One of the clubs that golfers tend to pay the least attention to is the wedge.
We worry about our driver and how well our putter rolls the ball, but we seldom pay close attention to the clubs we use to truly save us when we miss a green. And if you're like most amateurs, you miss more than you hit in regulation.
The right wedge will have a wonderful feel to it. It will have a sole that allows you to play it from different lies and increase or decrease loft as needed. Having a wedge in your bag that you are comfortable with is essential.
Many pros change their wedges every few weeks as course conditions dictate and to keep wedges with fresh, sharp grooves in their bag. Being able to put spin on the ball is important to players who want to control the ball around the greens.
Tour Edge Exotics (www.touredgegolf.com) Tour Prototype Wedge combines a thin, stainless-steel face backed with a thermal elastomer gel that provides a soft feel and feedback not available in traditional steel wedges. The sole is ground to eliminate turf interaction at the heel and toe, minimizing drag and the potential for the clubface to twist, allowing for superior shot versatility.
Tour Edge's Triple Grind Sole lineup is available for men and women. This wedge features a traditional pear-shaped head design, and a Tour-inspired triple grind sole eliminates bounce from the heel and toe. This allows players to open and close the club when creating shots without the fear of the club digging or grabbing the turf. The CNC-milled grooves deliver precise control.
Some of the most beautiful clubs I saw at the show came from Edel Golf (www.edelgolf.com). The company has an inline fitting system designed to put the perfect wedge for your unique swing into your hands.
To help your wedge game, Edel has moved the sweet spot toward the toe and shortened the hosel to move unwanted weight from the heel to the true center of the clubface. A rounded leading edge allows the club to sit close to the ground and maintain a square look no matter whether the club is set open, closed or square.
Edel offers eight different sole grinds and 18 different wedge shaft options. Using the website's online fitting page you can choose from several options, even down to the way the wedge is stamped and paint-filled to create your own personal work of art.
Not all manufacturers pay pros to play their equipment. One of the Tour's most popular wedges, and one that pros are not paid to play, comes from Fourteen (www.fourteengolf.com). This Japanese company forges some of the sweetest feeling clubs in the business.
The company makes three lines of wedges, the RM-12, RM-11 and the J Spec IV.
The new RM-12 line comes in nine lofts, two finishes and has been named to Golf Digest's 2013 Hot List. The RM-11 features grooves that are 15 percent larger for better spin and control. The J Spec IV is made from the softest forged metal available to provide great feel and touch.
Wilson Golf (www.wilson.com) has been around for many decades and is known for its iron technology, including the new FG Tour TC Wedge and the next generation of wedges featuring Traction Control technology.
Aggressive Tour-Y grooves are milled for consistency and to enhance spin on full swings. Between the grooves are laser-etched micro-spin enhancers that help produce greater spin on partial shots. Two sole options and nine different loft/bounce combinations offer a choice of 54 unique combinations to find the right wedge for your needs.
Finally, we have the Polara Golf Wedge (www.polaragolf.com) that will hit stores this spring. The wedges feature a corrugated grooved plate behind the face that will create 35 percent more backspin. The result is better spin on short shots without having to perfectly pinch the ball or play a very soft golf ball.
I hit several shots with these and was amazed at how easily they produced spin. I was able to put the brakes on chip shots, and spin full shots back when they landed or have them simply stick and stop. While the wedge isn't USGA approved, it will make your short game more enjoyable.
At the PGA Merchandise Show I picked up a few trinkets, and I would like to share the wealth with you, my readers.
The Grand Prize is a Tour Edge Exotics fairway wood of your choice. The winner will get to select the loft and shaft they wish from the company's website and have it shipped directly to them. I also have golf balls, sunglasses, caps and more to give away. To have your name put into the pot for the drawing I will hold in a few weeks, drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or send me a post card at PO Box 2012, Palm City, FL 34991. Thanks for reading and good luck to all!
James Stammer has been an avid golfer and golf enthusiast for nearly 40 years. He hosts the Thursday Night Golf Show on WSTU 1450-AM. Contact him at email@example.com.