December 28, 2008
CLEVELAND CG12/CG12 DSG
STREET PRICE: $110WEBSITE: clevelandgolf.comLOFTS/BOUNCE: CG12: 46/8, 48/8, 50/10, 52/10, 54/8, 54/12, 54/14, 56/10, 56/14, 56/16, 58/8, 58/12, 58/14, 60/4, 60/10, 60/14, 64/12; DSG: 52/10, 54/12, 56/14, 58/10, 60/3, 64/3TECH TALK: DSG (dynamic sole grind) technology adds another element to the classic CG12 design. The leading portion of the sole is narrow and has a high bounce angle. The wider trailing edge has a low bounce angle. This allows a square face to deliver the performance of standard bounce yet lowers the leading edge when the face is open.PLAYER COMMENTS: (M) "These grooves are amazing -- one, two hops, then fffft." ... (L) "The way it nips the ball, there must be something to this DSG sole." ... (M) "It hits every ball crisply. Automatic out of the sand."HOT: Cleveland continues to take its classic designs and make them more versatile. The finishes are appealing, and the grooves are effective without ripping up the cover of your golf ball. If you can't find what you need in the many lofts and bounce angles available, then you're beyond hope.NOT: The DSG model might require care on especially tight lies.
STREET PRICE: $110WEBSITE: clevelandgolf.comLOFTS/BOUNCE: 46/6, 48/6, 50/8, 52/10, 54/9, 54/12, 56/11, 56/14, 58/10, 58/12, 60/8, 60/12, 64/12TECH TALK: A lightweight viscoelastic "gelback" material has been positioned behind the hitting area to improve perimeter weighting, diminish vibration on mis-hits and provide feedback. It features the same "zip groove" technology used in the Cleveland CG12. Zip grooves are designed to have the most volume and sharpest edges of any groove in company history. In addition, the CG14 has the familiar toe-and-heel sole grind for improved club-ground interaction.PLAYER COMMENTS: (M) "A perfect shape and a very stable head through any type of shot." ... (L) "You can feel this club more in your hands than others." ... (T) "Very forgiving. If you hit it fat, you'll still get it on the green."HOT: The cavity gel enhances this classic design and improves the feel, something that any caliber player can appreciate. The "standard" and "low" bounce options are distinct and easily understood.NOT: There are fewer options than the CG12.
TITLEIST VOKEY DESIGN SPIN MILLED
STREET PRICE: $110WEBSITE: titleist.comLOFTS/BOUNCE: 48/6, 50/8, 52/8, 54/8, 54/11, 54/14, 56/8, 56/11, 56/14, 58/4, 58/8, 58/12, 60/4, 60/7, 60/10, 62/7, 64/7TECH TALK: The retooled Spin Milled line features grooves that are made using a small circular saw that produces deep, precision cuts with a tighter groove-edge radius. This increases the volume of the grooves to help retain spin from the rough. The groove angle is steep on higher lofts (for spin) but less extreme on lower lofts (to avoid excessive spin on full shots). The soft 8620 carbon-steel heads come in three finishes (tour chrome, oil can and black nickel).PLAYER COMMENTS: (M) "An all-around terrific wedge. Whatever you need it to do, it does: bump-and-run, flop or spin. And it's perfection on the long shots." ... (L) "The face is neither too hard nor too soft, and it's easy to open the face or close it." ... (T) "It lives up to its name. It's very adaptable."HOT: Sixteen majors have been won with Bob Vokey clubs. This updated set reflects everything he knows about wedges.NOT: Left-handers don't have access to all of the 17 loft/bounce options.
ADAMS PUGLIELLI 418 TOUR
STREET PRICE: $100WEBSITE: adamsgolf.comLOFTS/BOUNCE: 48/8, 50/8, 52/8, 52/10, 54/10, 56/10, 56/12, 56/14, 58/8, 58/10, 60/4, 60/6, 60/8TECH TALK: The forged 8620 carbon-steel head features a high-density polymer weight chip in the back to dampen vibration. The chip is factory-adjustable, which helps keep the swingweight consistent after the grinding is done. Grooves are milled to USGA limits on width and depth. Sound and feel are controlled through an insert and a rear pocket cavity featuring multiple thicknesses. The head shape is angular like a traditional pitching wedge in the lower lofts and rounded in the higher lofts.PLAYER COMMENTS: (M) "Might not look like you can hit delicate shots with it, but you can." ... (M) "Cuts through the sand nicely and is good in the rough. Works great on long shots." ... (L) "This is the club of the year for me. I love the feel, and it's great around the greens."HOT: Through bending, this tradtional-looking wedge accommodates 105 combinations of loft, bounce and offset.NOT: Those who need 105 choices are not getting their equipment advice from this magazine.
BOBBY JONES PELZ WEDGE
STREET PRICE: $150WEBSITE: bobbyjonesgolf.comLOFTS/BOUNCE: 52/4, 56/10, 56/14, 60/4, 60/8, 64/4TECH TALK: The face insert is made from Carpenter 440XH steel, a wear-resistant alloy typically used in industrial bearings and valve assemblies that permits the grooves to last for years instead of months, according to designer Jesse Ortiz. The hard insert is countered with a 3M structural-bonding membrane that is slightly spongy, giving it a shock-absorbing effect.PLAYER COMMENTS: (M) "Rounded toe and leading edge set up well for all types of shots." ... (L) "Easy to use out of the thick stuff and from tight lies." ... (L) "From the sand this is outstanding, and it has great turf interaction. I would buy this sand wedge."HOT: It's intriguing to imagine having the equivalent of new grooves even after years of use and abuse. With these you won't have to stockpile enough to get you through to 2024, the anticipated end of the grandfather period for clubs with old grooves.NOT: It doesn't have the variety of loft and bounce options desired by better players.
STREET PRICE: $110WEBSITE: callawaygolf.comLOFTS/BOUNCE: 48/10, 50/12, 52/12, 54/14, 56/14, 58/9, 58/10, 60/9, 60/10, 62/9, 64/9TECH TALK: The C-grind sole (in which material is removed from the heel and toe of the sole to improve playability) is a result of feedback from tour players, who wanted more versatility on a variety of lies and turf conditions. Other updates include a tighter angle on the leading-edge radius, and the "mack daddy" grooves, once available only in the higher lofts, have been added to three models (52, 54 and 56 degrees). The company's two traditional finishes (white chrome and vintage) have undergone some tweaking as well.PLAYER COMMENTS: (M) "I guess [designer] Roger Cleveland improved on a good thing." ... (L) "It has great turf interaction and feels super smooth on long shots. Doesn't dig, even on tight lies."HOT: When Callaway's tour players speak, Roger Cleveland listens, and the consumer benefits.NOT: The grooves might impart too much spin for players without the ability to control it.
STREET PRICE: $100WEBSITE: mizunousa.comLOFTS/BOUNCE: 47/6, 51/6, 53/8, 56/10, 56/14, 58/10, 60/5, 60/8TECH TALK: Mizuno uses its "grain-flow" forging process on a special billet of 1025E Pure Select mild carbon steel. Deep square grooves are computer-milled for maximum spin, and the C-grind sole helps improve playability. The teardrop head shape features minimal offset and a rolled leading edge to prevent digging.PLAYER COMMENTS: (M) "Very much a piece of artwork. The heel and sole grinds are functional." ... (M) "Maybe not as much spin as the others, but I didn't miss it at all. Great feel." ... (L) "Out of the sand, I don't know how you get any better." ... (L) "This is how I like my wedges to look." ... (T) "It's got that forged feel that's so nice to have around the greens."HOT: Nothing says forged like Mizuno. It has a classic shape and plenty of heft that's easy to like. We love the 51- and 53-degree lofts for the gap wedge, too.NOT: It's a solid wedge, but its groove technology hasn't been updated since 2005. That's too long in this field.
NIKE VR FORGED
STREET PRICE: $110WEBSITE: nikegolf.comLOFT/BOUNCE: 52/10, 54/12, 56/10, 56/14, 58/6, 58/10, 60/6, 60/10TECH TALK: Made from 1025 forged carbon steel, the wedge was designed with significant input from Tiger Woods and with the careful grinding touch of the well-regarded and somewhat unknown master craftsman Mike Taylor. The heel grind allows for opening the clubface and hitting a variety of shots from different lies.PLAYER COMMENTS: (M) "This definitely would be an overperformer. Does everything you ask it to do, and it inspires a lot of confidence." ... (M) "Simple, elegant, yet performs fantastic out of the worst lies and the bunker." ... (M) "An exceptional wedge with great feel on good and bad hits." ... (L) "The setup blew me away."Hot: A club blessed by Tiger deserves consideration. And the shot that set up the putt that got Tiger in the U.S. Open playoff at Torrey Pines (18th hole, 60-degree wedge to 12 feet) was executed with this model. NOT: Will middle- to high-handicappers balk at its no-frills player's-club profile?
STREET PRICE: $110WEBSITE: pinggolf.comLOFTS/BOUNCE: 47/10, 50/12, 52/12, 54/10, 54/14, 56/10, 56/14, 58/6, 58/8, 58/10, 60/6, 60/8, 60/10TECH TALK: The 17-4 cast stainless-steel head has a tungsten toe weight and a small cavity that's designed to increase the moment of inertia (MOI) and improve feel. A polymer insert in the cavity helps optimize swingweight, dampen vibration and push the center of gravity (CG) low and slightly forward to control clubhead rotation during the swing. The contoured sole helps with shots from a variety of lies. Available in a brushed-silver or black-nickel finish.PLAYER COMMENTS: (M) "It screams forgiveness." ... (M) "The feel is fantastic, with plenty of spin." ... (L) "Terrific out of the sand. It almost felt like I was hitting a good drive." ... (T) "Recessed area behind the hosel makes it really playable from all lies."HOT: It has a sophisticated look and is smart. It's proof that wedges can facilitate new thinking and the use of different materials but not look like a metal detector.NOT: Some will like the fact that these grooves won't scuff your ball. Others won't.
TAYLORMADE Z TP
STREET PRICE: $120WEBSITE: tayormadegolf.comLOFTS/BOUNCE: 52/8, 54/10, 56/12, 58/8, 60/6TECH TALK: The milled "Z" grooves are named for the cutting tool that the company says is more advanced than the one used for its previous Y-cutter grooves. The result is a 10 percent increase in groove volume that helps channel debris and maintain maximum spin. The C-grind sole available on some lofts increases the club's versatility. Its smoked PVD finish helps diminish glare.PLAYER COMMENTS: (M) "You can fly it to the hole and it stops, even from the rough, which is fun." ... (M) "That dark-brown finish is easy on the eyes." ... (T) "The leading edge stays down when you open it, so you know you'll hit it crisp."HOT: It features the qualities (grooves, sole, look) better players seek in a wedge. That nice, soft feel is the result of the channeled area on the backside, an innovation that isn't new but remains effective.NOT: Its loft and bounce options are limited. Just one finish probably won't satisfy everyone. The lack of a C-grind sole on the 60-degree model is curious.