The short game is unique in golf. Professional level talent isn’t required, but the right equipment is. The following pages feature the best wedges in the game from companies you know and don’t – all designed to make you score better.
CALLAWAY JAWS MD5
Like much of the company’s product range, Callaway’s wedges have come along in leaps and bounds in recent years. The primary impetus? Chief Designer and master wedge maker Roger Cleveland.
Cleveland is widely known in the golf industry for the modernisation and improved performance of the wedge category and his team’s JAWS MD5 is the latest in a long line of outstanding contributions.
Constructed from soft 8620 mild carbon steel, the new model offers a more precisely located centre of gravity (CG), refined shaping, versatility and improved performance from every lie, as well as three finish options and five sole grinds.
Designed with increased spin as the chief focus, the JAWS MD5 features what the company calls “the most aggressive grooves in golf”.
Featuring sharper edges, with the walls, edges and angles milled into the face for precision and tighter tolerances, the new grooves are supported by milled ‘Micro-Positive’ grooves lying between them on the face as part of Callaway’s ‘Groove-in-Groove’ technology.
Creating increased surface roughness and 84 different contact points, the groove combination greatly heightens spin and control.
CLEVELAND RTX ZIPCORE
Cleveland Golf made its name in wedges. And the latest addition to its storied history certainly lives up to the company reputation.
Designed to offer enhanced performance through innovative technology, coupled with sleek yet classic looks, the RTX ZipCore represents one of the largest technology shifts in the category for one its best exponents.
Already in the bags of Tour players, like reigning Open champion Shane Lowry, the unique, low-density ‘ZipCore’ lies at the heart of the new wedges offered in three varied sole grinds, a wide range of lofts and two finishes, with a raw finish to be added later in 2020.
The core shifts the CG and increases moment of inertia (MOI) from top to bottom of the wedge to increase the number of strikes on the sweetspot for improved and more consistent performance.
Along with the new core, ZipCore wedges feature an all new groove iteration to increase spin and control, that has also been heat treated for greater durability.
The new ‘UltiZip’ grooves are 11 percent sharper, 7.3 percent deeper and 7.4 percent closer together than the previous Cleveland grooves to increase contact area and spin from every lie for more consistent performance.
RRP: $209. (Available October).
CLEVELAND CBX FULL FACE
Not every golfer wants or needs a wedge designed for and used by the world’s best players. Enter Cleveland’s CBX Full Face.
Specially engineered for forgiveness, the model – available in 56°, 58°, 60° and 64° – features a hitting area covered entirely by grooves to increase spin regardless of where contact occurs, especially on the toe, where bunker and other open faced shots typically make impact.
Incorporating ‘Rotex’ face milling and ‘Tour Zip’ grooves for increased spin, the CBX wedges contain a half cavity design, with weight removed from the heel portion and the CG shifted towards the toe to further enhance performance on open faced shots.
A C-shaped sole offers versatility and performance form a variety of lies, while the high toe design is yet another example of this wedge’s forgiveness driven design.
CLEVELAND SMART SOLE 4
Another wedge option for the rest of us, Cleveland’s Smart Sole 4 is offered in three heads for three specific shot types.
The 42° C is built for chipping, 50° G for approach and 58° S designed for simple and straightforward bunker play.
Aggressively milled grooves provide greater spin, while the extra wide sole with three tiers and increased leading edge bounce deliver forgiveness in spades for those with little time to practise and less than perfect technique.
Rounding out the technology on offer in what is far more than a ‘Chipper’, ‘Feel Balancing’ has been used to move the CG away from the hosel and improve feel.
RRP: $159.95 (steel); 169.95 (graphite).
Precision and wedges go hand-in-hand and that is Cobra’s primary focus with its MIM wedges that are unlike any other featured in this guide.
Constructed through the use of Metal Injection Moulding (MIM) the model is made from a mixture of 304 stainless steel metal powder that is heated before injection into a mould. The heating temperature is higher than that of a forging process, resulting in smoother grain flow and extremely soft feel.
Further adding to the precision of the MIM wedges, that are now also offered in a durable black finish, is a industry first fully robotic polishing process. Programmed to produce wedges to exact specifications, the process replaces the need for skilled technicians to put the final touches on a wedge, with human error avoided by Cobra.
Also available in One Length for golfers following Bryson DeChambeau’s lead, the MIM wedges feature CNC milled faces and progressive grooves offering refined loft specific performance and greater spin and control, as well as been offered in three Tour inspired grinds, with performance tracking Cobra Connect Powered by Arccos included.
The ‘Versatile Grind’ is for medium to firm course conditions, ‘WideLow Grind’ is magic out of soft bunkers, turf conditions and medium rough and the ‘Classic Grind’ is for neutral to steeper swings and a variety of course conditions.
KRONUS GOLF FORGED JK-1
Designed by industry legend Jim Kronus, creator of The Iron Factory, these are built for short game players with a love of feel and classic looks.
Forged in America from 1025 Mild Carbon Steel, the JK-1 wedges are finished in either a Bright Tour Chrome or Satin Tour Chrome that Kronus has been applying to major winners’ clubs for decades when refinishing their favourite iron sets.
The forging process produces outstanding feel that elevates these slightly less known option among the big names to a quality choice for anyone who has experienced the joy of a purely struck forged iron, while CNC machined faces and individually engraved grooves add modern performance to the simple and stylish look.
As a renowned club builder and technician, it is no surprise that Jim Kronus’ wedges feature hand ground leading and trailing edges on the sole to tackle any lie or ground condition as well as any golfer’s personal needs and preferences.
RRP: $259 (one); $439 (two); $579 (three).
Contact: Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0419 551 509.
Touch and feel is of the upmost importance when it comes to short game. And it is no surprise that Mizuno excels in these two key performance areas given the company’s slogan “Nothing feels like a Mizuno”.
The T20 wedges feature a classic teardrop shape, with more weight moved higher in the blade to maintain spin on high impact strikes that occur when opening the face and playing from the rough, and are forged from ‘Select 1025E’ mild carbon steel.
When it comes to performance, Mizuno’s new ‘Hydroflow Micro’ grooves are vertically etched onto the face to counter the negative impact of moisture, while a perfectly flat face is ensured by mechanical milling and the boron-infused metal guarantees the CNC milled, loft-specific grooves are more durable and produce consistent spin.
PING GLIDE 3.0
PING’s history of industry changing technology is well known, and the company’s commitment to deliver an improved option in the Glide 3.0 helps explain how the proud company continues to innovate.
The Glide 3.0 has been redesigned from top to bottom, with every component from the grip to the sole grinds offered analysed and improved by the company’s engineers, broadening the appeal of the range and offering greater differentiation within in the line and when compared to its competition.
Heads made from 431 stainless steel feature a soft elastomer ‘Custom Tuning Port’ inserts that improve feel across the entire face and help move weight to the perimeter of the head and optimally place CG.
Loft specific, precision milled grooves contain sharper edges than previous models for increased spin and control, with lofts offered from 46˚ to 60˚ in four sole grinds, including the return of the iconic Eye2, while a longer and thinner wedge specific grip designed for gripping further down the shaft adding versatility comes standard.
RRP: $270 (steel); $300 (graphite).
PnP GOLF RAKE
The difference in the PnP Rake wedges compared to the rest featured in this guide is immediately obvious. The dual-rail bounce of the sole is not only unique looking, but also offers a point of performance difference.
Designed here in Australia, the sole reduces resistance from sand and grass through channels that allow the materials to move through the sole unhindered for a range of benefits.
The resulting impact is higher on the face and produces a higher and softer landing flight that is ideal from around the greens, stability is increased and creates greater consistency and forgiveness, while the lower resistance creates greater speed with less loft.
Rake wedges, with their unique and effective sole design, are offered in lob, sand and gap wedge options.
RRP: $189 (each); $335 (pair); $479 (Lob, Sand & Gap).
TAYLORMADE MILLED GRIND 2
TaylorMade always aims to push technology boundaries and the company’s introduction of CNC milling in its Milled Grind wedges saw a new level of precision.
The second generation Milled Grind 2 contains the same mechanically produced leading edge and sole each and every time, that is also used to create Tiger Woods’ irons, while adding a raw face and updated grooves to enhance spin and control.
The new raw face increases friction and will rust over time, a feature derived from Tour player feedback, and new ‘ZTP’ raw grooves are sharper, deeper and narrower with a sharper radius, and are complimented by laser etching between each groove for even more spin.
Not satisfied with more spin and greater precision when producing wedges on mass, TaylorMade set about improving the feel of the Milled Grind 2 through what it calls “Thick-Thin Head Design” that is the result of utilising a design optimisation tool previously only used in metal woods.
The design features a thicker face for optimised feel and a TPU insert in the back cavity that dampens vibrations in the model offered in two sole options and finishes and is used by the likes of Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm among others.
TITLEIST VOKEY DESIGN SM8
Master Craftsman Bob Vokey’s relentless mission to design and craft better performing, better feeling wedges has reached a new height of innovation with the introduction of his Vokey Design SM8 models, the most accurate and forgiving Vokey wedges yet.
The ground-breaking ‘Progressive Centre of Gravity’ design concept that originated with Vokey Design SM6, and was refined with SM7, has experienced one giant shift forward in the new SM8. By moving the CG forward, to a position that actually hovers in front of the wedge face, Vokey and his R&D team have produced a wedge that wants to square every time. The result is improved distance and trajectory control, better feel and increased stability for more consistent results.
“I am from the old school, I got the centre of gravity by balancing it on my finger tip. Do it like that then design, then make the soles. But then it was brought to my attention by our engineering department and our CAD operators and I said ‘Wait a second, prove it to me.’ So, they had to prove it to me, and I tell you they did,” Vokey told Golf Australia magazine.
Developed through decades of work with the best shot makers in the game, Vokey’s six Tour-proven sole grinds – F, S, M, K, L and D – allow golfers of all skill levels to be precisely fit for their swing type (steep, neutral, shallow), shot making style and course conditions (firm, neutral, soft). SM8 continues to feature the most complete line-up of grind, bounce and loft options, allowing for more creativity and consistency, and giving players of any level the ability to create multiple shots around the green.
These advancements – enhanced by 100 percent inspected Spin Milled grooves for maximum spin – have already made Vokey SM8 the most played and most successful wedge model on the PGA Tour, continuing Vokey’s historic run as the No. 1 wedge on Tour since 2004 and counting.
Vokey SM8 wedges are now available in three finishes – Tour Chrome, Brushed Steel and Jet Black – plus the Tour preferred Raw finish in custom orders only via WedgeWorks.
SRP: $249 (steel); $274 (graphite).