2021 MOST WANTED WEDGE
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Our job is your game
It has been 704 days since our last Most Wanted Wedge test. You might say, "It's about FUCKING time!" Yes we know …
With 23 models and 17,480 hits (including when wet), this is the most extensive wedge test of the season.
At MyGolfSpy, our job is to conduct independent, unbiased, and objective testing so you can make safer buying decisions. We hope our Most Wanted Wedge Review 2021 is an indispensable guide for the off the shelf buyer or anyone looking for insights before the next adjustment.
About the Most Wanted Wedge Test 2021
For our 2021 wedge test, 20 golfers tested 56-degree wedges in full swing and 50-yard shots in both wet and dry conditions. Using Foresight GCQuad Launch Monitors and Titleist Pro V1 balls we have collected data from more than 17,000 shots.
Most important findings
1. Full-shot spin could be overrated
It's not that spin doesn't matter, but we saw a minimal difference in full-shot spin, especially in dry conditions. For full swings (ranging from 65 to 110 yards), the wedge with the lowest spin still produced spin rates in excess of 94 percent of the wedge with the highest spin. It's just as likely that these small differences are due to both manufacturing tolerances and state-of-the-art groove designs. You will find greater spin differences between golf balls than between wedges.
The bottom line is that full shot spin rates aren't the only factor to consider when buying wedges.
2. Differences in wet spin rates can be significant
Unless you're playing in Southwest or Southern California, there will likely be a certain amount of moisture with every stroke you play. While we found minor differences in drying performance, not only did wet wedge spin rates vary more, but some wedges lost nearly half of their spin in wet conditions while other wedges didn't lose any.
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3. Moisture can change the starting angle dramatically
Since moisture usually reduces friction, even with 50 yard shots we saw a significant increase in the firing angle if it got wet. When we wet the lawn and the ball, the mean launch angles increased by almost four degrees above the test pool. The most inconsistent wedges in the test saw a start angle increase of more than 20 percent, while the most consistent wedges saw only single digit (or better) increases.
When relatively common conditions can change start and spin significantly, you have a recipe for inconsistency. That's never good in golf. And that brings us to …
4. Consistency is key
Consistency is important with any club in your pocket. This is especially true of your wedges as they will hit so many of your strokes, often from well within full swing distance. Some wedges produce smoother spin, fly a smoother distance, and generally produce smoother results. When we examined consistency across a variety of metrics, there were clear differences. Because of this, it plays a big role in our rankings.
2021 Most Wanted Wedge: TaylorMade Milled Grind 3
Best wedges overall
BEST SELECTION: TaylorMade Milled Grind 3, Fourteen RM4, Titleist Vokey SM8
- The TaylorMade Milled Grind 3 achieved the highest total number of points in the test. In all three of our evaluation categories (total spin, accuracy and consistency) it was at or near the top and was the only wedge in the test to achieve a score above 90.
- The fourteen RM4 excels in the spin category (which includes both total spin and spin consistency) and at the same time delivers above-average results in terms of accuracy and consistency. This isn't the first time we've seen exceptional performance from a Fourteen Wedge.
- The Titleist Vokey SM8 was a strong runner-up in the spin category (including spin consistency in all conditions). It was among the most accurate on full turns and partial strokes in dry conditions, while it was within the average range for our distance consistency metrics.
Best wedges for spin in all conditions
Our spin values are not only based on the total number of spins, but also on the spin retention in wet conditions and the spin consistency during the entire test.
BEST SELECTION: Fourteen RM4, Titleist Vokey SM8, Mizuno T22
- The fourteen RM4 was a beast in almost all of our spin categories. It retained more than 97 percent of his spin when wet, produced one of the highest spin rates when wet and delivered an average to well above average consistency across all spin metrics.
- While Vokey didn't mention improved moisture management that SM8 Far better in the wet than the SM7 2019 with us. In dry conditions, the SM8 produced the most constant spin rates of all wedges in the test.
- As during our test in 2019, Mizuno's flagship wedge (this time the T22) was a strong performer in the spin category. There seems to be something to it Hydroflow micro-grooves because the T22 retained almost 90 percent of its spin in wet conditions while generating constant spin rates throughout.
Best wedges for accuracy
Our accuracy rating is based on how close each wedge was to target under all test conditions, as well as the density of the shot pattern (dispersion).
BEST SELECTION: Sub70 286, Tour Edge Exotics EXS blade, TaylorMade MG3
- The Sub 70 286 was at or near the top on all of our accuracy metrics. By comparison, it could be said that it struggled a little with dispersion in wet conditions, but it still ranked 10th in the category.
- Probably not the first name you think of in the Wedges category, the one Tour Edge EXS blade excelled for accuracy in wet conditions, where on average it ended closest to the hole and also gave the tightest spread.
- Our Most Wanted Wedge 2021, the TaylorMade MG3, finished third overall for accuracy. It was most notable for its accuracy in wet conditions, although its dry performance was also admirable.
Best wedges for consistency
For this test, our consistency metric examines the repeatability of the carry and total distance numbers throughout the test.
BEST SELECTION: TaylorMade MG3, Forged PXG 0311, Tour Edge Exotics EXS blade
- The leader in the category TaylorMade MG3 in the top 10 for all of our consistency metrics. Its category rating of 93.8, was 4.2 percentage points higher than the runner-up in the category.
- the Forged PXG 0311 Keil excelled on shorter strokes, where he was at the top on most of our partial swing metrics. It wasn't quite as impressive on full strokes, but for those who need help with the green, something about that 0311 just works.
- the Tour Edge EXS blade was again impressive for Konstanz. It struggled a little on the shorter strokes, but was incredibly consistent on full turns.
Best wedges for wet conditions
Even though spin retention was included in our spin score, we thought it would be interesting to take a closer look at spin retention (the percentage difference in spin rates between 50 yard dry and 50 yard wet strokes).
BEST SELECTION: PING Glide Forged Pro, Cleveland RTX, Fourteen RM4
- First, that's not a typo – spin rates for that PING Glide Forged Pro actually wedge increased by more than five percent when wet. In fact, 15 of our 20 testers saw the launch angles decrease and spin speeds increase when moisture got into the Glide Forged Pro. It may sound absurd (and we certainly don't think adding water will create more spin in most situations), but there are conditions where the combination of Spinloft values and the appropriate coefficient of friction can increase spin rates. We find one by chance. Don't think too much now. We will examine this phenomenon in more detail in a future article.
- Throughout the test, seven models maintained more than 85 percent of their spin rates when wet. You are the PING Glide Forged Pro, Cleveland RTX, Fourteen RM4, Vokey SM8, Mizuno T22, Cleveland CBX full face and TaylorMade MG3.
- Five wedges – the Wilson rod model, New tri-weight level, Classy SMS, Kirkland signature and Cobra KING snakebite – lost more than 40 percent of her 50 yard spin when wet.
Wedge Buying Considerations
In addition to our performance data, there are other factors to consider when buying a new wedge.
Usually the gap wedge is the first “special wedge” in the bag. We recommend no more than six degrees from your pitching wedge, but for many golfers four degrees is the ideal number. As the lofts have become stronger throughout the bag, the once common progression from 52-56-60 is increasingly being replaced by 50-54-60. Most golfers rarely hit their highest loft wedge with full strokes, so widening the gap between the sand and lob wedge and choosing an option that gives you more versatility on the green is worth considering.
Wedge bounce is the angle created between the leading edge of your wedge and the lowest point of the sole (trailing edge). It is the part of the sole that makes the first contact with the ground when your racket hits the ball. High bounce wedges have a leading edge that is higher off the ground when addressed. Conversely, a wedge with little bounce will usually sit closer to the ground. Matching the wedge bounce to both the turf conditions (soft or firm) you are exposed to on the court and how you release the club on impact promotes optimal contact, control and spin.
Typically, wedges with low bounce (4 ° to 6 °) are better suited for golfers who have a shallow angle of attack (take less divot) but can also work in firm conditions and in bare / tight spots. Conversely, higher bounce wedges (12 ° to 14 °) are recommended for golfers with steep attack angles (more divot) and are better suited for softer playing conditions and fluffy bunkers.
A good fitter can help you clear the confusion, but if you're not sure, a medium bounce option is the safest game to play.
The grind counts. The cut describes the overall shape of the sole in a simplified manner. Removing material from the heel and toe (common on M and C grinds) can help reduce effective rebound so that the leading edge sits closer to the ground while adding versatility to open up the clubface for a to meet greater variety of strokes. With almost all manufacturers, individual grinds are limited to a few selected lofts and availability varies depending on the bounce (and sole width). Grind is an underrated and often overlooked aspect of wedge mounting, but outdoor mounting is likely to be required to maximize your potential. Unfortunately, these are not readily available in most areas.
The reclining angle is a critical part of any adjustment, but simply adjusting it to your iron configuration may not produce the best results. Since a significant number of wedge strokes are made on less than full swings, and there are often short pitches and chips around the green, the dynamic forces on the head are not as great. This means that a wedge with the same lie-angle progression as your irons will often play a little straighter. If you find that your wedges are missing on the left, consider bending them flat a degree or two.
CHEAP WEDGES – TOP PICKS
For golfers on a budget, these are our recommendations:
With each review, we look for trends that shed some light on where the market is headed overall and what notable changes manufacturers have made to improve performance year on year. We also ask our testers for feedback. We want to understand what they liked, what they didn't and why.
Trends and optimizations
- Full-face and high-toe wedges are becoming more common. In this year's test there were three full-face wedges and one high-toe wedge.
- Finish and groove technology continues to advance.
- Adjustability isn't quite as important in the wedge category, but not for lack of experimentation.
- Noble SMS (Swing match system) Wedges take advantage of adjustable weighting to optimize performance.
- Past attempts at adjustability in the wedge category have not caught on. Will Edel reverse the script?
Notes from the test pool
Obtaining feedback from our testers is an important aspect of any test. While it allows us to give you some insight into the testing experience, it is not included in our rankings.
- Shape can make or break the decision to purchase a wedge. Cleveland RTX ZipCore, RTX ZipCore Raw, Titleist Vokey SM8, Mizuno T22, TaylorMade Milled Grind 3, Forged PXG 0311, Miura KG 2.0, PING Glide Forged Pro and Wilson rod model all received praise from the test pool.
- The feedback on the full face designs was mostly positive. Both Cleveland CBX full face and Wilson Staff model high toe were favorites of the test pool. The testers liked the way both wedges looked on the address.
- Although the testers generally used the form of the COBRA KING snake bite full face, The high-gloss chrome finish was generally not well received.
- Golfers usually want wedges that offer a good (often a synonym for "soft") feel. the Titleist Vokey SM8, Fourteen RM4, Wilson rod model, Forged PXG 0311, Mizuno T22, Callaway jaws MD5 and Cleveland RTX ZipCore Raw were all mentioned as having an excellent feel.
- From a pure tester feedback perspective, they were pleasantly surprised by the Kirkland Signature Wedge. There was an abundance of positive aspects in terms of feel and appearance.
2021 Most Wanted Wedge dates
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- On full swing strokes, the wedges with the lowest spin still spun almost as much as the offers with the highest spins.
- For partial shots under dry conditions, the spin rates deviate by more than 600 rpm.
- In wet conditions, the spin differences in partial shots varied by almost 3,700 rpm. That's a huge difference at a short distance.
- the Classy SMS was the wedge with the highest spinning in full and partial strokes in dry conditions, but ranked at the lower end in wet spinning.
- There's little in this year's review to suggest that “raw” wedges naturally spin more. While the lack of finish can have some benefit (and with some manufacturers, some finishes spin more than others), the reduced shelf life causes the spin values to drop faster.
- Perhaps it has something to do with the shape of the head, although the lie angle in the test was on par with other wedges, 76 percent of the shots hit the PING Glide Forged Pro finished to the left of the target. That's 10 percentage points more than the next wedge on the list and 23 percentage points more than the pool average.
- Wedges of tokens Under 70 (286), New level (M type) and Touring edge Performed well, suggesting the category is of value.
2021 Most Wanted Wedge Product Specifications
* denotes the measured value compared to the specifications given by the manufacturer
BUY NEW WEDGES
Q: How often should I buy new wedges?
A: Your wedges will be hit by the various elements you are exposed to on the golf course. A Test completed by Titleist shows that after about 75 rounds of golf, groove wear becomes significant enough to affect performance. However, evaluate your own play to make sure you replace your wedges often enough. For tour professionals this is several times a year. For the rest of us, maybe not that often, although avid golfers should consider replacing wedges annually. While wedge technology doesn't break the ground every year, it is one of the easiest ways to ensure the consistency of your grooves.
Q: How do I determine the right wedges for me?
A: The best way to find out which wedges are best for your game is to attend a professional fitting. Ideally, this is an outside fitting. If you don't have access to professional customization, use this test as a guide to narrow down your demo list. While few fitters offer it, given the variety of strokes your wedges will have to hit, ideally you will be fitted from a variety of lie conditions, including bunkering.
If you do choose to self-adapt, you should analyze your game to make sure the distance is consistent from club to club. From there, you'll understand your angle of attack, divot size, and typical game conditions in order to make the right wedge bounce and grind choices. Remember that high bounce wedges are useful when playing in soft conditions. On the other hand, if you are playing under fixed conditions, watch out for a low bounce. While a mid-bounce option is usually a safe game, mixing a variety of bounce options through your wedge set gives you the versatility to hit every beat of the course.
Q: What should I look for when testing wedges?
A: While golfers have been trained to account for wedge spin and rule out almost everything else, we always recommend looking at the small numbers and looking for small circles. The spinniest wedge is not always the best wedge. When comparing metrics like starting angles and spin rates, pay attention to your standard deviations (the small numbers that are usually found below the large ones on the data screen).
Smaller numbers mean better consistency. Similarly, look for more narrowly scattered ellipses (small circles). We can't underestimate the importance of consistency in wedges. Ideally, your wedges should perform as well regardless of whether you are in wet or dry conditions. For this reason, we recommend adding some moisture to the demo process.
Q: How are the wedges adapted to each golfer in the test?
A: We use a customization process that we call "Fit From Stock". Wedges are attached to each tester using the bearing, no extra options from either manufacturer. With the exception of the Inesis 500 (55 degrees in stock), we tested a 56-degree sand wedge from every model submitted. If necessary, we adapt Flex for each tester in the pool. Occasionally, manufacturers send multiple wedges with different shafts that we can use to improve launch conditions. In this year's test, Edel SMS has three interchangeable weights. This feature was used throughout the test.
Q: How is the “Most Wanted” wedge determined?
A: To determine the Most Wanted Wedge, we collect performance metrics using Foresight GCQuad Launch Monitors. For wedge tests, we use an "out of 100" rating system. Points are awarded based on performance for each of our metrics. The wedge with the best performance in each rating category receives a rating of 100. The ratings are grouped into our three rating categories (Spin, Accuracy and Consistency) to determine our Most Wanted winner.
Q: How is the "high turning" wedge determined?
A: In order to determine which wedge is spinning the most, we consider not only the spin rates on full strokes, but also the spin on partial and partially wet strokes. Finally, we also look at how consistent the spin rates are across all scenarios.
Q: How is the "most accurate" wedge determined?
A: Each wedge in all of our test scenarios is assigned a point value based on proximity to the hole. A score is also assigned based on the tightness of the weft distribution pattern across the test (a closer circle gets a higher score). These values are aggregated. The wedge with the highest total score is our most accurate.
Q: How is the "most consistent" wedge determined?
A: The most consistent wedge is based on the standard deviations of the carry and total yard values across all scenarios in the test. The goal is to identify the wedges that hit their spacer numbers most consistently. In each scenario, each wedge is assigned a point value. The wedge with the highest total score is our most consistent.
Q: To what extent do subjective feedback such as appearance, sound and feel play a role in your rankings?
A: ZERO. Our rankings are based solely on launch monitor data and quantifiable key performance indicators.