Best Golf Wedges 2022: Buyer's Guide and things you need to know

Your guide to the best golf wedges of 2022 and things you need to know.

Matt Chivers's picture
Wed, 30 Nov 2022
Best Golf Wedges 2022: Buyer's Guide and things you need to know

Golf wedges are the most fun clubs in your bag. They unlock your creativity and allow you to show your finesse and precision on the golf course.

Your feel and understanding of how to strike a golf ball are most evident with your wedges. They generate spin, they produce high-launch shots and they can rescue you around the greens.

Wedges test your judgement and much like with your putter, a lot of your success with these clubs is down to you.

BEST GOLF WEDGES 2022

CATEGORY WINNER

MODEL

PRICE

BEST GOLF WEDGE

TITLEIST VOKEY SM9

£149

BEST FORGIVENESS

TAYLORMADE HI-TOE 3

£139

BEST DISTANCE CONTROL

PING GLIDE 4.0

£139

BEST FOR SPIN

CALLAWAY JAWS RAW

£149

BEST FEEL

TITLEIST VOKEY SM9

£149

BEST VALUE

CLEVELAND RTX ZIPCORE FULL FACE

£129

Power and technology are packed into the best golf drivers, but the key features of golf wedges are made of subtle refinements and changes which help to sharpen your short game.

In our latest guide, we want to help you choose your next golf wedge, the club that is going to tidy up your short game and help you shoot lower scores. 

First up as a quick refresher, let's take a look at the different types of golf wedge you can have in your bag. 

Types of golf wedge

Lob wedge

The lob wedge is the most lofted club in the bag. The lob wedge can range from 58 to 64 degrees and it is the perfect club to use from the bunker as the thin face slices through the sand.

Although the lob wedge can be used for intricate shots from around the green, it can also be used from between 70 to 90 yards when hit on the full. This club achieves very high apexes when used from short distances.

Sand wedge

The sand wedge usually carries a loft of 54 to 56 degrees. As you can tell by the name, this club is built to be used from bunkers, but the lob wedge can be used to better effect in this case.

Much like all wedges, the sand wedge is perfect for deft chips around the greens and they can also be used to hit shots of up to 100 yards from the green. 

Gap wedge

A gap wedge is usually found in the range of 50 to 52 degrees. It is seen as a compromise between a pitching wedge and a gap wedge. 

If you add one into your bag having not had one before, you will feel the benefit because you no longer have to adapt a hard sand wedge or a soft pitching wedge shot. 

The degree difference between a sand wedge and a pitching wedge has grown to around 10 degrees, which leaves space for a gap wedge in your bag to cover every type of shot.

Pitching wedge

Pitching wedges are the next most-lofted club in the bag after the 9-iron. They usually have lofts between 45 and 48 degrees. Sometimes, players will have a 48-degree wedge in their bag that isn’t specified as a pitching wedge.

This is arguably one of the most versatile clubs in the game because it can be used for full shots of around 100 to 150 yards, but also with chips around the green and low pitches too. Pitching wedges are largely included in iron sets while you largely have to buy your sand wedge and or lob wedge separately.

Best Golf Wedges 2022

Okay, now for our Golf Wedges Test 2022.

GolfMagic Equipment Editor Alex Lodge tested out a number of different wedge models from 50 degrees through to 60 degrees to ensure a fair test. 

All of the wedges featured in our test very much impressed us, making it extremely hard to pick an overall winner. But we did eventually settle on one, and here it is: 

1. Titleist Vokey SM9

Key Features:

Price: £149 | Ultimate Shot Versatility | Forward centre of gravity | Groove durability doubled

Pros:

  • Extremely impressive custom fitting options, catering for all golfers
  • Lowered CG optimises the ball flight
  • Great feel
  • Looks unbelievable both in the bag and over the ball at address

Cons:

  • Minimal improvements on the last model (SM8) 

Of all the wedges in the game, Titleist Vokey models are arguably the most reliable and the most likely to guarantee consistent performance. The SM9 model represents a small but significant improvement from the previous SM8 model in which the brand has endeavoured to control your ball flight and distances.

We tested the 52, 56 and 60-degree wedges in this model and we were most impressed with the ball-striking and forgiveness of off-centre hits. Even when Alex didn’t find the middle of the club face, his dispersion to the pin was tight and this makes these golf wedges suitable for a wide range of golfers.

Titleist has focused on versatility, distance control and spin with the Vokey SM9 wedges. The company honed in their “most technologically advanced design in all three areas.” This was clear to see because we were impressed with the spin control and the feel off the club face.

The brand has improved the quality of the club face by focusing on its durability and this also adds to its longevity. This is an important feature to note because, with longevity, you can maximise the use of a Titleist Vokey wedge over a longer period.

Alex was particularly pleased with his ball flights as a result of Vokey designers optimising the centre of gravity. The Titleist Vokey SM9 wedges can produce launches that make you feel like a professional.

Other than the price tag of £159, it is hard to find fault with these wedges. The price comes from the name and the world-class construction of these golf wedges.

READ OUR FULL TITLEIST VOKEY SM9 WEDGE REVIEW

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2. PING Glide 4.0

Key Features:

Price: £139 | Precision-milled face and grooves | Four grind options | 8620 carbon steel body

Pros:

  • Increased performance quality in all weather conditions
  • Impressive custom fitting options
  • Forgiving look at address

Cons:

  • Other wedges in our test feel slightly softer at impact

The PING Glide 4.0 wedges are made with precision-milled faces and grooves. The new texture face is meant to increase spin and consistency and we’ll confirm that this was the case. These golf wedges are very forgiving of off-centre hits from short-range and long-range distances.

Much like the Titleist Vokey SM9 wedges, PING focused on maximising versatility with these golf wedges. They come in four distinct grind options which cater for several different golfers.

Their versatility is a distinct difference from the PING Glide Forged Pro which was most suited to low amateurs and Tour players.

The compact shape and the multi-material construction that combines 8620 carbon steel allows for a soft feel. When we tested these golf wedges on the golf course, we grew in confidence with our ball-striking and the feel was very satisfying.

We also found this helped us to hit a range of different shots such as one-hop-and-stops and bump-and-runs.

It’s hard to hide our excitement around these golf wedges which we believe are the best that PING has produced. It’s hard to grumble at the price and you certainly won’t grumble at the performance which will benefit any golfer’s short game and wedge play.

READ OUR FULL PING GLIDE 4.0 WEDGE REVIEW

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3. TaylorMade Hi-Toe 3

Key Features:

Price: £139 | Micro-Rib Grooves | Four-way cambered sole | Raw Face technology

Pros:

  • Optimal turf interaction with high and low bounce options
  • Micro-Rib grooves increase spin rate
  • Increased look of forgiveness at address

Cons:

  • Raw face doesn’t suit every golfer
  • No huge improvements from the previous model (Hi-Toe 2)

When we tested the TaylorMade Hi-Toe 3 wedges, we immediately appreciated the Micro-Rib grooves that are ingrained in the club face. We experienced some sweet connections and an impressive spin rate with these golf wedges.

The brand included Raw Face technology which is meant to increase spin and feel with deeper and narrower grooves. This also causes the face to rust over time. As impressive a feature as this is, it is aimed at Tour Professionals and although we don’t mind this element, many golfers may dislike it.

We tested the 58, 54 and 50-degree wedges in the Hi-Toe 3 model and we were delighted with the versatility that they offer. From 100 yards and closer to the green, you can use any of these wedges to hit a low or a high shot to the green. Alex was encouraged to hit several different trajectories and we like that TaylorMade has encouraged creativity.

TaylorMade aimed to improve versatility with these wedges and the four-way cambered sole significantly helps this. During the construction of these Milled Grind wedges, TaylorMade crafted each sole to achieve consistent and “repeatable” performance.

We were impressed with the ball-striking of these clubs and this was also down to the Micro-Ribs that are positioned in between the full grooves. Alex particularly enjoyed this feature which led to sweeter connections and a solid spin rate.

READ OUR FULL TAYLORMADE HI-TOE 3 WEDGE REVIEW

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4. Callaway JAWS Raw 

Key Features:

Price: £149 | Groove-in-groove technology | Removed plating in the club face | Raw Face technology

Pros:

  • Most aggressive grooves ever increase spin rate
  • Improved feel from previous iterations
  • Two impressive designs to choose from

Cons:

  • Same price as the Titleist Vokey SM9 and doesn't quite reach the same level of overall performance
  • Raw face doesn’t suit every golfer

Much like the TaylorMade Hi-Toe 3 wedges, we were impressed with the spin rate of the Callaway Jaws Raw wedges. We found the most spin with full shots and short chips and this is because of the aggressive grooves in the club face.

Callaway used off-set groove-in-groove technology to produce what they describe as “the most aggressive groove in golf.” The brand has removed plating on the face which allows for maximum spin and we experienced this first-hand. 

However, as these golf wedges encourage spin control, we believe they suit good amateurs and tour professionals. The aggressive grooves suit players who can use them to their full potential and players who can control spin and one-hope-and-stop shots.

As with the TaylorMade Hi-Toe 3 wedges, Raw Face technology is another feature here which may not suit mid-to-high handicappers or golfers who dislike the rusted element.

In this way, we won’t rave about the forgiveness of the Jaws Raw wedges. Nonetheless, the design of these wedges appeals to every golfer. We liked both the black and silver designs and by removing the plating on the face, this causes long-term rusting.

We were huge fans of the rusted element because this also helps with spin rate and performance over time. As we stated at the start of this guide, golf wedges are constructed for creativity and the Jaws Raw wedges encourage workability with the amount of spin you can generate.

READ OUR FULL CALLAWAY JAWS RAW WEDGE REVIEW

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5. TaylorMade MG3 

Key Features:

Price: £129 | Micro-Rib grooves | Low-placed lowest groove | Raw Face Technology

Pros:

  • Micro-rib grooves have increased feel
  • Great look down at address
  • Increase spin rate

Cons:

  • Raw Face doesn't suit every golfer

The TaylorMade MG3 (Milled Grind) wedges feature a Tour Preferred Raw Face which helps the club face to rust over time. This is supposed to increase spin control and benefit your ball-striking, but some golfers might not enjoy the rusting element. This is because some golfers may prefer a cleaner outlook on their wedges.

The lowest groove was placed lower in these wedges to help golfers connect with the ball even if they connect with the bottom of the club. TaylorMade alleged that spin control and increased spin were key focuses of these wedges. To do this, they included Micro-Rib grooves between the main grooves. Raw Face technology can be found here, but won’t be preferred by every golfer.

When we tested the MG3 wedges from around 100 yards, we were very pleased with the quality of the spin and how easy it was to hit a one-hop-and-stop shot. We discovered the versatility of these wedges by hitting low and high shots with the 52 and 56-degree editions.

With low or high trajectories, the spin rate was evident. It wasn’t so evident with full wedge shots from around 120 yards. Nonetheless, we’d recommended the TaylorMade MG3 wedges to any golfer with any handicap. We found the ball-striking to be consistent and our dispersion to the hole was impressive.

READ OUR FULL TAYLORMADE MG 3 WEDGE REVIEW

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6. Cleveland Golf RTX ZipCore Full Face

Key Features:

Price: £129 | UltiZip Grooves | High-Toe Profile | ZipCore raises MOI

Pros:

  • UltiZip Grooves increase spin
  • Increased quality in feel
  • Increased versatility across the whole wedge set 

Cons:

  • There are higher-performing wedges in this Buyer Guide

An intriguing feature of these Cleveland wedges is the inclusion of grooves across the entire face, from top to bottom. These are UltiZip grooves that allow for optimal spin performance. The High-Toe profile is also designed to slide the club face under the golf ball.

When we tested these Full Face wedges, we found them to be very forgiving and we attribute this to the groove construction. We found our ball-striking to be consistent across the face. Cleveland boosted the durability of these grooves with a new heat treatment process.

We tested the 52, 56 and 60-degree wedges and we thought the feel of the club face was very soft when we connected with the middle of the club face. The softness in the strike is a key part of a golf wedge’s make-up and the Full Face clubs excel in this department.

With the grooves covering every millimetre of the club face, we grew in confidence and felt able to hit a number of different shots and trajectories. This design element encourages creativity and it suits more golfers than the aggressive grooves of the Callaway Jaws Raw wedges.

READ OUR FULL CLEVELAND RTX ZIPCORE FULL FACE WEDGE REVIEW

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Now for some more wedgeduction...

Did you see what we did there?! 

Key features of golf wedges

Loft

Wedges have the highest lofts of any clubs in your bag. Loft refers to the angle of the club face and how open it is compared to the shaft.

A pitching wedge is the least lofted club in this department as this can have an angle as low as 45 degrees. But a lob wedge can be as open as 64 degrees and it is useful to have both in your bag so you have your bases covered on different shots.

Sole Grind

The sole grind is the extra shaping on the sole of the club which is usually around the heel or the toe.

The grind on your wedge can be manipulated by removing material from the heel, toe or trailing edge. This manipulation is used by manufacturers to improve the golf wedge’s interaction with the turf.

Finding the right grind for your wedge is very important because a certain type of grind suits a certain type of swing. This is a process that would be explained to you in a custom fitting session.

Grooves

Grooves are an essential part of the golf club because they help to control spin and increase the quality of connection with the golf ball.

Similar to the way tyres have lines running through them to increase grip on the roads, golf wedges have numerous grooves in the face. The design of grooves also allows water to flow and clean the face and it also helps your connection with the golf ball in wet conditions.

Many different brands have created their own groove designs. Callaway used groove-in-groove technology with the Jaws Raw wedges to create aggressive grooves and increase spin.

Bounce

Bounce is essentially the angle between the leading edge and the lowest point of the sole. This part of the club will hit the ground at impact.

The bounce is what you see when you lay the club flat on the ground and the leading edge is slightly off the ground. A high bounce means that the leading edge is higher off the floor. 

Golf wedges with a lower bounce suit dry and fast lies or golfers with shallow attack angles who look to just brush the turf.

Standard bounce wedges are the most common. They range between seven to 10 degrees and they suit golfers with a standard swing and a moderate attack angle.

High-bounce wedges will have more than 10 degrees of bounce. They suit players who like taking divots and those who achieve a lot of spin.

Finish

The term finish refers to the look of the golf wedge and what material is in the club head. Finishes usually include black nickel, chrome, rusty or raw, beryllium copper and nickel-coated.

There is largely no impact on the performance of the wedge based on its finish, the difference is mainly cosmetic.

How do we test golf wedges?

GolfMagic Equipment Editor Alex Lodge tests all of the best golf wedges out on the golf course, testing the connection off the club face and the overall performance.

Wedges are versatile clubs because they can be used for a 50-yard pitch and a full 100-yard shot from the middle of the fairway. We test these clubs from every distance to get a well-rounded view of their quality.

Golf is not always sunshine and rainbows, you are not always in the fairway. You may be faced with a tough bunker shot or an approach from some juicy rough. We test each golf wedge from all positions on the course.

After each shot, we take note of how much spin was generated and how straight the flight was too. These are two key features of a golf wedge’s performance. We also look at how well the wedges perform when we don’t find the middle of the club face.

This refers to the forgiveness of a club and this is a key feature that appeals to golfers. We want to inform our readers about how forgiving each wedge is, how consistent they are and ultimately, how much they improve your game.

More Golf Equipment Guides: 

Best Golf Drivers 
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