When you’re in the middle of an excellent round of golf, it seems inevitable that your ball lands in a greenside bunker. Next time it happens, don’t worry—be prepared and reach for a sand wedge.
Sand wedges are crafted with one goal in mind: to get your ball out of the bunker. The face of the sand wedge is sharper than other clubs in your bag, and coupled with a bounce, it allows the ball to “pop” into the air and back onto the green in one clear shot.
Our top choice, the Callaway JAWS MD5 Chrome Sand Wedge, remains a favorite among seasoned players for its quality craftsmanship.
As its name implies, a sand wedge helps get a ball out of a bunker, but that’s not all it’s good for. Many golfers use sand wedges from the fairway, rough, or fringe of the green. Since there aren’t any rules prohibiting its use, a sand wedge remains fair game in these situations.
A traditional sand wedge is a club whose club face angle typically measures between 54 and 56 degrees. Selecting a sand wedge angle is determined by personal preference. According to some golfers, it’s a good idea to buy a sand wedge whose angle isn’t too close to the angle of your next wedges to achieve a well-rounded assortment of clubs.
A term you’ll hear when comparing sand wedges is the "bounce angle." This refers to the angle of the sole of the club to the ground. Choosing a bounce angle is determined by your swing style, as well as the conditions in which you’re playing golf.
Low-bounce sand wedges, which are relatively hard to find, have bounce angles of 6 degrees or fewer. These are recommended for firm ground or heavy sand because they won’t bounce off these surfaces.
Most golfers use a standard-bounce wedge, which has a bounce angle of 7 to 12 degrees. It’s suitable for the average golfer with a decent swing. A standard-bounce sand wedge is also considered to be fairly beginner-friendly.
High-bounce sand wedges are preferred for fine sand or dampened ground and have a bounce angle of 12 to 18 degrees. They’re angled and contoured in such a way that it prevents the club from sinking into the ground and flattening out the swing angle.
Entry-level sand wedges cost $30 to $50, and given their simple designs, they’re great for new golfers. Midrange sand wedges may allow you to choose bounce design and run closer to $90. High-end sand wedges cost as much as $200 and are designed with multiple features that appeal to experienced golfers.
A. Many golfers agree sand wedges are essential because they could make or break your game if your ball lands in a bunker. Some golfers choose to buy entry-level sand wedges. Even if they don’t use it often, when they do use the sand wedge, it will more than pay for itself.
A. Some golfers prefer sand wedges and other clubs with darker or matte finishes. Shiny silver clubs tend to create glare, which is incredibly distracting to golfers as they line up to swing.
What you need to know: The engineered design helps golfers maintain the best swing path possible.
What you’ll love: The groove design adds a high backspin rate. Advanced golfers will appreciate the club face’s shape.
What you should consider: It is an expensive option that’s best for experienced golfers.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
What you need to know: This is a decent option for novice golfers who want to try a sand wedge without breaking the bank.
What you’ll love: The durable construction has an all-steel design. It feels as if you’re playing with an iron, so it’s comfortable and familiar.
What you should consider: It lacks the contact experienced players are looking for.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
What you need to know: This affordable sand wedge is a solid choice for the average golfer.
What you’ll love: This sand wedge makes bunkers much easier.
What you should consider: It requires more practice to use than traditional wedges.
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Sian Babish writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.