ClubTest: Wedges

Thursday February 15th, 2007

Having a trusty wedge on your bag can be as comforting as a wearing an old pair of jeans. Nothing beats it.

Buting finding just the right wedges can be tricky, so GOLF Magazine asked nine golfers just like you to try four new models and tell us their thoughts. Each tester hit shots from the fairway, rough and sand, as well as chip shots around the green. Then they filled out detailed questionnaires and rated the equipment on a 100-point scale.

Here's what they had to say:

BEN HOGAN APEX
$135, steel; benhogan.com

We tested
52º, 56º and 60º with Apex steel shaft

The company line
"Forged from soft 1020 carbon steel, these feature traditional Hogan styling and a bright nickel/chrome plated finish. The grooves are designed to the maximum width allowed by the Rules of Golf for optimal control."

Our testers say:
Pros
• "Lots of playability...if you can't hit a finesse shot with this, you just can't hit one."— Zach Fasman (handicap 10)
• "The heavy head leads to effective ball striking from even thin lies and divots."— Rich Bernstein (13)
• "Tell it what to do from the fairway and the ball will follow." — David Doctora (4)
• "Classic shape and finish elicit confidence and make it a real pleasure to look at."— Steve Sesko (9)
• "The heaviness of this head makes chips easy to control." — Kris Madsen (10)


Cons
• "Distance and accuracy suffer on mis-hits with this players' club."— Dave Daumit (14)

MIZUNO MP-R SERIES CHROME
$120, steel; mizunousa.com

We tested
52º, 54º, 56º, 58º and 60º with True Temper Dynamic Gold wedge-flex steel shaft

The company line
"The Tour-inspired sole design triggers Consistent shot-making ability and ball control. The Grain Flow Forged 'pure select' mild carbon steel elicits solid, soft, Consistent feel."

Our testers say
Pros

• "Crisp feel on chips. Shots jump off the face under control." — Don Wilson (handicap 15)
• "Impressive amount of spin—and stopping power when hit properly. The sole works nicely on tight lies and downhill chips." — Brian Crowell (0)
• "Great feedback on the most delicate pitches or chips." — Steve Sesko (9)
• "Adequate head weight and the brushed chrome is a glare-buster."— Rich Bernstein (13)
• "Consistent flight, like I pressed the repeat button."— David Doctora (4)

Cons
• "Mis-hits lose lots of distance and are well off-line."— Zach Fasman (10)

PING iWEDGE
$115, steel, $145 graphite; pinggolf.com

We tested
50º U, 52º U, 54º S, 56º S, 58º L and 60º L with True Temper CS Lite steel shaft

The company line
"The Eye2 sole design with 'sole cup' make these easy to use from all types of sand as well as being versatile from turf. A deep multilevel cavity maximizes perimeter weighting to increase forgiveness."

Our testers say
Pros
• "The more you hit them, the better they look."— Steve Sesko (handicap 9)
• "Covers up bad swings and gets through thick grass."— Dave Daumit (14)
• "Misses carry to the pin and very forgiving from sand�reminiscent of Eye2."— Brian Crowell (0)"
• "Only in the heaviest rough do you lose distance, and even then it's straight.— Zach Fasman (10)
• "Off-center hits carry better than others tested. Digs balls out of rough like a shovel and throws them at the flag."— Barry Fasenmyer (6)

Cons
• "Not enough feedback—center shots don't feel much different than mis-hits."— David Doctora (4)

CLEVELAND 588 DSG
$133, steel, $157, graphite; clevelandgolf.com

We tested
54º, 56º, 58º and 60º with True Temper Dynamic Gold wedge-flex steel shaft

The company line
"When opening the face at address, Dynamic Sole Grind (DSG) allows the leading edge to remain closer to the ground than the original 588. This gives you more versatility to hit high and soft flop shots around the green."

Our testers say
Pros
• "It's sniper-rifle accurate. All shots are point-and-shoot opportunities in direction and distance. Even balls toward the toe carry well and find the green."— Barry Fasenmyer (handicap 6)
• "High, soft landing shots from sand are the norm."— Kris Madsen (10)
• "The sole grind makes it easy to flop and great from tight fairway lies."— Brian Crowell (0)
• "These go through sand very nicely. The 56º easily slides under the ball without digging."—Rich Bernstein (13)

Cons
• "Not great distancewise on poor hits but really no worse than average."— Don Wilson (15)

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