best wedges for high handicappers

After a frustrating round when the driver was working well, but my game inside 100 yards was (seriously) letting me down I decided it was time for a new wedge.

Long story short: after a ton of research I went with a 58 degree Cleveland CBX2 . And three rounds in, I’m already seeing a huge difference in proximity to the flag from approaches inside the scoring zone.

Now for the longer story…

I’ll explain why I picked the Cleveland CBX2, and also run through the other wedges I considered.

This Year’s Best Wedges For High Handicappers

  1. Cleveland CBX2
  2. Ping Glide 3.0
  3. Callaway PM Grind 19
  4. Cleveland RTX4

1. Cleveland CBX2

cleveland cbx2 wedge

I’m going to go into a bit of detail about why I chose the Cleveland CBX2. And I’ll also run through my experience so far with the wedge.

But there’s one key feature of the Cleveland CBX2 that made me pick it:

It’s a cavity back.

cleveland cbx2 cavity back

If you’re a mid to high handicapper you should be gaming cavity back irons. In fact, even most single digit players are better off using “game improvement” clubs.

So why is it that when it comes to wedges — arguably the most important clubs for scoring — we’ve all got blades in our bags?

The Cleveland CBX2 wedge on the other hand, looks how we, as mid to high handicappers, expect a golf club to look. Purists may call it ugly. I call it comforting.

It’s never made much sense to me. But I also never really thought to question it. And until my recent purchase I carried a 60 degree Callaway X Grind. When I was hitting it well it was great. But I was forever fearful of the dreaded blade from 50 yards which screams off the face like a driver and sails another 50 yards over the green, deep into the woods and never to be seen again.

And let’s be honest: when you’re scared of what “might” happen, you tense up and it inevitably “does” happen.

You’re used to seeing a cavity back sole at address. So when you look down and see that small, bladed head it’s not exactly confidence inspiring.

The Cleveland CBX2 wedge on the other hand, looks how we, as mid to high handicappers, expect a golf club to look. Purists may call it ugly. I call it comforting.

cleveland cbx2 at address

Why the CBX2 is a better choice than the RTX4 for us mere mortals

When looking for a new wedge I was leaning towards the Cleveland RTX4. It has a ton of great reviews, and I’ve always fancied carrying a Cleveland in my bag.

But then I came across the CBX2 which, with its cavity back, seemed like a better choice for my skill level. I did however have concerns. Was there a reason that wedges tend to be blades?

This video from National Club Golfer allayed my fears…

Graeme McDowell, who is a Cleveland flag bearer, tested both wedges side-by-side. And he was happy with the feel of the CBX2, the look of it address, and interestingly actually hit it closer with the CBX2 than with the RTX4.

If a US Open winner was impressed with the CBX2, then any snobbery on cavity back wedges on my part should definitely be set aside.

On the course: Gaming the Cleveland CBX2 wedge

I dove in at the deep end with my new CBX2 wedge. While I hit some wiffle balls in my office the day before my round, I didn’t have a chance to hit the range, so the first time it was used in anger was on the course.

What I found is that with a relaxed, easy swing, 75-80 yards was the optimum yardage.

I noticed an immediate difference to my approach shots. And so did my playing partner who remarked that “the first bounce is different”. While I’m not going to claim that they were ripping back, there was definitely a considerable increase in spin compared to my old wedge and it would be very much a (short) hop and stop from full swing approaches.

cleveland cbx2 grind

I should point out now (as I’m about to discuss distance) that I opted for a 58 degree CBX2. My pitching wedge is 46 degree and my sand wedge is 52, so I figured this would give me the best gapping.

What I found is that with a relaxed, easy swing, 75-80 yards was the optimum yardage. Interestingly though, my sand wedge is normally around 100-105 yards (carry) and I could get the CBX2 (with 6 degrees more loft) to go about the same with a more aggressive swing. Generally though we shouldn’t be trying to nuke our wedges — they are finesse clubs — so I’d say for me I’d be using the 58 degree up to 90 yards.

My natural shot shape is a draw (miss being a hook), but I’d say the ball flight here was very straight. Generally I’ll aim right of the pin to give myself a bigger margin of error, but after a few approaches I was confident aiming at the flag. The highlight was sticking one to two feet from 80 yards.

Inside 50 yards I also noticed a big difference. It felt like I could literally try and “throw” the ball at the flag (with a low trajectory) and it would land and stick. Proximity to the hole was hugely improved and I would guess I’d be saving myself 3 or 4 shots around easily.

Around the green: chipping with the Cleveland CBX2 wedge

For the first two rounds I didn’t chip with the CBX as I still hadn’t been able to hit the range to practice. I also prefer to chip with less loft and let the ball run to the hole.

But on the third round I decided to give it a go (it was a very casual affair).

The first couple of chips I left way short (probably because I’m used to more run out). But after that I was getting more comfortable being aggressive through the ball and trying to fly it to the hole with a shorter run out. Certainly there were no problems with bladed chips and the club was confidence inspiring.

chipping with the cleveland cbx2

What I did do was hit one chip a little fat (from the fairway). And the good news is the bounce of the club did its thing. The shot was by no means a disaster and just came up a little short. So if you’re someone who sometimes hits a little behind the ball with your chips (not generally my issue) then the CBX2 is going to work pretty well. Of course, this is a sample size of literally one chip… but I know when I’ve hit a fat chip before the result was markedly different. The club didn’t dig at all and as I say, the bounce of the wedge did what it was supposed to do.

Summary: Why The Cleveland CBX2 Wedge Is The Best Choice For High Handicappers

As high handicappers we want a wedge that’s going to be easy to launch, fly straight, check on the green, and is going to have an element of forgiveness on both off center hits and slight fats. The Cleveland CBX2 has all of this in spades, plus it’s a cavity back which inspires confidence. Which is why, if you’re a mid to high handicapper, the Cleveland CBX2 should be your next wedge.

cleveland cbx2 wedge

…As high handicappers we want a wedge that’s going to be easy to launch, fly straight, check on the green, and is going to have an element of forgiveness on both off center hits and slight fats. The Cleveland CBX2 has all of this in spades

The Cleveland CBX2 is available to buy on Amazon .

Now let’s take a look at the other contenders.

2. Ping Glide 3.0

ping glide 3.0My driver is Ping, my irons are Ping. So Ping seemed like the obvious choice for me when it came to a new wedge. And I was sorely tempted by the Ping Glide 3.0.

It looks more like a “player’s” wedge than the Cleveland at address, however, Ping have included a ton of tech to make this a good choice for high handicappers. And it is also technically a cavity back. The weighting is designed to give the Ping 3.0 a lower launch with higher spin, which is probably a good thing for those of us who tend to present a little too much loft at impact.

If I hadn’t gone for the Cleveland, I would probably have opted for the Ping 3.0. It looks like a great wedge.

Reviewers say that the Ping 3.0 is great from tight lies, and generally easy to hit. And there was also good feedback on check on the green (again, it’s a hop and stop).

If I hadn’t gone for the Cleveland, I would probably have opted for the Ping 3.0. It looks like a great wedge.

3. Callaway PM Grind 19

callaway pm grind 19Guess who co-designed the Callaway PM Grind 19? Roger Cleveland… the guy that founded Cleveland golf. If you’re confused, then you should know that Roger Cleveland left Cleveland golf in the 90s to join Callaway.

So it’s no surprise that Callaway now make some fantastic wedges. And as I mentioned above, I gamed the Callaway X Grind before purchasing my new Cleveland wedge. It was a great wedge, if a little punishing on less than perfect shots (which is why I swapped).

…the precision milled grooves ensure plenty of spin, and provide excellent check on the green.

The Callaway PM Grind 19 has more offset and a higher center of gravity, which like the Ping Glide will help to lower ball flight. But the precision milled grooves ensure plenty of spin, and provide excellent check on the green.

Reviewers commented that the Callaway wedge inspired confidence at address, was easy to hit, and particularly effective for bunker shots.

And if you’re wondering, the other designer was Phil Mickelson, who certainly knows a thing or two about the short game…

So all in, the Callaway PM Grind 19 is going to be another solid choice.

The Callaway PM Grind 19 is available to buy on Amazon .

4. Cleveland RTX4

cleveland rtx4I opted for the confidence inspiring cavity back of the Cleveland CBX2. But if you simply must have a blade in your hand, and you want to game the best wedge on the market (for all skill levels), then the Cleveland RTX4 should be your choice.

And it was going to be mine until I stumbled on the CBX2, then watched the video with Graeme McDowell comparing the clubs.

One thing I would say here is that it probably depends what type of high handicapper you are. Because for me, it’s my short game that normally lets me down and I’m pretty good from the tee (and with my mid to long irons). But if you’re the opposite, and your short game is solid, then perhaps you don’t need the cavity back.

That’s actually a common misconception with mid to high handicappers, that we suck at all aspects of the game. And most of the time, that isn’t true.

That’s actually a common misconception with mid to high handicappers, that we suck at all aspects of the game. And most of the time, that isn’t true. In my case, I can keep up with scratch golfers until I get to within 50 yards, but then it becomes a different story. Which is why I wanted a wedge that would make this part of the game easier.

The CBX2 does that for me, but if you’re confident with your wedges (and like more workability), then the RTX4 might be a better choice for you. Either way, you’re going to have one of the best wedges in the world in your hands.

The Cleveland RTX4 wedge is available to buy on Amazon .

Ready To Hit It Closer?

That wraps it up for our round up of the best wedges for high handicappers in 2020.

I went for the Cleveland CBX2 , but all of the wedges on our list are solid choices.

Pick one of these for your next wedge and you’ll be sure to start hitting it closer and lowering your scores!

Check out our guide to the best drivers for high handicappers here.

Ready to improve your game?

Hop on our mailing list and get new golf tips straight into your inbox.

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.

Leave a Reply