Wedges Buyer's Guide 2007

Known as the most versatile club in the bag, the wedge is a bona fide score saver

Wedges 2007There’s a reason why the distance from within 100 yards is called the scoring zone. It’s the “make it or break it” area, where a great wedge shot can redeem a bad drive or poor approach to the green. Any miscue from this zone is considered an unforced error that should have been avoided (especially from the fairway). So, what’s that mean? Choosing the right wedges can be the difference between one or more strokes on any given hole! To start, it’s important to find a wedge that matches your needs, and luckily, if you’re in the market for game-improvement models, ’07 is chockfull of new choices.

Sole Patrol
The wider the sole, the less the club digs into the ground, making it easier to get the ball out of thick rough and sand. As for the angle of the sole relative to the ground, that’s called the “bounce angle.” High bounce angles work well in soft areas and vice versa. aebg07opener-wedges-tech.jpg

What’s more frustrating than a shanked pitch? Doing it twice. Thankfully, wedges like the new f2 Plus feature innovative technologies to help prevent shanks. In this case, the neck is located away from the leading edge to promote a hosel-less hit.

Cavity Search
Cavities aren’t just for irons anymore, as a whole bunch of new wedges prove that forgiveness is still very important to most golfers. That doesn’t mean these wedges aren’t versatile, as some combine a cavity with tour grind soles to allow for remarkable playability.

Know Your Specs
What goes into choosing the right wedge? Knowing what you need and what kind of courses you play on. First, start with deciding between a cavity-back or traditional blade or one of the new non-traditional shapes. Second, look at the material and decide whether chromed, satin or unchromed looks best to you. Third, decide on grooves and face textures (this is the important factor when it comes to spin). And finally, make sure you pick the correct loft/bounce configuration. Often, the difference between your pitching wedge and a sand wedge is several degrees of loft, so a lower-lofted gap wedge is needed to fill the “gap.”

As for actual sand wedges, high-lofted/low-bounce models tend to be better suited for skilled wedge players or those who play on firm courses, while moderately lofted/mid-to-high-bounce models tend to suit the recreational player who plays on normal to soft conditions throughout the year.

Understanding Our Charts
Features: The primary design elements that make the wedge noteworthy.
Advantages: How the primary design elements are meant to elevate the performance of the club.
Benefits: A general recommendation as to which skill level or player type would best be served by the model in question.
What We Like: We have our preferences, too. A quick description of what impressed us in our review and testing.
Lineup: The other wedge models available from the manufacturer.
Clubhead: The primary material from which the club is either forged or cast, usually a form of stainless or carbon steel. There are two basic designs: cavity-back or blade.
Clubface: Indicates the material used for the strike area.
Design: Here you’ll find whether the club is forged or cast, and its general shape. Basically, wedges fall into two shape categories—blades or cavity-backs.
Size: Three sizes listed—standard, midsize and oversize.
Clubs: Lists the loft/bounce combinations available in the line and whether or not the clubs are available for lefties.
Shafts: These are the stock graphite and steel shaft offerings from the manufacturer.

Adams Puglielli
(800) 622-0609 | $119

w-adams-puglielli.jpgThe brain child of veteran club builder Max Puglielli, this self-named wedge is designed with the low-handicapper in mind. Featuring CNC-milled grooves and a Fly-Cut face for superior flatness, consistency and improved spin around the green, this wedge performs well.
Features: The Puglielli design affords golfers the choice between two wedges based on their swing characteristics (steep or sweeping).
Advantages: One of the top wedges for players who like to open or close the face at address.
Benefits: The better player will appreciate the effectiveness of the club’s design subtleties.
What We Like: The high-polish finish and multiple loft/bounce options make this wedge a winner.
Lineup: Puglielli Wedges, Tom Watson Wedges
Clubhead: Stainless steel
Clubface: Same Design: Cast blade
Size: Standard
Clubs: 52°/7° GW; 54°/15°, 56°/12° SW; 58°/12° LW; 60°/8° LW (no LH)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold steel (S)
Bridgestone WC Design
(800) 359-6319 | $120

w-Bridgestone-WC-Design.jpgRecently Bridgestone opened a West Coast Design unit, and the WC Design represents their first wedge offering.
Features: The WC was named for Bridgestone’s new West Coast Design outfit. The wedges were produced with feedback from Tour players.
Advantages: It’s made of 8620 carbon steel, so you know it’s soft. The milled U-Grooves are constructed to the USGA maximum spin rate and produce higher and more consistent spin from all kinds of lies.
Benefits: Bridgestone’s Variable Bounce Technology creates a sole with less bounce in the heel and toe, providing more shotmaking versatility.
What We Like: Stuart Appleby advised Bridgestone during the design process.
Lineup: WC Design, J33 Black Satin Forged, J33 Forged
Clubhead: 8620 Carbon steel
Clubface: Same
Design: Cast blade
Size: Standard
Clubs: 52°/9.5°, 54°/11.5° GW; 56°/12° SW; 60°/10.5°
Shafts: Dynamic Gold Wedge steel (wedge)

Ben Hogan Apex
(866) 834-6532 | $135

w-ben-hogan-apex.jpgThanks to a refined tail-end sole grind, classic shape and the maximum allowable groove width, the Apex wedges deliver championship-caliber performance.
Features: Slight offset is handy to prevent slicing with irons, but on wedges, it appeals to a skilled player looking for total shotmaking and trajectory control from various distances.
Advantages: The deep grooves and Tour-inspired sole design help to spin the ball not only from perfect lies, but also from the rough and sand.
Benefits: Although designed with the aid of Tour pros, these wedges will help any player.
What We Like: The Apex 5208 gap wedge performs like a sand wedge, but with the distance of a pitching wedge.
Lineup: Apex, Colonial, Carnoustie, Riviera
Clubhead: Carbon steel
Clubface: Same
Design: Forged blade
Size: Standard
Clubs: 52°/8° GW; 56°/12° SW; 60°/6° LW
Shafts: Ben Hogan Apex steel (wedge)
Callaway X-Tour
(800) 588-9836 | $135-$150

w-callaway-x-tour.jpgRenowned clubmaker Roger Cleveland designed these traditional forged wedges for Phil Mickelson.
Features: Forged carbon-steel construction, special PM (Phil Mickelson) grind and “Mack Daddy” grooves complement the Tour-inspired head shape (available in either Satin Chrome or Vintage finishes).
Advantages: Carbon-steel construction provides exceptional feel while the sole grind and unique groove design makes the X-Tour extremely versatile, particularly for better players. Improved head shape provides confidence.
Benefits: Better players who like to open and close the clubface to execute a variety of shots.
What We Like: Any wedge designed by Roger Cleveland. The Vintage finish is a nice touch, too.
Lineup: Forged+, X-Tour.
Clubhead: Carbon steel
Clubface: Same
Design: Forged blade
Size: Standard
Clubs: Eight loft and bounce configurations (available LH)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold steel (wedge)
Cleveland 588 RS
(800) 999-6263 | $119-$128

w-Cleveland-588-RS.jpgA new 60-degree wedge designed for extra help escaping from the sand.
Features: A low center of gravity and large, wide “recovery sole” helps launch sand shots out of every type of lie.
Advantages: Its wide sole helps the club cut through the sand and eliminates digging. Since it’s so easy to escape from bunkers with the 588 RS, golfers will feel more confident when their ball ends up in the bunker.
Benefits: As a game-improvement club, the 588 RS is designed for higher handicappers or folks who just can’t get the hang of bunker play.
What We Like: Its wide sole combined with its 60-degree loft.
Lineup: CG11 BP, CG11, CG10, CG10 BP 588, 588 DSG, 588 RS, 588 GunMetal.
Clubhead: Carbon steel
Clubface: Same
Design: Cast cavity back
Clubs: 60°/8° (available LH)
Shafts: True Temper Dynalite steel (wedge)
Cleveland 588 DSG
(800) 999-6263 | $110

w-cleveland-588-dsg.jpgThe original 588 is still considered by most golfers and club designers to be the industry benchmark. However, Cleveland’s R&D staff has been hard at work bringing the timeless design into the 21st century.
Features: Arguably the most popular wedge shape of all time is left intact, but now features a unique Dynamic Sole Grind that’s designed to allow the leading edge of the club to remain closer to the ground when the club is laid open at address.
Advantages: Gives players greater versatility. Benefits: Accomplished players who demand the ability to open and close the clubface.
What We Like: Innovative idea, same great design.
Lineup: CG11 BP, CG11, CG10, CG10 BP 588, 588 DSG, 588 GunMetal
Clubhead: Carbon steel
Clubface: Same
Design: Cast blade
Size: Standard
Clubs: 54°/12° GW; 56°/14°, 58°/10° SW; 60°/3° LW (available LH)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold steel (wedge); Cleveland graphite (wedge)


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