2011 Buyer's Guide Wedges

The most versatile clubs in your bag

This Article Features Photo Zoom
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
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
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
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 should you begin? Let’s look at our own five-step wedge-buying process, geared to help you make the right decision come time to buy a new wedge.

Step 1: Choose The Right Loft
The right loft on your wedge dictates how your wedge shots will fly through the air. Quite simply, more loft means higher shots. But that doesn’t mean everyone is best suited to use high-lofted wedges. In fact, the higher the loft (58° and above), the more difficult the shot becomes. Second, make sure you space your wedges out from the pitching wedge and up, not the other way around. On average, a pitching wedge is about 47-49° in loft, so move up from there in increments of 3-4° degrees. Just don’t make your decisions based on the wedges a guy like Phil Mickelson uses. Because, well, you’re not Phil Mickelson.

Step 2: Find The Right Bounce
Once you narrow down the right lofts, select the right type of bounce angles for both your ability and the types of surfaces you play off the most. The bounce angle is the angle between the leading edge of the wedge and the ground when the wedge is held vertically. If you tend to get steep and hit a lot of fat shots, or if you play on soft conditions, try a wedge with more bounce. This will lift the leading edge off the ground and help prevent fat shots. If you like to play a lot of shots with open faces, or if you play on firmer conditions, a wedge with less bounce may help you. Another reason why higher-lofted wedges are sometimes more difficult to use is that they have lower bounce angles.
Step 3: Decide On Looks And Finishes
How a wedge looks is important. There are compact, midsized and even oversized models. The key is to choose the wedge that best suits your taste. Better players tend to prefer smaller, more compact wedges that can be played a variety of ways. Just remember, when chipping, pitching, or even in the case of full wedge shots, most golfers typically struggle more with loft/bounce issues than they do with finding the sweet spot and hitting it solid. So for you high-handicappers, don’t feel as though you need to limit yourself to big cavity-back designs. Some blade-style wedges might suit you better. Same goes for the better players, but in reverse. Don’t rule out the cavity-backs. Some are exceptional around the green.

Step 4: Decide On The Right Feel And Shaft
Should you choose a cast or forged wedge? There’s really no right answer. Some players like softer, more buttery-feeling wedges so they opt for forged models. Others may like the firmer feel of a cast wedge. Either way, choose a wedge that best matches the set of irons in your bag. And by the way, practically all new wedges have USGA-conforming grooves, but some wedges have different finishes that can affect spin. Ironically, the more a wedge rusts or tarnishes, the more grippy the face gets.

Step 5: Get Custom-Fitted
Most people don’t think about getting their wedges fit, at least, not as often as they do their drivers and irons. But wedges too need some custom-fit love. This includes bending to get specific lofts, custom grinds for versatility and even some manipulation of the wedge’s weight via plugs, removable weights and so on. Furthermore, there are a variety of things to consider—beyond the steel or graphite decision, you also need to factor in how a shaft performs. Getting your wedges custom-fitted is easy to do, and most fitters can get them back to you in a jiffy.


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