Which of these new spin kings will give you the best chance of success in the scoring zone?
CLEVELAND RTX-3 www.clevelandgolf.com Lofts: 46° / 48° / 50° / 52° / 54° / 56° / 58° / 60° / 62° / 64°
Head options: Sole; V-LG Low bounce, V-MG Mid bounce sole, V-FG Forgiving full sole. Finishes; Black Satin, Tour Satin
Shaft: True Temper Dynamic Gold
TECH: A shorter hosel removes 9g of weight and by redistributing this mass engineers have positioned the CG closer to the centre of the face, which means better feel and a tighter shot dispersion.
WE SAY: We particularly liked the straighter leading edge which gives the sense of being able to nip shots cleanly and confidently from tight lies and makes it easier to set up square to your target. Our testers generated over 10,000rpm of backspin (the magic tour player benchmark) with 44% of full shots, well above our 28% test average. It means you’ll have no difficulty nestling shots by the flag.
VERDICT: Cleveland obsessed over the RTX-3, improving every aspect. Tiny things like the direction of the face milling to maximise grip when opening the face, and protecting every face groove from the finishing process (so it’s razor sharp) means the RTX-3 is right at the top of the pile.
MIZUNO T7 golf.mizunoeurope.com Lofts: 46° / 48° / 50° / 52° / 54° / 56° / 58° / 60° / 62° Head options: Finishes; White Satin or Blue IP Shaft: True Temper Dynamic Gold (plus 16 others at no upcharge)
TECH: For the first time Mizuno has used boron in a wedge, saying it makes the grooves more durable so you get sharper performance for longer.
WE SAY: Wedges, like putters, are really personal bits of kit. So you’ll need to make up your own mind if you’re a fan of the T7’s high toe, low heel teardrop head shape. For two of our three testers it wasn’t their favourite. The head’s a bit smaller than the S5, it has a classy glare-reducing satin finish and its leading edge sits nice and tight to the turf, which increases confidence over rounder alternatives. It didn’t quite break through the magic 10k spin ceiling for any full shot, but it came close.
‘THE PUR PRODUCED WELL ABOVE AVERAGE SPIN ON BOTH THE FULL AND SHORTER SHOTS’
VERDICT: The T7 didn’t come out right at the very top of the tree for spin, but it was right among the premium brand pack. For us the attractiveness lies in the options the T7 is available in.
COBRA KING PUR www.cobragolf.com Lofts: 52° / 54° / 56° / 58° /60° Head options: Versatile, Classic and Wide Low sole Shaft: True Temper Dynamic Gold S200
TECH: The PUR’S new raw finish provides maximum spin, as over time it’s designed to rust, adding friction between club and ball. A 304 stainless steel head maximises feel. 100% Cnc-milled face.
WE SAY: The roundness of the head shapes are perhaps a nod back to Cobra’s “Trusty Rusty” heritage and the shape was the first thing our test pro picked up on. It was very quickly followed by superlatives about how soft and responsive the PUR’S felt. Head shape is subjective so we have absolutely no doubt plenty will like it, along with its excellent ability to produce well above average spin on both full and shorter shots.
VERDICT: Remember the PUR’S head is raw, which means it’s not plated, so it will rust. If you’re a lover of more rounded head shape and want decent value for money, then the PUR is an excellent option in 2017.
CALLAWAY MD3 www.callawaygolf.com Lofts: 46° / 48° / 50° / 52° / 54° / 56° / 58° / 60°/ 64°
Head options: S, C and W Grind Soles. Matt black, chrome and gold nickel finishes
Shaft: True Temper Dynamic Gold
TECH: Three sole grinds let you fit each loft to your own game. Progressive groove optimisation ensures you generate spin where you need it most.
WE SAY: This is definitely a wedge for the masses as there is simply nothing not to like about the MD3. In our opinion the head shape is absolutely spot on and sits beautifully behind the ball, the 8620 steel transmits good feel to the hands and it ranked well up our list in terms of the spin numbers generated. On average it was Simon’s highest-spinning wedge on test – every shot he hit had a carry distance further than the total distance – meaning shots spun back, which certainly wasn’t the case with every model we hit.
VERDICT: We love how there’s enough groove and CG tech to convince you it’s not just “another traditional wedge” but not so much to radically change the look of this classic club.
PING GLIDE 2.0 www.ping.com Lofts: 46° / 50° / 52° / 54° / 56° / 58° / 60° Head options: TS; Thin Sole, SS; Standard, WS; Wide, ES; Eye Sole Shaft: Ping AWT 2.0 Wedge
TECH: Precision-milled tourspec grooves have steeper side walls and sharper edges for maximum grab and grip on shorter shots.
WE SAY: Where some brands are built around marketing, Ping are grounded in engineering. Their philosophy is to study and better understand every aspect of how golfers launch shots, and by doing so they believe they’ll produce consistently better products. They’ve worked their magic with the new Glide 2.0s; they produced not only the highest average spin for two testers, but also the highest number (67%) of full shots over 10,000rpm. We loved how the white, bottom groove and darker groove area really focused attention at address, and how the longer grip gives you consistent grip-down positions.
VERDICT: Yes, the blade’s a fraction longer than some, but the head looks great and because there’s plenty of options we reckon anyone looking at spending over US$128 on a wedge should try these.
TAYLORMADE MILLED GRIND www.taylormadegolf.com Lofts: 50° / 52° / 54° / 56° / 58° / 60°
Head options: SB; Standard Bounce, HB; Wide Sole, C Grind; Low Bounce. Satin and antique bronze finishes
Shaft: True Temper Dynamic Gold
TECH: Cnc-milled sole grinds offer precision and consistency. A weight port in the hosel removes weight to centre the CG and there’s new, sharper ZTP grooves with steeper side walls to maximise spin on shorter shots.
WE SAY: In his prime, Sir Nick Faldo picked his favourite individual irons from 20 different sets, having realised each hand ground head was slightly different. What Taylormade have done with the MG is take that consistency question out of the equation. It’s really clever and pretty costly to set up but it means club golfers will now play exactly the same sole and bounce set-ups as TM’S Tour pros. The head is pretty high in the heel and generously proportioned, but spin was well above average.
VERDICT: A nice quality wedge, generates lovely feel and oodles of spin. With plenty of loft and bounce options and two finishes they can fit into anyone’s bag for 2017.
CALLAWAY MACK DADDY FORGED www.callawaygolf.com Lofts: 50° / 52° / 54° / 56° / 58° / 60° Head options: Nickel Chrome, Brushed Slate Shaft: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue
TECH: Forged soft 1025 carbon steel maximises feel and feedback. Refined head shape and a progressive CG lowers trajectory for extra control. New extra groove maximises spin, especially on shorter chips and pitches. R-grind sole increases versatility.
WE SAY: The whole forged v cast wedges debate has subsided thanks to new materials and processes meaning cast heads can feel a lot like forged, so it’s interesting Callaway felt the need to bring back a forged model. We really liked the sharper and squarer leading edge but our pro saw little difference between Forged and MD3 in launch and spin, but an average of four yards more carry with MD3.
VERDICT: We like the Forged but hit it alongside an MD3 and decide for yourself if the forged head and Tour Issue Dynamic Gold shaft are worth an additional US$38.
TITLEIST VOKEY SM6 www.titleist.com Lofts: 46° / 48° / 50° / 52° / 54° / 56° / 58° / 60° / 62° Head options: F,S, M, K, L Sole Grinds & Tour Chrome, Gold Nickel and Raw Black finishes Shaft: True Temper Dynamic Gold S200
TECH: A progressive CG means extra control over spin, trajectory, and distance for improved gapping between lofts. New TX4 grooves create a more textured face delivering tighter tolerances and extra spin.
WE SAY: Bob Vokey is legendary when it comes to wedges. It was no surprise two testers (Chris Ryan 11.5k and Simon 10.5k) recorded their single highest spinning shots with the SM6. Average spin wasn’t quite the very best for any tester (27% of full shots hit were over 10K rpm), but nobody could argue they’re not solid across the board.
VERDICT: An absolutely top drawer wedge, which should be expected as they’re the priciest here. We love the new groove and CG tech; it demonstrates how far manufacturers are going to improve your game.
LYNX PREDATOR www.lynxgolf.co.uk Lofts: 52° / 56° / 60° / 64° Head options: Loft and paint fill colours only Shaft: True Temper
TECH: Designed to be a great looking wedge at an affordable price point. The head is based on a popular Tour shape.
WE SAY: We love helping you choose between the premium brands. But we realise not everyone’s got a suitcase full of cash to spend on shiny new clubs, so we always try to highlight the best budget options, too. And that’s where the Predator fits into our Top 10 wedges for 2017. It doesn’t come with any fancy finishes; there are no Cnc-milled grooves, no laser-milled face patterns; and you certainly won’t get tons of loft and bounce options. But what you do get is a US$51 wedge that spins shots right up there with the very best.
VERDICT: A set of three Predator wedges will set you back US$25 less than a single Titleist SM6 (the most expensive wedge on test) and for that reason alone we reckon it’s worth further attention if you’re shopping on a budget. The loft choices are basic, the head shape is unoffensive and it has a shiny polished finish, but trust us it does perform.
WILSON STAFF PMP www.wilson.com Lofts: 48° / 50° / 52° / 54° / 56° / 58° / 60° / 62° Left hand: Yes Head options: Traditional, Tour Grind and Wide sole grinds. Tour Frosted, Gun Blue, and Oil Can finishes Shaft: KBS Hi-rev 2.0
TECH: “Precision Milled Performance” technology widens the milled grooves for maximum spin on full shots. Eleven laser etched micro spin lines between each groove increase spin on partial shots.
WE SAY: You can’t fail to spot how wide and aggressive the grooves look and these, along with the laser etched micro grooves, milled face and high-spin KBS shaft, meant the PMP punched well above its weight in terms of spin. We tested the 52° and 58° heads with the Traditional sole grind which we felt sat really nicely with the leading edge just off the deck, offering really good shot versatility.
VERDICT: A lovely nofuss, no-frills wedge. We particularly liked the two dots on the longer-thanstandard grip, which mean you can alter your grip position consistently to cover off various yardage gaps, which has to help your scoring potential inside 90m.
‘TWO TESTERS RECORDED THEIR HIGHEST SPINNING SHOTS WITH THE SM6’