Read the following in your best infomercial pitch man voice:
Do you struggle getting out of the sand? Does it sometimes take you 5 or 6 shots to get it out of the trap? Don’t worry. You are not alone! What if there was a way to not only get out of the bunker but get it close every time? NOW THERE IS! Introducing the EVERY INFOMERCIAL WEDGE you have ever heard of on TV.
- The first time I hit the EVERY INFOMERCIAL WEDGE it went right in the hole. – “Jim Bobarooney”
- I hit it off the cart path with ease. – “Timmy Tufington”
- I added 17 yards with this wedge. – “Harry Ridonkulous”
Do Infomercial Wedges Actually Work?
Almost all golfers have seen an infomercial ad for a wedge. Most think they’re a joke or a gadget only for the fools in the world that think they can buy a game. But are they a joke? Is it possible they actually work? The Ray Cook Alien Shot Saver grossed over $200,000,000 in sales over a three year period. That’s pretty amazing to think about when there’s never been a comprehensive test done to find out if they actually help golfers.
That’s where MyGolfSpy’s GolfBusters comes in. We think all “AS SEEN ON TV” and Golf Infomercial products should be put to the test to see if they stack up to all their wild claims. So, we tested the three most popular (and recent) infomercial type wedges that were created for golfers with high handicaps and struggling short games. If these wedges really do perform, it could be the difference between you saving par and making a triple bogey…
HOW WE TESTED
Like most infomercial products, the target demographic for the product is mid to high handicappers. With that, we tailored our test group to accurately reflect the target market.
- Four total wedges were tested: a C3i Wedge, a Cleveland SmartSole 3, a Callaway SureOut, and a traditional sand wedge from a market leader.
- The same clubs were used in each session for every tester.
- 8 golfers with handicaps ranging from 10-20 and driver swing speeds between 70 and 90 mph participated in this test.
- Each tester hit 12-14 shots for each club from the group (frequently rotating between clubs).
- All shots were recorded regardless if the ball finished on the green.
- All testers hit Bridgestone B330-RX Golf Balls.
The table below shows the data collected for the four wedges tested.
Hacker vs. Traditional Wedge
|Club||# of shots||Proximity to Hole (ft)||% on green||% left in bunker||% long||% short|
- The C3i and Cleveland SmartSole produced the tightest average proximity to the hole.
- The C3i also left the fewest shots in the bunker (6) AND the least number of shots short of the green (9).
- The traditional wedge and Callaway SureOut left an identical number of shots in the bunker (12).
- While the average proximity numbers don’t show the C3i to be extremely impactful – 5 out of the 8 testers produced better results with the C3i than any other wedge.
- Not a single tester performed best with the traditional wedge; in fact, 5 of the 8 testers produced the worst results with the traditional wedge.
- Subjective feedback from the test group showed the C3i was the preferred wedge among all clubs tested. Testers noted the C3i felt heavier and were “allowed to let the club do more of the work.”
So, do these non-conventional wedges really perform? Our data suggests that they do for the average golfer. While these wedges may not be your golf game “savior,” they can certainly help you get the ball out of the sand on your first try.
There are a few important things to note when deciding on one of these wedges:
- If you have a “bunker swing” that you’ve practiced, tried and tested – we should probably stick to a conventional wedge. Due to the unusually large amount of bounce on the sole, opening up one of these wedges and taking a normal bunker swing can cause the club to just bounce off the sand, leaving you to blade it across the green or scoop the ball completely.
- If you have a struggling bunker game but still know the basics (we call these golfers “in-betweeners”) the Cleveland SmartSole is a great option. The bounce and loft aren’t as aggressive, which allows the club to dig just a bit.
- For the weekend golfer, the high handicapper, the guy who just can’t get the damn ball out of the sand – the C3i Wedge is for you. You don’t have to change your stance, your aim or the way you swing the club; just step up and hit it out and closer.
You might just want to give one of these a try.
Bob3 years ago
The reason Pros can and do use tracitional bunker/chipping wedges, is because it allows for many different types of shots, and out of different sand and fairway/rough lies – plus of course they practice a lot. The ‘extra bouce/sole wedges are great for normal sand or good fairways and rough – but out of hard pan sand or dirt, or tight hard fairways, they are not so good..
HAC3 years ago
I bought my wife a Callaway SureOut 2 rather than a C3i for two reasons. First, she could try it out (both on a driving range and from a bunker). Second, it comes in a woman’s version with a graphite shaft. My wife is a senior (so am I) and a beginner and plays with light-weight clubs (XXIOs). I do not understand, given the target audience why the C3i does not come with a graphite shaft.
Mark in LOL3 years ago
FYI (for anyone), the C3i does have a good return policy. You can try it for 30 days, and return it if not satisfied. And they are very good about honoring the return policy.
flushem3 years ago
After successful trial with c3i, I got myself used 65″ xe1 wedge. Since, it totally replaces 56″ & 60″ from 50 yds and under. I am 14 hcp player and I am on green 100% stress-free. This club takes care of all pitching, chipping and sand. I do recommend few sessions at range.
Stephen Pearcy4 years ago
Why didn’t you test the foot wedge, for some golfers that’s the only one that works!
bobbykz4 years ago
Interesting numbers, but 10-20 hdcp. leaving approx 10% in the bunker, 10% short and 25% long has nothing to do with the wedge. Just that most people don’t work enough in their wedge game. Does that mean the infomercial wedge is bad? No. Just the players using it need more work on their games. Like Drivers and irons, there are no magic wands.
HAC3 years ago
Maybe these people should quit their jobs, abandon their families and just work on their game. For a lot of people, golf is fun, and people want to have fun and not spend all their time “working on their games.” If these clubs allow them to have more fun, why not. I find your post unrealistic for most people.
David B4 years ago
“The Ray Cook Alien Shot Saver grossed over $200,000,000 in sales over a three year period.” Really? REALLY???
HDTVMAN4 years ago
Marketing pays! I never would have guessed…
Mark in LOL4 years ago
I tried the C3i (65 degree) about a year ago. I just couldn’t make it work for me. Just trying chips and pitches around the green, I’d either pop it up in the air and land short or blade it across the green. As my handicap is >20, I can’t say how much of the problem was me and how much was the club having perhaps too much loft. Either way, I don’t think it is a cure-all for us really high handicappers. But try it if you want. No problem getting full refund if it doesn’t work for you.
Greg Johnson4 years ago
I’m an 18 handicap and I’ve used a dozen different sand wedges. Only a handful of them work well for me. I never tried an informercial wedge. Getting out of the sand has never been an issue with any of the wedges after practicing sand shots, but many of them were inconsistent around the green and on approach shots. In my bag this season is a Ping Gorge Tour 56 SS.
KM4 years ago
People by wedges on looks and whether the belive its going to work, belief is a very important aspect to getting results, if the testers dont believe a particular club will work well it influences the testing.
warbirdlover4 years ago
I bought a Cei wedge and it was horrible. Some shots okay. Others WAY too long. Yes, it did get me out of the trap very well but no feel or control of distance OR direction. I ended up with a Tour Edge triple grind 60°/7° and it has been the best wedge ever.
Gerald Teigrob4 years ago
I play a trusty Rusty 60 degree lob wedge and a Cobra Baffler 55 degree sand wedge along with my Bio Cell pitching and sand wedges. I wouldn’t have it any other way…but the 3Ci would be one idea and the Cleveland game improvement wedges are on my radar.
John Maskal4 years ago
There’s nothing new in the game of golf. Lol. Just improved. I used a Console sand wedge in the mid 70’s. The design is similar to the C3, without the concave sole.
Bwpage34 years ago
I carry the 64 degree Sure Out. Did you watch the Fed Ex Cup at Eastlake? The 64 Sure Out can handle that deep rough around the greens or from the sand and still enable the ball to stop on a hard, fast green.
Donn Rutkoff5 years ago
I am behind in my reading. So, a late comment.
I have a genuine old very chrome Hogan Sure Out, must have about a pound of lead in that big sole. Works great. No distance. Not a wedge, right. Just for sand. I get out first time except if dealing with a Brit style high lip. Did not know that Callaway bot the name Sure Out. Now I know.
Phil Hickman5 years ago
I had to import to the UK both of the smart sole wedges from Cleveland last year as the high revetted bunkers and bare lies around the green at my home club (a championship links) did nothing for my confidence. I was a 14 handicapper then, 58 years old … I’m 10 now!
NH Golfer4 years ago
Callaway bought the Hogan brand then stripped the brand of the Sureout, Edge, and Apex names from it when they sold the brand.
Gerry T5 years ago
I remember playing the sand wedge in the Adams A7OS set and it was a bit more challenging to hit out of the sand. I carry a TaylorMade game improvement sand wedge and figure like the Rocketbladez or Speedbladez that will be more than adequate for me! I am sure that these other wedges work, but I am a tweener and just need the confidence that a game improvement sand wedge can give me!
joro5 years ago
Remember the Incredible Alien? Great club. But most Golfers think they are too good for that easy a club. I love it.
Gerry T5 years ago
We still carry some game improvement clubs in our demos…and it seems the alien wedge still has some popularity! We have a Snake Eyes sand wedge and an iron from those clubs. Whatever works to get the job done is the ideal here!
SeanO5 years ago
I bought the 54/59/65 C3i last year. The 65 is in my bag for all bunker shots, the 59 is in someone else’s bag for all bunker shots. Using it is a cinch, I close the club face down, and vary distance behind the ball, sit and swing. I am disappointed in any bunker shot that is not within a few yards of the hole from as far away as 40 feet. The 59 is doing similar good service in the bag of a friend who was taking multiple shots to get out of bunkers, and all though it gave us a laugh it was slowing our rounds down!
Gorden5 years ago
Bought my wife the Callaway sure out and after she had it about 6 months, I took it out to the practice range and after about 12 sand shots I was in the Club House buying my own 60 degree sure out…spent a few rounds getting used to the way it played from the grass, I can say without doubt for a golfer that is up in age (70) this club gets your short game pitches/chips/sandshots back to your 40’s..if they could make a driver that would take me back to my 40’s distance I’ll take three…
Eddie5 years ago
My girlfriend & I bought a 59 & 65 C3i – I was keeping my hands low & blading A LOT until I learn to use them you must overtly dug in the club toe at address. I flop out of the sand well now. Jamie still struggling in sand but regularly doesn’t get her club up post impact. I chip my 56 too long off the fringe and occasionally use them there now.
WalkerFFZl5 years ago
I bought an Alien with Graphite Shaft and headcover for $129 off tv. Wish I’d of never sold it though it was an ego thing. Club was money from everywhere. Bring it back, Alien2.0 I’d buy one again.
ole gray5 years ago
LOVE my Cleveland Smart Sole wedge! When folks ask me how did I get so good out of the sand, I say my sole is smart.. :o) Seriously if you have problems out of green side bunkers try one. You have zero to lose and much to gain.
Daddt5 years ago
Has anyone tried the latest – Square Golf Wedge? Would be very interested to learn from someone that has actually tried this wedge.
doug5 years ago
The square strike is meant for chipping. Not for the sand.
Scott4 years ago
I just bought the square strike wedge. It’s ok and the alignment was great but overall, it didn’t live up to my expectations. Wasn’t as heavy as they claimed IMO. good for very close chips but not for longer. Longer ones I did chunk it.
I hae an old E-club type 2 jigger that is heavier and works great.
Sending back the square strike.
shortside4 years ago
Ran into a chap that had a well used one on the first tee. While we waited he let me try it out.
With some practice to get used to it you’ve added a new scoring club. IMHO more useful for the average player than any other club I’ve touched. Fact is the average player misses the green 80+% of time. That thing has a lot of legit 1 putts written all over it.
I’m seriously thinking about purchasing one. And it’s not a shot I struggle with.
Mark Matthews4 years ago
Have any of you critically watched the before and after pictures of the people in the Square Strike wedge commercial? In the before shots, these choppers decelerate on their chips and do not follow through on their chips. But magically after they try the Square Strike wedge, they are following through on their chips and puting the ball in or near the Hole. Coincidence? I think not. How many takes and retakes did it require for Square Strike to get the after results they wanted?
Hey, Square Strike, are you ready to answer this honestly?
If you don’t have a decent chipping stroke, the club won’t make a difference. And have you ever noticed that the supposedly low handicap golfer who makes his chip from 20 feet away and swears by the Square Strike wedge is also in the commercial for the G7 driver? Is he being paid for this? And is he a pro? The USGA should investigate his amateur status if he is an amateur, otherwise, the Square Strike and G7 driver people should identify him as a professional golfer.
Total shame on Andy North for shilling for Square Strike.
Michael4 years ago
I actually don’t find that odd.. I see a lot of people checking a wedge/pitch swing to try and get backspin.. Teaching a modified putting stroke for the SquareStrike is naturally going to change that… (I don’t have, use, or want a square strike, but I’ve seen the commercials)
Rob Taylor3 years ago
Why would a 5 handicap golfer consider putting the Square Strike in the bag? You’re a 5 handicap!!
95124hacker5 years ago
Great article. Has MGS done a similar test with infomercial drivers and hybrids vs standard OEM clubs? I would LOVE to do one myself, but… (1) too expensive for a 1-time test, and (2) too embarrassing to bring a bag full of gadgets to the course!
Matt5 years ago
More or less the same concept, a huge shout out to Hireko for the Sand Blaster. Made a big difference to my game. I had long been the dude lost in a cloud of sand and profanity, and at the risk of sounding like an Infomercial myself, that club completely changed my game.
roho5 years ago
It’s a combo what type of sand and condition the bunker is in that dictates to me what wedge to play. We don’t play on tour groomed sand bunkers but mostly on well used or not raked for a week with foot prints in the sand conditions. Some after a rain and before a good raking are like concrete , good luck. I have a various assortment of wedges I will put in my bag depending on the course I play.
indyvic5 years ago
I tried the Smart Sole without much success and thought I’d try the C3i but found a like new Cleveland 588 RS 60* and Bingo what a nice fit. You don’t have to open it up just set up and swing it does the rest. When I want to open a shot I use my Cleveland RT-X 3 56 on most lies. For the sand soft or packed, the 588 RS is a no brainer for me and very dependable around the greens. Nice height, soft landing and half the cost of current similar models.
Rich5 years ago
What are the specs (bounce and grind) on the “standard” wedge?
Ken5 years ago
Have the Smart Sole 2.0 S in my bag, it’s a bunker saver for sure.
Kevin5 years ago
I’m in the target audience and bought an earlier version of Cleveland Smartsole S because I struggled with consistency out of the sand. It made a big difference for me. I still carry it and use it as my go-to chipper from within 60 yards. For my skill level it’s a great club!
Tom5 years ago
Not surprised the wedge that was designed (or at least partially designed) by Haney came in last.
JOND5 years ago
I have been looking at the C3I now since the infomercial came out. I also remember the (I think) FE1 that preceded it and for that matter the Alien. Really toying with the idea of buying the C3I, just have not executed.
Retiring next year to AZ in a golf course community and the course has a lot of sand. I consider myself a pretty good sand player but I think I will buy this club anyway, and most likely I will put it in my wife’s bag.
With a couple of notable exceptions virtually all the women that I play with don’t practice and if they do they don’t practice sand shots and they all hate sand shots.
For women (and men for that matter) that find themselves in that category, I have to think the C3I would be a great bet. Golf is too hard as it is. Anything that helps a high handicapper get out of the sand easier is going to make the game just that much more fun.
Great that you got around to reviewing these clubs. Really validates my feeling that they would really be helpful to a lot of players. In that vein, I would:
***REALLY LIKE TO SEE A REVIEW OF THE SQUARE SHOT***
and other bump and run like specialty wedges.
Albert Silva5 years ago
Smart Sole Wedge…. always out of the bunker
Birdieputt135 years ago
Thanks for testing these wedges. The report was informative and I’m going to purchase the Cleveland Smart Sole for a Christmas present for myself.
Like other readers, I have trouble believing that the Alien wedge sold $200 million worth of product in 3 years. Is this really accurate ?
shortside5 years ago
No doubt. The things were everywhere. Can still be found in the secondary market to this day. Plenty available on ebay. Some in very good condition. Dressy but casual. Trendy but unique. Be smart. Buy now.
EROCK5 years ago
I’ve only had 3 eagles and in my life and two of them came on a full 60 yd shot with my 64* Callaway Sure Out this season. Very effective in the bunker and out (9.4 cap).
Rod_CCCGOLFUSA5 years ago
HooRay for an alternative club maker beating out Golf Digest and the OEM’s. Thefirst question I ask in a wedge fitting is “Where do you play?” OEM’s make wedges for PGA pros playing perfectly maintained fluffy bunkers. If this is not you, see your club maker for the tool that fits your challenge.
Jeff5 years ago
I am a 6.9 handicap and I have a decent sand game. However i love to have my bunker swing to be the same as my regular swing so I think this concept could be super easy for a sharp shooter to to pick up quick. The C3i is going for $99. I’m getting one.
Bradley Smith5 years ago
I’m surprised that an infomercial product actually outperforms “normal” clubs, but I kind of like the idea.
But……you said that Alien wedge sales exceeded $200 million in 3 years?!?! They sell for $40. If that was their price during the 3 year period you mention, that means they sold 5,000,000 of them. That is 4500 every day for 3 years!!!!!! Sorry, but I don’t believe it.
Steve S5 years ago
Agreed. Sounds like they slipped 2-4 decimal places. More like 10-30 per day would be more reasonable.
JOND5 years ago
Originally I thought the Alien went for something like $79 not $40, however I could definitely be wrong it was quite awhile ago.
If it did go for $40 and they sold 5,000,000 of them that would mean at the time, that 1 out of every 6 players in the country was gaming an Alien. I play about 50 to 60 rounds a year. I have only seen them in play twice that I can remember.
derek gzaskow5 years ago
I Holed two Alien club sand shots out the first day, its hard to hit on hard, compact sand and not a club for a full 56 fairway shot, but just saying
Michael P. Ohaneson5 years ago
Maltby has been making wide sole wedges for years. The technology is not new. Low bounce, wide sole = more effective bounce while being able to hit them from tight lies.
Tim Dotson5 years ago
I played the Cleveland SmartSole S wedge for a long time and loved it. My only issue is you can’t “open” it up for other shots.
I still have it in the “island of misfit clubs” bag in the spare bedroom….may need put it in the bag for a round or two
Dustin5 years ago
Island of Misfit Clubs…that’s hilarious, every serious golfer has one though.
Deadeye5 years ago
These wide sole wedges have been around a long time. Because they bought the rights Callaway calls theirs Sure Out, which came from the Ben Hogan company. I used to have a Dunlop that worked well I got from K Mart. The problem is you cannot open the face at all. No versatility. You must consider the kind of sand you encounter most as well. Best is to learn to use the bounce on your standard wedge. Or just avoid the bunkers altogether.
mike oxbig5 years ago
These wedges are not meant to be opened….they are meant for chops to get out of the bunker
Bob Pegram5 years ago
Are all of these legal under USGA rules. I assume the Cleveland, Sure-Out and conventional wedges are. I have heard the C3i isn’t legal. Is that true?
L.R Oscar5 years ago
The C3i is legal—i really like it out of the sand.
Bill Sandefur5 years ago
I have the Cleveland S wedge and love it. Easy peasy out of the sand…
Steve5 years ago
Bought a PureSpin after watching an infomercial, I love it, still use it.
Ryan5 years ago
I bought one of those when it first came out. I spun the crap out of the ball the first two or three times I went out with it. After that, my “diamond coating” must have worn off.
ole gray5 years ago
I have the original Cleveland S wedge and it’s a keeper! My wife had to have one and she loves hers too. Anybody who struggles out of the sand should give one serious consideration.
Steve5 years ago
The off brands make a rescue lob that is fantastic for the high handicap golfer. AKA my wife
Jd Stocker5 years ago
I have a 58° touredge one out. Guess it’s the alien wedge. It works great, and save me from abusing my other wedge’s. I’d recommend it to anyone struggling with bunker play. It’s not a fix all, but definitely helps.
Cody5 years ago
I have always wondered if someone could actually have success with clubs like these. You see them on TV in an infomercial and most of the time I think, “oh that’s a waste of money.” However, after reading some of the comments and this article, I now believe that these clubs could be beneficial for the higher handicap golfer. It could even just be used as a training tool to teach people how to get out of the sand.
Dave5 years ago
I use the previous version of the Cleveland SmartSole and while I think it has improved my sand game, it’s difficult to say for sure. Seems like it always comes down to technique and confidence. I do notice that there may be a little too much bounce for hard/wet bunkers so occasionally I will blade it way out over the green, which is so frustrating! I’ve been playing for almost 6 years and I still get a little mental when my ball goes in the bunker :).
Cody5 years ago
It is good to hear that you have had success from these clubs. I don’t know anyone that has one of these, so I always wondered if they work.
Keith5 years ago
Smart Sole defiantly looks the best out of the bunch so must be the win win 🙂
keith5 years ago
Definitely * 😉
Yanni Juan John5 years ago
The Callaway one is legit. I have the 64* and its awesome. Personally, as an 11 hdcp I find it’s most deadly for mega flops from 30 yards and in…
Bob5 years ago
I have an older version of the Smart Sole and, at first, I was a bit embarrassed to put it in my bag. Then I started hitting better sand shots and hitting high soft green side approaches from any type of grass. I am sold!
Steve S5 years ago
Funny thing is that Ralph Maltby had wedges like this years ago.(and separately the Alien and Moe Norman Sandy Andy) Now Cleveland, Callaway and Tour Edge all have versions of this “new” technology.
I’ve tried a number of them…you still need to make a consistent, aggressive swing to get out of the sand no matter what wedge you use.
Jim5 years ago
Bought the Callaway and tried it,, was not better than my 60 degree Mac Powersphere, I returned it. Found an old Alien in a garage sale, worked great from the fairway but again, not better out of the sand. Not worth sacrificing a club from the bag to carry it.
Terry Wittek5 years ago
Love my smart sole wedge
Jeff Job5 years ago
I can put nice backspin on the ball with that club. In fact, that wedge and their sand wedge have dropped my handicap 4 strokes in the second half of the year.
John5 years ago
I am a 7 hc and bought my 87 year old father a 64 degree C3i wedge at the beginning of the year. He struggles from the sand and low and behold it was a miracle club for him. He gets out every time now. I tried it out of the sand and bladed it right over the green. One day I was playing around with it and tried it from a buried lie in the rough and the ball popped right out. Interesting. Then I tried it from some hardpan. Ball popped right up and sat down softly on the green. Long story (somewhat) short, they ran a buy one get one sale this summer and I bought him another one with less loft (55) and got a 60 degree one for myself. Love this thing from all lies, and it sits down so softly. I had to really learn how to play it out of the bunker, but now it’s a real go-to club. Glad I tried it.
Don5 years ago
It’s interesting that the sureout was the worst performer out of the bunch. I thought it was specifically designed to assist short game. To perform worse than the standard wedge does not bode well.
Paul Smith5 years ago
My girlfriend has a Smartsole and has an easy time getting out of bunkers and hitting short pitches and chips(but not off of tight lies, so I tried the Sureout and got it out of the bunker almost always, but did not have much control of distance or spin, but the main reason to try was for short chips against the grain in heavy or narley rough. It was more consistent than my regular sand wedge, but not perfect. It did work good on regular lies, but only with the face square. Since it could not replace my regular in the bunker or allowed to be opened up, I sent it back as I could not get use to hitting those shots with a square face.
Scott Romines5 years ago
really like theses tests…..any idea of performance outside of the sand though? Do most golfers end up in enough greenside bunkers to carry a club just for that purpose….that may be the next question…..thank you MGS!
Ian Johnson5 years ago
For people who don’t hit it far, it makes sense. Especially if they can’t launch a 3 wood high enough or get proper gaps, they’ve got an extra option for clubs
Ian Johnson5 years ago
Best example I can think of is my grandpa, who’s in his late 80s and doesn’t hit over 150 with driver. No need for him to have anything longer than a 6 iron, really, which leaves a ton of room for either hybrids or specialty clubs (chippers, sand-specific wedges, etc)
James T.5 years ago
The Grandpa could even carry 2 or 3 putters.
Scott Romines5 years ago
Sam Robinson5 years ago
As Adam and I were testing last week we decided that we definitely want to test these wedges in a variety of areas. I think it’d be useful to our readers to see how they performed.
However we definitely see higher handicap golfers struggled more out of the sand than they would in any other situation. You can bump and run a 7-iron from 30 yards off the green, but you have to take something high lofted in a trap around the green.
shortside5 years ago
So there it is. Truth be told I had tremendous success with an infomercial wedge a couple decades ago. Can’t remember which for the life of me but had the rascal dialed in for some time.
As they, every little bit helps.
Bill5 years ago
Great report, would be good to update with short game wedges like the square shot