active senior man hitting out of a sand trap

Playing in the sand can be fun, but not on the golf course.

Few lies in golf are more frustrating than a ball sunk deep in a bunker, and that makes your sand wedge one of the most important golf clubs in your bag.

After reading this guide, you'll know exactly which sand wedge you need to shave a few strokes off your handicap and improve your short game around the greens.

Many manufacturers sell lines of wedges with a wide array of lofts that span more than a single type of wedge.

For this roundup of the best sand wedges, we'll narrow our list to wedges with 54-56 degree loft angles and omit other lofts. For example, the TaylorMade Milled Grind 2 comes in 15 loft and bounce combinations and appears on each of our roundups, which you can find here:

If you're new to the wide world of wedges, make sure to read our in-depth guide to the 4 Types of Golf Wedges, where we simplify all of the technical jargon you'll need to know when shopping for your next (or first!) sand wedge.

Note: We'll denote each wedge's loft and bounce as [LOFT].[BOUNCE] so a sand wedge with 54 degrees of loft and 10 degrees of bounce will be shown as 54.10.

That's enough background. You're here to see our top picks for "Best Sand Wedge."

Here they are.

Best Sand Wedges for 2021

  • The Sand Wedge the Pros Use: Titleist Vokey SM8
  • Best Sand Wedge for Low Handicappers: TaylorMade MG2 Tiger Woods
  • Best Sand Wedge for Mid Handicappers: Callaway Mack Daddy 5
  • Best Sand Wedge for High Handicappers: Callaway Sure Out 2
  • Most Lightweight Sand Wedge: PING Glide 3.0
Titleist Vokey SM8

Titleist Vokey SM8

Titleist Vokey SM8

Overview: Generally regarded as the best sand wedge you can own (certainly the most popular sand wedge on Tour), the Vokey SM8 is the new-and-improved version of what was already a best-in-class club. How did Titleist and legendary wedgemaster Bob Vokey do it? More on that below.

  • Lofts Available: 54-56 degrees
  • Low-Bounce: None
  • Mid-Bounce: 56.08, 54.10
  • High-Bounce: 54.10, 56.10, 56.12, 54.14, 56.14
  • Left-Handed: All of them
  • Grinds: S-grind, D-grind, F-grind, M-grind
  • Grooves: Spin Milled with microgrooves heat treated for durability
  • Finish: Jet Black, Tour Chrome, Brushed Steel
  • Stock Shaft: True Temper Dynamic Gold S200 (steel)
  • Shaft Flex: Stiff
  • Shaft Length: 35.25"
  • Swingweight: D5

The Vokey line of sand wedges steps up its game in three key areas with the new SM8:

  1. Center of gravity has been moved forward so it sits right above the club's face
  2. Spin Milled grooves are precisely cut and exacting for maximum spin
  3. Heat-treated sweet spot for extreme durability

That first improvement can't be understated. By moving the center of gravity so far forward, you're really able to square up and swing through the ball much more cleanly, almost like the club's face is magnetically drawn to the ball. This improves every aspect of your wedge game: more backspin, better flight paths and amazing consistency.

There's a reason these are the most popular wedges on Tour.

Vokey wedges come in six different grinds so there's something for every golfer, but just four are available on 54-56 degree sand wedge lofts:

  • M-Grind: Bob Vokey's favorite with pronounced heel, toe and trailing edge grind for improved versatility around the greens (54.08, 56.08, 58.08, 60.08, 62.08)
  • F-Grind: Full sole for full swings and square face shots and the most popular Vokey wedge grind on Tour (46.09, 48.08, 50.08, 52.08, 52.12, 54.14, 56.14)
  • S-Grind: Trailing edge and heel grind for square face shots and neutral or steel swingers (54.10, 56.10, 58.10, 60.10)
  • D-Grind: Like the M-grind but with more bounce for softer conditions and steeper swing paths (54.12, 56.12, 58.12, 60.12)

For reference, here are the other two Vokey wedge grinds available:

  • L-Grind: Like the M-Grind but with less bounce for firm conditions (60.04)
  • K-Grind: Wide sole with more camber for improved bunker play (58.14, 60.14)

If you've ever used a Vokey wedge, the results speak for themselves. If you haven't, prepare to be in awe at how much friction and spin the SM8's grooves generate (and prepare to chew up a whole bunch of golf balls in the process).

TaylorMade Milled Grind 2

TaylorMade Milled Grind 2

TaylorMade Milled Grind 2

Overview: The upgraded version of their original Milled Grind first released in 2017, the MG2 features TaylorMade's improved ZTP RAW grooves with additional laser etching between each groove for a rough, raw-face finish that reduces skid, increases spin and improves control, though not as well as other sand wedges here.

  • Lofts Available: 54-56 degrees
  • Low-Bounce: None
  • Mid-Bounce: 54.08, 56.08
  • High-Bounce: 54.11, 56.12, 54.13, 56.14
  • Left-Hand: 56.08, 54.11, 56.12, 56.14
  • Grinds: Precision-milled sole for exactly the bounce you expect and a smooth swing
  • Grooves: ZTP RAW
  • Finish: Matte black, satin chrome
  • Stock Shaft: True Temper Dynamic Gold S200 (steel)
  • Shaft Flex: Stiff
  • Shaft Length: 35-35.25"
  • Swingweight: D5

If your goal is to maximize spin rate, the TaylorMade Milled Grind 2 is a worthy contender. Its face looks unlike any other wedge with TaylorMade's deeper, more pronounced ZTP RAW grooves that are so sharp, you'll have to make sure they don't scuff up your ball. But despite the MG2's advanced laser etching, it doesn't seem to generate elite spin rates like you'll find with the Callaway JAWS MD5 or Titleist Vokey SM8.

Compared to the original Milled Grind, the MG2 also has a thicker face—6.5 mm on the MG2 vs 5.1 mm on the MG1—with a new TPU insert to redistribute weight and dampen vibrations for improved feel.

The MG2 comes in a variety of loft and bounce angles with three different grinds for all playing surfaces and styles of play.

TaylorMade MG2 Tiger Woods

TaylorMade MG2 Tiger Woods

TaylorMade MG2 Tiger Woods

Overview: Want to play like a 15-time major champion? Well, you probably won't, but TaylorMade's MG2 Tiger Woods wedge might be the next best thing. It has the same design improvements as the standard MG2 but features the exact sole and grind setup Tiger Woods uses.

  • Lofts Available: 56 degrees
  • Low-Bounce: None
  • Mid-Bounce: None
  • High-Bounce: 56.12
  • Left-Handed: None
  • Grinds: Dual-sole grind with heavy heel relief
  • Grooves: ZTP RAW
  • Finish: Chrome
  • Stock Shaft: Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400 (steel)
  • Shaft Flex: Stiff
  • Shaft Length: 35.50"
  • Swingweight: D6
Wedges have always been very personal to me. Back in the day, I would test dozens of wedges and hit hundreds of shots before finding the one that would make it into my bag. I’d hand grind the sole myself after each session to make sure it was absolutely perfect. MG2 Tiger Woods Grind wedges are the result of all those years of testing and competing across the globe. The grinds are truly unique and complex, designed by me to perfectly fit my playing style. - Tiger Woods

In addition to having the same loft, bounce, sole and grind as the standard MG2, the MG2 Tiger Woods version features the same corded Tour Velvet grips and Dynamic Golf S400 shaft made from 8620 carbon steel that Tiger uses. Of note, that stock S400 shaft is stiffer than the True Temper Dynamic Gold S200 that comes standard on all other TaylorMade MG2 wedges.

This 56.12 wedge has a dual-sole grind that makes it both versatile and forgiving for creative manipulation of the face on all sorts of challenging approach shots. That flexibility is valuable for both amateurs and PGA tour champions.

TaylorMade also makes an MG2 Tiger Woods Edition 60.11 wedge, which you can read about on our roundup of the best lob wedges.

There's no guarantee that using the same sand wedge as Tiger will shave strokes off your handicap—and because it's only sold as a right-handed wedge, lefties using it actually will add strokes—but there's a reason these are the specifications Tiger uses.

TaylorMade Milled Grind Hi-Toe

TaylorMade Milled Grind Hi-Toe

TaylorMade Milled Grind Hi-Toe

Overview: A unique-looking sand wedge used by PGA Tour pros Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson, the Milled Grind Hi-Toe features a more pronounced, rounded toe and full-face grooves, which make it easier to get creative with open face shots from a variety of angles around the green. It comes in a wide variety of lofts, bounce angles and grinds for all play styles.

  • Lofts Available: 54-56 degrees
  • Low-Bounce: None
  • Mid-Bounce: 54.10, 56.10
  • High-Bounce: None
  • Left-Handed: 54.10, 56.10
  • Grinds: Standard, 4-way camber, ATV
  • Grooves: Traditional, full-face, full-face raw
  • Finish: Bronze, full-face raw
  • Stock Shaft: KBS Hi-Rev 2.0 (steel), Recoil Wedge Shaft with SMACWRAP (graphite)
  • Shaft Flex: Wedge (steel, graphite)
  • Shaft Length: 35-35.25"
  • Swingweight: D3 (graphite), D5 (steel)

TaylorMade's Milled Grind Hi-Toe wedges are designed for maximum versatility with several features every golfer should love:

  • 5 mm elevated toe (hence the name) for a larger face, higher center of gravity and more spin
  • Full-face grooves on the 56-degree sand wedge and traditional grooves on the 54-degree wedge
  • KBS Hi-Rev 2.0 wedge flex shaft for better tip action

The entire Milled Grind Hi-Toe line ranges from 50-64 degrees of loft with four different grinds:

  1. Standard Grind: All-purpose for most playing surfaces and play styles
  2. 4-Way Cambered Grind: Blunter contour, increased trailing edge and more heel relief
  3. ATV Grind: Mid-sole channel and high bounce for gliding contact
  4. Wide C-Grind: Flatter, wider sole (32 mm) with anti-dig leading edge and 15 degrees of bounce

Among 54-56 degree sand wedge lofts, you'll only find the following two grinds:

  1. Standard Grind: 54.10
  2. 4-Way Cambered Grind: 56.10

To check out other wedge options in TaylorMade's massive Milled Grind series, check out our other roundups of the best gap wedges and best lob wedges.

Callaway MD 5

Callaway MD 5

Callaway MD 5

Overview: The Mack Daddy of Callaway's line of wedges (literally, that's what "MD" stands for) the MD5 boasts that it has "the most aggressive groove in golf to take spin and control to the next level."

  • Lofts Available: 54-56 degrees
  • Low-Bounce: None
  • Mid-Bounce: 54.10, 56.10
  • High-Bounce: 54.12, 56.12
  • Left-Handed: 56.10
  • Grinds: S-grind, C-grind, W-grind
  • Grooves: JAWS groove design
  • Finish: Platinum Chrome, Tour Grey
  • Stock Shaft: True Temper Tour Issue 115 (steel), Project X Catalyst 80 (graphite)
  • Shaft Flex: Stiff (steel, graphite)
  • Shaft Length: 35-35.25"
  • Swingweight: D4

The Callaway MD5 is special because of Callaway's JAWS groove design, which Callaway calls "the most aggressive groove in golf." Almost like grooves inside of grooves, the JAWS groove design uses "micro-positive ridges" (a Callaway phrase) with four small, lengthwise ridges between every major groove for excellent surface roughness and minimal slip.

The JAWS groove system might sound gimmicky, but it actually works. You'll generate more backspin with superior control, even landing approach shots that bite on impact and stick where you want them to.

And with five different sole grinds for all sorts of playing conditions, there's a Mack Daddy wedge with your name on it:

  • C-Grind: Increase heel and toe relief and 8 degrees of bounce
  • S-Grind: Medium-width sole with slight camber at the back and 10 degrees of bounce
  • X-Grind: Aggressive C-grind with more heel and toe relief and 12 degrees of bounce
  • W-Grind: Wider center and toe area with moderate heel relief, generous camber and 12 degrees of bounce
  • W-Grind (Low Bounce): Same idea as the standard W-grind but with 8 degrees of bounce

Only the S-grind, C-grind and standard W-grind are available in 54-56 degree sand wedge lofts.

If you're looking for a wedge that glides over any surface and almost adds too much spin, then the aptly-named Callaway Mack Daddy 5 should be at the top of your shortlist.

Callaway PM Grind

Callaway PM Grind

Callaway PM Grind

Overview: Callaway partnered with Phil Mickelson to create a wedge that makes it easier to hit the three shots Lefty think every golfer should master: knockdowns, short pitch shots and flop shots. These shots require elite backspin, so Callaway redesigned their JAWS groove system from the Mack Daddy 5 and offset their microgrooves by 20 degrees for a lab-tested 15-degree increase in backspin.

  • Lofts Available: 54-56 degrees
  • Low-Bounce: None
  • Mid-Bounce: None
  • High-Bounce: 54.14, 56.14
  • Left-Handed: 56.14
  • Grinds: C-grind
  • Grooves: Groove-in-groove design with micro-grooves offset at 20-degree angle
  • Finish: Platinum Chrome, Tour Grey
  • Stock Shaft: KBS Hi-Rev 2.0 (steel)
  • Shaft Flex: Wedge
  • Shaft Length: 35-35.25"
  • Swingweight: D4

Even right-handed golfers want to play like Lefty, and the Callaway PM Grind gets them one step closer. The updated PM Grind swaps the U-grind sole for a C-grind for more shot-making versatility but keeps the aggressive sole radius that makes the PM Grind rounder than most wedges.

The Callaway PM Grind is available in both sand and lob wedge lofts while TaylorMade's comparable model, the Milled Grind 2, also comes in gap wedge lofts. Callaway's narrower loft options don't affect us in this roundup of the best sand wedges, but it does hint at one of the PM Grind's weaknesses: full-shot performance.

Thankfully, you probably aren't opening your swing up to full power with a 54-degree sand wedge, instead using it for clever shots around the green, and for those shots, the PM Grind is seriously effective.

Callaway Sure Out 2

Callaway Sure Out 2

Callaway Sure Out 2

Overview: If the Sure Out's name doesn't give away its purpose, then Callaway's tagline for it definitely will: "Bunker shots made easy." With the Sure Out 2, Callaway increased the sole radius, added heel relief and doubled their loft offerings by adding 56 and 60-degree lofts to the original Sure Out's 58 and 64-degree lineup. For this roundup of the best sand wedges, we'll focus on the 56-degree sand wedge.

  • Lofts Available: 56 degrees
  • Low-Bounce: None
  • Mid-Bounce: None
  • High-Bounce: 56.12
  • Left-Handed: 56.12
  • Grinds: Wide, rounded sole with plenty of camber
  • Grooves: 17 full-face grooves
  • Finish: Raw
  • Stock Shaft: KBS Tour 90 (steel), UST Wedge 65 (graphite)
  • Shaft Flex: Wedge
  • Shaft Length: 35"
  • Swingweight: D4

The Callaway Sure Out 2 is designed with one purpose in mind: make it easy for golfers of any experience level to get out of the bunker.

To that end, Callaway has designed a fairly pedestrian-looking sand wedge with two simple features to suit its narrow focus:

  • 17 full-face grooves so you always catch an edge
  • Wide, rounded sole with plenty of heel relief and bounce so it's extra forgiving

It also features a Lambkin grip with three markings to make it easy for you to quickly and consistently find the right shot and control your distance.

The biggest issue with the Sure Out 2 is its lack of versatility, which isn't surprising given its specific design focus. The sole's pronounced camber makes it challenging to open up without skulling the ball, and you'll lose feel and accuracy when loading up with a full swing.

But the Sure Out 2 wasn't designed to do those things. It's designed to get you out of the bunker and onto the green. If you spend a lot of time in the sand, the Sure Out 2 is a great option.

PING Glide 3.0

PING Glide 3.0

PING Glide 3.0

Overview: A solid wedge with a variety of lofts, grinds and shaft options, the new PING Glide 3.0 has been redesigned to be lighter with more forgiveness while still maintaining that traditional PING design. Of the three grinds available on PING's line of sand wedges, the Eye2, in particular, is something to see (pun absolutely intended).

  • Lofts Available: 54-56
  • Low-Bounce: None
  • Mid-Bounce: 54.10, 56.10
  • High-Bounce: 54.12, 56.12, 54.14, 56.15
  • Left-Handed: All of them
  • Grinds: Standard sole (SS), wide sole (SS), Eye2
  • Grooves: Precision-milled and wheel-cut
  • Finish: Brushed silver
  • Stock Shaft: PING Z-Z115 (steel)
  • Shaft Flex: Wedge
  • Shaft Length: 35.25"
  • Swingweight: D3

Let's start with the Eye2 grind, which PING offers on their 54.10 and 56.10 sand wedges. If PING has mastered the art of designing traditional-looking wedges with advanced performance, then the Eye2 is an advanced-looking wedge with advanced performance. It has a noticeably rounded leading edge and high toe that cuts sharply down to the heel.

But the Eye2 isn't PING's only sole on their 54-56 degree sand wedges. They also have more traditional standard and wide-sole grinds. Both have good heel relief, but the wide-sole has—you guessed it—a wide sole and additional heel relief that's forgiving for both soft playing surface and golfers with steep swings.

PING has another sole, their thin sole (TS), which isn't available on sand wedge lofts but can be found on their 58.06 and 60.06 lob wedges.

In addition to their stock Z-Z115 steel wedge flex shaft, PING offers a wide variety of shafts with the following range of option:

  • Flex: Ranges from soft regular to extra stiff
  • Weight: Ranges from 65-124 g
  • Launch Angle: Ranges from low-mid to high

But what's most notable of all about the PING Glide 3.0 is its amazingly lightweight feel, punctuated by its D3 swingweight, which has a noticeably lighter feel than the plethora of D4 and D5 sand wedges shown here.

If you're tired of hacking away around the greens and are looking to improve your short game with a lighter club that gives you more control, the PING Glide 3.0 is the sand wedge for you.

PING Glide Forged

PING Glide Forged

PING Glide Forged

Overview: PING Glide Forged wedges are made with forged steel, and they play with a softer feel than other sand wedges, including the PING Glide 3.0. However, the Glide Forged line is on the small side—and I don't just mean the clubhead, though that is smaller on Forged. There are just two options to choose from: the 54.10 and 56.10, both with the standard sole. There are no other bounces or sole grinds available.

  • Lofts Available: 54-56 degrees
  • Low-Bounce: None
  • Mid-Bounce: 54.10, 56.10
  • High-Bounce: None
  • Left-Handed: Both of them
  • Grinds: Standard sole (SS)
  • Grooves: Precision-milled and wheel-cut
  • Finish: Brushed silver
  • Stock Shaft: Dynamic Gold S300 (steel)
  • Shaft Flex: Stiff
  • Shaft Length: 35.25"
  • Swingweight: D4

Compared to the PING Glide 3.0, the PING Glide Forged has several differences:

  • Only available with 10 degrees of bounce
  • Only available with the standard sole (no wide or Eye2 grinds)
  • Longer, stiffer, heavier stock shaft
  • Heavier D4 swingweight

Oh, and the PING Glide Forged is made with forged steel rather than cast. Forged steel clubs naturally have their center of gravity closer to the club's face, which gives the golfer improved feel and control of the ball's trajectory but tends to accentuate any mishits. Conversely, cast steel wedges usually have a lower center of gravity that's further back from the face, which helps the golfer get under the ball and launch it in the air while mitigating the disastrous impacts of mishits.

Of course, those are just generalities, and cast steel wedges can still have the same feel as forged wedges if they're intelligently designed to place the center of gravity near the face as well.

Going back to the PING Glide Forged specifically, this wedge is everything you'd want in a forged steel wedge: it's smooth, it's clean and good impacts feel really good.

Plus, it has everything you'd want from a high-quality sand wedge with grooves that grip for high spin rates and more forgiveness than you'd expect thanks to the extra weight PING added to the toe on the Glide Forged, which helps mid handicappers take advantage of the benefits forged wedges offer.


Best Sand Wedge FAQ

These are some of the most common questions we're asked by golfers looking for the best wedges to improve their short game around the green.

When should I use a sand wedge?

A sand wedge's primary use is right in its name: playing from the sand. However, that doesn't mean you have to keep them in your bag until you find yourself trying to save par with bunker shots. The sand wedge is a unique club with 54-56 degrees of loft, which makes it ideal for hitting from downward lies when your ball naturally wants to follow a flatter trajectory.

What loft is best for a sand wedge?

Sand wedges typically have either 54 or 56 degrees of loft, which means your sand wedge is the second-most-lofted club in your bag (behind your lob wedge). That degree of loft helps get your ball in the air on bunker shots with a high enough trajectory to stick on the green without rolling off.

What bounce is best for a sand wedge?

Typically, sand wedges have 10-12 degrees of bounce, though some of the best sand wedges in this guide range from 8-15 degrees of bounce. A sand wedge's high bounce is critical for their purpose, allowing you to play in sandy conditions without digging your leading edge into the soft sand.

What is the best wedge for sand?

All sand wedges are designed to play well from sand, but some perform better than others. The type of sand matters too. Softer, lighter sand requires a sand wedge with more bounce than harder, coarser, more packed sand. The Callaway Sure Out 2 is designed with one goal in mind: to get you out of the bunker and onto the green. It has 12 degrees of bounce for ample forgiveness in sandy conditions, which makes it one of the best wedges for sand. If you want more bounce, the PING Glide 3.0 offers sand wedges with 14 and 15 degrees of bounce.

What is the easiest sand wedge to hit?

The TaylorMade Milled Grind Hi-Toe is the easiest sand wedge to hit. It has a massive toe section that's 5 mm taller than the standard Milled Grind wedge and has raw, full-faced grooves for excellent club-on-ball friction no matter where your ball strikes. The Callaway Mack Daddy 5 is another great option that glides over all surfaces and makes it easy for any golfer to add backspin.

What is the best sand wedge for high handicappers?

Because the TaylorMade Milled Grind Hi-Toe is the easiest sand wedge to hit, it's also one of the best sand wedges for high handicappers. However, our favorite sand wedges for high handicappers (and mid handicappers) is the Callaway PM Grind. Inspired by 5-time PGA Tour major champion Phil Mickelson, the PM Grind is designed to help golfers succeed with the three shots Lefty thinks every golfer needs to master: knockdowns, short pitch shots and flop shots.