Around the Green - Leading wedges on the market
Titleist Vokey Design Spin Milled CC
As Bob Vokey himself explains in our Q&A, golfers can expect a slightly higher launch from the tour conforming version of his popular Spin Milled wedges featuring his new Condition Of Competition Grooves. Amateurs might be interested to know that that the same wedges are still available with the original Spin Milled grooves which conform to the Rules of Golf until 2024 and offer a medium trajectory and higher spin (though no longer as a custom-fit option).
The head profile was created using CAD to blend the size, shape, topline thickness, and offset while all grooves are cut with a special circular saw tool for precision engineering of the maximum allowable draft angles and edge radii. Lofts from 48°-64°.
The latest model to include the novel laser milled face markings which roughen the surface of the clubface between the grooves to provide additional friction on the ball. The head itself is notable for the perimeter-weighted, cavity-backed design with a slight offset that offers more forgiveness while also launching the ball higher than blade-shaped rivals. Features 2010 conforming Tour Zip grooves. Available in Black Pearl and Satin Chrome finishes in both low and standard bounce.
Mizuno MP T-11
Unique in featuring two different Quad Cut groove styles within the T-11 range to optimize spin according to the particular loft. The 50° through 54° models have narrower, deeper grooves appropriate for the fuller, squarer strikes normally associated with these longer distances. The 56-64 degree models have a wider, shallower design that better complements shorter, partial strikes where the golf ball does not fully compress (but where spin rates have been most affected by the rule changes).
Scratch Golf 8620-USA
From the boutique brand favoured by players such as David Duval, the 8620 series is a teardrop-shaped casting with a milled face featuring conforming ABC grooves (standing cryptically for All Bite no Cover). The latest USA model refers to full USA manufacturing of each component but with the finished product now available in the UK through Urban Golf, in a choice of dark satin or unplated black oxide finishes. Lofts are from 47-60 degrees and there are six sole grinds to suit different styles.
Guide: £99. www.scratchgolf.com;
Taylor Made TP xFT
As groove performance declines steadily with use, Exchangeable Face Technology is a novel way of being able to refresh grooves without having to replace the entire club. Jason Day has replaced his xFT face nine times in the last 12 months with 2010-conforming ZTP grooves – though amateurs who track down a stack of the old higher spinning Z-groove face plates have a cost effective way of exploiting the maximum U-groove control right up to the 2024 deadline.
A thin urethane layer behind the face ensures a perfect face fit in the milled recess.
Benross Zip It
A tour proven teardrop head shape with maximum width grooves designed to increase control while still conforming to the latest rules. The Zip It grooves themselves are laser cut to increase the club-to-ball friction that generates greater spin, while a versatile and aggressive C-Grind sole ensures versatility from sand, rough or fairway. Available in lofts of 52°, 56°, 58° and 60°, in a choice of Pearl Chrome or Smoked Chrome finishes, with various bounce angles and Dynamic Gold shafts as standard (though check out the comprehensive custom fit options).
John Letters Tour Black
One of the most distinctive wedges for 2011, with a stunning black nickel finish covering the high-carbon, soft-feeling 8620 steel. The classical teardrop shape should appeal to golfers of all standards. It features a trailing edge grind that effectively narrows the sole to improve contact from all lies, and a heel grind that assists when opening the face for flop shots.
Shaft options are the Rifle and True Temper DG Spinner – the latter designed to recoup some of the spin lost from the newly confroming CNC milled grooves. Also comes in a classic chrome finish.
Seve Icon by MD Golf
The Spanish legend’s name lives on in the Seve Icon brand he helped establish with MD Golf. The wedge range includes the 2011 Santander model whose leading edge is ground completely straight (rather than traditionally curved) for those that prefer a squarer alignment look at address. The classic head shape is finished in fashionable ‘oil can’. Meanwhile, the grooves are the new legal Razor grooves developed by MD Golf, while loft options are 48°-60° in 2° increments. Dynalite shafts and UST Multi Compound grips, in black or white, complete the package.
This high-tech wedge first came to light in the bag of Open champion Louis Oosthuizen. While the view at address is traditional, the head features a vertical Custom Tuning Port which angles toward the back surface to increase the perimeter weighting for added forgiveness, and special sole geometry that improves shot-making from all types of lie. Available in Rustique: a soft 8620 steel model which tarnishes and rusts naturally over time; or stainless steel with a brushed silver chrome finish.
Ten lofts from 47°-64°. £103 (steel); £123 (graphite).
Part of the rejuvenated VIP series, this tour-quality forging combines a classic shape with great spin control and feel.
Made from soft carbon steel in a manufacturing process that delivers an ultra-tight grain structure for both great feel and consistency, with a micro-milled face is designed to optimize spin control.
The sleek head shape reprises the classic VIP with a modern twist, with five loft/bounce combinations. Available in Black or Chrome in 52°, 54°, 56°, 58° and 60°.
Snake Eyes Custom 685BX
Crafted with an 800-ton force forging process claimed to deliver a softer feel due to the tighter compaction of the metal. The conforming grooves are CNC-milled to ensure perfect flatness across the face and increase friction between the clubface and the ball.
Meanwhile, a tour-influenced sole grind takes material away from the heel for added versatility when opening the face. Available in 52°, 54°, 56°, 58° and 60° lofts, with FST Tour steel shafts and Lamkin Snake Eyes Custom grips.
Nike VR V-REV
Fashioned from soft 8620 carbon steel with a classic teardrop profile and Nike’s own patented ‘dual sole’ design for extra versatility when opening and closing the face. Grooves are Nike’s new V-Rev configuration that conform to the latest rules, while finish options are Satin Chrome or Black Satin – the latter will rust over time, as many top players prefer. Special mention for the Lamkin Crossline grips that have a particularly soft rubber compound that encourages the light grip required for a more effective swing and feel, especially on ‘touch’ shots on the green.
Callaway X-Series Jaws CC
Featuring an impressive 21-grooves, Roger Cleveland’s Condition of Competition wedge goes for maximum surface coverage while still conforming to the new rules on volume and edge radius. The sleek carbon steel head comes in seven lofts from 50°-64° with the high-lofted models offered in a zero bounce option ideal for the toughest of tight lies. Expect to see several in action at Sandwich.