The Best Sand Wedge

Cleveland Golf 588 RTX 2.0 Muscle Back Standard Bounce Satin Wedge

Our Top Pick for 2016: Cleveland Golf 588 RTX 2.0 Muscle Back Standard Bounce Satin Wedge
Read our full review.

See it on Amazon for $77.00*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.
Too expensive? See our budget pick.

One of the toughest shots in all of golf is the pitch shot; a shot that lies somewhere between an iron shot and a chip shot, requiring delicate touch and excellent feel. One of the most important golf clubs used when hitting a pitch shot is the sand wedge. It provides the ball a great deal of loft and spin, which enables the ball to stop on a dime when it hits the green. Of course, the sand wedge is also highly effective when attempting to hit a precise shot out of a bunker or sand trap. If you want to be a great golfer, it is absolutely necessary to have a sand wedge that is both reliable and comfortable in your hands.

Table of contents

amazon-available
amazon-available
amazon-available
Great For A Wide Range Of Conditions
Deeper Grooves
Wide Wedge Sole
Progressive Groove Optimization
Micro-milled Rotex Face Pattern
Prevents Excess Digging In Turf And Sand
Optimizes Spin As You Go Up In Loft
Larger Walls And Sharper Radii
Solid Contact
Smoother Spin Transition
More Consistency
Consistent Chips
Balanced Wedge With A High Toe Profile
Most Surface Roughness The Usga Will Allow
Easier Control Of Launch And Distance

*Price at time of publishing and may not reflect current pricing.

#1 Gold pick (Winner): Cleveland Golf 588 RTX 2.0 Muscle Back Standard Bounce Satin Wedge

Cleveland Golf 588 RTX 2.0 Muscle Back Standard Bounce Satin Wedge Gold Pick

View it on Amazon for $77.00*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-gold-winnerOver the years, Cleveland Golf has made some of the top golf clubs on the market with a specialty in putters and wedges. Their wedges are always on the cutting edge of golf technology, leading in the creation of new styles of clubs that are both highly functional and well constructed. Cleveland Golf’s top sand wedge at the moment is the Cleveland Golf 588 RTX 2.0 Muscle Back Standard Bounce Satin Wedge; a club that stands tall amongst other great clubs on the market today.

Let’s begin by talking about the wedge’s loft. Cleveland sells each model of their wedges in a bevy of different lofts. They don’t specify each model as a pitching wedge, or a utility wedge, or a sand wedge. The simply allow their customers to choose a wedge with the loft of their choice. This allows you to choose from a variety of different lofts, and allowing you to customize your wedges to fit your game as much as possible. The lofts available include 46, 48, 50, 52, 54, 56, 58, 60, 62, and 64 degrees. If it’s a pitching wedge you’re looking for, a loft of 54 or 56 would be ideal, though you could go above that if you wish.

As far as bounce goes, each wedge is slightly different, though most of them hover around 2 dot. The sand wedges come in 1 dot bounces, 2 dot bounces, and 3 dot bounces. The choice is up to you. A 1 dot bounce describes a wedge that is ideal for swings that come at the ball from a shallow angle and take very little dirt or sand up with them. A 3 dot bounce describes a wedge that is ideal for swings that come at the ball from a steep angle and bring up a great deal of dirt and sand with them. A 2 dot bounce is a standard bounce which annotates a wedge that accommodates a neutral swing. A neutral swing is a swing that doesn’t come in too steep, and that doesn’t come in too shallow. It’s somewhere in between the two. When choosing what kind of bounce you want, it’s important to analyze and understand your swing. This will help you too choose the bounce that best accommodates you.

In terms of construction, the club is one of the most technologically advanced wedges on the market. It is made of forged steel, and makes use of a blackened finish that reduces glare and makes it easier for you to focus on your ball. The face of the club is highly sophisticated. It makes use of very deep grooves and an innovative face pattern that provide the club with the maximum amount of friction allowed by the USGA. This friction will give your ball ultimate spin, allowing you to get it high as soon as possible, and increasing your chances of getting out of bunkers, and of landing shots close to the hole.

Online reviewers laud the wedge for its ability to spin the ball, with one reviewer stating that he had never spun the ball before he started using the wedge. Reviewers also state the the club has excellent feel, noting that they feel comfortable over approach shots as well as bunker shots, and are able to hit the ball with precision and accuracy.

One complaint made about the club is that the finish scratches easily and leaves the face shiny and glaring. One user even said that this makes him not want to practice with it. Luckily, only the aesthetic of the club is affected by its use, and not its overall functionality.

All in all, this steel-shafted Cleveland sand wedge is the best sand wedge on the market today. No wedge offers you better impact friction, spin, or control than the Cleveland Golf 588 RTX 2.0 Muscle Back Standard Bounce Satin Wedge. With a variety of lofts and bounces to choose from, you will have no problem fitting this wedge to meet your specific swing and style. If you want to give yourself the best chance at hitting great pitch and bunker shots, you should definitely take a look at the Cleveland Golf 588 RTX 2.0 Muscle Back Standard Bounce Satin Wedge. It can be found for around $95.00 on most online retail sites.

#2 Silver pick (Runner-up): Callaway Mack Daddy 3 Black S-Grind Wedge

Callaway Mack Daddy 3 Black S-Grind Wedge

View it on Amazon for Too low to display*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-silver-winnerAnyone that knows anything about golf knows the reputation that Callaway holds. To put it simply, Callaway has made and continues to make some of the greatest golf clubs on the planet. From their drivers, to their irons, to their wedges, the company churns out nothing but quality. Considering this, it’s not a surprise that the Callaway Mack Daddy 3 Black S-Grind Wedge is one of the premier wedges on the market today.

Like Cleveland’s wedges, Callaway’s wedges come in a variety of different lofts. They don’t have a wedge that is specifically noted as a sand wedge; just a wide variety of wedges that could be used as a sand wedge or other wedge. The lofts available for the Mack Daddy 3 are 46, 48, 50, 52, 54, 56, 58, and 60 degrees. The 54 and 56 degree lofts would be most appropriate if you’re looking to purchase a sand wedge.

Each of these lofts comes with the option of three different bounces, or grinds, as Callaway calls them. These 3 grinds are the S-Grind, W-Grind, and C-Grind. The S-grind is the most versatile grind type. It works best for swings with neutral attack angles, but can also accommodate steeper of shallower attack angles. The W-Grind is most appropriate for swings with steep attack angles. Players who take large divots would probably be most comfortable with the W-Grind. The C-Grind is most appropriate for players who swing with shallow attack angles. Players who don’t take much of a divot would probably be most comfortable with a C-Grind.

The club head is made of soft forged steel that has been finished with a black paint, giving it excellent reaction, and keeping the sun from glaring off the club and causing distraction. The shaft is made of gold steel, which makes the club both durable and easy to control. The back of the wedge has adjustable weights that can be moved around to accommodate any type of shot. The face of the club makes us of 3 different types of grooves. Each groove helps to add a smoother spin to the ball, giving shots better control and consistency.

Online reviewers love this sand wedge for its balance, stating that it has a huge sweet spot with a large margin for error. For a club that’s so easy to mishit, this is a very important characteristic. Reviewers also say that it gives them much more power on long distance shots.

There aren’t many negative reviews of the wedge. Reviewers seem to love everything about it, from its appearance, to its performance.

The truth of the matter is that you can’t go wrong with the Callaway Mack Daddy 3 Black S-Grind Wedge. Not only does it perform extraordinarily well on all types of shots, it’s also one of the most aesthetically pleasing clubs on the market today. These wedges can be found in a wide variety of lofts and bounces, one of which is sure to suit your particular swing. If you’re looking for a can’t miss sand wedge, the Callaway Mack Daddy 3 Black S-Grind Wedge is the club to look at. It goes for around $130.00 on most online retail sites.

#3 Bronze pick (3rd place): Cleveland Golf Men’s Smart Sole Sand Wedge

Cleveland Golf Men's Smart Sole Sand Wedge

View it on Amazon for $99.99*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-bronze-awardConsidering the absolute quality with which Cleveland Golf makes their clubs, it’s comes with no surprise that the company has made our list for the second time. This time they appear on our list with the Cleveland Golf Men’s Smart Sole Sand Wedge; a left-handed club that provides the same performance and consistency as the Cleveland Golf 588 RTX 2.0 Muscle Back Standard Bounce Satin Wedge. Though, unlike the Muscle Back wedge, the Smart Sole is made and named as a sand wedge and is available in just one loft.

The loft of the wedge is 58 degrees, which is quite high for a sand wedge. Club with a great deal of loft are more difficult to swing properly if you’re looking to hit the best shots possible. They require more precision and consistency in your swing, meaning you have to have a decent amount of golfing experience in order to swing them properly. This is not a club for a beginner. This is a club for someone who has been playing golf for a while, and who has gotten used to 54 and 56 degree wedges. However, if you are able to swing it, and make solid contact with the ball consistently, it will provide you with greater spin as well as more height on your shot in a shorter period of time. This makes it great hitting out of bunkers with tall, steep lips.

You can find the club in two different styles of bounce. One of these styles is called the Smart Sole-C. The other is called Smart Sole-S. Smart Sole-C is better suited for green side chips, and does a better job of controlling launch and distance on long range shots. Smart Sole-S is easier to hit out of bunkers, and is a lot easier to make clean contact with on long range shots. If you’re a very experienced golfer, you might go with the Smart Sole-C, as it provides greater spin, and touch, but with increased difficulty in swinging it properly. If you have trouble getting out of bunkers and of hitting wedges in general, you might consider Smart Sole-S. It will ultimately reduce the amount of thin shots you hit.

As far as construction goes, this sand wedge is very well put together. It has a steel shaft with moderate flex, giving you some whip on your shot, but also staying in control no matter how hard you swing it. The head of the club is made of soft forged steel that provides both high functionality and excellent durability. It is constructed in a way that prevents it from digging when making contract with the ball, promoting more solid and clean contact, and resulting in better shots overall. Deep and consistent grooves in the face provide a fine spin that gives your ball control and accuracy.

Online reviewers laud this sand wedge for how well it hits out of bunkers, with several reviewers saying that it is a necessity for players who have trouble in the bunkers. Reviewers also note that the club is easy to swing and perform with from any distance or lie, making a usually difficult shot very easy.

Some online reviewers complained that they were having trouble getting accustomed to it, stating the the large size of the club’s sole is different than any other wedge they had used before. However, with time, many players stated that it completely changed their game in a positive manner.

If you’re left-handed and are looking for a sand wedge that essentially does all the work for you, you should definitely take a look at the Golf Men’s Smart Sole Sand Wedge. It gets the ball high in a hurry with very little effort, making sand shots, and long distance pitch shots easier to pull off than they’ve ever been. Though it might take some time to get used to, the end results are overwhelmingly positive. If you need some help in improving your wedge game, the Golf Men’s Smart Sole Sand Wedge will provide you the help you’re looking for. It can be purchased for around $100.00 on most online retail sites.

#4 Budget pick (Best cheap): Wilson Harmonized Golf Wedge

Wilson Harmonized Golf Wedge

View it on Amazon for $24.99*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-cheap-budget-pickIf you’re looking for a sand wedge that still provides quality performance at a budget price, you might consider the Wilson Harmonized Golf Wedge. It offers functionality and variety similar to that of the other clubs on the list, but for a fraction of the price.

It comes in a bevy of different lofts, including 50, 52, 56, 60, and 64 degrees. If you’re looking for a sand wedge, you will probably want to stick with the 56 degree loft, though some might be able to work with the 60 degree loft.

With 8 degrees of bounce, the club would be most appropriate for players who don’t swing with steep attack angles. Essentially, it is best suited for players who don’t take large divots. Unfortunately, that’s the only bounce that the club can be purchased in. If you’re looking for something more advanced, you’re going to need to spend more money.

The club’s shaft is made of steel that possesses a moderate flex, lending it control, but with some club whip present. The club head is made of soft forged steel and has no finish. It is very shiny, and could glare in the presence of heavy sunlight. With a series of deep, uniform grooves, the face of the club gives the ball a great deal of spin, resulting in a controlled and accurate shot.

Online reviewers love this wedge for how forgiving it is, saying that it has a huge sweet spot for such an affordable club. They also love its light weight and touch on shots from all distances.

One complaint made by reviewers is that the grip of the wedge is not of high quality, with one reviewer saying that he planned to replace his grip. This, however, should not dissuade you from purchasing the club, as it offers great performance and functionality despite its grip.

If you’re in need of a great sand wedge, but don’t have the money to go spending on a premier one, you should definitely take a look at the Wilson Harmonized Golf Wedge. It doesn’t offer up quite the same variety as other wedges, but it does offer very similar performance and functionality for a fraction of the price. It can be purchased for around $25.00 on most online retail sites.


Pre-purchase considerations

Loft

Loft is very important in a sand wedge as it allows the club to get the ball high in a hurry, and put spin on it so that it stops on a dime when it hits the green. Sand wedges typically can be found with two different loft angles: 54 degrees and 56 degrees.

While, in theory, a 56 degree sand wedge would be better for bunker shots, it can also be more difficult to swing, as it’s more parallel to the ground, and more prone to hitting thin shots. While a 54 degree sand wedge allows for more consistent, solid contact with the ball, it does not get the ball as high as a 56 degree sand wedge does. If you’re a beginner golfer, you might be wise to choose a 54 degree sand wedge to start out. Because it produces more consistent and successful contact with the ball, it has more room for error in your swing. Once you have gotten good with a 54 degree sand wedge, it might be wise to move up to the 56 degree sand wedge. It will ultimately deliver more accurate and well-struck sand shots and pitch shots.

Of course, the choice is up to you. In the end, you should go with the loft that you feel comfortable with.

Bounce

Bounce refers to the amount of resistance the sand wedge has with the ground when swung. The club will essentially bounce off the ground. When looking at a sand wedge, you should consider the club’s bounce angle. This refers to how much lower the back edge of the club is than the front edge of the club. By having a lower back edge, the club is ensured to have an upward trajectory upon contact with the ball. For players who take big divots or a great deal of sand when they hit shots, it would be wise to purchase a sand wedge with a larger bounce angle; 12 or 14 degrees is the typical standard.

For players who take up little to no dirt or sand when hitting shots, a lower bounce angle would be ideal; around 6 or 8 degrees usually. Having the correct bounce angle to go with your swing is vital in getting balls out of the bunker, and keeping your scores to a minimum. When looking for a sand wedge, you should give all types of bounce angles a try and choose one that you feel comfortable with.

Club face design

A great sand wedge succeeds by putting a lot of friction on the ball as quickly as possible. This enables the ball to get in the air quickly with a great deal of spin, giving the shot more control and accuracy overall. Sand wedges contain many different types of club faces. The most typical club face design consists of a series of indented identical lines that are parallel to the ground. Other club face designs include indented dots as well as very detailed and elaborate indentations. Different designs do different things to the ball upon impact, so it’s important to see if you look the feel of the wedge when swinging it.

You can’t just assume that the ball will behave in a certain way off the club face.

Weight and material

The weight of a sand wedge directly affects its performance and function. Typically, a heavier sand wedge will do a better job of driving through the sand and getting the ball up, even if it’s mishit. Of course, a lighter sand wedge can often be swung with more speed, which can also help to put friction on the ball, resulting in more spin, loft, and power. The weight of each sand wedge is affected by the material that it’s made of. In general, sand wedges are made of soft forged steel. However, not every soft forged steel sand wedge is the same.

These clubs have different finishes that include a chrome plate finish, a blackened finish, or no finish at all. The chrome plate finish will prevent the club from rusting, keeping it smooth and consistent over time. The blackened finish reduces sun glare off of the club, allowing you to see your shot clearly. Sand wedges with no finish are usually prone to rusting over time, but some golfers actually like this. When choosing a sand wedge, you should try clubs with all different types of weights and finishes. The only way you can really know your preference is by trying different clubs out.

Conclusion (Wrapping it up)

Buying a sand wedge is a delicate process because sand wedges are used to hit delicate shots. Your sand wedge, more-so than any other club in your bag, needs to feel very comfortable in your hands. It needs to truly gel with your swing. Whether it’s heavy or light, finished or unfinished, high bounce or low bounce, if your sand wedge doesn’t inspire comfort in you while you’re standing over bunker and pitch shots, it’s not the sand wedge for you. When buying a sand wedge, take your time. It can be the difference between winning a tournament and losing a tournament.

Discussion and comments

We want to know what you think. Do you own any of the products we discussed? Which did you buy and how did it work out for you?

Do you know of an even better product?

Comment below and help your fellow consumers make the right choice. Over to you!

Resources

  1. Andy Roberts, CLEVELAND GOLF 588 RTX 2.0 WEDGE: REVIEW, golfmagic.com, September 25, 2014
  2. Andrew Tursky, Review: Cleveland 588 RTX 2.0 Wedges, Golf WRX, April 17, 2015
  3. Mark Crossfield, Callaway Golf MD3 Wedges, YouTube, July 8, 2015
  4. ClubTest 2014: Cleveland Smart Sole Wedges, golf.com, January 19, 2015
  5. Cleveland Smart Sole 2.0 Wedge Review, Plugged In Golf, October 1, 2015
  6. Indiana Vince (Forum User), Wilson Golf- Harmonized SG Chrome Wedge, rockbottomgolf.com, June 7, 2016

Pin It on Pinterest