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2015 Wedge Roundup: AmateurGolf.com Staff Review
13 Feb 2015
by Rusty Cage

see also: Equipment Reviews

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2015 wedges from Titleist, Callaway and Ping (above)<br>offer versatility and spin control
2015 wedges from Titleist, Callaway and Ping (above)
offer versatility and spin control
The simple truth is, it’s hard to hit a high percentage of greens. Acclaimed statistician Mark Broadie, in his book Every Shot Counts, analyzed hundreds of thousands of shots and found that even scratch golfers miss the green 50 percent of the time on average.

So it goes without saying that solid, all-around wedge play is one of the most important factors for shooting lower scores. For golf equipment companies, the process of designing a quality wedge isn’t just about spin; more than ever, it’s about versatility - full shots and pitches, picking a ball clean from a tight lie or escaping from the rough, playing the ball back or forward, setting up open- faced or square. The wedges featured in this article can handle any challenge you throw at them. And of course they offer plenty of spin.

Titleist SM5 Wedges

Master craftsman Bob Vokey has the largest performance lab in the industry - it’s called the PGA Tour. Since 2004, wedges designed by Vokey have been the most popular on tour and are trusted by golfers at every competitive level. Quality and consistency get you there. Innovation keeps you there.

For starters, the SM5 wedges from Titleist feature deeper TX3 grooves that produce even more spin and better trajectory control than in year’s past. But rather making the groove volume consistent across different lofts, Titleist re-engineered the spacing on lower lofts to provide better distance management. Wider and deeper scorelines on the higher lofts are meant to provide additional spin. All SM5 wedges are finished with a high frequency face treatment to increase their durability and spin retention round after round.

Titleist SM5 wedges in Tour Chrome, 
Gold Nickel and Raw Black finishes
Titleist SM5 wedges in Tour Chrome, Gold Nickel and Raw Black finishes

Compared to the SM4 lineup, the new wedges have a more compact profile, a rounder toe and shorter blade length, incorporating feedback Vokey and his team received from their tour staff. SM5 wedges are available in three finishes: Tour Chrome, Gold Nickel and Raw Black. With 21 loft and bounce configurations, as well as six different sole grinds, Titleist has arguably one of the most extensive selection of wedges in the industry. If you can’t find a Titleist wedge that fits your game, chances are you won’t find it anywhere.


(Left to right) Comparing a 54-degree S Grind 
and 54-degree M Grind wedge from Titlelist
(Left to right) Comparing a 54-degree S Grind and 54- degree M Grind wedge from Titlelist

Titleist SM5 wedges come stock with a True Temper Dynamic Gold S200 shaft and a Golf Pride BV Wings Tour Velvet Grip.

Callaway Mack Daddy 2 Wedges

Like Titleist and so many other equipment companies spotlighted in this article, Callaway continues to devote substantial resources in an effort to achieve higher spin rates on their wedges. Looking back on the USGA’s 2011 groove rule which put limits on groove volume and edge sharpness, all it did was open up pandora’s box for golf’s leading engineers. To bring some bite back into their lineup, Callaway uses a laser-milled groove pattern on all Mack Daddy 2 wedges to rough up the surface texture for increased spin. Callaway’s Mack Daddy 2 wedges have two distinct groove volumes. Lower lofted clubs (47, 50, 52, and 54-degree models) are outfitted with 20V grooves for less spin. The higher-lofted wedges use the company’s 5V grooves which provide 25 percent more spin on full shots out of the rough compared to a 2011 Callaway Forged Wedge.

Callaway Mack Daddy 2 Tour Grind 
wedges are available in two finishes
Callaway Mack Daddy 2 Tour Grind wedges are available in two finishes

In addition to enhanced spin rates, the Mack Daddy 2 wedges offer some compelling sole grind options. The three standard specifications (s, c, and u-grind) have been around since 2013 giving golfers a choice of using a wedge with either a flatter leading edge (suitable for playing shots with a relatively square face) or a more rounded design for playing softer-landing shots.

Callaway Mack Daddy 2 wedges feature a 
high performance groove pattern
Callaway Mack Daddy 2 wedges feature a high performance groove pattern

Separately, Callaway released what they call their tour-grind wedges modeled after sole grinds preferred by players such as Pat Perez, Patrick Reed, Danny Lee, Freddie Jacobson and other tour staffers. The T-Grind wedges are notable for their heel/toe relief and straighter leading edge. The geometry of the sole, says Callaway’s Roger Cleveland, allows the leading edge to stay under the ball, letting players hit a variety of shots from either a closed or open-faced position.

Both the standard-edition and tour-grind Mack Daddy 2 wedges come in two finishes: chrome and slate. True Temper’s Dynamic Gold S300 shaft is standard on both models.

Ping Glide Wedges

To appreciate how successful the new Glide wedges from Ping are, consider the following information: Ping engineers redesigned these wedges from the grip down; they bare no resemblance to company’s pre- existing Tour wedges save for the Gorge grooves. And as for the response, staff players such as Billy Horschel, Hunter Mahan and Bubba Watson put prototypes in play last October. A Ping representative I spoke to at the PGA Show in January confirmed that a significant number of staffers have already replaced their old set makeup with Glide wedges.

Personally, I think versatility is the defining characteristic of the new Glide wedges. Then again, somebody else might easily argue that these wedges are among the best spinning in the industry. It’s probably both, and here’s why.

Ping Glide wedges have been re-
engineered from the grip down
Ping Glide wedges have been re-engineered from the grip down

The Glide wedges come in three sole grind models (thin to wide) and are available in 13 total loft / sole combinations so there’s bound to be a set of wedges that best fit a golfer based on his or her technique. When properly fit these wedges have been described as being able to glide through sand or grass. The compact head shape and softer leading edge help prevent digging.

Three different sole grinds make the new 
Ping Glide wedges highly versatile
Three different sole grinds make the new Ping Glide wedges highly versatile

To help golfers improve their creativity and performance around the greens, Ping outfitted these wedges with a proprietary grip that is 3/4 inch longer than standard. The new grip encourages players to grip down for better control and to produce a lower trajectory. There’s also three distinct thumb markings that aid in developing consistent hand placement.

When it comes to spin Ping engineers optimized the groove placement, varying the radius and sidewall angles. A 16-degree sidewall in lower lofts maximizes volume on full shots. The grooves on the company’s 56 to 60-degree models have steeper sidewalls and a tighter radius to add more bite to chips and pitches. Each Glide wedge uses a smooth chrome-plated finish that’s technologically- engineered to be moisture-repellent and is said to increase spin by as much as 30 percent in damp conditions.

Ping Glide wedges come equipped with a CFS wedge shaft. A TFC 4191 shaft (SR, R, S) is also available.

Callaway Mack Daddy PM Grind Wedge

Callaway’s Mack Daddy PM Grind wedge is a joint collaboration between Phil Mickelson and wedge maker Roger Cleveland on a design that makes short work of the toughest shots around the green. This specialty wedge allows both tour players and amateurs to be ultra-aggressive from sand, tight lies and deep rough. Putting three of these wedges into his bag at The Masters, Mickelson showcased an array of specialty shots at Augusta on his way to a tie for second place.

The Mack Daddy PM-
Grind wedge has a unique 
shape to help your short game
The Mack Daddy PM-Grind wedge has a unique shape
to help your short game

To create the PM Grind wedge, Mickelson and Cleveland took a Mack Daddy 2 wedge and grinded out a high toe shape for more surface area than a typical wedge, with 39% more groove area extends all the way across the face. As for the sole, the club uses a modified version of the existing U-Grind that many tour players, including Mickelson, tend to favor. If you’re the type of golfer who finds open-faced shots challenging, the Mack Daddy PM Grind will let you accelerate through the ball with absolute confidence. Read more about this unique wedge here.

TaylorMade Tour Preferred Wedges

The Tour Preferred wedge from TaylorMade features a classically-designed shape that better players tend to prefer. Two sole grinds are available: both the standard C-grind and ATV grind have generous heel relief and a slight progressive camber in higher lofts. The ATV grind offers a little more variation and exposes the bounce a little better on open-faced shots.

TaylorMade's Tour Preferred wedge 
features a traditionally-inspired design
TaylorMade's Tour Preferred wedge features a traditionally-inspired design

The Tour Preferred wedge (both grind models) benefits from a soft 304 stainless steel construction and raw satin finish. Microtexture on the face increases spin on the milled grooves. If there’s one knock on these wedges it’s that they only come in a single finish whereas most companies offer wedges in two or three styles.

TaylorMade's Tour Preferred wedge 
comes in two sole grinds with generous heel 
relief on both
TaylorMade's Tour Preferred wedge comes in two sole grinds with generous heel relief

Golfers who end up purchasing TaylorMade’s Tour Preferred wedges will ultimately respond to the traditional design which will remind them of classic wedges they’ve played in the past. To increase the versatility of these wedges, TaylorMade used a square leading edge on lower lofts and a more rounded one on higher lofts for better performance on open-faced shots.

The Tour Preferred wedge comes stock with a KBS Tour V shaft and Golf Pride’s Tour Velvet grip.

TaylorMade Tour Preferred EF Wedges

Legendary club maker Clay Long and TaylorMade engineers spent over a year developing the Tour Preferred EF wedge which combines industry-first technological advancements in a tour-validated design.

TaylorMade's Tour Preferred EF wedge combines classic looks with high spin 
grooves.
TaylorMade's Tour Preferred EF wedge
combines classic looks with high spin grooves.

Using a process that ionizes nickel and cobalt in an electrolytic solution, TaylorMade is able to produce consistent groove sharpness that delivers high-spin performance over and above any other wedge they’ve designed in the past. The ultra-thin face insert that is derived from this chemical process is made from nickel cobalt, a material that’s 50 percent harder than Carbon steel. To preserve a softer feel on the Tour Preferred EF wedge, TaylorMade combined the face insert with a head forged from 1025 Carbon steel.

The Tour Preferred EF wedge is available in two sole options - the popular Tour grind and the versatile ATV grind. The wedge comes stock with a KBS Tour shaft and is polished in a glare-reducing dark smoke PVD finish. Click here to read more about this high performance wedge.

Nike Engage Wedges

Nike has a way of doing something that makes you scratch your head initially, but somehow it eventually makes sense and you wonder why other companies didn’t think of it first. Look no further than the company’s Toe Sweep sole grind wedge which made a splashy debut a year ago in the hands of Rory McIlroy, who used it to chop out of the rough at Wentworth and win the BMW PGA Championship, setting up a huge season.

The Toe Sweep is back this year. It’s one of three sole grinds available on Nike’s Engage wedges which, as you might ascertain, benefited from McIlroy’s hands-on input. The Engage wedge features a very sleek, ultra-modern head design. Based on player feedback, Nike engineers chose to produce the wedges in a raw finish instead of chrome-plating which helps reduce glare and will roughen over time.

The ultra-modern looking Nike Engage 
wedges
The ultra-modern looking Nike Engage wedges

The Nike Engage wedge has a couple of notable similarities to the company’s Vapor irons. The new wedges are precision-milled with X3X grooves to deliver maximum spin on full shots. Engineers also adjusted the CG location, moving it closer to the center of the face to promote stability and consistent turf interaction.

A 
close up of Nike's new Dual Sole Engage 
wedge
A close up of Nike's new Dual Sole Engage wedge

As mentioned earlier, three sole grinds ensure the Engage wedge performs in a variety of conditions. The Dual Sole offers two surfaces - one for playing square-faced shots, the other for when the clubface is open. The Toe Sweep has a wide toe area and a narrow heel which helps prevent the club from digging out of deep rough. Nike’s Square Sole grind will end up being the most popular choice for golfers who play mostly square-faced shots around the greens.

The Engage wedge comes stock with True Temper Dynamic Gold S400 shaft and a Golf Pride Tour Velvet grip.

Cleveland 588 RTX 2.0 Wedges

Cleveland’s 588 RTX 2.0 comes in both cavity back and blade design. While the two models may differ in regards to forgiveness they have many similarities between them.

Each 588 RTX 2.0 wedge delivers maximum spin based on Cleveland’s ability to offer multiple layers of surface roughness to the space between grooves. A circular, Rotex milling pattern is initially applied to the face of the club. Zip Grooves, now in their fourth generation, are then added. They feature steeper sidewalls and a sharper radius than in previous versions. As a last step, Cleveland engineers apply a laser- milling coating that increases groove roughness within the USGA limit to maximize spin on pitch and chip shots.

Cleveland 588 RTX 2.0 wedges in 
multiple finishes
Cleveland 588 RTX 2.0 wedges in multiple finishes

The new wedges are available in three sole grinds, from narrow to wide. The narrowest grind (1 Dot) has the lowest effective bounce, allowing the wedge to be played from even the tightest of lies. On the other end of the spectrum, Cleveland’s 3 Dot sole grind is ideal for players who have a steep attack angle and / or play shots from softer turf conditions.

An up-close view of the complex milling 
pattern found on every 588 RTX 2.0 wedge
An up- close view of the complex milling pattern found on every 588 RTX 2.0 wedge

The 588 RTX 2.0 wedge has two standard shaft offerings. Players can purchase a wedge equipped with either a 90-gram Rotex graphite wedge shaft or use a True Temper Dynamic Gold wedge shaft. Cleveland’s wedges come in two finishes: chrome (light) or Tour Satin (dark).

Mizuno MP-T5 Wedges

Mizuno doesn’t have the largest staff presence on tour, but that’s alright when one of those players, Luke Donald, became the number one player in the world a few years back based on his ability to stick it close with short irons and wedges. You can bet his fingerprints are all over Mizuno’s MP-T5 wedge line which features an unprecedented 25 combinations of loft and bounce, along with five grinds.

Mizuno MP-T5 wedge in black ion
Mizuno MP-T5 wedge in black ion

You’ll definitely need the help of a fitter to find the right combination of loft, bounce and grind to match your game, but players who are familiar with Mizuno‘s much- acclaimed iron line will have plenty to like about these wedges. The MP-T5 wedges are forged from a single billet of 1025E carbon steel for a soft, solid and consistent feel. Mizuno’s CNC-milled Quad Cut grooves are narrower and deeper from 49 to 53-degrees while a wider, shallower configuration is used in higher lofts for tighter control and additional spin.

Mizuno MP-T5 wedges feature a refined, 
teardrop profile
Mizuno MP-T5 wedges feature a refined, teardrop profile

The MP-T5 wedge comes in two finishes: white satin and black ion. The stock shaft is True Temper’s Dynamic Gold wedge flex. A vast array of custom shafts are offered at no up-charge.

Bridgestone J15 Wedges

Bridgestone’s new J15 wedges use three main technologies - a Sure Contact Sole, Pro Groove Design and Durable Heat Treatment - to increase both the spin and versatility of their clubs.

Bridgestone's new J15 wedges 
are forged from 
premium carbon steel for pure performance
Bridgestone's new J15 wedges are forged from premium carbon steel for pure performance

Unlike a number of companies who typically hand-grind their soles, Bridgestone designed the Sure Contact Sole directly within the forging process itself so as to ensure that the heal geometry is consistent from wedge to wedge. The sole features a generously shaved area around the heel that lets you play this wedge with confidence from various lies with either a square or open-faced position.

Bridgestone's J15 wedges are 
available in two 
finishes - satin and black oxide
Bridgestone's J15 wedges are available in two finishes - satin and black oxide

With its Pro Groove Design, Bridgestone increased the surface area to help channel dirt, water and debris away from the face for cleaner contact. The company also machine-milled the faces of their wedges to increase surface roughness for added spin.

Lastly, the J15 wedges have been blasted with a durable heat treatment process to enhance their durability during frequent use. The new wedges will be available in two finishes - black oxide and satin - in lofts from 50 to 60 degrees. True Temper’s Dynamic Gold Spinner shaft will come stock. Additional shaft options will be available.

Bettinardi H2 Wedges

Better known for their premium line of milled putters, Bettinardi recently unveiled their finely-crafted, forged H2 wedges designed for players at all skill levels.

Bettinardi H2 wedges offer exceptional 
spin, pure feel and classic looks
Bettinardi H2 wedges offer exceptional spin, pure feel and classic looks

The H2 wedges are designed with a unique milling pattern which provides enhanced contact in both wet and dry conditions. These wedges use a classic C-grind sole which allows the leading edge to rest on the ground longer, effectively reducing bounce on open-faced shots.

Bettinardi's unique milling process cuts 
grooves that perform in both wet and dry 
conditions
Bettinardi's unique milling process cuts grooves that perform in both wet and dry conditions

Bettinardi’s H2 wedges are available in five loft / bounce combinations. Custom adjustments to the loft and lie can be made in 1-degree increments. The wedges come in either a satin nickel finish or cashmere bronze. Three shafts are standard: KBS Hi Rev, True Temper’s DG Spinner and DG S200 models.

Ben Hogan TK15 Wedges

For many golfers, it might be a surprise to see the name Ben Hogan in this list in the first place. Word to the wise, you better get used to it cause precision is back as the recently-revitalized company is apt to say.

The new TK15 wedges are forged from 1025 carbon steel and offer the soft feel and performance expected from players familiar with Hogan’s exacting standards. These wedges are designed to seamlessly integrate with the company’s irons, ensuring optimal gapping across the set.

Ben 
Hogan TK15 wedges are forged from carbon 
steel for exceptional feel and performance
Ben Hogan TK15 wedges are forged from carbon steel for exceptional feel and performance

The TK15 wedges features a V Sole design in which an aggressive leading edge bounce blends to a decreasing trailing edge bounce giving golfers better control over their ball flight and more predictable results from any kind of lie.

The 
TK15 uses a precise milling process that 
meets the exacting standards of a Hogan 
wedge
The TK15 uses a precise milling process that meets the exacting standards of a Hogan wedge

The new wedges are available in 1- degree increments from 48 to 63 degrees. Multiple shaft and grip combinations are being offered as part of the custom-built experience.

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