For most people, the wedge in the golf bag is the equivalent of the placekicker in football. You usually don’t want to use one, because it often means you’ve made some sort of mistake on your approach shot. But when you’re forced to use it, the wedge (or placekicker) had better deliver for you.
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The Best Golf Wedges Of 2021
Fortunately, golf club designers have recognized the need for the wedge to be a consistent performer in your golf bag. In recent years, they’ve given wedges a host of excellent features that allow you to precisely control your shots around the green, giving you a better chance of cutting strokes from your score.
Wedges also need to be able to work from a multitude of lies, giving you a high level of versatility in shot making, whether you’re on the fringe or in the fairway. Wedges also work great from the rough or from a sand trap, but none of us ever end up in those positions on the golf course, right? We’ve researched top-performing wedges to find the best ones you can buy for any scenario.
Here are “the best golf wedges of 2021” you can buy:
- PING G425 STEEL WEDGES – Best golf wedges 2021
- Best wedge 2021 overall: Titleist Vokey SM7
- Best wedge 2021 for spin control: Callaway Mack Daddy 4
- Best weight-balanced wedge: Mizuno S18
- Best wedge 2021 for feel: Ping Glide 2.0 Stealth
- Best inexpensive wedge: Wilson Harmonized
- VOKEY DESIGN SM8 WEDGES – Best golf wedges 2021
- Mizuno T20 Golf Wedge – Best golf wedges 2021
- Cobra King MIM – Best golf wedges 2021
PING G425 STEEL WEDGES
In a departure from recent iron models, PING’s experts re-engineered the face of the G425 iron by employing a metal-wood-style, variable face thickness (VFT) design. This greatly increases flexing for measurable ball speed gains that launch shots higher and farther with the stopping power to hold greens – a rare result with most of today’s distance-minded irons.
In the process of creating the new face design, they developed a more compact head that sets a new standard for forgiveness for an iron its size. While shorter heel-to-toe than the G410 model, it boasts a 3% higher MOI due to mass savings from the new face geometry that have been re-allocated to the toe and hosel weights, which expands the perimeter weighting and greatly tightens dispersion.
Extensive finite element analysis was used to help develop a multi-material cavity badge that covers more of the face to damp undesirable frequencies and ensure a superb feel and pleasing sound.
The G425 irons feature a performance-improving, water-repelling hydropearl chrome finish. The grooves in the PW, UW, SW and LW are precision-milled to ensure control and touch into and around the greens.
VOKEY DESIGN SM8 WEDGES
No other wedge is crafted by the master. No other wedge is backed by the best R&D in the world. And no other wedge represents the most advanced expression of the Vokey Design DNA ever. The next chapter of craftsmanship and innovation is SM8.
Committed To The Craft
Bob Vokey knows that trust is earned, never given. He and his team grind every day to improve the feel and function of the tools they craft. With SM8, the standard for wedges is elevated, again.
“Wedges need to be versatile and every player is different. It’s never one size fits all for wedges. That’s why we have many grind options.”
– BOB VOKEY
Titleist’s SM8 wedges will sell for $159 each. Pre-order begins on February 11, and they will hit retail shops on March 6.
Cobra King MIM
Price: 148.95$ | From: Amazon
The Cobra King MIM wedge, due at retail next month, has all the appearances of, well, another wedge. Which is perhaps the most remarkable thing about it because it is decidedly unlike any other wedge, indeed any other golf club, ever manufactured before.
And that’s why, despite appearances, the King MIM wedge is making the case that it’s the most precisely produced wedge in the game today.
The King MIM uses a metal injection molding process, which in the past in golf has been used to shape the intricately curved internal tungsten weights seen in some irons. Now, for the first time, Cobra is bringing the process to build an entire clubhead. In metal injection molding, a fine powdered mixture of the metal and a binder are used to form highly-specified shapes in an efficient almost one-step process.
That’s especially important in wedges, which notoriously are some of the more complex shapes because of their specific sole grinds, leading edge curves and bounce angles that require a large degree of hand work, said Tom Olsavsky, Cobra’s vice president of research and development. Olsavsky said a typical wedge clubhead today might be touched 90 separate times during the manufacturing process. By contrast, he said, the King MIM might involve the human element a third or fewer times.
“Wedges have been a difficult process with a lot of hand grinding, very dependent on the skills of the individual worker,” he said. “You touch it the wrong way with an inexperienced grinder and you ruin the head.
“The whole thing is very much a challenge. so we’re going to take the process into the 21st century. It’s more precise from a hand-polishing perspective, the lie angles get tighter, weights get tighter, offset gets tighter and the bounce and sole consistency get much better.”
Olsavsky said another benefit of the new manufacturing method is the wedges feel softer because of the way the 304 stainless steel is processed in metal injection molding, leading to a more dense structure of the metal. The metal mixture goes through a scintering process that heats the new metal at temperatures of 1,340 degrees Celsius, or about 12 percent hotter than a typical forging would require.
The King MIM wedges also feature a refined notch design in back that helps keep the leading edge closer to the ground, a result of input from its tour staff, most especially Rickie Fowler. The King MIM wedges use the company’s “Versatile” sole grind, which features a soft leading edge and heel and toe relief. – Sources: golfdigest.com
The King MIM wedge is offered in six lofts (50, 52, 54, 56, 58 and 60 degrees; $150).
Loft: 12 options (50 to 60 degrees), 3 sole grinds, 2 finishes
Street Price: $150
Mizuno T20 Golf Wedge
Price: 149.95$ | From: Amazon
- Hydro flow micro grooves: laser etched microscopic grooves help channel away moisture for maximum spin in wet conditions
- Weight placed high, discreetly within a tapered blade for increased spin and vertical stability from off center strikes
- Grain flow forged HD: enhanced grain flow forging process that increases grain density in the impact area for the ultimate soft, solid, consistent feel
- Precise CNC milled grooves
- Premium Components include a dynamic gold Tour issue S400 wedge shaft, golf Pride grip . 60 round grip, and your choice of stain chrome or Blue Ion finish.
Loft: 9 options (46 6o 60 degrees); 3 finishes
Street Price: $150
The best wedge overall
The Titleist Vokey SM7 family of wedges have all of the latest design features and personalization options to help you shave strokes off your score.
When you want the best control around the greens, a great wedge design is a must. And the Titleist Vokey SM7 family of wedges contains the best features and design that you’ll find in this type of golf club, ensuring you can find a wedge — or two or three — that will match your game.
Price: 119.99$ | From: Amazon
The SM7 gives you great feel on short approach shots. This is an important feature for any wedge, as you’ll be hitting this club with full swings, half swings, and everything in between. You need to be able to trust that you can make a variety of shots with your wedge, and the Titleist Vokey SM7 delivers on that promise.
The design of the club head has changed a bit from previous Titleist wedges. The back of the club has varying shapes, based on the loft of the wedge, which is available between 46 and 62 degrees. This design affects the center of gravity of the club, ensuring a proper ball strike for the type of loft that’s in use.
When using a wedge with a low loft angle, you’ll naturally strike the ball lower on the face. Along those same lines, ball strikes higher on the club face are common with higher lofts. The Titleist Vokey SM7’s design adjusts the center of gravity for each different club loft to account for this difference.
The Titleist SM7 wedges can be personalized nicely to your swing path and shot making needs, according to Golfalot. It’s probably no surprise that the Titleist Vokey SM7 wedges are extremely popular on the PGA Tour.
Golf Monthly says the Vokey SM7 family lives up to its billing as a premium set of wedges, combining beautiful craftsmanship with outstanding design features. But there are so many choices and decisions to make that it may overwhelm high handicap golfers.
However, if you’re a low handicap golfer, the 23 different options with the SM7 wedges will serve you well, allowing to make almost any shot you could ever need, according to Golf Digest, which awards the SM7 perfect scores in performance, innovation, and feel.
Worldwide Golf Shops reviewer Johnnie C says the Titleist SM7 wedge gives him a lot of confidence in all kinds of shots around the green, from a sand trap, or from the fairway.
Pros: High-end build quality among wedges, delivers the precise control you want around the greens, center of gravity adjustments at different lofts are impressive, maintains similar great design look from SM6
Cons: Expensive price tag, almost too many choices for average golfers to understand
The best wedge for spin control
If you want to mimic your favorite pro golfer’s ability to put backspin on high wedge shots, the Callaway Mack Daddy 4 wedge has an innovative design with grooves on the clubface.
Golf gear companies are constantly testing new designs. Some of them are a bit crazy, and some change the game so much, they’re eventually banned on the professional level (like belly putters). Other design tweaks are so precise and minuscule that you might not see them at a glance, but you can certainly feel the difference in your ball striking ability.
The Callaway Mack Daddy 4 family of wedges fits in this category, as Callaway’s designers have created a new design in the grooves of the wedges that is almost impossible to see, but that simply delivers results.
The Mack Daddy 4 wedges have traditional square grooves across the clubface that generate ball spin, but Callaway added micro-grooves to the club, creating a series of inverted grooves in between the larger indented grooves. Additionally, Callaway makes this family of wedges in four different grinds, which should help players with different needs find the exact grind that matches their ball-striking abilities.
Golf Digest says Callaway’s design of the grooves in the Mack Daddy 4 delivers an amazingly high level of grip and spin on the ball. Because there are so many different lofts and bounce angles within this family of wedges, you’ll be able to more often find just the right wedge to allow for a full swing shot, according to Golfalot.
These new Callaway wedges are becoming popular on professional golf tours, and National Club Golfer says it’s easy to understand why. They look great and have a cutting edge technology in the redesigned grooves.
The Left Rough says Callaway made a smart decision to use indentations in the back of the clubface to shift the center of gravity upward as the loft increases in these wedges, giving them a natural feel.
You likely will receive additional distance with these wedges versus what you’re using now, according to Worldwide Golf Shops reviewer KK Bodie, because of the impressive ball-striking ability you’ll have with these clubs.
You can also get the women’s Callaway Mack Daddy 4 Wedge for $109.99.
Pros: Impressive design of grooves on the clubface for higher spin rate, great looking wedges that pro players use, multiple options for loft to allow for more full swing shots, should receive added distance
Cons: Expensive wedges, high handicap players won’t need the extra spin the clubface delivers
Callaway Golf Mack Daddy 5 JAWS Wedge
Price: 152.99$ | From: Amazon
Loft: 23 options (46 to 64 degrees), 5 sole grinds, 2 finishes
Street Price: $160
Best for Mid-Handicappers: Callaway Mack Daddy 3 Forged Wedges
Price: 79.96$ | From: Amazon
Callaway is, of course, one of the most popular and high-quality brands in golf clubs. Its Mack Daddy wedge set fits well into this reputation and looks great in a bag next to a Big Bertha. These wedges, available in a number of loft angles, are made with soft steel and a dynamic center of gravity that moves up as you swing your wedge.
The MD3 has three different grinds that golfers can choose from: S-, W- or C-Grind. The W-Grind is newer and has a wide sole. It is great for soft ground and the steep shot you need to leave a bunker. The C-grind has heel relief, low bounce and works well on higher lofts. The S-Grind has a tapered sole, low bounce with an open face and works well with low lofts. Additionally, Callaway prides its MD3 wedges on their 16-groove face for added control on pitching and chipping. These high-quality clubs might even help you take a few strokes off your close game and drop your handicap.
The best inexpensive wedge
The Wilson Harmonized wedge doesn’t contain a design with multiple features like some others, but it’s a solid golf club that will work well for average players looking to save some money.
The Wilson Harmonized wedge certainly isn’t designed for low handicap players or for those who like a lot of choices in their wedges. But don’t let its basic design cause you to ignore this wedge, especially if you’re golfing on a budget.
The Harmonized wedge gives average and high handicap players a solid looking wedge that ensures the maximum level of spin on your shots … even if you aren’t purposefully trying to spin the ball. A backspin on the ball will help you hold the green better on your wedge shots.
This style of wedge will give you a high level of durability, as it has a steel construction in both the club face and the shaft. Wilson’s designers gave the Harmonized a classic look and blade shape that will appeal to veteran golfers and newcomers alike. You can pick lofts between 50 and 64 degrees.
The Harmonized wedge doesn’t offer a few different sole grind options, like the other wedges we’ve listed here, but Laser Golf Rangefinder says the single sold grind in this club is designed to give you the maximum level of versatility, whether swinging from the fairway, the rough, or a sand trap.
Amazon reviewer Goliver says the Wilson wedge gives you a high level of ball spin with nicely shaped grooves built into the clubface.
Whereas some wedges have so many features aimed at low handicap players that high handicap players can have trouble controlling them, A Great Golfer says you won’t have those problems with the Harmonized wedge from Wilson. It delivers a true ball flight when you connect with the ball in the center of the wedge.
Even with several nice features, Honest Golfers says the best aspect of the Wilson Harmonized wedge is its very low price compared to other wedges.
Amazon reviewer Craig says this Wilson wedge was a perfect addition to a set of clubs purchased earlier, as the set did not ship with a sand wedge, which is common for sets of clubs aimed at average to high handicap players.
Pros: Nice looking all-steel design with a polished finish, will give you a great level of durability at a low price, delivers a good backspin on the ball, provides nice versatility for use with multiple lies
Cons: Doesn’t have the customization of more expensive wedges, not made for low handicap players looking for a high level of feel or personalization
Best Sand Wedge: Cleveland Smart Sole 3 Wedge S
Price: 99.99$ | From: Amazon
A sand wedge has become one of the most important clubs in any golfer’s bag since it was invented by Gene Sarazen in the 1930s and used by him to win multiple majors. The Cleveland Smart Sole 3 Wedge S has come a long way from Sarazen’s original spoon-like club, but it still helps you get a step up on the competition.
This Cleveland wedge features a 58-degree loft and a three-tiered sole for the added forgiveness you need when you’re stuck in a bunker. The club hits high and soft with a straight face — perfect for golfers at a wide range of skill levels. With a lower center of gravity, the Smart Sole 3 Wedge S also lets you get a more balanced shot as you chip onto the green. Available with a graphite or steel shaft, this Cleveland is the best sand wedge out there for any golfer who likes to get out of sand cleanly and quickly.
The best wedge for feel
Beyond a sleek black clubface, the Ping Glide 2.0 Stealth family of wedges will give you an amazing level of feel for shots around the green, thanks in part to a carbon-steel construction.
Advanced players talk a lot about the feel of the club, the feel of the golf ball, and a feel for the course. As an inexperienced player, the only feel you may experience on the golf course is the feel of the sand under your feet after you’ve put another ball into the trap.
But as you gain experience playing golf, you’ll gain a feel for playing the game and how different clubs perform. You’ll be amazed at exactly how even the slightest difference in the contact point on the clubface gives you the knowledge that a shot will be off line before you even see where it’s going.
When you’re making precise shots around the green, you’ll want the highest level of feel from your club, because you want to precisely control spin, distance, and trajectory. The Ping Glide 2.0 Stealth wedge has the most impressive level of feel of any wedge, as it uses a carbon-steel construction in the club face that gives you an excellent level of feedback.
Even less experienced players will notice the difference in the way the ball feels coming off the Ping Glide 2.0 Stealth. You can pick from four different sole grinds within the Stealth family of clubs, ensuring you can find a design that will match your swing. Ping offers the wedges in lofts ranging from 46 to 60 degrees.
The Stealth is a slight upgrade over the Glide 2.0, which Ping introduced in early 2017. MyGolfSpy says the biggest change in the Stealth is the carbon steel manufacturing that yields improved durability and feel.
Today’s Golfer says those who like a high spin rate on their wedge shots will appreciate the extra groove Ping placed on the 56-, 58-, and 60-degree wedges in the Stealth family, which generates a greater loft and control, even when you strike the ball low on the clubface.
The dark color on the clubface in the new design of the Ping Glide 2.0 Stealth will give the club a longer level of durability, while keeping the grooves perfectly square, even after multiple uses, according to Golf Digest.
One reviewer named Vlado says the Stealth wedges helped shave four to five strokes off his score, as they provide a high level of feel for all types of shots. Another reviewer named Marc L says he wished Ping made a set of irons that featured the same materials and design as the Glide 2.0 Stealth wedges, because these wedges perform so well.
Pros: Provides a great feel for shots around the green, high loft Stealth wedges include an extra groove for additional spin on shots, plenty of choices in loft and sole grinds within this family of wedges
Cons: Expensive price per wedge, minimal differences in design from the Glide 2.0 wedges from last year
Most Versatile: Cobra Golf King Wedge
Price: 99.99$ | From: Amazon
Cobra’s golf wedges include three trims, which allow for a more varied playing experience. Depending on your game style, this may mean that you carry more or fewer clubs in the bag, but whichever you choose, you’ll be able to do more with each Cobra wedge.
The steel-shafted, wedge flex clubs are available in a versatile, classic or wide-low grind. All made with stylish black carbon steel club heads, these grind options let you optimize your wedge design to your play style. With loft angles available at 50, 54, 58 and 60 degrees, you can fill your bag with the grind of your choice. The higher loft angle wedges feature narrow grooves in the club face while the lower loft angle wedges have shallow, wide grooves. The surface of these clubs are rough for better spin and the carbon steel lets these wedges last longer than polished metal.
The best weight-balanced wedge
The Mizuno S18 family of wedges feature a well-balanced design that will help with mis-hit shots, so they’ll stay on track.
Price: 99.99$ | From: Amazon
If you’re someone who needs to receive feedback from your clubs when you make contact, you’ll appreciate the Mizuno S18 family of wedges. When you strike the ball even a little off-center, you’ll feel the difference.
Fortunately, though, the weight balance on the clubface in the S18 gives you some forgiveness for those off-center strikes. So you’ll feel it when you mis-hit the shot, but it won’t travel as far off line as it could have.
Mizuno offers its S18 family of wedges in lofts between 46 and 60 degrees, giving you plenty of options for finding just the right club. Mizuno engineers have increased the width and depth of the grooves in the clubface for the higher lofted wedges, which will allow the club to throw off moisture and dirt collected during the swing, ensuring a higher level of contact with the ball.
The design of the Mizuno S18 wedge places more weight toward the top of the clubface. This pushes the center of gravity higher on the blade, giving you a high level of balance as you swing the club. You’ll also receive a high level of spin on the S18 because of the balanced design in the clubface, as well as better control of the ball off the club.
This balance should help you achieve greater distance on shots from the rough, where you may be striking the ball higher up on the clubface, according to the Golfalot review.
Golfers will have better forgiveness on wedge shots with the Mizuno S18, according to Golf Monthly, because it has a wider sole than most wedges, as well as relief in the heel and toe areas. This balance certainly can help you hit shots more squarely.
Plugged-in Golf says the S18 has a high level of feel, so when an experienced golfer hits a shot slightly off-center, he or she will feel the difference versus a perfectly struck shot. This feature may not be of much use to high handicap golfers who haven’t yet learned how to feel shots.
Experienced golfers will appreciate the different sole grinds on the Mizuno wedges, as they’ll be able to pick the right wedge from the S18 family to match their individual swings. Golf Magazine says the S18 family is the best group of wedges Mizuno has ever developed.
Pros: New design generates better control over the ball, extensive feedback when you have an off-center mis-hit, forgiving design because of the balance of the weight in the clubface and sole of the club
Cons: Expensive price point for a wedge, most features aimed more at experienced golfers instead of high handicap players
How to choose a wedge
Types of wedges
All golf wedges are not created equal. They’re differentiated by a few different features, but the loft of the club is the most prominent feature for all levels of golfers.
The loft of the wedge is the angle of the club face to the shaft. A wedge with a higher loft (or a more severe angle to the shaft) will create a golf shot with a higher trajectory and a shorter distance, says Golfalot. A wedge with a lower loft will send the ball farther with a lower trajectory versus high loft wedges.
Whereas 5-irons, 7-irons, and 9-irons all have the same general loft range from set to set, wedges are available at many different lofts. A 7-iron’s loft usually ranges from 37 to 39 degrees, for example, while a wedge will have a much larger potential range of lofts, from 44 degrees to 65 degrees, as The Golf Warehouse explains. Wedges come in different categories.
The pitching wedge is the most common style of wedge, offering a loft range of 44 to 49 degrees. An average golfer can hit a shot with a pitching wedge about 115 yards with a full swing.
A gap wedge gives you a nice loft between a pitching wedge and a sand wedge, providing a bit of versatility in your shot making with a loft range of 50 to 54 degrees. You can expect to hit a gap wedge about 100 yards with a full swing.
Sand Wedge: Sand wedges will have a loft range between 54 and 58 degrees. Despite the name, you don’t have to use a sand wedge out of a sand trap. It can be used anywhere on the course where you need a high lofted club. Most golfers can hit a sand wedge about 90 yards with a full swing.
Lob wedges are difficult to hit for high handicap golfers, but they do play a key role in making certain golf shots. Lob wedges range in loft between 59 and 65 degrees. Few people will use a lob wedge for a full swing shot, as this type of wedge works best for shots where you need to go over an obstacle, like a sand trap, and stop the ball suddenly on the green.
As The DIY Golfer explains, most golfers carry more than one type of wedge. It’s important to select the right gap between lofts in the wedges you carry. For example, if you’re carrying two wedges, you may want an 8-to-10-degree gap between the two. For those carrying three wedges, a 5-to-7-degree gap is desirable. And if you’re carrying four wedges, a 4-degree gap is ideal.
Selecting the right gap between your wedges gives you more shot making abilities, versus carrying two clubs that have almost identical lofts.
Key features for wedges
Beyond loft, wedges have a few other types of features that you should consider. Understand that golf club designers will aim many of these other features at low handicap players who are looking to precisely control the ball.
The bounce of a wedge is a measurement of how the sole of the club rests on the ground, usually ranging from between 0 and 18 degrees. With a higher degree of bounce, the club will not dig into the ground as much as with a lower degree of bounce. A higher bounce is better in the sand, while a lower bounce is better in the fairway off firm turf, Golf Bidder says.
The grind refers to the way the wedge is designed to sit on the ground. Depending on the grind in the club, it may be easier to open the club face for high lofted shots or for certain types of playing conditions, according to Two Golf Guys. The angle of your swing will play a role in determining which grind fits your game properly.
The club faces on all irons have grooves, but the grooves on wedges usually feature special designs, which help to create a higher spin rate for the ball, Golf This says. With a greater backspin on the ball, you will have a better chance of keeping a shot on the green. Grooves must be manufactured to certain tolerances to meet the rules of golf from the USGA. A wedge with grooves that are too deep would be considered an illegal club.