Trends come and go in golf, and at the moment the wedges are having a moment in the sun. Golf experts out there are telling us that choosing the best pitching wedge, is the question of many golfers’ minds. All the wedges are becoming more critical to golfers. Surveys show that they are the type of club which most golfers are most likely to buy in the next year.
And the amount of work which goes into wedges in fantastic. No club is more precisely engineered, and as a set of clubs, they cover an enormous range.
The lofts on wedge type clubs now cover more than 20 degrees, starting in the mid-40s and going up to the 60s. That includes a lot of possibilities and a lot of trouble you can get out of on the course.
What does all that engineering do? The grooving on the club head and the sole grinds (on the bottom of the club) are precisely engineered to give loft and spin out on the course. The engineers and manufacturers work to the width of a human hair, so each wedge does its precise job. How exacting is that? Very.
Because of this precision and pinpoint engineering, it is crucial that you choose the right club for the job. You want the engineering which can help your game.
What is a pitching wedge?
These are clubs on which the loft is usually between 45 and 49 degrees. You will use them when you need to hit the ball with a higher and shorter trajectory than you could achieve with, for example, a 9 iron.
We all know how complicated golf can be and the wonderful world of wedges is no different. So, it may not surprise you to know that many do not regard the pitching wedge as a wedge at all. In fact, treating wedges as a separate class of club is new. Until recently they were numbered as 10 irons. Keep this in mind as you shop, you might find, when shopping for clubs, sellers still include the pitching wedge in some iron sets.
Because the pitching wedge sits at the lower lofted end of the wedges, it is more versatile than most wedges. If you make a full swing to power the ball down the fairway, you achieve distances of up to 130 yards. Use the same club with a chipping action for the lob or approach shots. It can also be used on the green, over short 10 to 25-yard distances. If you want to see more, this is a useful step-by-step guide.
So, you can see how much you are going to be using this club. It is worth choosing carefully.
Before you make your choice, take a quick look at this video which will show you just how much you can do with this club.
Using the pitching wedge well
The pitching wedge is the club to get you out of an awkward spot and onto the green. We have talked about the technology that now goes into the wedges, but all that is for nothing unless you know how to use it.
In most circumstances, this will be the same as your other clubs. There are exceptions to this; however, one is when you are trying to shorten the distance of your shot.
In this case move your hands lower down on the grip and step a little closer to the ball.
Otherwise, begin with your regular grip, you will be using this most of the time. However, if you need more height (for example, if you need to overcome an obstacle) then move your hands further apart. Moving your hands will give more exposure to the face of the club, and the ball will go higher into the air.
Speed is the key to good shots with your pitching wedge. There is no ‘one speed fits all’ with the pitching wedge. If you want the ball to go in the air, then you will need to add a bit of speed. If you are making a short shot, for example on the green, then you will need to slow down to get more accuracy. There are no shortcuts to getting a feel for the speed of the shot. It comes down to practice, practice and more practice.
When to use the pitching wedge
We have talked about how versatile the pitching wedge is when you are out on the golf course. It certainly has enormous versatility, but like any club, the pitching wedge has its limits. There are situations when another club might be more suited to the job at hand. You will usually be more successful using a sand wedge on a steep incline. Don’t use your pitching wedge where you need a long low shot. A number 9 iron will usually do the job more successfully.
That is where not to use the pitching wedge, so where is it most useful?
Two obvious situations are approach shots and shots around the fringe of the green. The fringe of the green often presents problems to less experienced golfers, and many find it difficult to know which club to use. I would advise newer golfers to rely on their pitching wedge when on the fringe. When you are more experienced, you may begin to use your putter in some situations out on the fringe, for example where you can get on the green easily, but this takes a lot of skill and practice. At first stick with your trusty pitching wedge and practise your chipping shots in particular.
The final thing to consider is those other clubs which nestle around the pitching wedge. The wedges are now so specialised that you almost have a different club for each task. When you are choosing a pitching wedge, remember that you can add higher-lofted wedges to your arsenal as well.
Best pitching wedge – our choices
The fantastic engineering and research which goes into the pitching wedge can give you confidence that it will get you out of trouble and onto the green. Be prepared to spend a bit on such right technology and then get out onto the practice course. Get to know your new club, and it will reward you in spades as your handicap falls. Here are our recommendations for the pitching wedge which will help you drop your scores, lower that handicap and above all enjoy your game.
- Classic, high polish finish and classic blade shape
- Perfect club for getting your ball closest to the pin
- True Temper steel irons for high performance and reliability
- Sole grind allows players to open the club face further to hit higher shots with more accuracy, therefore improving performance
- Blade shape with modified bounce angles for dead stop spin and versatility from the sand, rough, or fairway
The Wilson Harmonized Gold Wedge is a well-established and robust club. It has a particular sole design which will help you hit the high shots you need to get out of trouble with increased accuracy. This attention to good sole design is a feature which is usually only found in pitching wedges and the expensive end of the range. This pitching wedge is steel, so it is hardwearing and very reliable in all conditions.
The manufacturers have redesigned the blade of the club with the aim of adding versatility. Use this club for chipping shots if you need to get out of sand or water. The grip is comfortable and gives a feeling of control. With multiple degrees of loft and a variety of bounce angles, this is a very flexible club which you can use in a variety of circumstances. It is light and easy to use and would be a good club for a beginner.
Pros: This is an excellent club for the money. It is very versatile, and you can rely on it to get you out of trouble in water or sand. It is very responsive with a good feeling when you hit the ball.
Cons: The grip can make the club feel uncomfortable
- Patent-pending feel balancing technology - nine grams of mass are removed from the hosel and redistributed to the wedge head for a center of Gravity closer to the impact zone
- V sole grinds add shot consistency and control - three Tour-proven grinds feature a V shape with more leading edge bounce to help the club head through the turf faster at impact for crisper feel and more consistent performance
- New Rotex face increases spin - the third-generation rtx face features a refined groove shape, a new Rotex micro-milling pattern engineered to optimize spin performance by loft, and laser milling
The innovative hosel design on this wedge gives this club an excellent feel. By changing the hosel design, the manufacturers have shifted nine grams of mass from the hosel to the head of the wedge. The reason they have done this is to change the center of gravity and increase the forgiveness of the club. This club will give you better stability and higher accuracy on all your wedge shots. The sole of the clubhead features v shape grinds which provide more consistent performance. The face features the well-established Rotex technology. The wedge has been further improved by a micro-milling process which refines the groove shape and will help you get spin on the ball when you are playing a shot with an open clubface.
The club comes in three finishes Tour Satin, Black Satin, and Tour Raw The clubhead is quite big, which makes it an excellent choice for newer
golfers. Its steel construction makes it a hardwearing and durable addition to your golf bag.
Pros: A good solid club, with a lot of excellent technology which will help you improve your short game. Available in a choice of shaft materials, steel or graphite, it is light and responsive. A sensible choice for beginners and high handicappers.
Cons: On the expensive side.
- Harmonic impact technology: fine tuned head geometry delivers ideal impact feel and feedback
- Quad cut grooves: milled narrow/deep grooves optimized for stronger lofts and wide/shallow grooves optimized for higher lofts
- Grain flow forged: patented forging process ensures long, continuous grains to deliver soft, solid, consistent Fee
- Dynamic gold wedge shaft
- Center of gravity positioning
This Japanese club is a perfect choice for the experienced golfer. It may be a challenge for the newer and less experienced player to get used to, but we believe that it is worth the effort. Once you get used to this club, it will reward you. You will find you can put more spin on the ball and deliver your short shots with greater control of the speed of the ball.
Mizuno has been making golf clubs for 30 years and has built an excellent reputation for golf wedges. The White Satin in the latest addition to the range, which covers all the wedges.
The pitching wedge features a new center of gravity positioning to deliver better spin on the ball. This positioning is an excellent feature for the new golfer or high handicapper. The pitching wedge in the range has a 46-degree loft. The manufacturers have used boron infused steel (carbon steel which is up to 30 per cent stronger than standard steel) in the construction of this club. This particular steel will give it more durability. It also means the grooves on the sole of the clubhead, which are such a significant feature of this pitching wedge, will stay sharp and well-defined for a long time.
Pros: Once you get familiar with this pitching wedge, it will help you gain much more control on your short shots on the green. It offers forgiveness even on off- center shots, which is a big bonus for new players.
Cons: The plethora of technology in this club can be overwhelming for new players.
- 16% Larger Grooves Developed closely with tour players, these U-Grooves are more precise and 16% larger to maximize spin on critical scoring shots – especially out of the rough, sand and in wet conditions
- Rougher, More Durable Laser Milling Advanced surface roughness technology is now more durable and dimensionally optimized for even more friction at impact, This helps generate even more spin on chips, pitches and partial shots from any lie
- Rotex Pattern Directionally milled face pattern adds roughness and imparts maximum spin on open-face wedge shots where impact tends to be closer to the toe
- Wedge Cavity Back Undercut cavity promotes perimeter weighting for more forgiveness on off-center hits
- Reverse C Sole Inspired by Cleveland Golf's popular CG14 and CG16 wedges, Wide, constant-width sole combined with heel and toe grinds improves performance from bunkers and deep rough
This club has been around for a while now and is still very popular with golfers at all levels. It is exceptionally forgiving and will improve your short game in no time. It was developed in consultation with many tour players and features larger grooves than on most pitching wedges. These grooves, 16 per cent larger than standard, will help maximise spin on your shots, especially when you are trying to get out the rough or sand. It also copes very well with wet conditions.
A laser milling process gives a durable roughness on the clubhead which will provide more friction when you hit the ball. This roughness will help you put more spin on the ball, especially on the chip and pitch shots. Perimeter weighting technology means this pitching wedge is forgiving if you make an off-center hit. Finally, it features the heel and toe grinds found in many of Cleveland’s wedges which are a great aid to getting out of bunkers and rough.
Pros: an excellent club for high handicappers, beginners and weekend golfers. Very easy to use, forgiving and responsive. It is useful for chip shots and will get you out of trouble when you need to overcome obstacles. A lot of innovative golf technology for a very reasonable price.
Cons: can feel heavy and stiff to some golfers
- More Spin from Groove-In-Groove Technology
- Four Sole Grinds to Suit a Variety of Playing Styles, Attack Angles and Course Conditions
- Broad Range of Lofts and Bounce Combinations
- Choice of Platinum Chrome or Black Matte Finish
- Satisfying Feel from Soft Carbon Steel, Precise CG Locations and Crisp Turf Interaction
Callaway has been creating great pitching wedges for years now, and this latest version combines everything they know with some new bells and whistles. It has a ten bounce and has a shaft length of 35.75 inches.
It is part of a range which covers all the wedges, and each club has a variety of grooves on the clubface.
Designed by the famous Roger Cleveland, it is a real innovation in wedge technology. Callaway has used a new production process to deliver a more precise grooving on the sole of the club.
The club has an excellent feel when you hit the ball. The soft carbon steel construction and the location of the center of gravity give the confidence to get out of tricky situations out on the course.
The S grind which comes with the pitching wedge will help correct any faults at impact and get the ball moving consistently.
It comes in a platinum chrome or a black matte finish.
Pros: Great control and feel. You can be very confident with this club. It comes in many varieties to allow you to choose what you need to suit your game.
Cons: the grip may be unsuitable for golfers with large hands. It 46-degree pitching wedge is only available for right-handed golfers.
Best pitching wedges conclusion
The amount of technology and engineering which goes into wedges these days is cutting-edge, and all the pitching wedges we have reviewed will do an excellent job for you. Cleveland Men's Golf 588 RTX Cavity Back Black Pearl Wedge (Left Hand, Steel, Wedge Flex, 46 degree) wins out in a powerful field. This pitching wedge from Cleveland wins out as it combines excellent technology with a very competitive price. It is also extremely responsive and forgiving so makes a perfect choice for the new golfer and the weekend golfer. A great all round product which is durable and versatile enough to last you for years.