2012 Buyer’s Guide Wedges

This year, get up and down...every time

WEIGHT ON YOUR FORWARD SIDE, AND BALL BACK IN YOUR STANCE By Bobby Hinds, PGA

Why? Simple. Keeping your weight predominantly on your forward side with the ball back in your stance (toward the target) helps to ensure a steeper downward blow into the ball. This prevents fat and thin shots and helps you make consistent contact with the ball. Also, keeping your weight leaning toward the target helps maintain a consistent impact position, which will help you better control your shots and gauge different distances. As for the ball position, I like to play my shots just off the inside of my back toe. But you may prefer it slightly farther back or slightly farther forward. It's okay to be flexible, but try to keep it consistent. And stay away from placing the ball too far forward in your stance. If you move it forward, you'd better be ready to hit a flop or lob shot–which is a different lesson for a different day.

VIRTUALLY EVERY NEW WEDGE FOR 2012 promises to help you improve your short game and get up and down more often. While we don't disagree, we think finding wedges that suit your game is critical. Stick with the right lofts, bounce angles, even shafts that are best suited for your swing and you'll already be ahead of the game. And like new wedges for this year, look for a handful of forged wedges that promise a soft, buttery feel. If that's not your forte, there are wedges for distance (yes, there are), forgiveness and, frankly, all the above. Read on and take note of our favorites.

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Golf Tips Legend

Black Magic Wedge

Key Feature: A unique "no hosel" hybrid design that eliminates shanked shots and makes it a piece of cake to extricate the ball from the sand. No need to hit behind the ball and dig into the sand before the ball. With this wedge, picking it clean is as easy as can be. Who It's For: People who want to eliminate shanked shots and who tend to be too steep in the sand. This wedge makes it easier than ever to get up and out of the sand and from the deep rough. Specs: Four lofts (48°, 52°, 56°, 60°) in steel shafts. blackmagicwedge.com | $99 Boccieri Heavy wedge

Key Feature: The counterbalancing raises the balance point up the shaft by 37%, making it easier to make a smooth, fluid swing through the ball. And hey, feel is no-where as important as it pertains to the short game. These wedges can help smoothen out your chipping yips. Who It's For: Golfers who want a wedge that not only looks and feels great, but fixes their swing at the same time. It's impossible to not swing these wedges smoothly. Specs: Comes in five lofts (52°, 54°, 56°, 58°, 60°) with TT Dynamic Gold steel shafts (with counterbalancing). boccierigolf.com | $109 Bridgestone J40

Key Feature: A variable-bounce sole, that has a lower bounce angle toward the heel and toe. This makes it eas-ier to hit crafty shots with open and even closed clubfaces. We love the two finishes (Black Oxide and Satin), and can't help but marvel at the craftsmanship found in this simple, smooth wedge design. Who It's For: Better players who want a wedge that has a lot of versatility, but retains a soft, forged feel. Specs: Five lofts (52°, 54°, 56°, 58°, 60°) with TT Dynamic Gold Spinner shafts. bridgestonegolf.com | $109 Callaway Forged

Key Feature: Twenty-one tightly spaced grooves generate a ton of spin (within conforming rules, by the way), and the classic shaping by Roger Cleveland lends all the shotmaking playability one could ask for. The C-Grind sole reduces surface contact near the sole, making it a cinch to hit open-faced shots. And, wow, we love the copper finish. Who It's For: Golfers who like to hit a variety of shots with or without open faces. Specs: Six lofts from 52° to 64° in a Copper or Dark Chrome finish with TT Dynamic Gold shafts. (LH available) callawaygolf.com | $120 Cleveland 558

Key Feature: Holy Schnikes, these are nice! The new, forged 588 wedges incorporate a classic shape with milled Tour Zip Grooves in what, no doubt, are the best wedges ever from Cleveland (and they know wedges, by the way). Who It's For: Golfers who want a versatile, beautiful wedge that also yields a penetrating ballflight. Specs: Available in a huge variety of lofts (46° through 64°) in three bounce options. Also, the 588 can be customized with a personalized look and feel. How cool is that? Hop on to mycustomwedge.com to order online. clevelandgolf.com | $139 Cleveland GG Black

Key Feature: Need a boost in distance and forgiveness with the shorter shots? The CG Black wedge might be just the ticket. The Ti face enhances the perimeter weighting, and the deep cavity makes these as long and easy to hit as any wedge we've tried. Add the fact that they're lightweight, and you have a wedge that bombs the ball. Who It's For: Players who need a boost in distance, trajectory and forgiveness and who like graphite shafts. Specs: Comes in four lofts (48°, 52°, 56°, 60°) with Miyazaki C. Kua 95 graphite or Nippon N.S. Pro 950 GH steel shafts. clevelandgolf.com | $139/$149 Cobra Trusty Rusty

Key Feature: Phil Rogers is back with an awesome new design that features a tri-bounce sole for versatility and control. But really, what gets us excited is the rusty finishes (you can actually buy one with rust on it) and the new oversized Big Rusty Trusty version. We love that concept! Oh, and the black steel shaft is rockin' cool. Who It's for: There's something for everyone here. Higher-handicappers can't miss with the Big model. Specs: Three finishes (Rust, Black PVD, Satin) that all rust in 50°, 55°, 60° models with black TT Dynamic Gold shafts. cobragolf.com | $120 Edel Tour Wedges

Key Feature: Everything about the new Tour Wedges is about customization. With up to eight bounce angles and a ton of loft variations, if you can dream it, the geniuses at Edel can build it. They'll even get you fit for the wedge that's perfect for your game. Just take it from us. Mike Adams knows exactly what he's doing when it comes to making sure the CG is in the center of the face. Who It's For: Golfers who want a custom-fit wedge that oozes craftsmanship and creative design. Specs: Customized in forged or cast models. . edelgolf.com | $varied F2 F2 SS

Key Feature: The anti-shank hosel design uses Face Forward Technology to hit straighter, crisper iron shots. But that's not all; it also helps reduce drag in the sand and deep rough, making it easier to keep the clubface facing in the right direction through the shot. Who It's For: Those who want to eliminate the shanks, as well as golfers willing to try a creative and unique design. They really work! (Just ask Andy North.) Specs: Comes in five lofts (48°, 52°, 56°, 60°, 64°) with either a steel or graphite shaft. f2golf.com | $99/$119 Fourteen RM-11

Key Feature: Bigger grooves (15% bigger than the previous Fourteen wedge) means more spin on short/partial shots around the green. Another cool feature here is the available sole shape (higher lofts have thicker soles) and the "reverse-muscle" head shape that places the CG in the optimal spot on each club, no matter what loft. Who It's For: Better players will like the straightish leading edge and the boost of spin on shorter shots. Specs: Comes in seven lofts (48°-60°) with a nickel-chrome or nonplated black finish. fourteengolf.com | $189 Infinity IP-3 Pro

Key Feature: The face is milled for precision flatness and maximum spin. Also, three holes are drilled out in the toe that reduce toe weight for a more balanced feel across the face (a lot of Tour players do this). The heel grind on this wedge makes it a cinch to hit shots with open faces. Who It's For: Those who want a precision-made, well- balanced wedge in their shotmaking arsenal. Better players will really like the versatility of the sole grind. We sure do! Specs: Comes in three lofts (51°, 56°, 60°) with a variety of shaft options available. infinitigolf.com | $89 Miura C-Grind

Key Feature: Designed with an aggressively shaped heel and toe section (meaning they're made for extreme versatility) and a special "spin welding" hosel structure to ensure a perfectly centered shaft placement. The C-Grind wedges are pure scoring clubs from any type of lie. Who It's For: Fans of legendary craftsmanship, especially when it comes to forged clubs. Miura knows exactly what it's doing when it comes to clubs that feel great. Specs: Comes in three lofts (55°, 57°, 59°) with a nickel (satin) chrome finish and a steel shaft. miuragolf.com | $210 Mizuno MP-R12

Key Feature: The grooves are narrower on lower lofts, and more spaced out on higher lofts, primarily because lower-lofted shots are usually full shots, and higher-lofted wedges are more often used for short shots. All you need to know? They're optimized for maximum spin. Oh, and the rounded shape and narrow sole is ripe for shotmaking. Who It's For: Typically, this type of wedge is geared toward a better player. But, everybody will love 'em. Specs: There are nine lofts between 50° and 64°, with a variety of bounces, and two finishes (satin, black nickel). mizunogolf.com | $119 Nike VR Pro DS Forged

Key Feature: The high-frequency X3X grooves and a laser-etched "X" pattern on the face combine to produce a ton of spin, and the dual sole keeps the leading edge snug with the ground on square or open-faced shots around the green. These are our favorite wedges from Nike yet. Who It's For: Players who want a versatile wedge, no matter what the conditions. The sole has a leading-edge bounce, but the trailing edge is relieved. Specs: Platinum finish with lofts between 48° and 62° with TT Dynamic Gold steel shafts. (LH available) nikegolf.com | $120 Ping Anser

Key Feature: The forged Anser wedge has tungsten in the toe section to balance out with the long hosel, resulting in a CG that's right smack in the middle of the face. Add a tapered sole, a thicker face and, of course, PING's legendary commitment to quality, and you have what we think is the best wedge PING has ever made. Who It's For: Golfers who want the best wedge PING has ever made. Duh! (Suitable for all skill levels.) Specs: Comes in a variety of lofts (50° - 60°) in satin-nickel or chrome finishes in a steel or graphite shaft. (LH) ping.com | $170 Ping Tour-S

Key Feature: The Tour-S is a tech wonder, using a tuning port to enhance the wedge's forgiveness and perimeter weighting (two things not usually associated with wedges) and a machined face for maximum spin. That Rustique finish is awesome, just ask Louis Oosthuizen, who used it to win the British Open. Yeah, now that's validation! Who It's For: All skill levels will find something to appreciate in this tech-savvy design. Specs: Two finishes and a wide variety of loft/bounce configurations, in either steel or graphite shafts. (LH) ping.com | $119 Ping EYE2 XG

Key Feature: Some things never go out of style, and in terms of wedge design, the EYE2 will always be en vogue–even decades after it was designed! Only this time, the wedge faces are milled to new groove specifications, and the head comes in a beautiful nonglare, satin finish. Who It's For: Golfers who love the classic blend of forgiveness, feel and shotmaking versatility from one of the most loved iron designs of all time. Specs: Two lofts (56°, 60°) with a variety of steel shaft options as well as a graphite choice. (LH available) ping.com | $119 Scorgolf Scor 4161

Key Feature: This custom-built has a remarkable 21 different lofts available, from 41° to 61°, and was designed to deliver improved shotmaking performance for your scoring clubs. Look for a higher CG than your typical wedge, which results in a more boring ballflight. Who It's For: Dreamt up as the short-game equivalent of hybrids, these higher-lofted sticks are itching to boot your conventional wedges (even your 9-iron!) out of your bag. Struggle with distance, trajectory and spin? No more! Specs: 21 lofts between 41° and 61°. scorgolf.com | $649/Five Clubs Scratch 8620

Key Feature: The CNC-milled 8620 is made in three ways to accommodate three player types, those who swing steep, just right or shallow. The classic teardrop shape and "all-bite, no-chew" groove technology generates a ton of spin and the slightly rounded leading edge is ideal for the better player who loves to get creative. Who It's For: Golfers who want a wedge that's suited for their type of swing patterns. Specs: Comes in lofts of 53°, 56°, 58°, 60° in a variety of finishes, grinds, shafts, etc. scratchgolf.com | $99 Taylormade ATV

Key Feature: Standing for "All Terrain Versatility," Taylor-Made claims that this wedge can–with only minor adjustments from the golfer–perform superbly from any kind of lie. In other words, it does the dirty work for you. Who It's For: Golfers who want a wedge that performs just as well off hardpan as spongy lies. Its 304 stainless-steel face and microtexture grooves generate nearly as much spin as its highest-spinning wedge. Specs: TaylorMade is manufacturing only 10 loft/lie combos to simplify the wedge-buying process. taylormadegolf.com | $119 Titleist Vokey Design SM4

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