Are your wedges custom fitted or selected? It’s the primary question posed by Edel Golf and the driving force behind its new SMS (Swing Match System) wedge line.
Maybe semantics aren’t your thing. However, Edel believes the difference between what it offers and, well, pretty much everything else, is monumental.
Is it a bold assertion? You bet. But the story supporting Edel’s stance offers some rather intriguing talking points. We’ll break it down for you. Hold, please.
It’s been a long time coming. In fact, one could reasonably argue that it’s been nearly 90 years since any seismic shift in wedge design. While taking a flying lesson from Howard Hughes, Gene Sarazen noted how the tail of the plane functioned, specifically during takeoff. The result was a homespun “sand” wedge with a flange design that immediately changed how golfers played out of bunkers.
I’m not ignoring the myriad improvements made in the decades since Sarazen’s aircraft-inspired creation. But I’m hard-pressed to pin down any single wedge release as truly historical. I’m talking iconic like PING’s perimeter-weighted irons or Titleist’s release of the first ProV1 in October 2000.
Consumer complacency is a reality. Golfers demand (and buy) rapid technological advancements in metalwoods. It’s why some manufactures have an R&D budget that pushes $40 million annually.
But when it comes to putters and, to a lesser degree, wedges? Not so much. The need for something new and techy isn’t as present. Maybe that’s why wedges in 2021 don’t appear visually all that different from Wilson’s old R-90.
Product and Process
For Edel, the product (wedge) and process (fitting) are inseparable. One doesn’t exist without the other. To be fair, it’s also a point of differentiation Edel leverages as a way to maintain a healthy distance from other companies.
The 2021 SMS wedge features Swing Match Weighting, four distinct grinds, full-face scoring lines and a diamond-pattern face texture. Compared to other wedges on the market, it’s likely the moveable weights are what most golfers will notice first. And they represent a good bit of Edel’s marketing focus. That said, like any well-engineered club, it’s how each piece supports the overall design that ultimately matters most.
Edel has always promoted a unique approach to fitting. This starts and ends with founder David Edel whose stance is rooted in a biomechanical understanding of each golfer. Arm length, wingspan and arm-fold patters all help determine the proper equipment specs. With the Edel SMS wedge, moveable weights introduce an additional fitting variable, one which Edel believes gives him the self-proclaimed “world’s best” wedge fitting system.
What’s Really Different?
Edel’s tagline that the SMS wedge is the “first wedge fit for your swing” is perhaps an oversimplification. Ultimately, it’s not just your swing that determines the best fit. Every golfer’s swing has a unique DNA. However, when it comes to a precise fitting, club specifications are a two-way street. That is to say, you won’t swing every club the same way. If it’s too heavy, you’ll make compensations. Too light? It might be hard to find control.
The concept of fitting a wedge to a golfer’s swing is relatively commonplace. I mean, it seems as obvious as selecting a glove based on the size of your hand.
But, with the Edel SMS wedge, the story centers around the specific process by which a wedge is matched to the golfer’s swing.
As they say, when looking for details, expect to find demons. Or something like that.
The three interchangeable weights on the wedge flange are the visual technology that best represents Edel’s Swing Match Weighting system.
Listing to David Edel explain it all, one could be convinced that it’s a complex fitting paradigm that rivals my high-school calculus experience. Which is to say, hours of confusion interspersed with brief moments of clarity.
And while the biomechanical underpinnings are innately more complex, it’s really a basic template. Edel believes every golfer fits into one of three swing types: cover, side-on or under. Put another way: steep, neutral or shallow.
That bit is probably something you’ve run into once or twice before. But the twist is that Edel believes golfers can unlock better performance by matching weight locations to their individual swing type.
Citing internal testing, Edel found that 80 percent of tested golfers saw the best spin numbers with the heaviest weight not in the center location. Players with steeper swings (cover golfers) tended to do best with the heaviest weight in the heel. Conversely, shallower swings (under golfers) did better with the weight in the toe.
The net result, according to Edel, is a 44-percent improvement in overall accuracy. That number includes both carry distance and left/right dispersion.
While the moveable weights are main course, four grinds (D,V,T,C) serve as tasty side dishes.
The Edel SMS wedge is offered in even-numbered lofts (48 to 60 degrees) with all four grinds available in each loft. From an inventory and SKU management perspective, it’s a veritable nightmare. But for fitters and golf gearheads, it’s an all-you-can-eat hibachi buffet.
In order from steep to shallow:
D-Grind (Double Bounce) – The other three grinds feature a letter that more or less tells you what the grind is supposed to do. The D-Grind, however, doesn’t. So, left to my own devices, I’m calling it the “Double Bounce” grind.
To clarify, the D-Grind gives the golfer two different bounce surfaces. When addressed with a square face, it’s a high-bounce wedge. In addition, if the golfer opens the face, it accesses a secondary, extremely high-bounce surface. Generally, this could be beneficial in sandy/soft bunkers or touchy green-side shots from high rough.
V-Grind (V-sole) – The V-shaped sole is still a high-bounce surface and is relatively similar to Edel’s DVR grind on previous models. The V-Grind sets a lot of bounce closer to the leading edge which should allow the club to engage and move through the turf relatively quickly.
T-Grind (Triple Sole) – The T-Grind is a slightly more complex design with three surfaces. The leading edge is high-bounce while substantial heel relief and a lower-bounce crescent-shaped surface allow the golfer to open the face while maintaining the same bounce at address. Effectively, the sole of the club should produce similar turf interaction whether the face is square or open.
C-Grind (Cambered) – The C-Grind offers the widest sole and least amount of bounce. It’s likely best for the player who prefers to play a variety of shots around the green and can manipulate the face to do so. It’s also likely to be a good option for golfers who prefer to carry a lower-bounce lob wedge and higher-bounce sand wedge. Or vice versa.
You won’t see a single bounce number attached to any Edel SMS wedge. The reason, as stated by Edel, is that the number isn’t accurate. Even worse is the term “effective bounce.” When discussing bounce (acute angle between the ground and leading edge), Edel says you have to consider, at minimum, the following: What part of the sole do you use to measure it? What is the role of sole width? Depending on how the golfer intends to use the wedge, which measurements would be most beneficial to know? Leading edge? Amount of heel/toe relief? Trailing edge? You get the picture.
Whether you buy what Edel’s selling or not, the fact remains that leading wedge manufacturers have long operated under the premise of “design for what golfers need but stamp what they want to see.” It’s no different than the practice of vanity driver lofting where companies might stamp 8° or 9° on the heel but the actual loft is typically one to two degrees higher.
Other Features and Benefits
The Edel SMS wedge is forged from 1025 carbon steel. Every sole/bounce configuration is CNC milled to maintain precise specifications. The wedges also feature full-face grooves with a laser-engraved surface texture. The purpose is to help generate and retain spin on partial shots or in wet conditions.
The stock shaft is the Nippon Modus Wedge shaft. Additionally, Edel fitters will have access to an array of custom shaft options.
Like I said at the start, whether it’s consumer complacency or something else entirely, the wedge category is ripe for substantive change. If Sarazen were alive today, I’d wager a steak dinner that he’d be shocked to see that his 1931 shaping is still relevant.
That isn’t to say that the current suite of wedges is somehow less than or lacking in performance. At the same time, I’d think every company firmly believes its next generation of wedges will somehow be better than the current one.
With the SMS wedge, Edel is somewhere between optimistic and promising clear improvement for every golfer. Edel isn’t short on confidence but the proof isn’t in the pudding. It’s in the eating, right?
For more information, visit Edel’s website. And, as always, tell us what you think.
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Ty2 years ago
Had the pleasure of visiting Club Champion HQ and Brad Syslo fit me for these wedges. I saw the difference immediately. Like, literally the first swing. I’m the boring golfer that ended up with all neutral weights, but these wedges launched lower, spun more, and created a steeper angle of attack (I’m super shallow), than my comparable Cobra wedges. We messed with the weights and the difference in feel and numbers on the monitor was extremely noticeable, even if I felt like I was swinging the club the same. Long story short, Edel has something really special on their hands with these.
Loop2 years ago
Love the idea of movable weights.
David’s high bounce up front on the sole works great on my current Edel wedge, I like the turf interaction, cuts through but does not dig. (I’m a “cover” iron player).
Just not a fan of the full face grooves on the new series, they just don’t look right, I prefer a more traditional face. I’m sure David will say it’s more versatile.
It will be a tough decision whether to buy the new series…love the sole and feel, hate the face.
Dick2 years ago
Edel knows what he is doing! I have Vokeys and Edels and both are great for me….I would give one a shot,.
TenBuck2 years ago
Nice looking wedge, but for someone like myself who plays an SM8 “K” grind with a full wide sole, these probably wouldn’t be a good fit for me.
Michael Little2 years ago
Sam2 years ago
Chris and everyone associated with MGS,
Please delete the constant complaint from left handed golfers that ” they don’t make them for lefties so I gave up on them” before you publish them.
Every one of us is dumber for reading it.
David B2 years ago
Will be interesting to see how many places a) opt to carry these wedges and b) actually learn how to fit them for optimum performance. My bet is few on a) and even fewer on b). Bewildering!
Oldpromoe2 years ago
Tour Edge offered a wedge with a weight set 10 years ago and Edison Golf offers wedges that have results like Edel.
JAS HERRINGTON2 years ago
I like `m, but dang they Hi $$
Ron2 years ago
Hey Chris: nice write up. Any chance the toe photos can be labelled as to which grind we’re looking at? Thanks in advance.
Karl Weiss2 years ago
I am pretty darn happy with my Edel EAS 2.0 putter, and am very curious to see if an Edel wedge fitting would benefit my approach game as much the putter has improved my results on the green.
Jesse2 years ago
They look nice would not buy from Edel again got fitted spent 600 on a putter not worth it. How about a review on Edison wedges.
Bob Kendall2 years ago
A nice blend of the T. Made Tour Grind, Callaway MD and Cobra MIM wedges. The weighting system is a great idea.
Robin2 years ago
Nicely done ✅. The lines are so spot on just a gorgeous wedge.
I would love to game wedges like these, but I bought some Edison wedges but who is to know.
Joe G2 years ago
How do you like the Edisons? What is your approx. hdcp.? Which ones did you get? I really appreciate your time.
vince schiavo2 years ago
I have an Edison wedge (53 deg bent to 54 deg). I carry a 10.3 index…oh, by the way, I love it (it’s easy to flight my wedge shots without any kind of crazy manipulation).
MarkM2 years ago
Very Interesting! thanks for the info!
Dave2 years ago
With all these “new tech” wedge designs (Edel, Edison, Mizuno, etc.) a Most Wanted test might prove quite interesting.
Justin Hope2 years ago
I know we live in the age of anything pretty much goes, but this article could have used a good proofread. There are several grammatical errors that could have been easily fixed. Not the biggest deal, but overall, I think it takes away from the quality and standard that we expect from you guys.
Kenny B2 years ago
From the Edel website: “Bounce & Sole CNC machined to the tightest tolerances in the industry”
From above: “You won’t see a single bounce number attached to any Edel SMS wedge. The reason, as stated by Edel, is that the number isn’t accurate.”
MR2 years ago
Obviously you didn’t read closely
David2 years ago
A PXG look. Or an MBA doing his job?
Kris Halsrud2 years ago
Used to play Edel wedges but they have given up on lefties so I had to move on.