2017 Best Wedges

Perhaps tacked on to a purchase of irons or held on to like a tattered security blanket, a wedge may be something of an afterthought. In truth, it should be the most thought about club in the bag. The right mix of lofts, sole grinds and bounce angles can save you from some of your worst mistakes.

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Perhaps tacked on to a purchase of irons or held on to like a tattered security blanket, a wedge may be something of an afterthought. In truth, it should be the most thought about club in the bag.

Nearly all of the 11 wedges named to this year's Hot List offer double-digit loft options in their lines, and in many cases those numbers can reach 15 or 20 or even several multiples of that number, all in the effort to match your desired distance gaps or bounce angles. Don't know what your need? Well, that's not all that surprising. A recent survey from Golf Datatech of serious golfers showed that 91 percent thought bounce angle was important in how they decide which wedges to buy but a full third of golfers didn't feel they completely understood the concept. (In simplest terms it's the angle formed by a wedge's leading edge, its trailing edge and the ground. But in practical terms, it's much more nuanced and variable. Hence, the value of working with a qualified fitter.)

What's impressive about the wedge market today is how "the wedge" is not really one type of thing. Given the range of lofts covered by wedges today can extend in some cases as far as the range covered from your mid-irons through your short irons, many wedge families vary shapes, weighting, sole types and groove designs as those lofts change. Today, more options in sole grinds and bounce angles make it easier to match your swing shape (steep attack angles vs. shallow divots, for example) to the right model. In fact, it may be the case that you need different kinds of sole designs depending on how you typically use a certain loft.

What's also clearly become more precise is the way grooves and the surrounding flat areas are machined into the face of a wedge. More sophisticated tools means each groove today can get closer than ever to the volume and sharpness limits specified by the rules.

So consider rethinking the bottom of your bag. The right mix of lofts, sole grinds and bounce angles can save you from some of your worst mistakes.