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OUR JOB IS YOUR GAME
Wedges. Other than putters, the one category where distance is last on the priority list. Instead, accuracy, consistency and spin efficiency are of utmost importance.
Here are the best wedges of 2022. Let’s take a look!
MOST WANTED SCORING
We have reformulated our 2022 Most Wanted results to a 100-point scoring system. This new system better identifies golf clubs to potentially help you shoot lower scores.
For wedges, we’ve split our key metrics into three categories: accuracy, consistency and spin. Each category is weighted through proprietary methodologies.
Data was collected using Foresight GCQuad Launch monitors. To minimize variables, all testers hit Titleist Pro V1 golf balls. Outliers were removed and data was aggregated before scores were calculated.
The accuracy category plays a vital role in every Most Wanted Test. Our accuracy score for wedges is determined by one sole metric:
Without consistency, golf wedges become a wild card when it comes to scoring. You need a wedge that is forgiving and consistent. We have two metrics for consistency:
- Carry consistency
- Dispersion area
Without question, spin is a key component of golf wedges. Our spin metric consists of:
- Full-swing spin
- 50-yard dry spin
- 50-yard wet spin
- Dry versus wet spin retention
ABOUT MOST WANTED WEDGE TESTING
For our 2022 wedge test, 20 golfers tested 56-degree wedges on full swings as well as 50-yard shots in both wet and dry conditions. Using Foresight GCQuad Launch monitors and Titleist Pro V1 balls, we collected data on roughly 13,000 shots.
1. FULL SHOT SPIN IMPORTANCE
Sure, spinning a wedge a bunch is a great feeling. However, there is a minute differential from wedge to wedge in terms of spin generated on a full shot. The lowest-spinning wedge produces roughly 94 percent of what the highest-spinning wedge produces. Spin is important but not necessarily from a full-shot perspective.
2. MOISTURE WILL IMPACT PERFORMANCE
Since the implementation of a wet conditions scenario, our testing continues to showcase how well and how poorly wedges perform when moisture is present. Spin is most likely to decrease and launch is most likely to increase. Both of these results can greatly impact a wedge’s performance and consistency. If a wedge cannot manage moisture well, it’ll be tough to maintain consistent carry distances.
3. CONSISTENCY IS KEY
How much a wedge spins is always a talking point. Yet, consistency is the main goal, at least from our perspective. Most wedges are going to spin consistently without the presence of moisture. However, there are wedges that are consistent and those that are not. With a wedge, you are expecting to hit controllable and precise distances a lot. Not just sometimes. Pay attention to our consistency metric which essentially correlates to forgiveness. You want wedges that generate consistent carry yardages and tighter circles.
BEST WEDGES OVERALL
Top of the Board
BEST WEDGES FOR SPIN
TOP PICKS: TAYLORMADE MILLED GRIND 3, HONMA T//WORLD W21, TITLEIST VOKEY SM9
- For overall spin performance, TaylorMade MG3 stands above the crowd.
- Honma T//World W21 breaks through and claims the second overall spot for best spin. It is the highest-spinning wedge in our full-shot scenario.
- Titleist Vokey SM9 takes third place.
- Cleveland RTX Full Face and ProtoC Forged complete the top five.
BEST WEDGES FOR CONSISTENCY
TOP PICKS: PXG 0311 3x FORGED, TAYLORMADE MILLED GRIND 3, PXG 0311 SUGAR DADDY II
- PXG 0311 3x Forged proves to be the most consistent wedge for 2022. If you’re looking for efficient carry and dispersion, it is worth the look.
- MG3 is one of the most consistent wedges and finishes second in this category.
- In third place, PXG 0311 Sugar Daddy II.
- PING Glide 4.0 and Titleist Vokey SM9 are also worthy of consideration as they round out the top five.
BEST WEDGES FOR ACCURACY
TOP PICKS: TAYLORMADE MILLED GRIND 3, TITLEIST VOKEY SM9, PXG 0311 SUGAR DADDY II
- Wrapping up its dominant performance, TaylorMade Milled Grind 3 is the best for accuracy.
- Coming second is Titleist Vokey SM9.
- By finishing third, PXG 0311 Sugar Daddy II continues to pour some sugar on its overall performance.
- PXG 0311 3x Forged and Callaway JAWS Full Toe Raw are fourth and fifth for accuracy.
Year after year, we see the impact moisture has on golf wedge performance. It’s mind-boggling at times. PING continues to display astonishing performance in wet conditions. Likewise, Jucie tH, PXG 0311 Sugar Daddy II, Cleveland CBX ZipCore, and TaylorMade Milled Grind 3 all perform exceptionally well in wet conditions.
On the flip side, there are products that do not generate efficient results in wet conditions. Haywood Signature Wedge and Argolf AR-F18 saw a 60% plus loss in spin with the presence of moisture.
Here are the best golf wedges for wet conditions:
Wedge Buying Considerations
In addition to our performance data, here are other factors to consider when purchasing a new wedge.
Generally, the first “specialty” wedge in your bag is a gap wedge. Most iron sets include a pitching wedge. With “standard loft” changing and becoming stronger, we recommend not having more than a six-degree gap between your wedges. The new normal is 50-54-58 for your wedge makeup. However, we encourage a wedge gapping analysis. Doing so can lead to better distance control and possibly lower scores.
Wedge bounce is the angle created between the leading edge of your wedge and the lowest point of the sole (trailing edge). It’s the part of the sole that makes first contact with the ground as your club impacts the ball. Wedges with high bounce have a leading edge that sits higher off the ground at address. Conversely, a low-bounce wedge will typically sit closer to the ground. Aligning wedge bounce with both the turf conditions (soft or firm) you’ll face on course and how you deliver the club at impact promotes optimal contact, control and spin.
Typically, low-bounce wedges (4 to 6 degrees) are better for golfers who have a shallow angle of attack (take less divot) but can also work in firm conditions and in bare/tight lies. Conversely, higher-bounce wedges (12 to 14 degrees) are encouraged for golfers with steep attack angles (take more of a divot) and are better suited for softer playing conditions and fluffy bunkers.
A good fitter can help you sort through the confusion but if you’re unsure, a mid-bounce option is the safest play.
The grind matters. In simple terms, the grind describes the overall shape of the sole. Removing material from heel and toe (common in M and C grinds) can help lower the effective bounce, allowing the leading edge to sit closer to the ground while adding versatility to open the face to hit a greater variety of shots.
In nearly every manufacturer’s lineup, individual grinds are limited to a few select lofts and availability will vary based on the bounce (and sole width). The grind is an undervalued and often overlooked aspect of wedge fitting but, to maximize your potential, an outdoor fitting is likely required. Or you can check out Titleist’s new Vokey Wedge Fitting App.
Lie angle is a critical part of every fitting but simply matching your iron configuration may not provide the best results. Because a significant number of wedge shots are hit on less than full swings and are often short pitches and chips around the green, the dynamic forces on the head aren’t as great. What that means is that a wedge with the same lie angle progression as your irons will often play a bit more upright. If you find yourself missing left with your wedges, you may want to think about having them bent a degree or two flat.
2022 Most Wanted Wedge Notes
During each test, we look for trends that provide insight into where the market as a whole is moving as well as what noteworthy changes manufacturers have made to improve year-to-year performance. Additionally, we solicit feedback from our testers. We want to understand what they liked, what they didn’t like and why.
Trends and Tweaks
- Full-face wedges are becoming more and more common. Most manufactures are implementing a full-face, full-toe design into their wedge offerings and we saw a handful in the 2022 Most Wanted Wedge test.
- Over the past few years, Japanese wedge offerings have gained momentum or, at least, more notability, especially in the U.S. Don’t sleep on them.
Notes from the Testing Pool
Gathering feedback from our testers is an important aspect of any test. While it allows us to provide you with some insight into the test experience, it does not factor in our rankings.
- Golf wedges offer an opportune time for craftsmen to showcase profile and design. Throughout testing, these wedges received praise for their profile and design: PXG 0311 Sugar Daddy II, PING Glide 4.0, Titleist Vokey SM9, TaylorMade Milled Grind 3, Sub 70 JB Full Groove and Edison Forged Wedge.
- Feel is extremely subjective, especially when it comes to wedges. These wedges were well-received for feel: Jucie tH, Jucie tT, PXG 0311 Sugar Daddy II, PXG 0311 Forged, Edison Forged Wedge, Titleist Vokey SM9, Sub 70 JB Full Groove, Cleveland CBX ZipCore, Cleveland RTX Full Face, PING Glide 4.0 and TaylorMade Milled Grind 3.
2022 MOST WANTED WEDGE SCORES
2022 MOST WANTED WEDGE DATA
Every Most Wanted Test revolves around independent, in-house data. CLICK HERE for this year’s 2022 Most Wanted Wedge Data.
BUYING NEW WEDGES
Q: How often should I buy new wedges?
A: Your wedges will take a beating from the various elements you face on the golf course. A test completed by Titleist shows that after about 75 rounds of golf, the groove wear becomes significant enough to affect performance. That being said, assess your own game to make sure you’re replacing your wedges often enough. For Tour pros, that’s several times a year. For the rest of us, not as often, though avid golfers should consider replacing wedges annually. While developments in wedge technology are not groundbreaking from year to year, ensuring your grooves are fresh is one of the easiest ways to maintain consistency.
Q: How do I determine the right wedges for me?
A: The best way to determine which wedges are best for your game is to have a professional fitting. Ideally, that’s an outdoor fitting. If you don’t have access to professional fitting, use these results as a guide to help narrow down your demo list. While few fitters offer it, given the variety of shots you’ll need to hit with your wedges, you’ll ideally be fitted from a variety of lie conditions, including bunkers.
If you’re going for a self-fit, be sure to analyze your game to ensure proper consistent yardage gapping from club to club. From there, understand your angle of attack, divot size and typical playing conditions to make the proper selection for wedge bounce and grind. Remember that if you play in soft conditions, wedges with high bounce are useful. On the other hand, if you play in firm conditions, look for low bounce. While a mid-bounce option is typically a safe play, mixing a variety of bounce options across your wedge set will give you the versatility to hit any shot the course presents.
Q: What should I look for when testing wedges?
A: While golfers have been conditioned to consider wedge spin to the exclusion of nearly everything else, we always recommended looking at the little numbers and looking for small circles. The spinniest wedge is not always going to be your best wedge. When comparing metrics like launch angle and spin rates, be sure to look at your standard deviations (the small numbers usually found under the big ones on the data screen).
Smaller numbers mean better consistency. Similarly, look for tighter dispersion ellipses (small circles). We can’t overstate the importance of consistency with wedges. Ideally, your wedges should perform similarly well regardless of whether you’re in wet or dry conditions. It’s the reason why we suggest you introduce some moisture into the demo process.
MOST WANTED INQUIRIES
Q: How are the wedges in the test fitted to each golfer?
A: We use a fitting process that we call fit from stock. Wedges are fitted to each tester using the stock, no up-charge options from each manufacturer. With the exception of Edison Forged Wedge (55 degrees at stock), we tested a 56-degree sand wedge of each model submitted. When applicable, we fit to flex for each tester in the pool. Occasionally, manufacturers will send multiple wedges with different stock shafts that we can utilize to improve launch conditions.
Q: How is the “Most Wanted” Wedge determined?
A: To determine the Most Wanted Wedge, we collect performance metrics with Foresight GCQuad Launch Monitors. For wedge testing, we use an “out of 100” scoring system. Points are awarded based on performance for each of our metrics. The top-performing wedge in each scoring category receives a score of 100. Scores are aggregated across our three scoring categories (spin, accuracy and consistency) to determine our Most Wanted winner.
Q: How is the “Highest-Spinning” Wedge determined?
A: To determine the highest-spinning wedge, we consider not only spin rates on full shots but also spin on partial and partial wet shots. Finally, we also consider how consistent spin rates are across all scenarios.
Q: How is the “Most Accurate” Wedge determined?
A: This is strictly based off of Strokes Gained.
Q: How is the “Most Consistent” Wedge determined?
A: The most consistent wedge is based on the standard deviations of carry and total yard values across all scenarios in the test. The objective is to identify the wedges that most consistently hit their distance numbers. A point value is assigned to each wedge in each scenario. The wedge with the highest point total is our Most Consistent.
Q: How much does subjective feedback like looks, sound and feel factor into your rankings?
A: ZERO. Our rankings are based purely on launch monitor data and quantifiable performance metrics.
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