Of all the wedges in the bag, the hardest one to find sold separately is the pitching wedge. When most golfers purchase their golf clubs, they get an entire set of irons, including the pitching wedge.
However, some golf manufacturers like Titleist, Cleveland, and Callaway will sell individual pitching wedges. For golfers that want some consistency in their wedges, this is a great option to consider.
Let’s look at the best pitching wedges on the market that you can purchase individually in 2023.
5 Best Pitching Wedges in 2023
I tested all the pitching wedges that I could find that are sold individually, and these are the top five options that I could find. Each one has unique features that will work for a wide range of players. My favorite overall was the Titleist Vokey SM9, as it gave me the best overall feel and workability, something that is incredibly important in a pitching wedge.
Titleist Vokey SM9
- Great feel
- More control than the SM8
- Options for all types of turf conditions and shot styles
- High spin rates
- Easy to find other wedges to incorporate into my set
- Not the most forgiving
- Pricing is higher than other options
The Titleist Vokey SM9 is the best overall pitching wedge option on the market. Titleist has put out quite a few of these Vokey wedges through the years, and they just continue to get better. With the newest SM9 version, one of the things I noticed was the ball flight is just a little lower than in previous models.
With ball flight lower, you may think it was harder to stop the ball on the greens, but Titleist always makes sure you have plenty of spin. What this lower ball flight does is allow the player to have more control over their shot, and get the ball just a little bit closer to the hole more frequently.
The center of gravity is actually a little higher and forward center in the new SM9, which provides that little bit of extra control that I liked. As you can imagine, there are also loft, grind, shaft, and grip options to suit the needs of any player interested in a wedge like this.
As you will quickly learn, the grooves on your wedges are incredibly important to get spin and to make sure the ball stops where you need it to. With the Vokey SM9 spin milled grooves, you will notice that even on the half shots you are hitting, the ball will stop where you need it to.
Titleist Vokey wedges are never really the cheapest on the market. However, I use my pitching wedge a lot and don’t mind paying for quality here. Titleist also made that a little easier by treating these clubs with their proprietary heat treatment to ensure that they have longer-lasting spin; essentially, the need to have these regrooved is minimal.
Cleveland RTX ZipCore Wedge
- Simple to choose between low, mid, or full style
- Large sweet spot
- Plenty of forgiveness
- Feedback is not quite as responsive as other wedges because of the forgiveness being so high
The Cleveland RTX ZipCore wedge has quite a bit more forgiveness than the Vokey SM9. With this ZipCore, you will notice that there is a larger sweet spot and maybe even a bit more distance. Cleveland also keeps things a bit less complicated regarding bounce and grind options. This model comes in a low bounce, midsole, or full sole option.
Similar to the Vokey, the RTX ZipCore was treated with a special heat setting to ensure the grooves stay in great shape for years to come.
When it comes to the pitching wedge in the RTX, you will find the UltiZip grooves. These are sharp grooves that have a deep and narrow design. The result is more spin and even some responsiveness when the turf is wet.
If you are a mid-handicapper looking for something that is consistent and provides stable results, the Cleveland RTX ZipCore is an excellent option to consider. Regardless of course conditions, I found the RTX to be really adaptable and easy to work with.
Callaway Jaws Raw
- Clean looking wedge with sharp grooves
- Raw club face creates extra friction
- More control around the greens
- The Raw design rusts over time, and it's not a look that all golfers will appreciate
The Callaway Jaws Raw is one of the newest releases on my list of the best pitching wedges on the market. With the Jaws Raw design, the first thing you will notice is the effectiveness of the Groove In Groove Technology. If you want spin, you will find it with the Jaws design.
When you look at the face of the pitching wedge, you will see there are actually grooves inside the grooves. The grooves themselves are sharp and can provide more control than you find with less premium-style grooves.
Groove technology and the spacing of these grooves will vary as the loft changes; expect the pitching wedge to still have plenty of spin to stop a golf shot on the green.
The two grind options you will find here are the S Grind and the W Grind. Each of these is for golfers who are looking for some versatility and forgiveness in the shots. This is important with the pitching wedge because of the likelihood of taking full swing at times.
The raw unplated club face is designed to create a lot of friction between the ball and the clubface; I did find that to be the case. If you want a high caliber wedge with tons of spin, the Jaws Raw is a great option.
Mizuno T22 Wedge
Mizuno has pretty much built their entire brand around premium feel and quality. It’s no wonder that their pitching wedge would make the cut as one of the best pitching wedges in the game of golf. I like the shaping and rounded style of the T22 wedge. However, the performance was perhaps even more impressive.
One thing that is important to realize and understand about pitching wedges is that the transition from the wedge into the iron set is incredibly important. If you play with a set of blade style irons and want something that really blends in quite well, the Mizuno T22 is a great option to consider.
The pitching wedge is considered one of the lower lofted wedges from Mizuno, and therefore it has narrower and deeper grooves. This technology is designed specifically for full swing shots that need a bit more forgiveness and consistency.
Mizuno used face milling across this entire series of T22 wedges. The idea here was to create more friction on partial shots. Many amateur golfers can get spin on a full swing pitching wedge but start to lose it a bit when they switch to a half swing shot. You won’t have that problem with the T22.
It’s also worth mentioning that Mizuno offers four sole grinds to help you find something that works in the turf conditions you typically play in. I thought this wedge would be unforgiving and difficult, but it isn’t, and I generated quite a bit of speed.
- Lots of spin on half shots
- Hydroflow Micro Grooves for wet conditions
- Lots of control at impact
- Grooves designed explicitly for a pitching wedge
- The leading edge is not quite as clean as the Vokey SM9 or Callaway Jaws Raw
- Clean turf interaction
- Good versatility throughout the short game
- Hollow cavity design
- Tour Zip grooves for better all-around spin and longevity
- Great value
- The spin on the half swing shots was not as impressive
The Cleveland CBX2 was my favorite option for the value. If you are a mid-to-high handicapper that does not want to break the bank on an overly expensive golf wedge, the Cleveland CBX 2 is a great option to consider. This club creates crisp interaction with the ball and plenty of spin, especially on the full swing. On half swing shots, expect a bit more roll out than you would with something like the Vokey SM9 or the Jaws Raw.
Here are a few of the most commonly asked questions about the best pitching wedges out there in 2023. Remember that you don’t always have to purchase a pitching wedge with your iron set; it’s entirely possible to get something after the fact that matches your preferences on the course.
What Degree is a Pitching Wedge
A pitching wedge is typically between 44 and 48 degrees. Several years ago, the average pitching wedge was not lower than 46 degrees; however, over time, the pitching wedge lofts have changed, and clubs are getting stronger. It’s essential to check the loft of your pitching wedge and make sure it doesn’t create too big of a gap in your golf bag.
What is a Pitching Wedge Good For?
A pitching wedge is good for approaches to the green, bump and run type shots, and chip shots, and sometimes even a pitching wedge can help you get out of a bad lie in the rough. The pitching wedge is a club that most golfers have a lot of confidence in, and that helps to increase accuracy and performance.
Personally, I hit many full shots with my pitching wedge, and also like to use it for a little knock down shot when I need the ball to come in lower and more controlled.
Should you take full swing with a pitching wedge?
A full swing pitching wedge shot is quite common in golf. If you want to get a great distance and hit the green with a shot that will stop quickly, the pitching wedge is a solid choice. Remember that with a pitching wedge full swing, you will get a pretty high ball flight as well.
It’s important to have a good idea of how far you can hit your pitching wedge, to give you a complete picture of your golf club distances.
Hopefully, you now feel a bit more prepared when shopping for the best pitching wedge for your game. Although the Titleist was my favorite overall choice, there is not a ton of forgiveness in the SM9 wedge. I suggest going with something that matches your handicap and scoring ability. The pitching wedge is a club that will come out of the bag quite often; it pays to have something in your hands that you can rely on.