The Only 2 Wedges That a Beginner Should Carry in Their Bag
Written by Matt Stevens

Matt Callcott-Stevens started playing golf at the age of 4 when Rory Sabattini's father put a 7-iron and putter in his hand. He has experienced all the highs and lows the game can throw at you and has now settled down as a professional golf writer. He holds a Postgraduate in Sports Marketing and has played golf for 28 years. Current Handicap: 8

Updated on December 12, 2023

If you can master your wedge and putting game, you will see your scores drop rapidly. Up and downs have kept me in the game for most of my life. To help you improve your short game, I am unveiling the two best wedges that a beginner should carry in their bag.

I will help you teach you about loft, distance gapping, and what shots you can play with each. By the end of this post, you will possess the knowledge to dial in your wedges.


The Top 2 Wedges a Beginner Golfer Should Carry in Their Bag

There are four different types of wedges. A pitching, gap, sand, and lob. All of these clubs are crafted for your short game, but they contain varying degrees of loft and bounce. The weaker the loft of your wedge is, the higher it flies and the more it spins.

You can only carry 14-clubs in your bag. That is why it is a difficult process to execute. Personally, I play with three wedges, but beginners only need two.

As a beginner, I advise starting off with two wedges, nothing fancy. All you need to do at this point is a club that bridges the distance gap between your short irons and wedges. As well as a club that offers sufficient loft to get out of greenside bunkers and optimize your precision on chip shots.

Therefore, the top two wedges that a beginner should carry in their bags are pitching and a sand wedge.

1. Pitching Wedge

Golf Monthly suggests that a pitching wedge carries an average of 44.5-degrees of loft, making it the strongest lofted wedge on the market. A pitching wedge produces the least amount of spin and the most distance of the wedges.

A pitching wedge is generally the only wedge included in a modern iron set.

Golfweek explains that the average male golfer hits a full pitching wedge between 100 to 110-yards. Obviously, that distance depends on the wind, moisture, and how cleanly you strike your shot.

Additionally, as its name suggests, this is the best club to play a pitch shot, where the ball flies further than it rolls. If you can master this shot from 50-yards and closer, you will save many shots every round.

Finally, a pitching wedge helps you play a pitch and run shot around the green. Its strengthened loft keeps the ball low and runs it up to the hole.

Best Pitching Wedge: Callaway Big Bertha B21

Top pick
Callaway Big Bertha B21

Club profile is engineered to give you more confidence over the ball with noticeably wider soles. For easy launch, lower spin and straighter shots, more offset has been added.

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The Callaway Big Bertha B21 pitching wedge offers beginner golf players a forgiving, easy launching wedge for superior short game results.

Its A.I.-designed Flash Face Cup produces consistent ball speed and robust spin on all shots, leading to a forgiving wedge.

Furthermore, Callaway’s engineers shaped the profile of the wedge to deliver supreme turf interaction. This helps you to catch the ball cleanly from any lie in the fairway or rough, resulting in prime spin, launch, and ball speed on each shot.

Finally, urethane microspheres are inserted between the clubface and cavity. It produces a soft feel at impact.

Overall, high handicappers and beginners benefit from the forgiveness, consistent spin, and easy launching nature of the B21. As a result, it helps you achieve increased control in your short game to save strokes.

2. Sand Wedge

A sand wedge is the second weakest lofted wedge on the market and is used for bunker shots and chipping. Golf Monthly explains that this is typically a 56-degree wedge designed to help the average player get the ball high and spin rapidly.

Despite its name suggesting that it only be used from the bunker, it is the best wedge for chipping. In addition, it carries sufficient loft, should you need to send the ball high and stop it rapidly.

You can find a more detailed run-down on sand wedges in our guide to a 58-degree wedge.

Best Sand Wedge: Wilson Harmonized Golf Wedge

Top pick
WILSON Harmonized Golf Wedges

This wedge performs optimally around the green producing high launching chips and supreme shot stopping power. The sole grind design of this wedge allows you to open the face for additional loft with ease. 

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The Wilson Harmonized Sand Wedge is a highly affordable option for beginners. Despite its low price, this wedge performs optimally around the green producing high launching chips and supreme shot stopping power.

The sole grind design of this wedge allows you to open the face for additional loft with ease. That means that you can increase the height and spin of your shots by opening your clubface. In addition, the bounce angle design of the Harmonized wedge prompts rapid spin to stop your ball immediately when landing.

Therefore, it equips you with the confidence to attack the pin and increase your up and down record.

Ultimately, the Wilson Harmonized Sand Wedge offers an affordable, high spinning chipping tool ideal for beginners or a high handicapper.


Why You Should Be Carrying These 2 Wedges

You’ll Have The Right Distance Gapping

I know wedges are associated with spin and greenside control, but distance gapping is relevant to this debate. If you select the incorrect wedges, you could leave distance gaps in your game, leading to inaccurate distance control, and wasted shots.

I hit an average length ball, and in dry conditions,with no wind, I average 120-yards with a 9-iron and 109-yards with a pitching wedge. My 9-iron is 39-degrees, and my pitching wedge 45. The six-degree loft variation equates to a loss of 11-yards.

Then, I carry a 56-degree sand wedge and a 60-degree loft wedge. With a full swing and a delofted sand wedge, I average 87-yards, in perfect conditions. I don’t generally hit a full lob wedge and keep it for flop shots, but if I do, my average is 70-yards.

If you have a 39-degree 9-iron and only carry a 56-degree sand wedge, you lack 17-degrees of loft. Based on my example, that means that 33-yards would be missing from my bag. Shots between 87 to 120-yards out would require a soft 9-iron or a forced sand wedge, which is not ideal for your distance control.

Similarly, without a sand wedge or lob wedge, you cannot swing full-on shots shorter than 109-yards. As a result, you don’t enjoy the launch and spin for superior shot-stopping power.

They Provide Good Control

A pitching and sand wedge optimize your short game control. Using the correct wedge produces improved distance control over a softly swung 9-iron.

Like anything, when you do not possess the correct tools, you cannot execute your tasks effectively. The same goes for wedges. If you only have a pitching wedge, you might struggle to control bunker shots or short chips.

Conversely, playing the lack of a pitching wedge leads to you hitting soft 9-iron shots, which do not stop as quickly as the former.

They Offer The Right Amount of Spin

Although a pitching wedge spins more than any iron, it combines spin and ball speed to deliver distance and control. That means that you can still hit the ball over 100-yards. However, the spin equips the ball with optimal shot stopping power for consistency around the greens.

Those who substitute soft 9-irons for full wedge shots lose that spin. Therefore, the ball does not stop as quickly and rolls uncontrollably, leading to inaccurate distance control.

Conversely, a sand wedge promotes increased spin enabling you to get the ball high and stop it quickly. That means that you can control your chip shots better to improve your up and down record.

Basically, the higher the loft of your golf clubs are, the more they will spin. As Trackman explains, excess spin impacts distance. However, insufficient spin implodes your control around the green. That is why you need a combination of a medium spinning pitching wedge and high spinning sand wedge.


Additional Wedges That an Intermediate Player Might Carry

Gap Wedge

I wish I had opted for a gap wedge instead of a lob wedge when I was a junior golfer. The weakest part of my game were shots from 90 to 110-yards out. A pitching wedge was too much club, while a sand wedge was insufficient.

If I had an approach wedge (AW), I would have improved my distance control and been far better than a 4-handicapper. However, I opted for a lob wedge because it catered to my preference of chipping the ball high and stopping it dead.

I advise intermediate players to not make the mistake I did and add a gap wedge to your arsenal. Having control over the 90 to 110-yard range is a game-changer, especially if you play on courses with short par 4’s.

Best Gap Wedge: Cleveland CBX 2

Top pick
Cleveland Golf CBX 2 Wedge (56 Degrees)

Additional weight distributed to the perimeter offers more forgiveness at impact. Three different sole Grinds deliver more versatility to execute any shot on the course.

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The Cleveland CBX 2 offers mid-handicap golfers superior forgiveness because of its cavity back design. Added perimeter weighting increases forgiveness on off-center strikes, while three dynamic sole grinds execute any shot of your preference.

Furthermore, the engineers employed Enhanced Feel Balancing and Rote Face technology to ensure maximum spin. As a result, you enjoy a soft feel at impact and optimal greenside control for better results on approach.


Additional Wedges That an Advanced Player Might Carry

Lob Wedge

I am a big fan of lob wedges because the weaker loft suits my way of chipping. I like to put the ball up high and stop it dead wherever possible. I also grew up playing parkland courses where clearing trees and sand traps were an every-round occurrence.

The ability to generate supreme spin, launch a ball high, and stop it dead is a handy tool in your artillery. Mid and high-handicappers may struggle to control the spin and loft of this wedge. But low handicappers looking to attack the pin on every chip shot will appreciate the distance control precision that it offers.

To learn more about the powers of a 60-degree wedge, read our review.

Best Lob Wedge: Mizuno JPX 921

Top pick
Mizuno Golf JPX921 Wedge Series

Increased surface roughness to increase spin nearer the green. A soft and durable metal that provides outstanding feel and is easily bendable for custom.

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Superior golfers demand a buttery-soft feel, attractive appearance, and optimal spin from their wedges. The Mizuno JPX 921 ticks these boxes and offers low handicappers some of the best golf wedges on the market.

Mizuno constructed these wedges with rough face milling lines to enhance the spin on close-range shots. In addition, X30 stainless steel produces a soft feel and crisp acoustics off the clubface.

Finally, a Pearl brush finish repels moisture away from the clubface to promote a clean strike. Plus, it reduces glare while setting up for your shot. Despite its quality feel and performance, it is a relatively affordable option.


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Matt Stevens

Matt Callcott-Stevens started playing golf at the age of 4 when Rory Sabattini's father put a 7-iron and putter in his hand. He has experienced all the highs and lows the game can throw at you and has now settled down as a professional golf writer. He holds a Postgraduate in Sports Marketing and has played golf for 28 years. Current Handicap: 8