Wedges have an attitude. They’re complex. But given their job description, golfers cannot imagine walking on to the course without them. Wedges are the scoring clubs and, often, the tools needed to save a score after an offline shot. They can deliver the ball to the green from fairways, sand, rough, or hardpan across a wide range of distances.
What follows is a review of a few of the latest wedges from the top manufacturers. Often, there are too many variations to cover, so it’s best to consult a professional to find the right lofts and grinds for you and your game.
Callaway is making some headlines right now with their new MD3 wedges – available for pre-order on 8/14/2015. While we didn’t get a chance to check them out in person, we can share some of the buzz from tour players and others.
To start, the wedges will come in a couple finishes – both of which look great. The Satin Chrome and the Matte Black finishes both feature subtle lime-green highlights which show up well and set the clubs apart without being too much. There are three different sole grinds available. The C-grind is for sweepers of the ball (shallow swings) or for very firm conditions. The W-grind is the opposite end of the spectrum with a wide sole and additional bounce for soft conditions or to help people with a steep swing. The S-grind falls right in the middle, making it a versatile all-around performer for most golfers.
The most interesting feature, though is the use of progressive groove configurations on each of the wedges. For pitching and gap wedges (46 through 52 degrees), the “30V” grooves feature sharper edges on a thinner overall groove for control on full and partial shots. The “20V” grooves seen in the sand wedges (54 and 56 degrees) are designed to provide solid performance on full shots, but also work well from bunkers. The “5V” grooves, then, that are found on lob wedges of 58 or 60 degrees are the widest grooves with the softest edges to provide a soft touch from greenside lies, including rough.
Cleveland 588 RTX 2.0
The 588 RTX 2.0 is Cleveland’s answer to the need for enhancing control with increased spin. It does so by adding their Rotex face pattern through a micro-milling process across the entire face. Add in the sharpest grooves allowed by the USGA, and the club delivers exceptional spin on close-in shots.
The wedge comes with three sole grinds and 18 loft options, making it a chameleon capable of matching any need for any golfer. The Full Sole grind features three dots on the toe to help with easy identification and provides additional bounce while providing the ability to open up the clubface for lofted shots without raising the leading edge off the turf. The Standard Bounce grind (two dots) is a versatile middle performer while the Low Bounce (one dot) has the least amount of bounce with the trailing edge, heel and toe ground down to make it very versatile in the right hands.
Available in a myriad of choices, there is also a version with a cavity back design. The 588 RTX 2.0 CB provides additional forgiveness for full shots on a slightly larger clubface with perimeter weighting.
Titleist Vokey Design SM5
When it comes to wedges, there seems to be Vokey and, well, everyone else. With six sole grinds and twenty-one loft/bounce combinations ranging from 46-62 degrees, the SM5 is capable of tearing the ball out of the darkest, steepest, and sandiest corners of the course. Set them shut, square, or open, and they perform.
The wedges come in six different “tour-proven” sole grinds (S, M, K, F, L and T). Perhaps a bit much to fully describe here, just rest assured that there is something to fit your game. The other differentiator for Vokey is what are called TX3 grooves that are deeper and push the boundaries of USGA limits than ever before. Add to that a finely milled face roughness and these wedges provide a tremendous amount of greenside spin.
There is a reason Vokey designed wedges are so famous and popular. That reason has always been performance and the SM5 is no different. The clubs are more visually appealing too, with three finishes: Tour Chrome, Gold Nickel, and Raw Black. Also available are a wide variety of personalization options such as custom stamping and colored paint fill meaning you can get any phrase, initials, or message stamped onto the back of your wedge in just about any color.
MP-T5 is Mizuno’s versatile and all-purpose solution for wedging every conceivable scenario — from low linksy skippers to those growling flops. The MP-T5 boasts Mizuno’s hallmark model good looks and feel. It offers one of the softest forged faces with all terrain-versatility. The package offers 5 sole grinds, and 15 additional custom options to its 10 loft/bounce combinations extending the original 50-60 degrees to 49-62 degrees.
The relatively large face coupled with a weighty sole lowers the CG, supplementing full swings whereas it alterable spin orders full shots to stop almost exactly where they fall. The heavy head maintains its balance exquisitely, offering a light touch that delivers full feel feedback even on partial shots.
A pioneer in matching groove design to the loft, the MP-T5 contiues Mizuno’s innovative approach by offering greater spin control — lower on full shots and higher on short ones. The notably oval shaped face complements the sleek sole and overall head design allowing every loft to produce high, soft pitches.