One of the advantages of playing golf at this time in our lives is that the technology has been so innovative and productive. Wedges, next to putters, are perhaps the most result producing clubs in your golf bag.
The best way to optimize
spin is to improve how the face makes contact with the ball.
Current wedges from PING, Callaway, Cleveland, and Cobra, address the aforementioned in many ways presenting today’s golfer more options for every situation imaginable.
All the wedges below show the kind of real, measurable improvements that the industry’s short-game leaders can deliver. Meaningful improvements to the face, sole, and center of gravity provide “dart thrower” results.
Cleveland RTX-3 Wedges
Cleveland has held nothing back with their new RTX-3 wedges. With three finishes, three different models, three soles, new face technology, and a relocated sweet spot, there’s tons of new technology and plenty of options to fit any golfer.
Our testing group found the spin-rate varies from 200 RPM to almost 1000 RPM. With these wedges and with perfect conditions and a good swing, hitting high spin shots were effortless. What our group found was that in wet conditions or on retaining spin or on less-than-perfect shots, the new RTX-3 performed exceedingly well.
The RTX-3 wedges have incorporated “Feel Balancing Technology” into the wedges. It isn’t just about feel, this technology also plays a key role in performance. Through additional research for this article, it was found that in robot testing, the new RTX-3 Blade was between 1.4 and 3.8 feet closer to the flag than other major OEM wedges. And the RTX-3 Cavity Back was about 1.5 feet better than that.
In addition to Feel Balancing Technology, the RTX-3 has new V-Sole Grinds. As with past Cleveland wedges, there are three sole options: One Dot for low bounce, Two Dots for medium bounce, and Three Dots for high bounce. So what’s right for you? Custom fitting is always the answer. You need to get fit for the right shaft (steel or graphite and flex) and the right grind. Nirvana for wedges is when your wedge matches your swing and the turf conditions. Not only will you get better results from both good and bad shots, but as they say, good results beget more confidence, which begets more good results.
The Cleveland RTX-3 wedges come in a variety of flavors: Blade, Cavity Back, and Women’s Cavity Back. Also, the RTX-3 blade has three different finishes – Tour Satin, Black Satin, and Tour Raw. The Black Satin is Cleveland’s most popular finish and has been made more durable than ever.
The difference between the RTX-3 Blade and the RTX-3 Cavity Back is small, but noticeable. On its own, the CB isn’t an oversized wedge, but next to the Blade, it’s just a little bigger in every dimension.
Overall, the Cleveland RTX-3 is a very solid-looking wedge that will please most golfers. The leading edge is a bit rounded, the head has a slight teardrop shape, and the toe is neither too square nor too bulbous.
Lofts are available in 46°, 48°, 50°, 52°, 54°, 56°, 58°, 60°, 62° and 64°.
Cobra King Pur Wedges
Building on the success of the Cobra°ing Wedge, Cobra has revealed a new version of its King wedge, called the King Pur wedge. The King Pur, which is made from a raw un-plated 304 Stainless Steel,maximizes spin performance with ultra-precise grooves and a finish that diffuses sunlight to reduce glare at address.
Like the King wedge, the King Pur Wedge is available in Cobra’s three sole grind configurations and the iconic Cobra notch, to match a golfer’s technique and common turf conditions.
One notices immediately a newly identifiable change to the wedge – the face is left unchromed to maximize spin, with a more consistent groove shape. Secondly, a thicker face and topline mitigates unwanted vibration. Finally, the higher lofts have wider grooves to channel away debris for cleaner contact.
The King Pur is designed and manufactured using Cobra’s patented cutting-edge Progressive Milled Grooves
which feature wider grooves and closer gapping on higher lofted wedges, and traditional thinner, deeper grooves on lower lofted wedges.
The wider groove design allows higher lofted wedges (56°-60°) to grab the ball to impart more spin, and make spin performance more consistent throughout the wedge set. The new grooves are combined with Variable Face Roughness milling that delivers more control on greenside shots.
The Versatile sole features heel and toe relief and a medium bounce (8°-10°) to provide overall versatility on medium to firm turf conditions. The Classic configuration has a high sole bounce (11°-12°) and progressively wider sole from heel to toe for ease of use on all turf conditions. The WideLow option has a low bounce (4°-7°) with a sole that works well on medium to soft turf conditions.
The KING PŪR Wedges are available in lofts ranging from 52°-60° (depending on grind preference). True Temper Dynamic Gold S200 (Stiff) shafts and Lamkin Crossline grips will come as standard.
Right Handed and left handed lofts in 52°, 54°, 56°, 58°, 60°
Callaway Sure Out Wedges
Callaway’s new and good looking Sure Out wedges have been designed for those golfers looking for a little confidence boost around the greens. More specifically, this wedge is targeted to the middle and high handicap golfers who don’t spend a lot of time practicing their short game.
These wedges perfom! Don’t get carried away with comparisons to a conventional blade-style wedge. If one is to categorize this wedge specifically, consider it a super-Game improvement wedge.
These wedges are easy to use. Easy becausethese wedges do not require the golfer to change his stance, are designed to be hit with a square face from any lie (no manipulating the face to get out of the bunker), and are basically impossible to chunk, blade, or shank.
The Sure Out has a distinct rounded leading edge and if you like the way the Callaway Mack Daddy PM (Phil Mickelson) Grind Wedge sets up (where the rounded leading edge appears to sit a bit under the ball), you’ll likely find the Sure Out a bit than the way the PM Grind looks at address.
Designed in collaboration with top golf instructor Hank Haney, the Sure Out has a sole with an enhanced camber and high bounce, designed to glide smoothly through sand and thick grass, without the need to open the face.
The bounce of the sole makes it easy to generate high, soft-landing shots and its width, in conjunction with a larger face area, promotes solid face-to-ball contact for optimal distance control.
The enhanced playability is the result of Sure Out’s unconventional design. Like the PM Grind, the Sure Out features grooves across the full face. So no matter how awful the swing, you’ll (almost) always catch groove.
The Sure Out is larger heel to toe than a conventional wedge for more forgiveness, and it has a massively wider sole with lots of bounce and plenty of camber (the radius of the sole front to back) to help the club travel through the fairway, rough, and sand without digging.
Given all of this, plus a bit of shank-proofing in the hosel transition, it should make it easier for guys who struggle with their short games to get up and down more often.
The club is weighted to help it power smoothly through heavy grass and 17 full-face grooves promote fast, shot-stopping spin, even on off-center strikes.
Lofts are available only in 58° and 64°, as is called for with this target group.
The Sure-Out comes with a choice of two premium wedge-specific shafts, the lightweight steel KBS 90 or the UST 65 graphite, both of which have been designed to promote responsiveness and feel.
PING Glide 2.0 wedges
These superbly engineered wedges have redesigned grooves that vary by the loft of club, and compared to the original Glide, increase spin by 300+ rpm on full shots and 200+ rpm on pitch shots, resulting in more control and precision. The additional 2 grooves on higher-lofted models afford greater finesse from close in.
Tour players are seeing spin-rate increases of 1,000-1,500 rpm on partial shots (40 to 70 yards) and gains of more than 500 rpm on full shots, compared to their current wedges!
In addition, the wedge has a hydrophobic finish that repels water to enhance spin and amplify control. They will, of course, blend in particularly well with the PING i200 and iBlade, thanks to the similar looks.
The feel of the wedges is buttery, and getting out of a bunker is a dream.
The only change in the lofts is that the SS (standard sole) starts at 46° instead of 47°, so there is no 48° version, and that is probably because this is an alternative to the 45° or 46° set wedges that you get in the i200 and iBlade irons,
All the models come with Ping’s AWT 2.0 Wedge shaft which weighs slightly less than the previous CFS shaft and should give a little higher trajectory.
There is the same choice of 4 sole grinds to vary the bounce, from the lower bounce. The Thin Sole (TS) is ideal for shallow attack angles and divots, the Standard Sole (SS) is ideal for moderate attack angles and divots, the Wide Sole (WS) is ideal for steep attack angles and deep divots, and the Eye Sole (ES), which has the inverted cavity from the classic PING Eye 2 wedge, and is particularly good out of sand.
To help golfers hit touch shots around the greens more easily, PING gave the Glide 2.0 wedges the Dyla-wedge grip that is ¾-inches longer than standard, so players can choke down on the club and still maintain feel. The Dyla-wedge grip gives you reference points, if you like to grip down the shaft in order to vary the distance the ball goes with the same length of swing.
This is an extremely clever and useful device and it is good to see it continued as an option to the standard variable width PING grips.
Lofts are available for both left handed golfers and right handed golfers in 46°, 50°, 52°, 54°,56°, 58°, 60°.
Both Vokey and Taylormade wedges will be covered at a later date.
Barry Lotz, J.D., Ph.D. is the director of the Professional Golf Teachers Association of America. He is a member of the Golf Writers Association of America, the California Golf Writers Association, and serves both as a Consultant and Mediator to the golf industry. He is also the author of numerous books, including “333 Best Web Sites for Golfers”, “How to Build Business Relationships through Golf” which is in the Top Ten Golf Business Book’s bestseller list. His latest book,” The Right Mind for Golf” is now in its 9th printing. He currently works with 14 Tour Players on mental coaching, putting and scoring techniques.