ClubTest: Wedges

Monday February 26th, 2007
Greg Lord
Bridgestone 33 Black Satin Forged

We tested 52 degree loft/8 degree bounce, 56 degree/12 degree, 60 degree/8 degree with True Temper Dynamic Gold stiff-flex steel shaft

The company line "Exceptionally soft feel. The long hosel raises the center of gravity and produces a high-spin, low-trajectory shot for optimum control"

Our testers say

Additional Comments:

"The J33 is right at home with touchy finesse shots."
-Hoai Hoang (8)

"Loft for loft, they don't seem to carry quite as far as others."
-Roger Liau (17)

"Feels like a perfectly roasted marshmallow, soft in the center and crisp on the edges"
-Randy Rochefort (12)

Cleveland CG11
$149

We tested 50 degree loft/8 degree bounce, 52 degree/10 degree, 54 degree/12 degree, 56 degree/14 degree, 60 degree/12 degree with True Temper Dynamic Gold wedge-flex steel shaft

The company line "The CG11 offers comparable spin and ball flight to its predecessor--the CG10--but more forgiveness"

Our testers say

Additional Comments:

"Distance and accuracy don't suffer on off-center hits."
-Rich Sullivan (12)

"The heavy head lets me know exactly where it is during the swing."
-Michael Kaye (14)

"On full swings, I can feel the ball working up the face for serious backspin."
-Kirk Fischer (7)

Taylor Made Rac Black TP
$150

We tested 52 degree loft/8 degree bounce, 54 degree/10 degree, 56 degree/12 degree, 58 degree/8 degree, 60 degree/6 degree with True Temper Dynamic Gold wedge-flex steel shaft

The company line "Same teardrop shape as the original Rac Black wedge with three key additions: deep 'Y-cutter' grooves, which grip the ball better; a reconfigured sole grind allows for more versatility; and larger "feel pockets" behind the clubface, which minimize unwanted vibrations."

Our testers say

The new features paid big dividends for this wedge, particularly in the playability department. Roger Liau (handicap 17) said, "They're magnificent. When I said 'Bite!' It asked 'How hard?'" Jim Esther (20) concurred: "Tremendous spin despite my lack of swing speed. Are these grooves legal?" [They are.] And the Rac Black TP is versatile, too. "The sole can handle any lie," said Doug Lair (10). "I can turn down the toe and make it run or pinch it to make the ball dance." Testers also dug Rac's looks. "The no-glare finish is just my style," said Randy Rochefort (2).

Additional Comments:

"The gunmetal head with a slight cavity is very attractive."
-Michael Kaye (14)

"The ball sticks the landing like an Olympic ski jumper."
-Kevin DiNapoli (19)

"A soft, crisp feel and an ultra-stable head made me feel like Houdini around the greens."
-Jim Perzan (9)

Ping Tour Black Nickel
$115

We tested 50 degree loft/10 degree bounce, 54 degree/12.5 degree, 56 degree/13 degree, 60 degree/14 degree with Ping CS Lite steel shaft

The company line "A black nickel chrome finish creates higher spin rates for improved control, and a rounder sole profile allows golfers to set the clubhead in several positions to play a variety of shots."

Our testers say

Additional Comments:

"Ping loyalists looking for more touch and feel on their shots have a winner here."
-Hoai Hoang (8)

"Use your imagination and away you go. Easy to finesse from all sorts of lies."
-Jim Esther (20)

"Center hits feel effortless--these get it done from all conditions."
-Kevin DiNapoli (19)

How we did it

Our club testers spent one full day with each of the four models. Testers evaluated clubs on the range and the course, where they played flop shots over greenside bunkers, chips from just off the green, sand shots and half-wedges from the fairway and the rough.

Where we did it: Grand Cypress resort in Orlando, Fl.

How they stack up: Testers voted on their faves using a 100-point scale. Our star system rewards the top picks

Club Bridgestone J33 Black Satin Forged Cleveland CG11 TaylorMade Rac Vlack Tip Ping Tour Black Nickel
Look 4 stars 3 stars 5 stars 4 stars
Feel 3 stars 3 stars 4 stars 4 stars
Playability 4 stars 4 stars 4 stars 4 stars
Forgiveness 4 stars 4 stars 4 stars 5 stars
Distance 3 stars 4 stars 4 stars 5 stars
Total Performance 3.5 stars 3.5 stars 4 stars 4.5 stars

*Ratings 5 Stars
Excellet
4 Stars
Very Good
3 Stars
Good
2 Stars
Average
1 Star
Poor

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