Buyer’s Guide Wedges/Putters

Scoring tools for better scores

CHIP IT CLOSE By Jeff Johnson, PGA

When you're near the edge of the green, you have a good lie, and there's plenty of room for the ball to roll, you want to chip with the 6-iron. It will keep the ball low so that it's in the air for 20% of the time and rolling 80% of the rest. As you already likely know, it's much, much easier to control a ball that's on the ground than one that's in the air.

To ensure that you make the proper contact, place the ball in the back of your stance and your hands forward. This delofts your 6-iron even more, ensuring that the ball stays low. By placing weight on your forward foot, you also help to make a downward strike into the back of the ball. That descending blow pops the ball up and onto the green and gets it rolling right away. A narrow stance encourages less lower-body movement and thus better contact.

Once you have all those setup keys, all you have to do is swing the club back and forth by rocking your shoulders and keeping your wrists firm. Don't hinge your wrists! Don't lift up or feel the need to help the ball into the air by flipping your wrists. Simply rock back and forth while keeping your left wrist firm and let the club do the work.

THE LATEST IN WEDGES is a mixed bag. Not that any of it's bad, it's just that there are so many options to choose from, it's hard to know where to start. To help you, first look at what type of wedge shots you normally hit, which are more difficult/easier for you, and then find a loft/bounce configuration that's best for your skill set. Then, experiment with different styles, sole grinds, whether it's forged, cast, etc. You'll see that wedges, although they may look similar, have subtle differences in shapes and features. Again, start with what's right for your game and then move on from there.

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. 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. Wow Factor: Picking it clean has never been this easy. 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. 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. Wow Factor: Bye-bye chipping yips! Specs: Comes in five lofts (52_¡, 54_¡, 56_¡, 58_¡, 60_¡) with TT Dynamic Gold steel shafts (with counterbalancing). boccierigolf.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 for easy open-faced shots. Who It's For: Golfers who like to hit a variety of shots with or without open faces. Wow Factor: We love that gorgeous copper-color finish. 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 RTX

Key Feature: Generates tight backspin, due to the large U-shaped face grooves that are especially effective from rough, sand and wet grass. Surface roughness is milled into the clubface in a pattern that also induces spin on square or open-faced shots. The sole is wider near the heel, narrower near the toe for more playability. Who It's For: Anyone who wants a blade-style wedge. Wow Factor: The milled and laser-milled Rotex face is the best wedge innovation we've seen in years. Specs: 18 different loft/bounce configurations. (LH avail.) clevelandgolf.com | $119 Cleveland 558 RTX CB

Key Feature: This wedge has the same gnarly laser-milled/milled Rotex face as the above wedge, but in a more friendly cavity-back shape. The undercut cavity adds some perimeter weighting for more forgiveness on mis-hits. Who It's For: It's really a matter of personal preference. Some better players like cavity-back designs in wedges. Wow Factor: We love everything about this wedge. It rocks. Specs: Eight lofts from 46_¡ to 60_¡ in a Satin Chrome or Black Pearl finish, with True Temper Dynamic Gold shafts. (LH available) clevelandgolf.com | $119 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 oversized Big Rusty Trusty version. Who It's For: There's something for everyone here. Higher-handicappers can't miss with the Big model. Wow Factor: The oversized model is sheer awesomeness. Specs: Three finishes (Rust, Black PVD, Satin) that all rust in 50_¡, 55_¡, 60_¡ models with black TT Dynamic Gold shafts. cobragolf.com | $119 Edel Digger

Key Feature: The DGR Grind has a wide sole with a channel scooped out in the mid-sole area parallel to the leading edge. The lower bounce angle on the front edge allows the club to dig through the turf on contact, while the high-bounce trailing edge prevents excessive digging. It's the best of both worlds! Who It's For: Golfers with aggressive and/or steep swings. Wow Factor: Expensive, but they're totally worth it. Specs: Two finishes (Chrome or Black) in every loft from 58_¡ to 64_¡, with custom shafts. edelgolf.com | $195 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 square. 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.) Wow Factor: That hosel is pure genius. Specs: Comes in five lofts (48_¡, 52_¡, 56_¡, 60_¡, 64_¡) with either a steel or graphite shaft. f2golf.com | $99/$119 Fourteen RM-12

Key Feature: Large trapezoidal grooves impart exceptional spin and rotational speed on the ball. The sole is rounded at the heel and toe with no rear portion, allowing golfers to open and close the face in all lofts–except the 60-degree model, which has a twin sole. Who It's For: All player types. Wow Factor: The sole design is great for open-faced shots. Specs: Seven lofts from 48_¡ to 60_¡ in a nickel chrome non-plated half-matte finish, with True Temper Dynamic Gold or Nippon NS Pro 950GH HT shaft. fourteengolf.com | $185 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. Wow Factor: The sole design is Tour-worthy. Specs: Comes in three lofts (51_¡, 56_¡, 60_¡) with a variety of shaft options available. fourteengolf.com | $89 Miura New Wedge Series

Key Feature: Known for it's extraordinary forgings, the latest wedge from Miura has progressive offset on the lower-lofted models and slight onset on the 57_¡ and 59_¡ models. This means maximum playability, folks. 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 and work great. Wow Factor: We're afraid to get 'em dirty, they're so classy! Specs: Comes in five lofts (51_¡, 53_¡, 55_¡, 57_¡, 59_¡) with a nickel (satin) chrome finish and a steel shaft. miuragolf.com | $235 Mizuno MP-T4

Key Feature: Generates loads of backspin to help shots hone in on the flagstick. The "Grain Flow" forged, mild carbon steel feels soft at impact, while precision and proprietary "Quad Cut" face grooves enhance spin and trajectory. They deliver increased spin and a lower launch at impact. Who It's For: Typically, better players. But we won't tell. Wow Factor: Luke Donald plays this model, and helped design it. Considering his short game, we're sold. Specs: Six lofts from 50_¡ to 60_¡ in White Satin or Black Nickel finish, with True Temper DG Spinner shafts. (LH available) mizunogolf.com | $129 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. 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. Wow Factor: Nike hit a home run here. Trust us. Specs: Platinum finish with lofts between 48_¡ and 62_¡ with TT Dynamic Gold steel shafts. nikegolf.com | $89 Orlimar TourGroove

Key Feature: A 1025 soft carbon forged clubhead wedge couples soft feel with control. USGA-conforming grooves offer control when hitting shots that need to hop and stop on the green. Who It's For: Golfers on a budget who still want a decent wedge from a well-known brand. Wow Factor: We really like the flowing curves and edges on this simple, but solid-performing wedge. Specs: Available in three loft/bounce combinations: 52_¡/8_¡, 56_¡/12_¡, 60_¡/6_¡, with True Temper Dynamic Gold shafts. orlimar.com | $99 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 wow! Who It's For: Golfers who want the best wedge PING has ever made. Duh! (Suitable for all skill levels.) Wow Factor: Best PING wedge to date. Ever. Amazing! Specs: Comes in a variety of lofts (50_¡ - 60_¡) in satin-nickel or chrome finishes with 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. Who It's For: All skill levels will find something to appreciate. Wow Factor: Great feel and also quite forgiving. Specs: Two finishes and a wide variety of loft/bounce configurations, in either steel or graphite shafts. (LH) ping.com | $119 Ping Tour

Key Feature: Available in three sole-width options that lend versatility from any lie. Precision-milled "Gorge" face grooves hold tight manufacturing tolerances, to help maximize backspin Traditional head shape. Who It's For: All golfer types. Just choose the right model. Wow Factor: What a beautiful wedge. In every single way. Specs: Seven lofts in a variety of configurations of three sole designs: (TS) for firm conditions and shallow approaches, standard (SS) for all playing conditions, and wide (WS) for hitting from softer sand and turf. ping.com | $140-$167 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 RocketBladez

Key Feature: Its "All Terrain Versatility" sole TaylorMade

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