Not only is a sand wedge an excellent tool for getting out of the bunker, but it is also very helpful around the green. The majority of golfers are going to chip with their sand wedge and use it for an approach around the green as well. The club is very versatile and can be used for a variety of shots. With all of the sand wedges on the market, it can be challenging to narrow down the best choice for your game. We have put together some of the best sand wedges out there and some helpful information to help you narrow down your decision.
Our Best Sand Wedge CHOICES
- Titleist Vokey SM8 (Best Overall)
"The Titleist Vokey wedges have long been known as being the leader in the golf wedge world. The SM8 is the newest release, and it has a tremendous amount of spin, feel, and performance as well. This is a wedge that will earn a spot in your golf bag for a very long time."
- Mizuno T20 (Best For Low Handicappers)
- King Cobra MIM Black (Best For Feel)
- Cleveland CBX 2 (Best For Forgiveness)
- Cleveland Zipcore (Best For Spin)
- Our Best Sand Wedge CHOICES
- Best Sand Wedge
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
- Testing Criteria used for evaluation
Best Sand Wedge
Titleist Vokey SM8
Each time that Vokey releases a new wedge, they try and make some improvements on the previous version. The SM7 was a wedge that did very well, and people were generally happy with its performance and feel. The biggest difference you will see between the SM7 and the SM8 is the progressive center of gravity.
The Progressive Center of Gravity is what has made the SM8 so forgiving. In years past, if you were using a blade style wedge like this one, you just had to essentially assume it wasn’t going to be forgiving. Vokey used tungsten weights and varied hosel lengths to make sure that the wedge had an optimized center of gravity and very good feel.
Vokey always wants to make sure that their wedges are designed to perform, but they won’t sacrifice feel for forgiveness. That is just not the kind of product that this is. The SM in the SM8 stands for spin milled. The spin milled grooves are built to provide maximum spin and durability of the grooves as well.
If you are playing with a wedge that is a few years old and you feel like you are not getting the performance that you should, the SM8 will likely give you quite a bit more spin. The leading edge of the SM8 is clean, and the grooves are individually cut based on the loft of the club.
Micro grooves are also part of the SM8 wedge. The micro-grooves are going to be cut in between the larger grooves, and they will allow for additional spin but also for more durability in the grooves as well. With better players who have a lot of club head speed, you can end up doing some damage to the grooves of a wedge over time. With the SM8, your grooves should hold up for a while.
The sole grinds are one of the things that truly make the Vokey wedges stand out. For a sand wedge, you are going to want to make sure you have the perfect loft and grind to suit the needs of the golf courses that you play. When you play on a course that has very short turf or hard bunkers, you will want a sand wedge with a thin and clean leading edge.
For a course with fluffy bunkers and lots of thick grass, something with a wide sole is going to be a better fit. Vokey is the leader when it comes to sole grinds. You will find that the number of grinds offered can feel a bit overwhelming, but once you understand the sole grind that will work for your game, you can stick with it for years to come.
The only real downside to the SM8 sand wedge is that it is so good you are going to want to replace all of your wedges to match the SM8 series.
Best For Low Handicappers
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Mizuno is a players club. It is build for golfers that want the best feel on the market, and they are willing to sacrifice a bit of forgiveness. The Mizuno T20 is a great choice both for feel, looks, and performance as well.
The Mizuno T20 is a Grain Flow Forged wedge that is manufactured in Japan. Mizuno is very particular about their manufacturing process, and they work to make sure that each groove on their sand wedge is perfect before it leaves the warehouse.
The T20 wedge comes in several different lofts, so you can find the sand wedge that is best suited for your game. The Hydroflow Micro Grooves are the new addition to the T20 wedge. These grooves are vertically etched to try and keep water off the face of your wedge.
When a golf ball and a sand wedge collide, it is crucial to keep the dimples of the ball and the grooves of the club clean so that the contact can be perfect. The T20 allows for that to happen both out of the sand trap and out of the thicker grass as well.
The T20 comes with a Satin Chrome and a Blue Ion finish. Both finishes are very high quality and easy to see, but some people say that the Blue Iron has a bit less of a glare than the Chrome.
The Mizuno T20 is not going to be the most forgiving wedge on the market. High handicappers will probably want something with a bit of a wider sole and a low center of gravity as well. Although this is a great addition to a short game, make sure that you are hitting the center of the club face a good majority of the time before you decide to purchase this wedge.
King Cobra MIM Black
Best For Feel
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The King Cobra MIM Black Wedge is built with a process that is new to the game of golf. With the MIM construction, you are going to experience a new level of what a soft wedge can feel like.
If you have seen all of the darker color club heads on the market, you know that they are becoming quite popular. There is no question that this MIM Black Wedge from Cobra stands out as both a great sand wedge and a great lob and gap wedge as well
The process that Cobra used to create this MIM wedge is their Metal Injection Molding. The concept is new to golf, and it was designed to help make the wedge softer. Based on our experience and that of many other players, the MIM is exceptionally soft.
When you add in the black QPQ finish, you will see much less glare and a clean leading edge as well. The Cobra golf sand wedges are always made to appeal to quite a few golfers. High handicappers will enjoy the feel mixed with forgiveness, and the lower handicappers will appreciate the styling and the spin capabilities as well.
Unlike the Vokey wedges that can get a bit overwhelming when it comes to the grinds, the MIM wedges have a much simpler grind decision making process. You are going to get three choices with the MIM sand wedge, versatile, classic, and widelow. The widelow is the best choice for the high handicappers who need the wide sole to get out of the sand trap.
The classic and the versatile are built more for the mid to low handicappers that need to adjust the bounce angle depending on the conditions that they are playing in. Typically speaking higher bounce angle is better for bunker shots, but it can be difficult on an approach shot with a sand wedge.
The CNC Milling on the MIM wedge helps to make sure that the grooves are both precise and high performing as well. When you combine all of this great technology and then add in the Cobra connect, you will be very pleasantly surprised with this sand wedge’s capabilities.
Cleveland CBX 2
Best For Forgiveness
A wedge that is forgiving is usually more of a cavity back style as compared to a blade style wedge. This is important to make sure that higher handicappers can get the ball off the ground and up in the air. The CBX 2 offers a perfect solution for high handicappers.
The Cleveland CBX 2 wedge is a cavity back design with a wide sole. The cavity back design helps to lower the center of gravity and increase the forgiveness that you get at impact. If you are a golfer that struggles with hitting the ball thin or fat around the greens, the CBX 2 will probably be a great fit for you.
The problem with most cavity back wedges is that you will need to sacrifice a bit of feel. The great thing about the CBX 2 is that it still feels like a great wedge with a lot of spin. IF you have been playing with a less than stellar wedge game, chances are Cleveland golf has a solution that will work for you.
The CBX 2 comes with three different sole grinds to make sure you get the perfect fit for your sand wedge. Most golfers are going to want the mid or high bounce option for the sand wedge. This helps give you some added forgiveness as well instead of letting the club slide through too much of the grass.
Many mid handicappers find themselves stuck between a wedge that gives them the spin they need and a wedge that will be forgiving enough. The Cleveland CBX 2 is one of the best sand wedges for the mid handicappers.
As always, the Cleveland golf wedges have the tour zip grooves to help you stop the ball very quickly around the green. You won’t have to work hard to get this sand wedge to stop on the green, even when you are hitting shots out of the rough.
Best For Spin
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The Cleveland Zipcore Sand Wedge is a brand new release from Cleveland Golf. With the Zipcore, you will have an easier time spinning the golf ball than you ever have before. If you want to stop your bunker shots on a dime, this is the sand wedge for you.
The RTX wedges have been high performers for Cleveland for many years. The wedges are an excellent choice for mid handicappers and high handicappers as well. They have a good mix of spin and forgiveness as well. With the RTZ ZipCore, Cleveland decided to change things up just a bit.
The first major change was the introduction of the Utilizip grooves. These grooves are completed with a new heat process to ensure that they stay in place for years to come. The ZipCore helps to deliver enhanced control, extra spin, and the wedge is designed to provide years of use before needing to be regrooved.
If you are curious about what the Zipcore is, we can certainly understand. Golf terminology gets confusing, but it usually ties back into some very basic concepts that are incorporated into the golf club. The Zipcore is a low density core that helps to move the center of gravity. At the same time, the MOI is raised, and there is increased spin as well.
Having a high MOI on a sand wedge will help you get a better launch angle and a bit more spin as well. If you hit approach shots into greens using your sand wedge, you will be pleasantly surprised by the performance of this Zipcore sand wedge.
The Zip Core has lots of grooves on the face of the club, and they are designed to provide a ton of spin. Cleveland also allows you three different grinds, the low, mid, and full sole. The full sole sand wedge is great if you are playing out of a lot of soft bunkers with big high lips. You will be able to really get under the ball and launch it up over the edge.
For most golfers, we recommend going with the mid sole sand wedge. The mid sole is an excellent option if you are looking to hit your shots out of the bunker but also as approach shots or chip shots as well. Mid sole gives you a bit more versatility to hit the shots that you like best.
Although this sand wedge is a new release to the market, it has years of research and technology behind it, and you will be pleasantly surprised by the benefits that it can offer.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Choosing the best sand wedge is essential. This is a club that will be used more often than you pitching wedge, lob wedge, and sometimes more often than your driver. Knowing that you have confidence and control in your sand wedge is going to make a big difference in your scoring ability.
What Is The Best Loft For or Sand Wedge?
Sand wedges are not all the same loft. The loft will vary based on the setup of the rest of your golf set. The most standard sand wedge is going to be 56 degrees; however, there are many players that use either 58 degrees of 54 degrees. Making sure your wedges have a few degrees of loft between each one is very important. If you don’t pay attention to the loft gapping, you could be left with two wedges that go the same distance.
For most mid handicappers there is not going to be much of a difference in distance between the 54 degree and 56 degrees sand wedge. Keeping the 54 is fine, but a 58 or even a 60 is going to be a better match for you to cover all the short game shots that you would need.
What Is The Best Wedge To Hit Out of A Bunker?
Just because a sand wedge is called a sand wedge does not mean it is the only club that you can hit out of a bunker. In fact, many people find that they have more luck out of a bunker with their lob wedge.
There are, however, a few things you can look for in a great sand wedge. Try and use something that has a high bounce and high loft as well. The high bounce and high loft help you get through the sand and lift the ball onto the green. This is hard for many players to do.
When you choose a wedge with the higher bounce angle, you are going to get something that is more forgiving. Golfers that are lower handicap players can get away with hitting lots of different bounce angle wedges out of the bunker, but they will admit the high bounce wedges are easier.
Should A Sand Wedge Be A Steel or Graphite Shaft?
When it comes to choosing a shaft for your sand wedge, you need to pay attention to your swing speed and the shaft that you have in your other clubs. If you are a slower swinging player and you use graphite shafts in all of your clubs, it makes no sense to use steel in your sand wedge.
When you hit sand wedge shots out of the bunker and around the green, you need speed to get the control and the spin that you want. If the golf club is too heavy for you, there is no chance you will get the speed that you need.
Wedges in general are made a bit heavier than other clubs. This is done to help golfers have more control over their short game. Having a little weight in a sand wedge is not a bad thing. It allows you to keep the club down and through your shot; in turn, you will get more spin and better contact with the ball.
It is good to take some full swing shots with sand wedges and see if you feel it is hard to swing and difficult to release. If that is the case, the wedges could be a bit too heavy for you. Switching to a graphite wedge could help you get better results, especially those approach shots into the green from the fairway.
How Important Is Bounce On A Sand Wedge?
Some golfers tend to get nervous about the bounce on their sand wedges. For some people, there is a misconception that a high bounce wedge is going to be a club that ends up making you blade the golf ball. This is just not the case.
In fact, if you are a golfer that tends to hit their wedges thing, you may do better with something that has a higher bounce angle. Bounce is designed to be your friend. When you are hitting out of the sand, the wider sole and higher bounce will get you more loft and a softer and more deliberate landing of the ball as well.
If you are worried about making sure that your sand wedge is versatile enough, choose a wedge with a mid bounce. The mid bounce will get the ball in the air, be easy to hit out of a variety of lies, and help you create more spin as well.
Testing Criteria used for evaluation
The last step is making sure you choose a sand wedge that is going to be a match for your game. A wedge could be titled the best sand wedge of the year, but it may not be the best fit for you. Here are some helpful tips to make sure you get the best sand wedge for your golf game.
Most wedges are going to come with a standard wedge flex shaft. The wedge flex is going to be slightly stiffer than a regular and not quite as stiff as a stiff shaft. If you happen to find that you are struggling, especially with the full swing shots on your wedges, chances are you don’t have the proper shaft. Make sure the shaft in your sand wedges match the shafts in the rest of your clubs. They should be similar weight and flex as well.
You probably noticed that most sand wedges are priced between $100 and $200. This is relatively standard and will be what you find regardless of the company that you choose. As far as golf clubs are concerned, sand wedges are priced rather moderately. This is an essential club in the bag, and we would not let price play into your decision all that much.
When you decide to replace your sand wedge, you should pay very close attention to the lofts. The best sand wedge for your game will be the one that fits with the other lofts in your bag. Pay attention to the loft of your current gap wedge and lob wedge, especially. These are the two wedges that will sit on either side of the sand wedge.
Most golf companies are moving away from a direct degree of bounce and moving more towards bounce ranges. A bounce range will say that it is either low, medium, or high bounce. For most sand wedges, the mid or high bounce is going to be a much better choice. If you play on a course that has a lot of hard pan bunkers, then the low bounce could be the best.
Blade vs. Cavity
There is no saying if the best sand wedge is going to be a blade or a cavity. You have to determine which is a better fit for you. It is a good idea to understand which sand wedge is more in line with what you need for your abilities.
The blade style wedges are going to have a great feel, be very precise, and spin well. They are great for bunker shots and for shorts onto the green from a short distance. The blade style wedges are not always the best for longer full swing shots and for forgiveness.
Cavity back style wedges are very strong when it comes to forgiveness. These cavity backs are also the best sand wedges for full swing shots. If you find that your approach shot to the green is often leaving you with the distance that you need a sand wedge, then a cavity back style could be the best choice.
Most golfers will start with a cavity back wedge and eventually switch to the blade. Most golfers will want the performance, spin, and playability of a blade wedge when they reach the better levels of their golf career.
We hope that you now have a better understanding of how to choose the best sand wedge. There are so many great options for a sand wedge on the market that it is difficult to narrow things down. The Titleist Vokey SM8 stands out as the highest performing sand wedge that we have come across. It has incredible spin rates, lots of distance, and long-term durability for the grooves and their abilities. The Vokey wedges update every year or two, but most people will admit to having their Vokey wedge for many years. Certainly, this is an indication of a club that should earn the best sand wedge title.