Though the industry seems to have taken a year off from the 2019 wedges parade, we did find a couple new short game sticks from two well-known companies that are worth a look, along with the new Indi ATK Grind Wedge that earned an Editor’s Pick, and the new Ben Hogan Black Equalizer wedge.
Created for better players, The XW-1 Wedges feature Bridgestone’s proprietary, new Biting Rail Milled grooves the company says leads to more spin on approach and greenside recovery shots. Each of the wedges is made from forged 1020 mild carbon steel.
“We can’t touch the grooves because they have to conform (to USGA rules) but we can do is change the groove pattern,’’ said Zack Kupperbusch, Golf Club Marketing Manager for Bridgestone Golf. “So when you look at it really close, you notice little parallel rails between each groove. What that does is keep the ball on the face a little bit longer and increases spin. Our testing show between 250 and 300 increased spin greenside. If we can get that much more spin without touching the grooves so we can remain conforming, it’s pretty exciting."
Kupperbusch also points to more variety in the sole grind department. “We’re getting away with a single sole grind for all models. On the new 50-degree, there’s what we call the “F” grind, very flat with little heel or toe grind. With that wedge we assume you’re not going to be opening the face, up, hitting from the fairway. We want it to be as stable as possible. In the 56 degree there’s the A grind; you may have short-sided yourself, may be in the bunker or just in a situation where you have to open the face a bit. All other lofts have the M sole — the same heel grind as the 56, but also a toe grind to reduce the surface area of the sole and smooth out the turf interaction, do what you need to do on a wide variety of shots.
The XW-1 wedges a satin chrome finish and a Modus Tour 105 stiff shaft. As with every Bridgestone product, consumers can now “test drive” what they want to try, and send back what they don’t want to buy. “They can try it for 21 days on the range or their home course, and return it to us,” Kupperbusch says. “It’s a way to get our product into consumers’ hands; if we can do that, we will impress them.
$139.99 for each wedge | www.bridgestonegolf.com
VOKEY SM7 WEDGES
What some call the best performing wedges in the game – Vokey SM7 – are now available in a stunning Slate Blue finish.
For years, Master Craftsman Bob Vokey has stressed the importance of players having confidence in their wedge at address – “A player has to love their wedge when they look down at it” – and finish plays a key role. The finish on Vokey SM7 Slate Blue wedges is applied like a PVD finish but with a unique material and more time intensive process that in combination provide a deep, rich slate blue color that is extremely durable.
“Very often wedge finishes can be beautiful, but they won’t last,” Vokey said. “At the same time, the most durable finishes often aren’t stunning. Slate Blue combines the two. Not only will golfers love their wedge when they see it in the shop, the finish will last through the course of normal play.”
Consistent with all Vokey SM7 finishes, Slate Blue is available in all 23 loft, bounce, and grind options (both RH and LH), while supplies last. This exemplifies the Vokey Design commitment to fitting. Finding the proper loft gapping, bounce and grind are critical to execute all of the necessary wedge shots.