#ASKMYGOLFSPY – WEDGES
Golf Wedges

#ASKMYGOLFSPY – WEDGES

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#ASKMYGOLFSPY – WEDGES
How often should I replace my wedges?Various wedges

Titleist says you should think about replacing your wedges after 75 rounds. While that sounds exactly like what somebody trying to sell you a wedge would say, it is a reasonable estimate based on typical use.

The more you use your wedge, the more the grooves will wear. When that happens, you’ll start to lose friction which means launch angles, lower spin and more roll out.

Things like hitting a lot of sand shots, banging on beaten-up hardcover range balls or choosing to play an unplated (raw) wedge will accelerate groove wear. Softer forged wedges will typically wear faster, too.

Unless you play most of your golf inside, there’s an argument to be made that when it’s time to replace the grip, it’s time to replace the wedge.

How much does wedge weight matter?
As with any fitting question, the right answer is almost certainly “it depends.” The idea is that additional weight helps you create more momentum on shorter shots.

As a rule of thumb, your pitching wedge should be a few swingweight points heavier than your 9-iron. Your lob wedge a couple points heavier still.
It’s not uncommon for wedge swingweights to be as high as D5 or D6 and I have friends who play closer to D8. Some of that will be driven by the shaft. Stock shafts for aftermarket/specialty wedges tend to be closer to Tour weight so if you typically play light or even mid-weight shafts, it may be worth ordering custom (assuming you’re not going to get fitted).

What can rust do for my wedge shots around the green?

Nothing.

Rust doesn’t add spin. One more time for the guys in the back …

RUST DOESN’T ADD SPIN!

It is true that raw wedges can sometimes spin more (especially if the manufacturer hasn’t accounted for the finish in the groove spec) but that’s because of a lack of finish, not because of rust. I’m not a fan of anything in between the clubface and the ball and that’s exactly what rust is.

How do I determine the best bounce and grind for my game?
Some quick definitions.

Bounce is the angle formed between the leading edge and the lowest point on the sole.

Grind is the shape of the sole. It encompasses things like width and camber as well as any relieved areas.

When it comes to finding the right wedges, I recommend every golfer get professionally fitted outdoors. If that’s not in the cards (and it probably isn’t), it comes down to a combination of your swing and the type of shots you play on the golf course.

The rule of thumb is that steeper swingers (guys who often take deep divots) benefit from wider (high bounce) soles while the shallow pickers of the world do well with narrower (lower bounce) soles.

Things get more complex when we start talking about options for opening the face around the green or gliding through fluffy bunkers or picking a ball of a bare dirt lie because your home course doesn’t have 100-percent grass coverage around the green.

The bottom line is that the course seldom cares about how you swing so I’m a proponent of carrying a mix of high- and low-bounce options with enough versatility across grinds that you can manage whatever lie the course gives you.

Full-Face Wedges – What difference do they make?
The practical benefit comes on open-face shots around the green where the extra groove area allows you to maintain spin when you’re intentionally trying to make contact somewhere other than the primary hitting area. It’s the reason why full-face grooves are ubiquitous on high-toe wedges.

There’s also a marketing angle at play. Full-face wedges are still kinda different, arguably kinda cool—and that can be tempting.

That said, on your stock square-face shots, there’s no added value whatsoever. And, for the life of me, I can’t find any reason why you’d need full-face grooves on anything longer than a sand wedge.

What’s the optimal gap between my different wedges?
As iron lofts have gotten stronger, the consequence has been wider gaps between wedges. I’m a four-degree gap kind of guy but ultimately it’s the distance that matters. For anything you swing full with regularity, l like the +/- 12-yard gap.

At the point in the bag where a wedge is no longer a full-swing club, I’d argue gaps no longer matter. For me, that’s the lob wedge where fewer than on percent of my lob wedge shots are full-swing, square-face shots. At that spot in the bag (for me anyway), it’s less about hitting a number and more about adding versatility close to the green.

How many wedges is too many?

Another fitting question so the answer is again, “it depends.” For most of us, our greatest opportunities to score will come from inside 120 yards. That’s the natural consequence of amateurs missing significantly more greens than we hit.

I carry four. I’ve thought about carrying five but I know guys who top out at 54 degrees. Every wedge in the bag means one less of something else so I think the right number is the one that gives you the versatility to score inside of 120 yards without compromising your ability to score from farther out.

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Tony Covey

Tony Covey

Tony Covey

Tony is the Editor of MyGolfSpy where his job is to bring fresh and innovative content to the site. In addition to his editorial responsibilities, he was instrumental in developing MyGolfSpy's data-driven testing methodologies and continues to sift through our data to find the insights that can help improve your game. Tony believes that golfers deserve to know what's real and what's not, and that means MyGolfSpy's equipment coverage must extend beyond the so-called facts as dictated by the same companies that created them. Most of all Tony believes in performance over hype and #PowerToThePlayer.

Tony Covey

Tony Covey

Tony Covey





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      Troy

      2 years ago

      Replace my wedges every 12-16 months, depending on my rounds played, etc. I replace my wedges more often than most due to the fact I miss my fair share of greens in regulation and use my wedges often. Can tell after one year that my wedges get worn and lose spin because of their excess use.

      Reply

      Patisorn

      2 years ago

      Would a softer metal create more spin?
      If I put a sand paper on the wedge face, would it make it super spinny?

      Reply

      Eric Newman

      2 years ago

      I’m interested in your assessment of rust on the performance of a wedge. Can you elaborate on what testing was done in this realm?

      Reply

      Curt W

      2 years ago

      Good article Tony. The full face grooves are a good idea, but i need them to put grooves on the hosel.

      Reply

      Douglas Keyston

      2 years ago

      After exhaustive personal testing, I find (9.0 index, 66 years old) that set wedges (for me Callaway X-Forged CB PW and AW) work best. And I’m not surprised to see several PGA pros gravitating this direction recently. Recent change for my most lofted 57 degree wedge to Edison forged who kindly built it with my Aerotech Steelfiber shafts. They will put a new head on it for less than 1/2 the new wedge cost. Doesn’t this make sense for the consumer?

      Reply

      Richard Scholl

      2 years ago

      I think the wedge game is just preference, especially now with PW lofts. You actually need to cover a lot more yardage on the end of bag instead of up top. I’ve always carried four wedges PW 44*-Stock, GW 48*, SW 54*, and LW 60* currently and always keep them within 4*-6* and that seems to work fine.

      Reply

      don

      2 years ago

      A fitting years ago showed me I prefer light wedges and heavy woods.. My mistake was a chunk with the wedges and thin with the woods,. Instantly cut 5 strokes off my handicap, 15 to a 10 in 1 day.. Even though I have it down to a 4 now, I still prefer that set up.. Btw cutting the driver down to PGA average 44.5″ and adding weight to the head was how I dropped the other 6 strokes. I Hit it longer with less force so also much much much straighter.

      Reply

      Max R

      2 years ago

      A couple of years ago I went to my local Titleist fitting centre and tested my SM5s to see what needed to replaced. I got the same wedge (loft & bounce) with the new SM7. Unbelievable! Didn’t expect such a extreme difference in spin but there it was. Looking now to do it again!

      Reply

      Kevin

      2 years ago

      Golfers should be allowed to sharpen the grooves. Am I correct in thinking it’s legal to sharpen wedge grooves but just up to what the USGA limit is? The hard part is having an instrument to measure if your club is still conforming or not. Shops will regrip clubs. Do they also sharpen grooves?

      Reply

      Donn Rutkoff

      2 years ago

      Anybody get wedges re-ground by The Iron Factory, owned by Jim Kronus? He also has his own line of Kronus forged wedges. I will get my Mizu 54 – 09 redone when it needs it. I have 2 of them.

      Reply

      Rich

      2 years ago

      The 75 round suggestion for changing wedges has worked for me because if you add in chipping and range work, the total balls hit could exceed a full seasons usage for rounds. Since I swap mine yearly (typically 80-100 rounds) I often use my old wedges in practice. So my question is, if you are to swap wedges at 75 rounds, what about irons? Am curios about the difference in how/why they wear differently.

      Reply

      Peter

      2 years ago

      I have wondered this as well. I have never seen anything about the need to replace your irons after a certain amount of time. I’d think that forged irons could wear out, right?

      Reply

      mackdaddy9

      2 years ago

      I just put Renegar RXf 54* & 58* wedges back in my bag for the upcoming year.
      These things are still amazing. Why are they not in the wedge tests?

      Reply

      Dennis Beach

      2 years ago

      I have been playing Cleveland wedges. Had a set of forged 900’s, a 52*, 56*, 60*. Played them for over 10 years, when I bought them used at Golfsmith in 2010. Last year retired those wedges, picking up CBX2’s, in 50*, 54*, 58*. Would not think of playing anything else but Cleveland wedges. Now, those 900’s are still around in a box, where I will pull them out, and go chip in the yard on occasion. They always had great feedback, as they would let you know if the shot was good, or not. The metal in the groove area has gotten soft over the years, but they still could be played, just sharpen the grooves. I am probably not the person to ask about changing wedges, but I will play what I have until it is no longer a usable club…

      Reply

      57charlie

      2 years ago

      Informative article but the definitive resource for information on wedges is: The Wedge, By Cleveland Golf. Written by John Rae & Ken Van Kampen, it was initially published in 2016.

      Reply

      Mike

      2 years ago

      I’d love to replace my wedges after 75 rounds. Taking into account what I play each year + practice time, that equates to one full for me. But I certainly don’t have $350 to spend on new wedges every year (SW & LW). Kind of nervy of Titleist considering what they charge. The OEMs probably recommend I change my driver every year! Not hating here, during business to make money. But I honestly think another year season or 2 ofusing my current wedges won’t be the reason I don’t play scratch!

      Reply

      RC

      2 years ago

      I wonder if there are other strange people like me who actually carry two wedges with the same loft. I carry 4 wedges, a PW, a gap, and two 56 degree wedges – one with very high bounce, one with minimal bounce. Totally different applications with the same lofts. This article actually validates my reasons for doing so – at that loft for me, it’s less about a number than it is about adding versatility. Thanks Tony!

      Reply

      don

      2 years ago

      Yes I have, I found a heavier 56 with more bounce and a lighter one with less bounce worked better than a 60 or even a 58.. Yes I also tried the 60 heavy n bouncy but I had to practice more because of the huge difference between it and the 56.

      Reply

      Joseph Greenberg

      2 years ago

      If only all golf writing were this clear, candid and concise. Thanks, TC and MGS

      Reply

      Mat

      2 years ago

      Funny thing about the “75” number. A case could be made that after 75 rounds, the spin doesn’t really reduce anymore, and you start to get consistency.

      Maybe it’s not maximum spin, but I’m quite happy to get the same thing out of my wedges every time. The faces are a little worn, but I’m much better off knowing that a shot will have a result, rather than calculating if I’ve played too many rounds to do it.

      I would bet that performance of 100-round wedges is very, very consistent. And isn’t that what we all want?

      Reply

      Tim

      2 years ago

      You continually lose spin. It just does not stop after 75 rounds. What once stopped at 10 ft will roll out to 15 ft then 20 after further rounds played.

      Reply

      Mark

      1 year ago

      Have you tested spin numbers for various round amounts? I would like to see new, 75 rounds, 150 rounds, etc.

      Burke Lake Pro

      2 years ago

      I know I’m one of the few who love it, but do the MGS guys think we’ll ever see a new Callaway PM Grind wedge again? Last year would have been the usual release time (it had been on a 2-year cycle) but when no PM Grind arrived but the Jaws Full Toe did it seemed like a harbinger that the PM Grind was dead or dying. And now that Phil and Callaway are on the outs (at least for a while) it certainly doesn’t look good for a 2022 release…anybody have any info/guesses about the future (or lack thereof) for PM Grind? I would really miss it–sure it’s fuggly, but I swear you can hit any shot you can imagine with that thing…

      Reply

      Willie T

      2 years ago

      Great article on wedges. I tend to switch around the rotation – all are Cleveland CBX & CBX2. Pitching is a stock TM SLDR @ 46deg. So I can either go the 4deg spread – 50-54-58 or 6deg by going 52-58. Work hard to keep the grooves clean, so far have not seen a depreciable loss of spin, but as a once a week hack I am not qualified to say when a wedge has died. Now that I’ve played these a coupe of years – well over 100 rounds played maybe it’s time to think fresh grooves.

      Reply

      MikeB

      2 years ago

      I love the theory of full face grooves. Even being a 3-5 handicap I occasionally hit chip shots almost out of the groove area, still work out though. PXG has normal sized wedges with full face grooves, but I’m NOT paying $500 for one, and wish more OEM’s gave us that option. I absolutely hate those high toe abominations, reminds me of the TA Ti100 irons from back in the day, could hit softballs with those things.

      Reply

      don

      2 years ago

      Agree 100%, in testing we have found high toe wedges make great specialty wedges especially if you like to open the face, but they just don’t perform well with 3/4 to full swings.

      Micah

      2 years ago

      Tony – any chance you’ve tested a wedge and seen exactly when spin depreciates? You mentioned my rule of thumb: when the grip is gone, so are the grooves; but what is the ratio? 1000 swings = 10% spin loss? That would be a test that I’d love to see! As we’re not swing robots, are we good enough to measure spin loss and say definitively, “that was the club, and not how I delivered the club”?

      Reply

      Burt A

      2 years ago

      You mention that the type of swing is defining the bounce of the wedge.
      If i get fittet indoor on the trackman. Which attack angle with a 54 degree wedge would you judge as flat or step. Eg.: can you say between for example between x and y attack angle it should be a low bounce wedge and between y and z it should be a high bounce wege? (I think ping did it once like that). Thanks for feedback.

      Reply

      WYBob

      2 years ago

      Tony: Thanks for your insights regarding wedges. One thing not mentioned is if there is an advantage to wedge-specific shafts (i.e KBS Hi-Rev, KBS 610, Dynamic Gold Tour Wedge, etc.)? Are there any disadvantages?

      Reply

      E L Garza

      2 years ago

      Good question, like to hear something about how shafts affect wedges.

      Reply

      Rich

      2 years ago

      Excellent question on wedge shafts. Don’t see much discussion on them outside getting fitted.

      Reply

      MarkM

      2 years ago

      Good article Tony!
      I’ve played with a 60° since Tom Kite started doing it in the 80s and they became available to the masses (a Ping Master Model 60 from Japan was my favorite for the LONGEST time). I played with just a PW & SW before that & the 60° was a huge leap in my game. Later came the gap wedge WooHoo! Using the clock method, per TK & Pelz, gives me 16 different stock options (1/4, 1/2, 3/4 & full) inside 135 yards. I get all the trajectories & distances I need. You’d have to pry my 60° from my cold, dead fingers! ;)

      Reply

      J. Colin Forrester

      2 years ago

      Are groove sharpeners useful and helpful….I have a collection of wedges…dozen or so…..just switched to Vokey… Callaway, Hogan, no Clevelands for many years.

      Reply

      Marc Renaud

      8 months ago

      Good question !!

      Reply

      Steve S

      2 years ago

      I’ve been on and off on carrying a lob wedge. I’m not carrying one now because I added a 2 hybrid to the bag. Seem to use it more than I used the lob wedge since I lost some distance over the years. As far as replacing my wedges I’m leaning towards getting them “regrooved” by Golfworks. It’s a heck of a lot cheaper than spending the bucks that it’ll cost you for a new Vokey or Cleveland.

      Reply

      Jacques Netby

      2 years ago

      I find the advice regarding when to replace wedges frustrating because it is so vague that it is of little help. And, of course, when I go into a golf store and ask a sales person, they will rub their thumb up and down the club face, look up at the ceiling as if they were somehow communicating with the wedge gods, and then invariably say “Yeah, you need to change these.”
      Instead of sending off perfectly good pieces of steel to landfill sites, whih seems like such a waste, why hasn’t anyone come up with a groove sharpener that can improve your grooves without making them illegal.?

      Reply

      Dave Tutelman

      2 years ago

      Good article! Thanks, Tony.

      Reply

      Bagger Vince

      2 years ago

      A Mr. Tutleman sighting!!

      Legend

      Thanks for all the knowledge over the years!

      Reply

      john a Smith

      2 years ago

      Do you see any merit to the theory that full face wedges perform better in wet conditions since the water “drains” as opposed to sitting in the groves or possibly building up where the grove ends and meets the solid metal in the face??

      Reply

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