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60

Hours Researched

12,291

Shots Hit

21

Products Considered

37 million

Readers

2018 Most Wanted Wedge Rankings

PING Glide 2.0 Stealth

PING Glide 2.0 Stealth

2018 Most Wanted Wedge

Accuracy Rank
1st
Spin Rank
2nd
Strokes Gained Rank
1st
1

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What We Liked

2018 Most Wanted Wedge AND Best Wedge for Accuracy

The PING Glide 2.0 Stealth is a beautiful combination of looks, feel and performance. In what was truly a dominating performance, it finished among the leaders at every distance and for nearly every key metric we track.

The full PING Glide 2.0 Stealth lineup includes lofts from 46°-60° with 4 different loft and grind combinations available from 54°-60°, so there should prove to be enough versatility to fit nearly any golfer.

 

Pros

  • Ranked first in average strokes gained across the three test distances
  • Ranked first in accuracy among all models tested
  • Ranked second in average spin rank
  • Tester feedback was overall positive for looks and feel

 

Cons

  • For those concerned about wedge distance, it ranked in the lower half for distance
TaylorMade Milled Grind

TaylorMade Milled Grind

Best Wedge for Spin

Accuracy Rank
6th
Spin Rank
1st
Strokes Gained Rank
13th

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What We Liked

The TaylorMade Milled Grind was the highest spinning wedge in our test – if you’re looking for a wedge that can produce high spin rates on shots across the face, look no further.

The Milled Grind performed particularly well in all key metrics at the full shot distance, although the data suggest testers struggled with precision at the 40-yard and 15-yard distances. While it didn’t finish in the top 3rd in our key metrics at the shorter distances, the TaylorMade Milled Grind ranked either 1st or 2nd for spin at all test distances.

Pros

Cons

  • Carry consistency on full shots not among the best
  • For those concerned about wedge distance, it ranked in the lower third for total distance at full shots
Tommy Armour Over N' Out

Tommy Armour Over N' Out

Best Value Wedge

Accuracy Rank
2nd
Spin Rank
15th
Strokes Gained Rank
13th

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What We Liked

The Tommy Armour Over N’ Out finished in the upper third across of most key metrics in the 2018 Most Wanted Wedge Test.  At a price point less than half of the average cost of the wedges tested, the Over N’ Out solidifies its position as our “Best Value” wedge.

Tester feedback was mixed, but the performance doesn’t lie – the Over N’ Out is a solid wedge for those looking to put a quality product in their bag at a reasonable price.

Pros

  • Ranked first or second in shot area across all three distances tested
  • One of the most accurate in the test
  • Finished in the upper 3rd for carry consistency in all distances
  • Price point ($59.99) is a fraction of what the average wedge costs

Cons

  • Among the shorter wedges on full wedge
  • Ranked in the lower third for overall strokes gained at all three distances
  • Testers noted the wedge dirtied quickly, with the golf balls leaving cover residue inside the grooves

About This Test

All testing was conducted inside our fully independent test facility located in Yorktown, Virginia. All testers used Bridgestone Tour B-RX golf balls for consistency and to reduce test variables. Ball and head data were collected using Foresight Sports GCQuad launch monitors.

  • SHOTS HIT: 12,291
  • DATA POINTS: 897,243
  • TIME: 60 hours
  • TESTERS: 20
  • HANDICAP RANGE: +2 – 16
  • AGE RANGE: 25 – 73
  • DRIVER SWING SPEED RANGE: 75 – 125mph
  • WEDGES TESTED: Sand Wedges stamped at 56°

Field Notes

This section details equipment specifications and any outliers that might be present in the data.

  • Models tested included 56° degree sand wedges; testers hit shots at three different distances: 15-yard chip, 40-yard pitch, and full shots at typical full sand wedge distance
  • A very minute variance was measured within the test group, with average either +/- 1 degree from 56°.  The average measured loft is 55.91°.
  • Only 6 wedges out of the 21 tested measured perfectly on spec to the stated loft.
  • The average measured lie was 63.94°; where the flattest lie measured in at 62.25°, the most upright was measured at 66.25°.
  • Average measured swing weight for the models tested is D 5.45, with swing weight varying from D 3.2 to D 8.2.

Most Wanted Wedge Data

The Importance of Choosing the Right Wedge

An often over-looked and supremely important part of what’s in your bag – wedges.  It’s inevitable that you’ll miss greens, even the best in the world do. The question is: do you have the tools to pull off those precarious shots around the green?  The high lofted clubs you carry in your bag can be a determining factor for whether or not you’re able to get up-and-down to save par.

The bottom line is that choosing the right wedges to compliment your game can help you shoot your best rounds, but how do you know what is truly right for you? There are a number of factors like loft, bounce, and sole grind that can have an impact on your performance out of varying lies.  The best way to ensure you have the right wedges is always to get fit. Let this test serve as a guide to help steer you in the right direction to better performance.

If you’re in the market for new wedges in 2018, this guide is for you.

Tech Trends

Wedge technology is a slow-changing environment – with very little room in which to work, manufacturers are doing everything they can to push the limits and improve performance. We identified three main tech trends that equipment manufacturers have gravitated followed in recent years: progressive center-of-gravity, updated groove technology, and progressive head shaping.

Progressive Center-of-Gravity –  Some manufacturers utilize what’s called a progressive center of gravity (CG). The location of what’s commonly referred to as the sweet spot changes based on the loft of the wedge – and in some cases, based on the sole grind of the wedge as well. In most, though not all cases, companies implementing a progressive CG design strategy offer lower centers of gravity in less lofted wedges (pitching and gap wedges) and the progressively raise it as loft increases. The goal of the types of designs is to optimize the trajectory for each loft.

Groove Technology – Since the USGA Rule change in 2012, manufacturers have done everything possible to push the tolerance limits. Creating new technology to allow golfers to generate the most spin from both the fairway as well as the rough. While not a new trend, companies like PING with the Glide 2.0 and Callaway with the Mack Daddy 4 utilize an extra groove positioned close to the leading edge to increase spin rates.

Progressive groove depth has been a staple of most wedge lineups since the USGA implemented the new groove rule. In models like the Most Wanted PING Glide 2.0, grooves in the lower lofted wedges are deeper and thinner to optimize performance on straight-faced, full shots. In contrast, grooves in the higher lofted wedges are shallower and wider.

It should also be noted that many brands have begun to leverage wedge grooves in their set wedges (gap, sand, and lob). It offers a performance-driven solution for golfers who prefer their wedges look like their irons, but still want true wedge performance.

Product Spotlight – Mizuno S18

There are invariably products in every test that stand out, both regarding performance and the subjective feedback from our test pool. Among the products that didn’t hit the board, the Mizuno S18 was notable for its excellent, well-rounded performance. The S18 finished ranked 2nd overall in the test and finished in the top 3 for roughly 1/3 of our key metrics.

Feedback was overwhelmingly positive among the test group, with over half of the testers ranking this wedge among their top choices for looks and feel. Some testers preferred the larger head shape of this wedge over its counterpart, the T7. The S18 offers a compelling alternative to traditionally shaped wedge. Sitting somewhere between a Titleist SM7 and a Cleveland CBX, it’s more forgiving than the former without the bulk of the latter.

Feedback from the Most Wanted Test Pool

Tester feedback is an integral part of every test we complete at MyGolfSpy. While it doesn’t play into our final results, subjective perceptions of any club no doubt affect the purchasing decisions of consumers. When we take subjective feedback, we poll testers on looks, feel and alignment at address.

Out of the 21 models tested, our test group rated both the Cleveland RTX-4 and Mizuno T7 (2017 Most Wanted Wedge) as the best for feel. Testers noted the exceptional balance of the RTX-4, citing its great feel on shots from all three distances tested.  The Cleveland RTX-4 was also rated the highest for looks at address.  The TaylorMade Milled Grind was also a tester favorite. Our golfers noted its quality feel on short chips and 40-yard pitch shots. Some testers commented positively on their ability to control the trajectory of the wedge at shorter distances.

Our Most Wanted winner, the PING Glide 2.0 Stealth was also highly rated by the pool. Many testers gravitated towards the matte black look, rating this wedge highly for looks. The test group also provided positive feedback on the shaping of the head, noting its traditional rounded look, yet modern feel with the finish. Despite the cast head, the testers rated this wedge highly on feel – this could be attributed to PING’s proprietary CTP (custom tuning port). One important thing to note is the Glide 2.0 Stealth is cast from a softer carbon steel than the original Glide 2.0.

Even in a test this size, testers will inevitably provide unanimous, or at least convincing, negative feedback on certain clubs. Such is the case for is the Tommy Armour Over N’ Out, the club we chose as the “Best Value Wedge” in our 2018 Test. Testers noted that the face was easily worn. During testing, we noticed it needed to be cleaned often, and bits of golf ball cover often were found in the grooves. The Ben Hogan Equalizer was also unpopular with testers. They described the feel of the wedge as “thin” and “clunky.” Others commented that the head was perhaps to compact, and didn’t sit properly at address.

While most all of the remaining wedges found themselves somewhere in the middle of the pack, several testers cited the Miura forged for exceptional feel and trajectory performance.

While feedback wasn’t universally polarized based on ability levels, it is true that some higher handicap testers preferred models like the Cleveland CBX, which features a cavity-back design that allows golfers to play clubs that perform like their cavity-back irons.  Higher-handicap testers also preferred the Tommy Armour Over N’ Out, noting that they believed the wider sole helped them get the ball in the air.

Buying Advice

Choosing the right wedge is a combination of preference, performance, and of course proper fitting.  There are some factors to consider when you’re getting fit for wedges:

  • Bounce – to ensure you give yourself to make the best chance to make solid contact, it’s necessary to match the bounce of the wedge to your typical angle of attack, as well as the conditions in which you typically play.  We tested mid-bounce options in our Most Wanted Test (bounces ranging from 10°-12°).
    • If you take a shallow or no divot, a low bounce option might be the way to go. A low bounce wedge might also be useful if you typically play firmer turf conditions.
    • If you have a neutral angle of attack, and typically play on normal turf (not too soft, not too firm), a mid-bounce wedge is a viable option.  It’s important to note that mid-bounce options are typically the most versatile – so if you play a variety of turf styles, consider mid-bounce for your next purchase.
    • If you have a steep angle of attack (digger), where you take large divots, or play soft turf – a high bounce option may suit you best.
    • To ensure you have a wedge for every situation, it’s not uncommon for golfers to blend high and low bounce wedges into the bag.
  • Gapping – One of the most important things to consider when purchasing wedges is proper gapping.  Whether you decide to carry two, three or four wedges, make sure that your loft gaps don’t leave any distance black holes. Many major retail outlets and independent club fitters offer a gap analysis to determine if you have all the shots covered.
  • Spin Isn’t Everything – We understand that for average golfers, there is something special about seeing a ball spin back on the green. While it might feel great to rip the cover off a ball and suck it back 20 feet, the reality is that most golfers don’t possess the trajectory and spin control that the pros do. When you’re choosing the right wedges for your game, consider more than just what gives you the highest spin. Instead, look for impact consistency and trajectory control — the more consistent your impact on the center of the face, the more predictable that ball will be. Consistency can go a long way towards lowering scores.