Best Wedges for High Handicappers and Beginners 2023

Regardless of your handicap, most of your strokes on the golf course come from within 100 yards.

The easiest and fastest way to reduce your handicap is to tighten your proximity to the hole with your wedges.

The best wedges for high handicappers and beginners we’ve found for the 2023 season are the Cleveland CBX Zip Core wedges. On top of being overflowing with “game improvement wedge” technology, the CBX Zip Core’s take a lot of the headache out of the wedge buying decision making process and automatically change its grind style with loft to help players get the most out of every wedge they put in their setup.

Best Wedges for High Handicappers 2023

1

OUR TOP PICK

Cleveland CBX Zip Core Wedge

  • "ZipCore" Feel Improving Insert

  • Updated "UltiZip" Grooves

  • "Spinner Shaft" Options

2

ALTERNATIVE

Callaway Mack Daddy CB Wedge

  • Two Unique Sole Options

  • High-Quality Shaft Options

  • Cavity Back Design

3

ALTERNATIVE 2

Cleveland Smart Sole 4 Wedges

  • Built for Short-Game Struggling Players

  • Chipper for Bump & Runs

  • Extra Wide Sole for Enhanced Forgiveness

11 Best Wedges for High Handicappers and Beginners

  1. Cleveland CBX Zip Core Wedges (Most Game Improvement Wedge Technology)
  2. Callaway Mack Daddy CB Wedges (Cavity Back Wedge Design)
  3. Cleveland Smart Sole 4 Wedges (Best Wedges for High Handicappers Struggling)
  4. Callaway JAWS Full Toe Wedges (For Players Getting Better)
  5. TaylorMade Hi-Toe RAW Big Foot Wedges (High Bounce Wedges, Sand or Lob Wedge Only)
  6. KING Cobra Snake Bite 2022 Black Wedges (Sleek Look)
  7. PING ChipR (Unique Option For Shots Inside 40 Yards)
  8. Ping Glide 4.0 Eye2 Wedges (Customizable Sole Grinds Based on Swing)
  9. Bridgestone Tour B XW-1 Wedge (Forged, High Spin Budget Friendly Pick)
  10. Tour Edge Hot Launch VibRCor Super Spin Wedges (Enhanced Sweet Spot & Feel)
  11. Tour Edge Hot Launch E522 Wedge (Extreme Game Improvement Sole Design)

Check out the detailed breakdown below of our favorite wedges for high handicappers and beginners.

1. Cleveland CBX ZipCore (Most Game Improvement Wedge Technology)

Cleveland CBX ZipCore

Everyone has heard their auto-tuned commercials. While those might be ear-splitting, Cleveland’s CBX ZipCore wedges are nothing but sleek, soft as butter, and wildly forgiving.

To begin, Cleveland widened their “Dynamic Sole” (V-, C-, and S-Shaped Soles) grind designs to help players avoid dreaded chunks, but the soles are still totally playable so that you can open the face and finesse shots green side.

Cleveland wedges are known for their optimized mass placement and forgiveness-boosting technology. Through the use of “ZipCore,” a lightweight vibration-dampening material that sits at the core of the wedge, Cleveland engineers were able to boost MOI and place the Center of Gravity right where players strike their wedges.

The “gel-back” insert that runs along the cavity of the CBX ZipCore’s improves feel and absorbs unwanted vibration, so even miss-hits feel incredibly smooth.

“Spinner Shafts” were designed to be lighter than previous standard wedge shafts, helping the CBX ZipCore’s feel easier to swing, and are specially designed to enhance spin for users. Players can also opt for Dynamic Gold 115 Spinner and Catalyst Spinner (graphite shaft option) depending on the shafts in their cavity back irons for a more seamless transition.

On top of all the other short game improving technology we’ve mentioned in the CBX ZipCore wedges, Cleveland has updated their “UltiZip Grooves” to be sharper, deeper, and closer together (two more grooves per wedge face now) than previous Cleveland wedges. Cleveland says their new UltiZip Grooves are more efficient at channeling debris and maximizing spin.

Loft Options: 44° – 60°


Key Features

  • "ZipCore" Feel Improving Insert

  • Updated "UltiZip" Grooves

  • "Spinner Shaft" Options

2. Callaway Mack Daddy CB Wedges

Callaway Mack Daddy CB Wedges

While they were released nearly 2 years ago to the day, the Callaway Mack Daddy CB wedges still take one of our top spots for the best wedges for high handicappers and beginner players.

Besides their slightly aged release date, meaning they are more reasonably priced, the Callaway Mack Daddy CB wedges are designed to inspire confidence in players used to looking down at cavity back irons from their slightly larger head, thicker topline, and their deep cavity backs of their own.

Two easy-to-use sole grind options are available for players, designed to improve consistency. A “full sole” grind in the lower lofts creases easy, iron-adjacent turf interaction. The modified “W Grind” in the 54° through 60° lofts enhances bounce for more forgiveness from bunker shots and thick rough.

Besides the Mack Daddy CB wedges featuring JAWS grooves (known for adding a lot of spin), the lofts of 46° through 52° have conventional grooves. In comparison, the higher lofted 54° through 60° have full-face grooves for added workability and playability on tricky, high lofted shots.

Lastly, Callaway includes high-performance shaft options like the KBS Hi-Rev 2.0 105 steel shafts and an all-new KBS Hi-Rev G graphite shaft. Featured on all Callaway Mack Daddy CBs are Golf Prides all-new SG-1 short game specific grip that is lengthened and tapered for enhanced control for users.

Loft Options: 46° – 60°


Key Features

  • Two Unique Sole Options

  • High-Quality Shaft Options

  • Cavity Back Design

3. Cleveland Smart Sole 4 Wedges (Helpful Wedge for High Handicappers Struggling)

Cleveland Smart Sole 4 Wedges

Cleveland wants players to “Embrace Easy” with their updated Smart Sole 4 wedges. If you’re a player that struggles with chunky wedge shots, these are likely the best option for you.

Since the original Smart Sole wedge release in 2015, the Smart Sole line from Cleveland Golf has built a bit of a “cult-like following” of players looking for as much forgiveness in the short game department as possible.

Cleveland revamped the three-tiered soles of the Smart Sole 4’s to add extra leading edge bounce for improved turf interaction. A slightly thicker leading edge helps improve forgiveness depending on the quality of the strike.

A “Sand” specific sand wedge is designed within the lineup for easy bunker shots, escapes, and getting over trouble.

A “Chipper” is included in the lineup to give players an option of playing simple bump and runs using a putting stroke.

And the newest addition to the Smart Sole 4 wedge line is the Gap wedge. Working off the extra-wide sole design, players can experience the same forgiving wedge feelings as the Chipper and Sand wedge in longer approach shots that they might’ve struggled with before.

For more spin and control, new and aggressive individually CNC Milled grooves are featured on the Smart Sole 4 wedge line from Cleveland. The sharp-edged grooves cut through grass and moisture for more friction at impact, meaning more stopping power on all your shots and hopefully lower scores.

Loft Options: 42°, 50°, 58°


Key Features

  • Built for Short-Game Struggling Players

  • Chipper for Bump & Runs

  • Extra Wide Sole for Enhanced Forgiveness

4. Callaway JAWS Full Toe Wedges (For Players Getting Better)

Callaway JAWS Full Toe Wedges

The Callaway JAWS Full Toe wedges are designed to give players total control on all types of wedge shots, chips, pitches, flops, bunker shots, and full wedge approach shots into the green.

To begin, Callaway combines a full face of JAWS grooves with offset groove-in-groove technology and an all new raw face to give players all the spin and control they need to pull off every shot around the green.

The “Full Toe” in the name comes from the expanded toe shape of these wedges, designed to provide more face area and inspire user confidence. This full toe combined with a specialized C-Grind (the only sole grind available for Jaws Full Toe wedges) improves versatility and makes short shots around the green easy to hit. The C-Grind performs just as well on mid and full wedge shots as bunker shots and high flops.

The “Full Toe” design pushes the CG higher for wedges that create a lower, more controlled trajectory. The JAWS Full Toe wedges also include Callaway’s iconic “Variable Weight Port System” on the back of their heads that helps Callaway engineers locate the center of gravity away from the heel for solid contact and enhanced feel and feedback to players.

Lastly, just like the Mack Daddy CBs we mentioned earlier, the JAWS Full Toe wedges come stock with premium Lamkin UTx grips and a players choice of True Temper’s newest Dynamic Gold Spinner shaft in steel or a Project X Catalyst wedge shaft in graphite.

Loft Options: 54°-60°, 64°


Key Features

  • Universal C Grind

  • Extended Toe Section for More Face Surface Area

  • Groove-in-Groove Technology

5. TaylorMade Hi-Toe RAW Big Foot Wedge (High Bounce Wedges)

While the initial look of the TaylorMade Hi-Toe Raw Big Foot wedges might come as a shock to some, Collin Morikawa has already used his 60° Hi-Toe to propel himself to Major Championship Victories, which we think validates the Big Foot’s strange appearance.

For consistent spin in all conditions, TaylorMade is introducing ZTP RAW Grooves on the face of all Hi-Toe RAW Big Foot wedges for more greenside spin. Besides there being more grooves on a “Raw” face built to retain spin levels after wear, the grooves are now sharper, narrower, and deeper and feature “full face scoring lines” like additional grooves for increased spin and control.

Like we’ve seen on other Hi-Toe wedges in our list, the TaylorMade Hi-Toe design pushes the center of gravity higher, lowering the launch to be more controllable and increasing spin. The lengthened toe also increases the overall face area of the wedges to allow for added creativity on various lies around the green.

As you can see from the photo above, the Big Foot’s asymmetric C-Grind sole is much flatter and broader than other TaylorMade wedges sole grinds at 32mm (similar to Cleveland Smart Sole 4 wedges) to boost bounce for dig-resistance and improved performance from the deep rough or sand.

A slightly tarnished Copper finish looks classic and will change and evolve its look as it ages with your game and play.

Loft Options: 56°-58°-60°


Key Features

  • Sand or Lob Wedge Options Only

  • High Bounce Angle (15°)

  • Full Face Grooves & Scoring Lines

  • Aged Copper Finish

6. KING Cobra Snake Bite 2022 Black Wedge (Sleek Look)

KING Cobra Snake Bite 2022 Black Wedge

Cobra has made a lot of headlines over the last few years endorsing YouTube golfers like Micah Morris, Matt Scharff, and Bryson DeChambeau. If you’ve paid attention, you’ve likely seen one of these three players using the new to 2022 Cobra Snake Bite wedges.

The newest colorway addition from KING Cobra features a new satin black QPQ finish that is highly durable and reduces glare in the sunlight for long-lasting and stealthy-looking wedges.

To improve users’ feel and turf interaction, Cobra offers the new Snake Bite wedges with three sole grind options corresponding to different players and their course conditions.

  • Versatile Grind: For Shallow – Neutral – Digger swing types and Medium to Firm turf conditions, the Versatile grind option includes a center notch to keep the leading edge closer to the ground, and heel and toe relief provides versatility to play shots with an open face.

  • WideLow Grind: For Neutral – Digger swing types and Soft to Medium turf conditions, the WideLow grind option is a wide, low bounce sole that is “magic out of soft bunkers and medium rough” and is designed to prevent the leading edge from digging.

  • Classic Grind: For Neutral – Digger swing types and Soft, Medium, or Firm turf conditions, the classic grind has a medium-width sole with high bounce and trailing edge relief for various course conditions. Neutral to steeper swings, and full swing shots will benefit from this sole design.

The updated “SNAKEBITE” groove design results in 11% deeper grooves and 40% sharper groove edges than previous Snake Bite wedges for maximum spin on the ball.

Traditional grooves are used on the lower loft Snake Bite wedge options (48°-54°). The grooves are narrower and deeper to optimize spin on lower lofted wedges’ square and delofted face shots.

A full-face groove design is used on the higher loft Snake Bite wedges (56°-60°) that extends to the toe to create more spin on shots with an open face when the ball is most likely to touch the toe area.

To finish up the premium components that go into the construction process of the KING Cobra Snake Bite wedges, Cobra includes KBS Hi-Rev 2.0 shafts as their standard steel option, Lamkin Crossline grips, and with the purchase of any Cobra club buyers are eligible for free Arccos Smart Sensors and a free trial of the award-winning Arccos Caddie app.

The KING Cobra Snake Bites are a fantastic option for players needing a bit of added spin and performance out of their wedges and want a premium option.

Loft Options: 48° – 60°


Key Features

  • Swing & Course Conditions Based Grinds

  • Full Face Grooves

  • Black Color

7. PING ChipR (Unique Option For Inside 40 Yards)

PING ChipR

While having the appearance of a game improvement style infomercial club, the “ChipR” was designed by Ping to be a quicker and simpler forgiving wedge option for high handicappers and is sleek enough to upgrade any golf bag’s “cart appeal.”

The ChipR is unlike any of the modern clubs in the

“forgiving wedge” category and has a few unique design features we thought stood out. Also, unlike any other wedges on our list, the ChipR is not designed for full shots but rather pitches and bump-and-runs inside 40 yards.

The loft is 42°, similar to the standard loft of a 9 iron, and the length of the ChipR is slightly shorter than a standard pitching wedge.

Additionally, the shaft of the ChipR sits far more upright than a standard wedge, bringing the players’ stance closer to the ball and enabling golfers to use more of their “putting technique” for distance control and consistency without fear of blading or chunking shots.

Due to the length and upright nature of the ChipR’s shaft, less wrist is used in the motion of hitting it, a super helpful factor to many beginners and high handicappers.

Additional forgiveness boosting technology in the Ping ChipR includes; A chambered sole for more versatility and consistency through different lengths of grass, precision-milled MicroMax grooves (tighter spacing, more grooves) to increase ball contact to maintain spin and consistent trajectories on chips of every length, a hidden cavity back with additional perimeter weighting for forgiveness on off-center strikes, and a “hydropearl chrome” finish that repels water for consistent performance in rain or shine.

Ping’s ChipR comes standard with a “PING Z-Z115” wedge specific shaft (length is customizable at purchase) that’s extra lightweight for more club head feel.

Lastly, the ChipR features a “Dyla-Wedge Grip” that is 3/4 inches longer than a traditional grip and features a reduced taper, allowing golfers to choke down for more versatility and trajectory control with a consistent feel compared to the normal gripping area.

Loft Options: 42°


Key Features

  • Not Built for Full Swings

  • Perfect for Tight Lies

  • Designed for Chipping and Running Balls

8. Ping Glide 4.0 Eye2 Wedges (Customizable Sole Grinds Based on Swing)

Ping Glide 4.0 Eye2 Wedges

The Ping Glide 4.0 Eye2’s face profile was inspired by the original high-toe design made famous by Karsten Solheim in the early ’80s. It features a very unique look at address with a “blended hosel” and a dished sole design similar to the original Eye2.

The Eye2, or “E Grind” for short, features a high toe, of course, but also improved leading edge shaping and the dished sole and tapered hosel improves bunker performance naturally.

Like the other “high toe wedges” on our list, the extended toe section on the Eye2’s effectively extends the hitting area for players, improving their likelihood of making solid contact that also has spin.

The Eye2 Glide 4.0’s come stock with a lightweight PING Z-Z115 Wedge specific steel shaft or a PING Alta CB Slate as the graphite option. Ping also includes a “Golf Pride Lite Tour Velvet 360” as their stock standard grip to keep most of the weighty feeling in the club head.

Multi-material construction combines 8620 carbon steel with a large and soft “activated elastomer” insert to provide a soft and responsive feel on all shots.

On top of precision-milled grooves and a tight groove pattern, Ping added a new “Emery face blast” to the Glide 4.0 construction process, adding more texture to the hitting surface, creating more spin and a lower launch.

Loft Options: 54°-60°


Key Features

  • Extended Toe Design

  • More Grooves

  • "Face Blast" for More Spin

9. Bridgestone Tour B XW-1 Wedges (Forged, High Spin Budget Friendly Pick)

Bridgestone Tour B XW-1 Wedges

While people usually only think of golf balls when they think of Bridgestone Golf, the manufacturer has released some sneaky great clubs in the last few years, none better than the Bridgestone Tour B XW-1 wedges.

One of the only forged wedge options on our list today, the Bridgestones provide an incredible forged feel and feedback to players’ hands strike after strike.

Similar to the Cleveland CBX ZipCore’s we mentioned first on our list, the XW-1 wedges from Bridgestone feature grind patterns that change and add more bounce as the loft progresses for more versatility and shot-making capability.

The 50° wedge features a “Flat Sole” with very little grinding, as the majority of shots with a 50° need a square face for proper striking. The 56° features an “A Sole,” a more heel-based grind that allows players to open the face as much as they need for the shot at hand. Every other loft option features an “M Sole” or the “multi-purpose” sole. A standard “heel-toe” grind for all other shots you’ll see on the course.

Lastly, to increase spin for players needing it, Bridgestone added “Biting Rail Mill Grooves” to their already high spinning groove design. “Biting Rail Mill Grooves” are the 6 additional mini grooves Bridgestone added between the surface of each regular groove, preventing skidding and increasing spin.

If you’d like to read our hands-on and in-depth review of the Bridgestone Tour B XW-1 wedges, click here.

Loft Options: 50° – 60°


Key Features

  • Sole Design Progresses w/ Loft

  • Improved Grooves

  • Forged Design

10. Tour Edge Hot Launch VibRCor Super Spin Wedges (Enhanced Sweet Spot & Feel)

Tour Edge Hot Launch VibRCor Super Spin Wedges

Tour Edge might not be a company that immediately jumps to mind with wedges, but that line of thinking is changing quickly with their lineup of forgiving wedges that take up our final two spots on our list.

The Tour Edge Hot Launch VibRCor Super Spin wedges feature a “VibRCor” TPU insert that is strategically placed deep in the rear of the club head to not only increase perimeter weighting that boosts forgiveness but also improve the feel off the face of all short-game shots.

Extra weight was added to the rear top portion of the face that expands the sweet spot vertically so shots struck higher on the face that would traditionally lose speed and descent too quickly maintain exceptional distance control and feel.

A beveled leading edge design is featured on the Super Spin wedges to reduce digging, and a rounded sole creates smoother turf interaction out of every tough lie.

The Hot Launch wedges get the “Super Spin” addition to their name from Tour Edge’s CNC milled grooves that are at the maximum depths allowed by the USGA for more spin on shots of all lengths.

Tour Edge doesn’t slack on shaft options either. For slower to moderate swing speed players, Tour Edge offers UST Mamiya HL-SST shafts in every flex. For players wanting a higher trajectory with moderate spin, they offer True Temper XP-85s.

Loft Options: 50°-60°


Key Features

  • Insert for Improved Feel & Feedback

  • Increased Sweet Spot Size

11. Tour Edge Hot Launch E522 Wedge (Extreme Game Improvement Sole Design)

Tour Edge Hot Launch E522 Wedge

Rounding out our list are some of the most forgiving wedges for high handicappers available, the Hot Launch E522 “Houdini” wedges from Tour Edge.

As you likely noticed from the photo, the E522 wedges feature one of the most unique-looking sole designs of any wedge we’ve ever seen.

Tour Edge’s patented “Houdini Sole” is a raised steel mass area at the rear of the club head and a curved leading edge under the face.

The Houdini Sole improves the player’s turf interaction by 35% and dramatically moves weight low and deeper in the club’s head for more forgiveness and playability.

On top of adding more mass, the Houdini Sole is extra wide to help naturally eliminate thins and fat shots.

The Houdini Sole’s extended nature allowed Tour Edge engineers to deepen the cavity behind the face to better redistribute mass for lowered CG, improved forgiveness, higher launch, and increased spin.

On top of increasing the overall wedge face area from previous models, Tour Edge has implemented full-face grooves for better spin on miss-hits and more shot making capabilities overall.

Going above and beyond their own VibRCor wedges, Tour Edge includes premium Mitsubishi Fubuki HL shafts in lightweight graphite options and KBS Max 80’s as the steel option for the Hot Launch E522 wedges.

Loft Options: 52°, 56°, 60°


Key Features

  • Houdini Sole

  • Ton of Forgiveness

  • Premium Shaft Options

  • Full Face Groove Technology

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About The Author

Writers of Independent Golf Reviews
Independent Golf Reviews has tested and reviewed 1000+ golf products over the past 10 years. We use our experience and expertise to give golfers an unbiased insight on the market. 
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