2010 Buyer’s Guide Wedges

New groove rules mean new innovations in wedge technology

Golf Tips Legend Our picks for new technologies, hot trends and equipment standouts.

Wedge technology hasn't exactly been at the forefront of our minds in recent years. But, with this year's changes enacted by the USGA that affect the grooves on both irons and wedges, we can't help but wonder what new technologies will be designed to help golfers make the most of grooves that aren't allowed to be as sharp as they used to be. Sure enough, in 2010, we've already seen some models that are designed to counteract the effects of the new groove rules, including milled, laser-cut grooves and even a replaceable face insert to ensure you have clean, sharp grooves as often as possible.

Check out what's new in wedges in 2010 right here.

Adams Tom Watson Key Feature: Its conservative head shape is designed to optimize performance, versatility and forgiveness, while its aggressive box groove volume enhances spin and control. What We Like: It's versatile and can play from any lie. The large clubface and classic teardrop shaping help along those lines, too. Who It's For: Available in both Classic and Players grinds and in satin or chrome finish, it can benefit all golfers. Specs: Available in lofts of 52_¡, 54_¡, 56_¡, 58_¡, 60_¡, 64_¡ and HL (high loft). adamsgolf.com | $99 (set of 3) Bobby Jones Black Nickel Key Feature: Its face is milled from Carpenter 440XH steel, which the company claims is harder and more durable than carbon steel or 17-4 stainless steel. What We Like: Ball- grabbing, milled, Diamond Pattern face texture is useful, and the club's heavier weight helps you swing smoother. Who It's For: Fans of renowned instructor Dave Pelz, who helped design the wedge. Specs: Comes in three lofts (52_¡, 56_¡, 60_¡) with steel shafts. bobbyjonesgolf.net| $149 Bridgestone J38 Black Oxide Key Feature: Precision shaping that aims to replicate the finer hand-ground Tour- level wedges. The Variable Bounce Technology sole has less bounce on the heel and toe, so you can more easily open and close the face. What We Like: It looks awesome with the dark finish, and feels soft– thanks to a CNC-milled clubface that yields consistent distance control, plus extra spin on shorter shots. Who It's For: Shotmakers. Specs: Available in lofts (52_¡, 54_¡, 56_¡, 58_¡, 60_¡) with DG steel shafts. bridgestonegolf.com | $119

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 Series Jaws Key Feature: The aggressive Mack Daddy Grooves produce maximum spin, control and versatility; the forged 1020 carbon steel makes for Tour-level feel. What We Like: The C-shaped sole relieves the heel, toe and trailing edge. It improves turf interaction, allowing you to lay the face open while keeping the leading edge down. Who It's For: All types of players. Specs: Available in lofts of 52_¡, 54_¡, 56_¡, 58_¡, 60_¡ and 64_¡, in either a Soft Milky Chrome or Dark Vintage finish, and choice of steel or graphite shaft. callawaygolf.com | $109 Cleveland CG15 Key Feature: The grooves –your choice of aggressive or nonaggressive –are laser-milled, as is the clubface. This means more surface roughness to optimize ball spin. What We Like: The S sole is wider near the heel and narrow near the toe, which really eases getting out of the bunker without sacrificing your ability to open and close the face. Who It's For: Everyone. Specs: 46_¡, 48_¡, 50_¡, 52_¡, 54_¡, 56_¡, 58_¡, 60_¡, 62_¡ and 64_¡, in various bounce options and four different finishes. clevelandgolf.com | $119 Cleveland CG14 Key Feature: Zip Grooves are large, sharp-edged and precisely milled, which channels more debris at impact than traditional grooves. That means better ball contact and thus spin. What We Like: The lightweight Gelback vibration-damping material in the back cavity creates a soft yet responsive feel. Who It's For: Players who expect optimal spin and distance control. Specs: Available in 46_¡, 48_¡, 50_¡, 52_¡, 54_¡, 56_¡, 58_¡, 60_¡, 62_¡ and 64_¡, in various bounce options and Black Pearl or Chrome finish. clevelandgolf.com | $109 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

Mizuno MP T-10 Key Feature: Grain-flow forged from 1025E "Pure Select" mild carbon steel to provide soft, solid and consistent feel around the greens. What We Like: The Quad Cut grooves are aggressive and consistent, translating to maximum spin control and ball-stopping ability. Who It's For: Any player appreciating classic-looking wedges that lend a great tactile feel. Specs: Comes in 50_¡, 52_¡, 54_¡, 56__, 58_¡, 60_¡ and 64__, in White Satin or Black Satin finish with steel shafts. mizunousa.com | $120 Boccieri Golf Heavy Wedge Key Feature: A 375-gram clubhead is offset by 65 grams in back weight near the butt of the shaft, to move the balance point closer to your body for better control. What We Like: The weighting scheme lets you feel the club all the way through the swing, and prevents you from releasing your wrists early. Who It's For: Less-skilled short-game players who need a little help around the green. Or folks who tend to get too handsy with short shots. Specs: Available in lofts of 52_¡, 56_¡ and 60_¡ with custom heavy-weighted shaft. boccierigolf.com | $110 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 8620 Key Feature: Cast from 8620 stainless steel, this comes in three grinds: The sweeper/slider for those who pick the ball off the ground; the driver/slider for players who take mild divots with their wedges; and the digger/driver for very aggressive and steep swing types. What We Like: Shaping is awesome, and you can dial in the proper sole grind. Who It's For: Any player wanting sole grind options at a competitive price. Specs: 50_¡, 53_¡, 56_¡, 58_¡ and 60_¡, and three sole grinds within each loft. Steel shafts come standard. scratchgolf.com | $99

Scratch Tour Custom 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 Srixon WG-706 Key Feature: U-grooves whose sidewall angle has been reduced by 75 percent, increasing the total groove volume, allowing dirt and grass to channel away from the clubface. If these wedges don't help you stick the pin, nuthin' will. What We Like: The classic shape and soft carbon steel from which it's constructed. That results in tons of spin. Who It's For: It comes in seven different loft/bounce configurations. There's a WG-706 for everyone. Specs: Comes in six lofts (50_¡-60_¡) with True Temper DG shafts. srixon.com | $169 Taylormade TP xFT Key Feature: You can quickly and easily change the clubface, alternating between aggressive and nonaggressive grooves. Or just swap out when the face wears down to keep face roughness fresh. What We Like: The thin urethane layer behind the clubface yields an amazingly soft feel, even on full shots. Who It's For: Anyone who wants to keep the wedge for a long time while having the ability to freshen up the face. Specs: Available in lofts of 52_¡, 54_¡, 56_¡, 58_¡, 60_¡ and 64_¡ with DG steel shafts. taylormadegolf.com | $129 Titleist Spin Milled Tour Chrome Key Feature: The profile has been precisely created using CAD to blend the size, shape, topline thickness and offset from loft to loft. Face and Spin Milled grooves are CNC machine cut. What We Like: What's not to like? They look timeless and perform consistently. Who It's For: Everyone. The C-C model is for those who need to abide by the new groove rules. Specs: 48_¡, 50_¡, 52_¡, 54_¡, 56_¡, 58_¡, 60_¡, 62_¡ and 64_¡, in three bounce options, three finishes, two groove types and choice of grind. titleist.com | $130 Exotics Xtreme Spin Tour Key Feature: A milled 1.5mm-thin forged face is backed by a core that's filled with a thermal plastic elastomer. What We Like: A removable weight screw in the back allows you to adjust the swing weight to your preferred feel, weight and performance. Not to mention it's easier and more consistent to use than lead tape. We also liked the way this wedge felt on full swings. Soft and buttery, to say the least. Who It's For: All player types. Specs: Available in 50_¡, 52_¡, 54_¡, 56_¡, 58_¡ and 60_¡, in various bounce options. touredge.com | $129 Wilson Tw9 Key Feature: Aggressive Tour-milled grooves produce shot-stopping spin. What We Like: The elastomeric coating in the milled recessed areas on the rear translates to a softer impact across the entire face. It's also among the most technologically driven wedges we've seen, and one of the best looking, too. Who It's For: Golfers looking for a midpriced alternative to other popular wedge brands. Specs: Available in 48_¡, 50_¡, 52_¡, 54_¡, 56_¡, 58_¡ and 60_¡, in two finishes, with True Temper DG steel. wilsongolf.com | $129 Groove Concerns

What does 2010 mean for you as far as grooves are concerned? It depends. If you play on the PGA Tour and/or compete in USGA events that choose to adopt the new Conditions of Competition, the rules stipulate that all competitors must play with irons and wedges that meet the latest standard in groove changes. This means, the current groove guidelines are less sharp and grabby, making it more difficult to spin the ball (from the rough, as the USGA mostly alludes to). The USGA feels this dulling down of groove edges will affect the better player to a greater degree than the average player, but we don't agree with that entirely. We amateurs for the most part appreciate any spin we can get around the greens. With grooves that aren't as sharp as they used to be, the new rules certainly aren't going to help us either.

But all these groove rules (with exception to the PGA Tour) are down the road anyway, right? Well, not really. Check this out. As mentioned twice already,

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