2016 Best Wedges

The wedge is no longer a single club with a letter "S" engraved on the sole. It's an entire system for the shots that erase the despair of a misplayed approach and the shots that inspire and reward your most aggressive strategies. The 2016 Hot List collection has you covered.

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The wedge is no longer a single club with a letter "S" engraved on the sole anymore. Rather it's an entire system for the most important shots in your round, the shots that erase the despair of a misplayed approach and the shots that inspire and reward your most aggressive strategies. In short, the short shots require the most specialized and painstakingly conceived tools in your bag, clubs that are about degrees of loft, bounce angles and oodles of options. Having just one isn't enough.

The good news is the collection of clubs at the back end of your irons now routinely stretch right to the edge of your 9-iron and often all the way past that magical "L" wedge loft in the 60s. Compiling the right collection of wedges not only means understanding the distance gaps that will accentuate your scoring opportunities but also taking advantage of an ever-expanding array of sole configurations to help you find the perfect match to your swing and turf conditions. (Indeed, many of the top wedges in this year's Hot List offer 15, 20, 30 or even more models to help you dial in that perfect complement to the rest of your iron set. Even better, several offer web-based fitting apps that guide you and your fitter through all the right moves.)

Invigorated by the U.S. Golf Association's rollback of the spin-producing capabilities of sharp-edged grooves nearly a decade ago, the current crop of wedge designs have managed to produce every bit of spin potential the new rules could have conceived, maybe more. They get most of that once-lost spin generation back through improved precision in groove shaping and durability, unique surface treatments and face-milling patterns. Combined, they seek to grab onto any square millimeter of the ball's urethane cover to get it to stop just that much quicker on all the full and partial swings you can imagine from 100 yards to 100 inches.

The game's best new wedges are all about choices. Think numbers, not letters, and choose multiples, not just a single club. Because more is the first step toward lower scores.