2014 Buyer's Guide Wedges

Have a look at some of our favorite wedges for 2014

Labels: Buyers GuideWedges
Total Forgiveness
Black Magic Golf
Black Magic Wedge
Key Features: A unique hybrid design—the hosel is attached to the clubhead body and not the clubface—that eliminates shanked shots and makes it a cinch to extricate the ball from the sand. No need to hit behind the ball and dig into the sand before the ball.
Wow Factor: We're amazed at how picking the ball clean is so freakin' easy with this wedge, especially in the rough and sand.
Specs: Four lofts (48°, 52°, 56°, 60°) in a steel shaft.
blackmagicgolf.com | $99
Cleveland Golf
Smart Sole
Key Features: This two-wedge system includes an S model for easy bunker escapes and a C model for consistent greenside chips. Cleveland's widest wedge sole helps prevent excess digging in both turf and sand, promoting solid contact from every lie.
Wow Factor: We love these chippers intended for all skill levels. Regardless of how consistent or otherwise your short game is, these wedges will help you improve, and they will boost your confidence around the green by preventing chilly-dips.
Specs: Available in lofts of 42° (C model) and 58° (S model), with a Traction Wedge flex steel or Cleveland Wedge flex graphite shaft.
clevelandgolf.com | $99

Find Sand!

Mid-length bunker shots are tricky, but remember a slightly fat shot is usually better than a thinned one. You'll likely still get the ball out of the sand, even if it means coming up a little short. A thinned shot? That can end up anywhere! So don't be afraid to hit some sand, no matter what bunker you're in. Use it to your advantage, and be aggressive!


By Frank O'Connell, PGA, Photos By Ryan Noll

One of the more
common flaws I see in chipping is poor weight management. Often, I see my students try to chip by emulating miniature full swings, where they shift their weight to their right side on the backswing and then over to their left on the forwardswing. Now that may be the kind of weight management you want with a full swing, but with chipping, the more stable you are at setup, impact and the finish, the more likely you're going to make crisp, consistent contact with the golf ball.

To improve your chipping weight management, I recommend you keep your weight at what I call "60/40" during your chipping stroke. This means keeping 60% of your weight on your left side and 40% on your right side from start to finish. To maximize the potential of the 60/40, your swing will be a little steeper than normal, which in the case of chipping is a good thing. If you try and keep the club low to the ground, you'll likely get caught up in the grass and hit a lot of fat and/or skulled chips. We don't want that! Just remember, 60/40 doesn't exactly mean placing a big majority of your weight on your left side. In the photos, it still looks like my weight is fairly evenly balanced, doesn't it? If you overdo it and place too much weight on your left side, you'll get too steep and/or you'll inadvertently shift to your right side, again, causing all sorts of problems with consistent contact.

A great drill to practice the 60/40 Swing is to take a 2x4, a headcover or even a book and place it just outside your right foot in the back of your stance. Hit a few chips, and be sure you don't hit the wood on the backswing or on the downswing. Having that obstacle not only will steepen your swing a bit, but it will force you to keep your 60/40 weight scheme throughout the stroke.

The key to better chipping is to minimize excessive weight shifting and swinging a little steeper than you're used to. Do that, and you'll start dialing in better chips in no time.

Frank O'Connell, PGA, teaches at Paradise Valley Golf Course in Paradise Valley, Arizona. Get more information at paradisevalleygc.com.


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