TOP GEAR 2018: 5 things we learned during our wedges testing
Back Spin Numbers
➤ 7,200rpm: Average backspin of all wedges tested
➤ 7,054rpm: Average backspin of wedges under £100
➤ 7,346rpm: Average backspin of wedges over £100
Highest spinning wedges for our Test Pro
➤ 142mph: Callaway Rogue
➤ 141mph: Mizuno CLK and TaylorMade M4
➤ 139mph: Mizuno MP-18 MMC Fli-Hi, Cleveland Launcher HB, Wilson Sta C300, Callaway Rogue X
1: Darker finishes hide head shapes
There’s been an influx of dark wedges for 2018. Tour brands say it’s what tour players are asking for, which is perfectly believable. We reckon dark finishes help hide and disguise the lumps, bumps and curves you don’t want your eyes drawn to.
2: If you play cavity irons try cavity back wedges
Cleveland launched the CBX in August and it’s changed how club golfers should think about buying wedges. It is the first serious cavity back wedge, but boasts all the same spin and groove tech as Cleveland’s tour-style RTX-3 but with more forgiveness.
3: Face protrusions are the next big thing
We don’t know how Callaway got ‘face protrusions’ past the USGA & R&A rules committee but it’s a stroke of genius and means everyday golfers can grab extra spin. The new Mack Daddy 4 wedges topped our backspin charts when averaged across all three testers.
4: Wedge shafts should match your irons
It never really crossed our minds until we had a Vokey wedge fitting before our testing began, but huge numbers of golfers buy new wedges and don’t even give a second thought to how different (heavier with a different bend profile) the standard stock shafts are compared to their set of irons. It makes no sense at all having a lightweight set of irons, then pulling a heavy shafted wedge from your bag inside 100 yards. The feel and swing required will be very different, so matching wedge shafts to your irons (or at least a similar weight) is a very good idea for maximising consistency.
5: Not all grooves are equal
The best wedge makers spend huge amounts of time and money CNC Milling grooves on their wedges to the very limits of the rules. The very best even protect every single groove from the finishing process preventing loss of the tiniest bit of stopping power. A few add laser milled micro grooves to maximise surface friction, but all these processes cost money, which add to the final cost of the product. We saw a decent difference in the consistency of grooves between the premium and less expensive brands. Granted, inconsistencies might only make a difference when playing from anything less than a fairway lie on the golf course, but we reckon wedges is one area of golf equipment that you really do get what you pay for.