2009 Wedges Buyer’s Guide

There are four different kinds of wedges, and each is designed with different distances and shot shapes in mind. But one thing is certain, if you know how to hit them, you'll have a day's worth of close shots and tap-ins.

If wedges were movie props, they'd end up in the latest James Bond flick. Why? They can help you get out of practically any situation.

From pitching to lob wedges, the right one can help you hit any type of approach shot: flops, bump-and-runs, low spinners, dead-handed approaches. If a great wedge player were an artist, then a great wedge would make him Michelangelo.

It goes without saying that the more shots you know how to play, the easier it is to get the ball near the hole, and if you do this, you'll save strokes whether the rest of your game is on or off.

So how do you know which wedge is right for you? Well, all you have to do is browse through this year's offerings and ask yourself a few questions like: What distances do I struggle from? Do I spin the ball enough? Do I have trouble getting the ball airborne? Then, look at the clubs' specs (loft, bounce, groove quality and sole grinds), since each is designed to perform differently from all sorts of lies.

In short, be just like 007–try out some gadgets and leave with the tool that makes you a great escape artist.

Adams Puglielli 09 Key Feature: A classic teardrop- shaped wedge with an innovative 7-gram weight cartridge that reduces vibration for a smooth, buttery feel. The grooves are CNC-milled for better control. What We Like: There's a lot of tech in this wedge, but you can't see it from the address position. We like that. Also, the milled grooves have a lot of bite. Who It's For: Virtually any type of golfer can reap rewards with these wedges. Specs: Comes in three lofts (52_¡, 56_¡, 60_¡), each with different bounce angles to choose from. adamsgolf.com | $109 Bobby Jones Pelz Wedge Key Feature: The wear-resistant Carpenter 440XH face insert not only is durable, but also features a unique texture that adds a ton of spin to an already tough-as-nails clubface. What We Like: As with other Bobby Jones clubs, classic looks once again shroud some serious technology. In addition to the hard face, these wedges feel great and are forgiving, too. Who It's For: Classic wedge fans who like cool technology that doesn't show. Specs: Comes in four lofts (52_¡, 56_¡, 60_¡, 64_¡) with steel shafts. bobbyjonesgolf.net| $149 Bridgestone WC Design Key Feature: These no-nonsense wedges were designed with heavy input from Tour players. The Variable Bounce Technology has less bounce in the heel for greater shot making ability. What We Like: The milled U-grooves produce higher and more consistent spin from all kinds of lies. The 8620 carbon steel is super soft. The WC stands for "West Coast." Who It's For: Shotmakers who want precision control around the green. Specs: Comes in four lofts (52_¡, 54_¡, 56_¡, 60_¡) with Dynamic Gold steel shafts. bridgestonegolf.com | $120

Callaway X-Forged Key Feature: With a tighter heel-toe radius and unique C-Grind sole, the X-Forged is designed to help golfers become short-game wizards. Any shot is possible with these wedges. What We Like: The sole is beveled to allow golfers to play closed- or open-faced shots with ease (even us). The forged feel is tough to beat. Who It's For: Moderate to better players who want shotshaping abilities. Specs: Comes in nine lofts (48_¡, 50_¡, 52_¡, 54_¡, 56_¡, 58_¡, 60_¡, 62_¡, 64_¡) with a Callaway steel shaft. callawaygolf.com | $109 Callaway X-Tour Key Feature: Forged carbon-steel construction, special PM (Phil Mickelson) grind and "Mack Daddy" grooves complement the head shape. What We Like: Carbon-steel construction provides exceptional feel, while the sole grind and unique groove design make the X-Tour extremely versatile, particularly for better players. Who It's For: Better players who like to execute a variety of shots. Specs: Comes in six lofts (50_¡, 52_¡, 54_¡, 56_¡, 58_¡, 60_¡) with a variety of bounce options and a Callaway steel shaft. callawaygolf.com | $135-$150 Cleveland CG12 DSG Key Feature: This wedge combines the Zip Groove technology of the CG12 and CG14 wedge with a Dynamic Sole Grind (DSG) feature that enables golfers to play open-faced shots without the leading edge coming up too high off the ground. What We Like: Everything we just said! We also like the RTG finish that rusts over time for more feel and control. Who It's For: Players who need more versatility and like to hit finesse shots. Specs: Comes in six lofts (52_¡, 54_¡, 56_¡, 58_¡, 60_¡, 64_¡) and many shaft options. clevelandgolf.com | $109

Cleveland CG14 Camo Key Feature: The popular CG14 wedge, with a vibration-absorbing Gelback insert and sharp Zip Grooves, returns in Boo Weekley-inspired camouflage. What We Like: The CG14 is popular for its awesome shape, feel and performance, but it's the camo that makes this wedge more fun than any other. Who It's For: Hunters, outdoorsmen–just kidding. This wedge may look like a novelty, but it's the real deal. Just ask the Tour pros with __ðem in their bags. Specs: Available in a wide variety of loft and bounce configurations. clevelandgolf.com | $129 F2 Plus Series Key Feature: Do we really need to say? Just check out that Face Forward Technology and the virtually shank-proof hosel to see the tech in this wedge. What We Like: Its unique Face Forward Technology makes shanks a thing of the past. It takes a little getting used to, and the F2 performs best when the clubface stays square. Adios shanks! Who It's For: Players who tend to shank or struggle with sand play will find the F2 to be a life-saving addition. Specs: Comes in four lofts (52_¡, 56_¡, 58_¡, 60_¡) with either a steel or graphite shaft. f2golf.com | $99 Infiniti IP-3 Pro Key Feature: A precision-milled flat face produces maximum spin and helps your ball check when it lands. It also has a clean, classic shape. What We Like: Three holes drilled in the toe provide feel and balance, and its special heel grind allows you to open the clubface for shots that require touch. Swinging a wedge has never felt so darn good. Who It's For: Better players who crave touch, spin and versatility when playing from a variety of turf conditions. Specs: In three lofts (51_¡, 56_¡, 60_¡). infinitigolf.com | $89

KZG RSS Key Feature: An innovative notch-and-sole design that affords players the chance to open or close the club without altering its bounce. What We Like: Its design and mirror finish are classy and refined. To be honest, we're afraid to get it dirty! Who It's For: Low-handicappers who want a versatile wedge; and mid- and high-handicappers who need a club that will improve their short game. KZG recommends using a soft shaft flex for maximum feel. Specs: In three lofts (52_¡, 56_¡, 60_¡). kzgolf.com | Custom Order Mizuno MP-R Key Feature: Its "workshop grind" sole provides advanced playability on square-, open- or even closed-face shots around the green. What We Like: We're all about choice, and the MP-R wedges give us just that. We can choose between two finishes–nickel or chrome–and multiple bounce angles. Also, they have a classic round-head shape and CNC Max-Milled square grooves. Who It's For: All players. Specs: Comes in five lofts (52_¡, 54_¡, 56_¡, 58_¡, 60_¡) with a True Temper DG shaft. mizunousa.com | $120 Mizuno MP-T Key Feature: A C-shape grind sole that makes it easier to hit a variety of different shots. What We Like: We've always been a big fan of Mizuno's legendary craftsmanship, and the MP-T doesn't disappoint. Its rolled leading edge minimizes digging, and a cambered midsole makes consistent ballstriking a breeze. Who It's For: Players who like the teardrop shape and superb feel. Specs: Comes in six lofts (50_¡, 52_¡, 54_¡, 56_¡, 58_¡, 60_¡) with either a Nippon or True Temper steel shaft. mizunousa.com | $120

Nickent ARC Key Feature: Its Accelerated Rebound Core (ARC) technology, naturally. The ARC is an internal core of compressed, high-rebound elastomer positioned inside the clubhead and behind the sweet spot. What's the benefit? A major reduction of vibration. What We Like: The hidden perimeter-weighting system, and its chrome and gunmetal finishes. Who It's For: Players who like a traditional blade, but want a dose of game improvement, too. Specs: Comes in seven lofts (50_¡- 62_¡) with a Nippon steel shaft. nickentgolf.com | $99 Nike Victory Red Key Feature: Complementing the new Victory Red irons, this wedge is forged with a grind inspired by the needs of the best golfer ever (Hint: He wears red on Sundays). What We Like: The High Rev grooves are almost like cheating! The ball checks up and holds its line exceptionally well from anywhere on the course. Who It's For: Ideally, these wedges have a Tour shape for playability and control. But, when it comes to wedges, who doesn't want that? All players do. Specs: Comes in five lofts (52_¡, 54_¡, 56_¡, 58_¡, 60_¡) with a True Temper DG shaft. nikegolf.com | $109 Ping iWedge Key Feature: Consider it the 2.0 version of the classic Ping Eye2 wedge. A deep multilayer cavity maximizes forgiveness, and the sole and shape lend the same outstanding playability that made its predecessor famous. What We Like: Variable bounce angles and machined U-grooves enable customized control. The slight offset helps make shotmaking easier and helps control the ballflight. Who It's For: Tour pros and casual golfers can't go wrong here. Specs: Comes in six lofts (50_¡, 52_¡, 54_¡, 56_¡, 58_¡, 60_¡) in steel or graphite shafts. pinggolf.com | $125-$150

Ping Tour-W Key Feature: A dense tungsten toe weight and Custom Tuning Port increase the club's MOI. What We Like: The options. It comes in 13 different configurations and two different finishes (brushed silver and black chrome nickel), both of which make this wedge look and feel really sweet. Who It's For: With 13 loft and bounce configurations available, there's a perfect Tour-W wedge for everyone. Specs: Comes in seven lofts (47_¡, 50_¡, 52_¡, 54_¡, 56_¡, 58_¡, 60_¡) with a variety of bounce angles and shaft options. pinggolf.com | $125 Scratch Wedges Key Feature: Depending on your personal taste, Scratch can custom-build you a Japan-forged wedge with your preferred head shape, sole grind, finish, shaft, etc. What We Like: Each wedge head is a work of art. Aside from their custom dept., there are five models to choose from, each with unique attributes. Who It's For: Golfers who want a premium wedge made with surgical-like precision for total short-game control. Specs: Comes in a variety of shapes and sole grinds, as well as custom options. scratchgolf.com | Custom Order Solus Tour 7.1 Key Feature: The Tour 7.1 design features subtle changes to the leading edge, toe area and trailing edge to deliver what world-class players are looking for in a wedge. What We Like: It's not as forgiving as the 4.1 on off-center hits because there's no perimeter weighting. It incorporates a slightly higher initial bounce angle to impart more spin and control. Who It's For: Better players who like a soft-feeling, blade-style wedge. Specs: Comes in six lofts (47_¡-61_¡) with a True Temper steel shaft. solusgolf.com | $129

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