Spin is dead? Not from what we see here.
Our annual review of the best wedges on the market…
MACK DADDY 2
HOT For more spin and control, the grooves are cut sharper and deeper than any Callaway has made since the USGA rolled back grooves. There are also more options (20) than ever, including five new Tour Grind lofts from 52 to 60 degrees. Some will even find the straighter leading edge of the Tour Grind lofts easier to aim.
NOT Why charge $10 more for the Tour Grind version?
COMMENTS (L) It’s almost easier to hit out of the sand than off the turf because it puts so much spin on the ball. That’s a good problem, though. (M) Nice wide sole. You can feel that it’s going to take off that top layer of sand perfectly.
588 RTX 2.0
HOT Every player wants
as much spin as possible on shots hit from the rough. Cleveland’s idea was to sharpen its groove edges and add multiple levels of surface roughness to the space between the grooves. Three sole grinds and 18 loft options mean there’s a wedge to meet just about every need, and Cleveland’s wedge-fitting app helps handle the decision-making for you.
NOT Laser-etching “Rotex 2.0” around the face 10 times seems excessive.
COMMENTS (L) One of my favourite shapes in golf. The distance is predictable, and spin out of a bunker is significant. (M) It spins hard; really catchy. On full shots, the ball flight is repeatable.
HOT Mizuno led the trend of matching groove design to the loft on its forged wedges. The reason is spin control: more on short shots, not too much on full ones. Now the company is expanding its line to match lofts to one of five sole grinds. That includes high and low bounce options for every loft from 54 to 62 degrees.
NOT We’d like to see this same inventiveness applied to surface roughness.
COMMENTS (L) It looks round through the toe; very inviting and responsive. I immediately knew about the shot I hit. (M) I like the heavy feel. The head comes through sand and rough cleanly.
HOT There’s more spin, and then there’s more control of your spin, getting all shots to land predictably. That is Ping’s smart move here: Grooves on higher lofts launch the ball lower but with maximum spin, especially from the rough. Grooves on lower lofts produce high spin on full-swing shots from dry conditions.
NOT Personalisation has become a thing in wedges. Not so much here.
COMMENTS (L) The leading edge lines up with the hosel in a way that makes it easy to manipulate the face, which looks just as good open or shut. (M) The longer grip allows you to grip down farther. Very versatile and confidence-inspiring. I had no nerves.
VOKEY DESIGN SM5
HOT The SM5 is available in 21 loft and bounce configurations on six sole grinds. It also gets creative with its grooves: The narrow grooves on the lower lofts emphasise trajectory control, and the deeper scorelines on the higher lofts are meant to produce spin from the rough.
NOT Even some retailers struggle to understand the nuances of the wedge’s S, M, K, F, L and T grinds.
COMMENTS (L) Consistent feel between a greenside shot and a full shot. I can’t believe how soft a feel you get on chip shots. (M) It had great turf interaction. You can hit it high or low, and all the sole grinds provide versatility.
HOT It doesn’t matter how good your groove technology is if you don’t make clean contact. So Bridgestone shaved an area around the heel on this forged design to help the leading edge stay tighter to the ground through impact. More important, it’s built into the shape so there’s no post-production grinding (meaning the geometry is consistent from wedge to wedge).
NOT One bounce option for each of its six lofts isn’t broad enough.
COMMENTS (L) It felt like I could zip it back on any greenside shot. (M) There’s a lot of heel relief. That really makes flop shots easier. Plus, it’s effortless
to lay the club open when you’re in a bunker.
588 RTX 2.0 CB
HOT The cavity-back
construction might have a
game-improvement look, but the rear stabiliser bars provide the right amount of feel. The large face and generous sole should be useful to average players, particularly on bunker shots. This wedge also features the same deep grooves and face texture as Cleveland’s other RTX.
NOT Why not make it from the same soft 8620 steel as the standard version?
COMMENTS (L) The large head gives me confidence at address, yet it still feels as soft as oatmeal. (M) It was effortless to hit out of the sand. I could feel the bounce pushing it through.
HOT Fourteen emphasises distance control by seeking to maximise spin and optimise trajectory. To create more spin, the RM-21 features a wider groove than previous company models. And the upper portion of the iron is thicker behind the face to keep the ball’s trajectory from ballooning.
NOT The addition of a wide-sole option for higher lofts is welcome, but we’re not sure there’s a need for a 42-degree model.
COMMENTS (L) The wedge has a soft feel without being spongy. It also has good control out of the sand and cuts through the rough nicely. (M) I really love the generous hitting area. What a great sound out of the bunker.
HOT Hopkins offers the ultimate in Web-based wedge-fitting. The CJ-1 line features 10 lofts and seven sole grinds. Don’t know where to begin? Finding the right sole grind is as simple as choosing your region of the country. You can also tweak the loft, lie, grip and shaft. Custom colors and engraving are also available.
NOT We’d be even more excited if the groove design featured a cutting-edge technology story.
COMMENTS (L) The grinds are legit. Picked up one grind and didn’t hit it well. Moved to a heel grind and hit it great. (M) It felt well-balanced. I knew where the head was.
HOT You won’t notice it, but Nike shortened the hosel by a quarter inch. This tweak allowed Nike to shift the weight more in line with the centre of the face for maximum stability. Nike believes more stability produces improved feel and consistency. Three sole shapes, plus sharper, wider grooves and a rougher blasted face complete
NOT Encasing the heads in a sealant at retail (to preserve the raw finish) seems a little much.
COMMENTS (L) I love the way it hides all the technology in the bottom. At address, it looks like a normal wedge. (M) I like the head size and the raw grind. It has a vintage look, and the ball comes off the face soft.
HOT A wedge works through the turf properly only if the sole of the club
is a perfect match with your swing. Scratch’s
well-deserved cult following is rooted in the sole design of these forged wedges. The three shapes and six sole grinds across the six lofts feature high-volume grooves.
NOT You really should be custom-fit for these sole grinds. Unfortunately,
that option might be tough to find outside the company’s headquarters.
COMMENTS (L) It feels heavier than others, but that’s good. (M) This is a great wedge for the player who likes to hit lots of different shots.
HOT This wedge focuses on small details to produce big benefits. For example, the leading edge is square on the lower lofts for full swings and slightly rounded on the higher lofts for better performance on open-face shots. Also, a chemical treatment on the face creates microscopic friction elements for more spin and a lower trajectory. Two sole grinds, including a restyled ATV, are available.
NOT A second finish option would be nice.
COMMENTS (L) A true utility wedge. I like the satin finish. It’s just a classic shape. Very compact head. It had a soft feel for a cast club. (M) I like the medium finish. No glare. It kind of has a techy look. Nice, muted sound.
(L) Low Handicapper | (M) Middle-Handicapper