty of spin
- Available in three bounce styles
- Expensive, one of the priciest golf wedges on market
- Less forgiving
The MG2 is TaylorMade newest tour version golf wedge. MG stands for Mill Grind. It is one of the top-quality tour-level golf wedges designed for mid handicap players looking to jump to that next skill level. These golf wedges have incorporated plenty of feedback from tour professionals such as Dustin Johnson and Tiger Woods, who are very particular about their golf wedges. Although, they are harder to hit compared to other golf wedges, they deliver plenty of good results when hit consistently well.
Maximum spin. That is what TaylorMade’s Raw Face Technology delivers. The grooves on these golf wedges are milled deeper, sharper and narrower providing optimum spin. The laser etching is a new feature that improves feel making it softer. When put together, players can achieve a high level of control if their desire is to spin the ball as much as they want.
The milling design doesn’t end at the clubface, the sole of the golf wedge is also milled. This was featured in last year’s introductory MG golf wedges where the milled sole helps reduce drag and improve turf interaction. Basically, it reduces the chances of your golf wedge feeling ‘stuck’ at impact. TaylorMade was also thoughtful in varying the thickness of the head design to achieve a better Center of Gravity. Also featured in the clubhead is a TPU insert that greatly reduces vibration. Striking the ball is now gentle on the hands but feels solid at the same time.
TaylorMade keeps it simple with the bounce setup. Their lob, sand and gap golf wedges all come in a low, high and standard bounce design. The golf wedge color finishing is offered in satin chrome or matte black. Similar to the Titleist Vokey golf wedges, the MG2 are not cheap, but they deliver fantastic results if you consistently strike the golf wedges well. They are also a great looking club. If you can overcome the lesser degree of forgiveness, this tour-level golf wedge will rain plenty of scoring opportunities for you on the golf course.
8. Tour Edge Hot Launch Super Spin
Best Golf Wedge for Mid-Handicapp Women Golfers
- Easy to hit, higher forgiveness compared to other golf wedges
- Classing looking blade golf wedge
- Capable of generating plenty of spin
- Very affordable!
- Clubhead material can wear out easy
- Not the best feel
Since Tour Edge has plenty of good budget products, we wanted to highlight another one other goodies, the Hot Launch Super Spin golf wedge. This golf wedge is essentially another version of the Rally golf wedge that we just reviewed but with more forgiveness and spin.
Sometimes, manufacturers do not make clubs for women. But after pouring over online feedback and reviews from various women players, this is a popular choice. We make this golf wedge our top choice for women golfers given the performance and quality. The Hot Launch Super Spin golf wedge features a beveled leading edge / cambered sole. It is basically the same design as the Rally golf wedge sole. The curvature design reduces digging and makes it easier for players to escape from bunkers and lies in thick rough.
What is different from the Rally is it does not have the Hi-Toe design, but it does feature Toe-Weighted technology. Tour Edge has a metallic insert on the toe side of the club giving it better stability and a larger sweet spot. This is a great thing as players will find this club easier to hit but still achieve a decent level of feel.
The ‘Super Spin’ in this golf wedge’s name also comes from the groove design. The grooves are also CNC milled as they are relatively sharp and deep providing players ability to stop their shots quickly. As a nice surprise, this golf wedge is slightly cheaper than the Rally. We’d expect the Hot Launch Super Spin to perform better for players given the spin capabilities. Whichever Tour Edge golf wedge you choose, you can’t go wrong, but this choice is certainly a smart one for both men and women.
How Many Golf Wedges Should a Mid-Handicapp Player Carry
Another way to ask this question is, what is the best golf wedge set up for a mid handicapper? Well, it depends on a few things because every player has a different game. At the mid handicap level, we imagine players know how far they hit their golf wedges, and what they are used to in terms of looks and feel.
1. Know your distances and the different options
When putting a set of golf wedges together, ideally a player should first determine if their existing golf wedges cover the necessary range of yardages. For example, if your 56° degree golf wedge hits 100 yards on a full swing, while your pitching golf wedge flies your shots 125 yards on a full swing, this can be a big gap to fill. You could talk yourself into hitting your pitching golf wedge lighter by only swinging three-quarters to achieve distances between 100 and 125 yards, but this can be difficult to control and your shots will fly on a lower trajectory. Instead, if you add a 52° gap golf wedge into your bag, you can make a full swing and achieve high spin and shot trajectory such that your ball flies the desired 110 – 115 yardage.
One important thing to note, if you are playing a competition, only 14 clubs are allowed in your bag. If you add a golf wedge, you’ll have to take out a club. Commonly, players would swap their hard-to-hit and infrequently used 3-iron with a gap golf wedge. It is best to know your options with your bag setup.
Below are the main combinations of golf wedges you will most commonly find in players’ bags.
- 3 golf wedges set up with random gap – 48° pitching golf wedge, 56° sand golf wedge, 60° lob golf wedge
- 3 golf wedges with consistent gap – 48° pitching golf wedge, 54° sand golf wedge, 60° lob golf wedge
- Alternate 3 golf wedges with consistent gap – 50° pitching golf wedge, 54° sand golf wedge, 58° lob golf wedge
- 4 golf wedges with consistent gap – 48° pitching golf wedge, 52° gap golf wedge, 54° sand golf wedge, 60° lob golf wedge
Options 2 and 3 are the simplest setups. Players most commonly have only 3 golf wedges in their bags. This span of golf wedges should cover all short-game distances required, while allowing them to keep the extra fairway wood or hybrid that they desire.
If you’re looking to remove a long iron or a fairway wood from your bag, option 4 is a good option. The system with 4 golf wedges with consistent gap gives player’s plenty of golf wedge options for shots and distances.
The 3-golf wedge with random gap system is pretty common as well. But shown in our example, it can lead to a distance gap if you can’t hit the 56° golf wedge very far. It is best to keep in mind that pitching golf wedges (PW) have standard loft of 48°. Some pro-level players have this golf wedge setup. As much as you’d like to follow your golfing hero, keep in mind it is best to play a set up that gives you the best results on the golf course.
2. Try out all the different lofts and see which ones you like best
Standard golf wedges come in the following lofts:
- 50°, 52°, 54°, 56°, 58°, 60° and 64°
Word of caution, 64° golf wedges can be difficult to hit given the high loft. 60° aren’t a walk in the park either. It is easy to blade your shots with these lob golf wedges. Admittedly, Sometimes I catch my 60° a little skinny and it sails the green. Again, we encourage you to try them out to see if you get the hang of them. If not, there is nothing wrong with leaving them out of your bag.
Keep in mind you will also have to consider degrees bounce and grind when you select golf wedges. The measurements are often stamped on the golf wedges for your reference. We go into details about bounce and grind below.
3. Practice different distances with your golf wedges
Once you’ve tested, chosen and purchased your golf wedges, take them out for a spin at the driving range. Try hitting a variety of shots with them – greenside chips, half-shots, three-quarter swing shots, full-swing, flop shots, bunker shots long and short. Try to get familiar with their feel at impact and throughout the swing. Also, keep a mental note of how far your shots travel with each swing. Getting your golf wedges dialed in is not only for breaking in the new sticks, but to help you score well on the golf course!
Golf Wedge Buying Considerations
We figured it is essential to fill you in on what bounce and grind are all about. Aside from lofts and distances, these two factors are also important considerations before you pull the trigger on buying golf wedges.
1. Golf Wedge Bounce
Golf wedge bounce is largely unfamiliar to golfers and can be a bit confusing to understand their implications on golf shots. Thinking of it in simple terms, bounce is more or less the curvature of the sole on the golf wedge. The higher the degrees of bounce, the more curved the sole. More specifically, the degrees of bounce is the angle between the leading edge of the club and the sole’s lowest point when the club is rested on the turf.
Club designers and manufacturers offer golf wedge options with low, mid and high degrees of bounce. The numbers are usually stamped on the club to inform buyers.
In our other article we used the shovel vs baseball bat analogy, and we will refer to it here again. As you can imagine, a shovel can easily dig into the ground because of it’s sharp leading edge. A bat can’t do much for digging because of its curved design. If you strike the ground with the bat, it will likely ‘bounce’ off, hence the use of the word.
For golf wedges with a low degree of bounce, it will dig into the ground and have a tendency to result in a fat shot. High degrees of bounce literally allow your golf wedge to ‘bounce’ off the turf and help your golf wedge hit the ball solid. On slight mis-hits, bounce can ensure the clubface still catches the ball. The level of bounce required is dependent on the golf course conditions you play, which of golf course is a function of where you play and the climate where you golf.
Low Bounce Golf Wedges
Low bounce golf wedges are designed for tight lies and firm turf. When the ground is already firm, you don’t need additional bounce to catch the ball on your strikes. golf wedges with a flatter sole is best suited to these conditions where you actually want a bit of digging action. A low bounce rating would be 8° or lower.
Mid Bounce Golf Wedges
Mid bounce golf wedges are a good in-between and most versatile for players. If you are an avid golfer you may be playing all over the world in both dry and humid conditions. Having mid-bounce rated golf wedges between 8° and 12° is ideal. You won’t have to spend additional dollars to buy the same golf wedge with a different bounce.
High Bounce Golf Wedges
High bounce golf wedges are ideal for fluffy lies, soft sand bunkers, and fairway lies that are damp and soft. In these conditions, you’d want your golf wedges to ‘bounce’ off the softer turf instead of dig in. It is easy to hit shots fat in these conditions. A high bounce degree rating would be 12° or higher.
2. Golf Wedge Grinds
Grind is essentially the shape of the sole. It is called ‘grind’ because manufacturers physically grind the club’s sole to the desired shape for the golfer. Different shapes interact and respond to the turf and as a result, the ball’s spin and shot shape can be different.
Prominent golf wedge designers like Cleveland, TaylorMade, Titleist Vokey and Callaway offer various grind options. Taking Titleist for example, their ‘L’ grind features a flatter sole for players to adapt to firm conditions. It also suited for players with steeper swings. The ‘D’, ‘K’ and ‘F’ grinds are best for soft conditions and players with shallower swings. The ‘S’ and ‘M’ are versatile grinds best suited for the average player as they can deal with any golf course conditions.