2011 Buyer’s Guide Wedges

The most versatile clubs in your bag
No matter how good you get at this finicky game, on occasion, the golf course will win, and you'll find yourself in the deep rough, off the green, in the sand or worse. On these occasions, your wedges can rise to the occasion, often helping you turn an unfortunate result into a quick stroke saver. That's not to say wedges are just for shots outside the fairway; they're equally critical on the fairway, as well. It's the wedge that will help you shoot lower scores around the green and make up for any mistakes you may have made with other clubs. And the better you get with your wedges, the more your putter will appreciate it. Let's look at some of the year's best.

Golf Tips Legend

Our picks for new technologies, hot trends and equipment standouts. s = steel g = graphite

Adams Tom Watson

Great Buy!Key Feature: Improved for 2011 with generous sole widths bearing a performance grind that prevents digging into the turf. What We Like: The black nickel finish is a nice touch, especially on sunny days when it mutes all glare. Each wedge seems to produce plenty of spin, as well. These are a great choice for steep swingers, and the price is hard to beat when it comes to finding some good, solid wedges. Who It's For: All golfers who want the benefits of a generous sole width (they dig less). Specs: Available in lofts of 50_¡, 52_¡, 54_¡, 56_¡, 58_¡, 60_¡ and 64_¡, with various bounces. adamsgolf.com | $69 Bobby Jones Wedge

Versatile WonderKey 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. In other words, it's indestructible, and the grooves last a long, long time. What We Like: The ball-grabbing, milled, Diamond Pattern face texture is useful, and the club's heavier weight helps you swing smoother. It has a real pendulum-like feel. Who It's For: Fans of renowned scientist/golf instructor, Dave Pelz, who helped design it. Specs: Comes in five lofts, 48_¡, 52_¡, 56_¡, 60_¡ and 64_¡ with steel shafts. bobbyjonesgolf.net| $109 Boccieri Heavy Wedge

TrendsetterKey Feature: All models are now marked with "TC" to indicate Tour-conforming grooves. New loft/bounce combinations include the 5411 (54_¡ loft, 11_¡ bounce) and 5808 (58_¡ loft, 8_¡ bounce). What We Like: The slightly heavier back weighting aims to help smooth your backswing-to-forwardswing transition and help square the clubface at impact. As for feel, the added weight really makes it easier to hit pitch shots from 50-80 yards away. Who It's For: Mid- to high-handicappers. Specs: Available in lofts of 52_¡, 54_¡, 56_¡, 58_¡ and 60_¡, with various bounces. boccierigolf.com | $109 Callaway Jaws X CC

Editors' PickKey Feature: The new version of last year's popular wedge now features 21 tightly spaced Tour CC grooves that meet the Condition of Competition on Tour. What We Like: Offered in two finishes and new bounce/loft combinations, it has a versatile C-Grind sole and classic head shape, and gives you a nice Tour-level feel. Furthermore, these wedges have a clean, compact look and feel, which make hitting shots from the rough easier. Who It's For: All golfers. Specs: Available in lofts of 52_¡, 54_¡, 56_¡, 58_¡ and 60_¡, with various bounces. callawaygolf.com | $119 s/$139 g Cleveland CG16

Editors' PickKey Feature: Laser-milled face has consistent roughness that maximizes spin. What We Like: It's a cavity-back, so it has a deep CG and high MOI for forgiveness and stability. Plus, there's a reason Cleveland leads the wedge market–this model's as playable as they come. It has a size that appeals to higher-handicappers and a feel and versatility that better players will appreciate. Who It's For: All golfers. Specs: Available in lofts of 46_¡, 48_¡, 50_¡, 52_¡, 54_¡, 56_¡, 58_¡, 60_¡, 62_¡ and 64_¡, with various bounces. clevelandgolf.com | $119 Edel S3 Max

Players OnlyKey Feature: The company's wedge-fitting system, designed by renowned teaching pro Mike Adams, matches a player's unique swing tendencies to an ideal wedge set. What We Like: Everything's hand-ground to your exact specs, including bounce angle and width, sole width, camber, radius, head weight, groove specifications, loft, lie, shaft flex, shaft weight, club length, grip size, and custom aesthetics. Wow, do these look cool or what? Who It's For: Serious golfers with a large budget who want a custom set of wedges. Specs: Whatever you can dream up. edelgolf.com | $150-$350 F2 Golf F2 SS

Forgiveness SupremeKey Feature: It's not hard to figure this one out. Once you hold the wedge, you'll see the Face Forward technology and virtually shank-proof hosel. 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. It's also a champ when hitting from the deep rough! Who It's For: Golfers who not only want to stop hitting shanked shots, but also want to use a really forgiving wedge from the sand or the rough. Specs: Comes in five lofts (48__, 52_¡, 56_¡, 60_¡, 64__) with either a steel or graphite shaft. f2golf.com | $99-$119 Fourteen MT-28 V5 T.S.

Players OnlyKey Feature: Has an additional groove between the sole and blade portion, which moves the CG higher for more precise shots. What We Like: Offered in two soles–the flat "H" for versatility and control, and the "M" with a ridge on the bottom center of the sole that optimizes bounce. It looks good with the face open, too. We also like the "Mirror-Face Milling," meaning that the trapezoidal grooves do wonders for adding bite around the greens. Who It's For: Low- to mid-handicappers who want a precision instrument around the greens. Specs: Available in 48-62_¡. fourteengolf.com | $250 Infiniti IP-3 Pro

Beauty & BrawnKey Feature: A precision-milled flat face produces maximum spin and check. 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. With this club, no type of shot around the green is off the table. High or low pitches and chips are a piece of cake. Who It's For: Better players who crave touch, feel, spin and versatility when playing from a variety of turf conditions. Specs: Comes in three lofts (51_¡, 56_¡, 60_¡) with a variety of shaft options. infinitigolf.com | $89 Miura K Grind

Players OnlyKey Feature: The K Grind wedge is ground by hand to exact specifications. Its unique design helps in cutting through rough and wet sand, not to mention it performs exceptionally from the short stuff too. What We Like: It looks fantastic, which we've come to expect from every Miura club. As for the "knuckle-like" sole design, we love creativity, and it wouldn't surprise us to see this type of sole grind catch on. Who It's For: All types of players. Specs: Available in 56_¡ with a variety of shaft options to consider. miuragolf.com | $250 Mizuno MP T-11

Versatile WonderKey Feature: It's forged from a special grade of mild carbon steel, for soft and consistent shots. The QUAD-CUT Grooves really add some bite. What We Like: Generates plenty of spin, thanks to the high-spin grooves plus the milled face that heightens surface roughness. The 360_¡ sole grind shaping makes it easy to play this wedge from a square or open lie. The thin topline yields the look and feel that better players will want come time to shape shots around the greens. Who It's For: Better players. Specs: Available in lofts of 50_¡, 52_¡, 54_¡, 56_¡, 58_¡, 60_¡ and 64_¡, with various bounces. mizunousa.com | $119 Nike Golf VR V-Rev

Versatile WonderKey Feature: The Dual Sole design offers easy shotmaking in multiple playing conditions. Comes in two finishes, satin or a black satin that will rust over time for even more spin production. What We Like: You'll strike the ball more solidly with its versatile sole. Also, because the wedge is made from 8620 carbon steel, it has a softer, more buttery feel than 17-4 stainless steel. The black satin absorbed light really well. Who It's For: Golfers who want maximum spin and increased shot control. Specs: Available in lofts of 52_¡, 54_¡, 56_¡, 58_¡ and 60_¡, with various bounces. nikegolf.com | $131 Nike Golf VR Pro Forged

Players OnlyKey Feature: There are 20 X3X high-frequency grooves on the clubface that make contact with the ball at impact, for better ball control. Between the grooves is a laser diagonal cross-hatch etching pattern for a better surface texture. What We Like: It's forged, so it feels terrific. And it's offered in satin chrome or brushed black ox raw finish that will rust. Once again, this wedge has the compact rounded shaping and versatile sole grind. Love it! Who It's For: Better players. Specs: Available in lofts of 48_¡, 50_¡, 52_¡, 54_¡, 56_¡, 58_¡ and 60_¡, with various bounces. nikegolf.com | $119 Ping iWedge

Forgiveness SupremeKey Feature: Consider it the newer version of the 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. Take our word for it, this is an all-around awesome wedge. Okay? Who It's For: All types of golfers. Specs: Comes in six lofts (50_¡, 52_¡, 54_¡, 56_¡, 58_¡, 60_¡) in steel or graphite shafts. pinggolf.com | $125-$150 Ping Tour-S

Players OnlyKey Feature: The machined face and grooves on the compact clubhead help optimize spin for more versatility and creativity. What We Like: A "Vertical Custom Tuning Port" angles toward the back surface, to increase the perimeter weighting for added forgiveness. And yes, forgiveness is important when it comes to wedges. It's key for consistent distance control. Who It's For: All golfers. Specs: Brushed Silver Chrome version available in 47_¡, 50_¡, 52_¡, 54_¡, 56_¡, 58_¡, 58_¡/TS, 60_¡, 60_¡/TS and 64_¡/TS; Rustique finish available in 52_¡, 56_¡ and 60_¡. pinggolf.com | $130-$157 Scratch 8620

Editors' PickKey Feature: The CNC-milled 8620 wedge is available in up to six different grinds to accommodate just about every type of player. What We Like: The classic teardrop shaping, and the "all bite, no chew" groove technology that generates a ton of spin. The custom three-character stamping is a cool touch, too. We've always wanted our initials and alma mater colors on our wedges, just like the pros have. Who It's For: There are grinds for sweepers, sliders and everyone in between. Specs: Comes in lofts of 53_¡, 56_¡, 58_¡ and 60_¡ in a variety of finishes, grinds, etc. scratchgolf.com | $99 Taylormade TP xFT

TrendsetterKey Feature: You can quickly and easily change the clubface for a fresh set of grooves without having to reacclimate yourself to a new scoring club. What We Like: The thin urethane layer behind the face yields an amazingly soft feel, even on full shots. Also, the shaping of this wedge is Tour-friendly, meaning better players can play a variety of shots just by opening the clubface. Who It's For: Shotmakers. Specs: Available in lofts of 52_¡, 54_¡, 56_¡, 58_¡, 60_¡ and 64_¡ with Dynamic Gold steel shafts. Additional face inserts available, as well. taylormadegolf.com | $129 Titleist Vokey Tour Van

Players OnlyKey Feature: This is part of the company's WedgeWorks Exclusives line, which allows you to create the exact wedge you want, just like Tour pros. It's finished in your choice of Bright Brushed Chrome and Oil Can Zero, both in Bob Vokey's awesome shapes and grinds. What We Like: Customize to your heart's content, including the use of logo, graphics and one of 20 paint-fill colors. Who It's For: All golfers who want the benefit of a well-made, customized wedge. Specs: Available in lofts of 52_¡, 54_¡, 56_¡, 58_¡ and 60_¡, with various bounces. titleist.com | $150-$200 Tour Edge TGS

Versatile WonderKey Feature: The Triple Grind Sole eliminates bounce from the heel and toe, to improve workability in various playing conditions such as sand, rough, hardpan and, of course, fairway. What We Like: It's great-looking and feels really soft thanks to the TPE insert behind the sweet spot. We found that this wedge imparts lots of backspin, too. But that's not our favorite part. This wedge is a screaming good bargain at less than $40. Wow! Who It's For: All golfers. Specs: Available in lofts of 50_¡, 52_¡, 54_¡, 56_¡, 58_¡ and 60_¡ in black carbon or stainless steel. titleist.com | $39-$59 Tour Edge Exotics Xtreme Spin

Versatile WonderKey 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 feels on full swings. Soft and buttery, to say the least. Who It's For: All golfers. Specs: Available in lofts of 50_¡, 52_¡, 54_¡, 56_¡, 58_¡ and 60_¡ in two finishes with steel shafts. touredge.com | $129 Wilson Staff FG Tour

Players OnlyKey Feature: Made with Tour pro input, this wedge has CNC-milled grooves plus an additional milled pattern etched into the face, for more ball control. Underneath, the sole grind lowers the leading edge closer to the ground, making it easier to hit crisp, clean shots with the face opened. What We Like: Nice design and shaping gives you confidence standing over the ball. Who It's For: All golfers who want to score from anywhere. Specs: Available in lofts of 50_¡, 52_¡, 54_¡, 56_¡, 58_¡ and 60_¡ with DG steel shafts. wilsongolf.com | $99 Wedge Mechanics Choosing the right wedge for your game can be difficult, if in fact you don't know what you're looking for. Today, it seems there are enough wedges to accommodate not only every type of shot imaginable, but also every type of player. So, where sh

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