Fast facts: This is one great lob wedge.
The Bridgestone West Coast Design Liquid Copper (WCD LC) 60 degree wedge is an upgraded version following Bridgestone’s Tour inspired West Coast Design wedge series. The WCD LC is cast from soft 8620 mild carbon steel, has a precision-milled face and precise double-stamped U-grooves, and is coated with a proprietary Liquid Copper finish. The shaft is True Temper Dynamic Gold. The rest of the specs are at the end of this article.
The first challenge of reviewing this wedge was trying to forget the stroke and feel of all the wedges I have ever known. But then again, I thought, I have learned many lessons from those past wedges. So I will apply that experience to assess the merits of this mysterious new wedge, this Bridgestone West Coast Design (WCD) with its enigmatic Liquid Copper veneer.
From the start, I was caught in a quandary, for the technological philosophy behind the Liquid Copper coating is that it will eventually wear off, allowing the club to rust and produce more ball-gripping control. So, I asked myself, is the “real” wedge the pristine new product with its golden brown sheen, or is it the club after a few dozen rounds, with its copper erased by blades of rough and its rusty face open to the sun?
I couldn’t decide whether this was really one wedge, or two. Here is my conclusion: this review is Part I of my relationship with the wedge in its new, virgin state. Part II will appear a bit later in the season, when my golf game isn’t so rusty, but the wedge is.
It really is quite stunning when new. The head is a classic shape, the color is…odd for me. I’d never used a copper-looking club before, and from the start I felt comfortable with this one. I don’t like a lot of off-set, and this club pleased my picky eye with a smooth line from hosel to club head. I’m 6’3”, and even from my height I could clearly see the milled face and no-nonsense grooves. The top edge isn’t thick or thin, but meant for business. And it’s leading edge rested low enough to the ground for a sense that a ball could be plucked from most any lie.
The club feels a bit lighter than my previous wedges. I honestly couldn’t discover whether it was the overall balance, or actual club head weight. Perhaps it’s the shaft. Ultimately, I came to appreciate the brilliance of its weight in combination with its features. Those comments are below.
You’ll notice a mark in the finish over the West Coast logo…a reminder that perhaps the wedge wears a disguise, like Cinderella. (Nothing, however, happened at midnight.)
First, I noticed that the WCD felt light. I wasn’t sure whether this was good or bad. I ultimately deduced that this was a very good thing indeed because I soon discovered that I could more easily control any shot that popped into my brain to attempt. I wasn’t restricted by the heft of a lead weight on the end of the stick, like some wedges feel. This WCD wedge felt more a like a chopping knife than a heavy cleaver (do you cooks know what I mean?). Whether the blade was open or square or even closed, the club felt balanced and in control throughout the swing. (FYI: My current lob wedge feels toe-heavy when open.) So with the WCD, I could approach my ball in the cabbage and slice and dice with restrained abandon.
This club is what clubs around the green should be – versatile. It won’t hit the ball for you. It demands as much from you as you do from it. Meaning you have to have a little skill with shot manipulation. If you do, you’ll be rewarded. Center hits are pure and predictable, with great spin and traction, plus a little lower ball flight for that bounce-and-grab pitch. Mishits off the toe or top are not so pure or forgiving, as they end up weak and short. Good players know how to take advantage of feedback like that.
This wedge flaunts what its maker calls Variable Bounce Technology. That means that there is less bounce at the toe and heel sole area to allow for a true lob shot from virtually any shaggy or tight lie. When the blade is laid open, it looks nearly flat and confident and ready for action.
Bridgestone says that the WCD wedges were engineered specifically with input from tour players like Stuart Appleby. I don’t doubt this for a second, because experienced players will know how to manipulate the shot-making of a club like this, but high-handicappers will get frustrated because only pure hits strike gold.
One other remarkable thing for me about this club is that when I hit the ball I could sense the clubface gripping the ball. This, for me anyway, is unusual. Normally, if I hit the ball and hear a nice snick and feel virtually nothing, that’s the best feedback I could get. Until now. Now, I absolutely have the sensation of the ball spinning more, similar to a baseball pitcher who feels a curve ball leave his fingertips. My first 40-yard shot sucked back three feet, which is something I never do. According to Bridgestone, this wedge is supposed to impart a little more spin than the previous West Coast wedges. The club performed predictably well in both tall and shorter grass, as well as out of sand.
Facts of the face: WCD wedges undergo a precision milling process that cuts more consistently shaped and spaced U-Grooves. The milled U-Grooves are designed to produce higher and more consistent backspin from all varieties of lies and turf conditions. Although, Bridgestone says that when you mill a face, it actually decreases full-shot spin, but increases spin around the green. I didn’t see this difference, which for me is a good thing.
To wrap this up I want to say that I generally have great success when I first make an acquaintance with a club, especially drivers, putters, and wedges. But there is no denying that this club has tremendous feel for educated hands and immense potential to be a star in the bag.
Here are specs, straight from Bridgestone.
Swing Weight: D5
Variable Bounce Technology: creates low bounce on the heel and toe sole areas.
Classic head shape designed through C.A.D. system in conjunction with Tour staff
CNC Milled U-Grooves increases groove volume, maximizing spin
CNC Milled Face
8620 Mild Carbon Steel for enhance feel
True Temper® Dynamic® Gold shaft
Golf Pride Tour Velvet grip
List price $119
Now, go hit ‘em.
Miura’s new MC-501 and 601 irons, Tour Series wedges, KM-009 putter (2018 PGA Show Demo Day)
Miura, the company known best for its forged irons, unveiled two new irons at the 2018 PGA Show Demo Day, along with new Tour Series wedges and a KM-009 putter.
According to the company, the MC-501 irons — the MC stands for “muscle cavity” — are like a mix between blade irons and cavity backs; they have the look of a blade, but also have wider soles and longer blade lengths for greater forgiveness. Actually, a Miura representative told us the 501 irons, which are forged from 1020 carbon steel, have the longest blade lengths and widest soles of any iron Miura has ever made. We’re told, however, that all of the lofts are in line with other Miura blades, as is the expected launch and spin the irons produce.
The MC-501 irons will launch in North America on February 20, and they will sell for $260 per club head.
Miura’s new IC-601 irons (4-PW) — they are the iron-set extensions of Miura’s previous ICL-601 driving irons — have hollow cavities for more ball speed, and they have stainless steel back weights to drive CG rearward and raise MOI. They’re made from 455 carpenter steel and will sell for $280 per head.
Tour Series wedges
The first milled wedges from Miura, called the Tour Series, have progressive center of gravities (higher CG in the higher lofts and lower CG in the lower lofts) throughout the line. They’re forged from 1020 carbon steel, and have C-grinds with soles that are narrow in the lower lofts, and get progressively wider as loft goes up.
The Tour Series wedges are available in 48, 50, 52, 54, 56, 58 and 60-degree options, and will sell for $280 each.
Lastly, Miura unveiled a new KM-009 putter that, according to Miura, has an enhanced milling process, upgraded graphics, and a lengthened hosel for a bit more face-balance than previous KM putters. A Miura representative estimates the toe hang has gone from 60 degrees down to 45 degrees due to the hosel adjustment.
Available on February 20, the putters will sell for $400 apiece.
Footjoy’s new Tour-S shoes and socks, ProFLX gloves (2018 PGA Show Demo Day)
FootJoy’s new Tour-S shoes are all about stability, according to FootJoy frontman Chris Garrett. That’s why they have hexagon-shaped pods surrounding the spikes, and the outsoles have been “bumped out.”
Garrett compares the Tour-S shoe design to its XPS-1 shoes from 2011, which were also focused on stability, except there are two main differences: 1) the Tour-S shoes are much lighter, says Garrett, and 2) they have more stability on the outsole, as opposed to the insole, since golfers want stability on the backswing but also want to be able to roll their foot through on the forward swing.
In four colorways, the Tour-S shoes are set to hit retail on February 15 for $249 laced, and $279 with the BOA lace system.
FootJoy’s area on the range at Demo Day was buzzing with golfers getting fit for the company’s new Tour-S golf shoes. And that’s good, because FootJoy frontman Chris Garrett says the most important part of buying a new shoe is the proper fit — he says 70 percent of golfers are wearing the wrong size shoe. So, know your size.
Along with the Tour-S shoes are Tour-S socks — in similar colorways to the shoes — that are specially designed with “roll tabs” to keep the sock from falling down into the shoe. As any golfer knows, there’s nothing worse than when your sock falls down, and your achilles heel is rubbing against the back of your shoe all round. The socks are available for $12 suggested retail.
Also, FootJoy unveiled a new ProFLX glove with TactionLT leather for grip, MicroVent FiberSof for breathability and flexibility, and a ComforTab Velcro Closure system for more comfort around the wrist. The gloves will sell for $21 suggested retail.
Jamie Sadlowski discusses his new Cleveland driver, WITB (2018 PGA Show Demo Day)
Jamie Sadlowski, newly signed with Cleveland-Srixon, was on the range at Demo Day showcasing his refined golf swing that’s now made for professional golf, rather than the distance-first swing of his long-drive days.
We had the pleasure of spending some time with Jamie as he took us through his bag from top-to-bottom. He also spoke about his new swing changes, and he described what’s different about Tour life versus the long drive tour.
Cleveland Launcher HB (10.5 degrees, turned to 7.25 degrees)
Jamie says: “We’ll start with the driver, the Cleveland Launcher HB driver, with 7.25 degrees of loft. It’s the standard head, everything you can buy off the shelf. Everything’s bent a little open, just to take loft off. Obviously being a high-speed player with a high launch driver, I’ve taken launch down. With the Nunchuk shaft, 45 inches, I believe the swing weight’s D5 on this. Just very stable, not much curvature, kills a lot of spin. I’ve been in that shaft for 5 or 6 years now, and haven’t been able to get away from it, just for me it loads real good. Can’t get out of it, cannot get out of it.”
Srixon Z-U65 and Z-965 irons
Jamie says: “Then I work into the UT, it’s actually a 16-degree, so 18 turned down to 16 degrees. I believe finished its 40.5 inches with the 105X prototype tipped 2 inches. Pretty stout. That’s kinda like my acting 3 wood.
Then from there I go into a 3-iron UT 20-degrees, X7 shaft. Standard loft. 1 degree flat. Swing weights on all my irons are D3 I believe, maybe D4. Then I play 4 iron thru wedge in the 965s. Again, all X700’s. 46-degree pitching wedge.”
Cleveland RTX-3 wedges
Jamie says: “Then from there I go into a 53-degree RTX-3 gap wedge, pretty standard grind, 10 degrees of bounce. Then we roll into the 56 degree, again RTX-3, 8 degrees of bounce, pretty standard stuff. All three of these wedges here are X100s, then the 60-degree I have them kinda put a C-grind on it, just because it makes them a little more versatile. I don’t carry anything higher than a 60-degree just because… I honestly don’t need it. With that grind I can kinda of turn it into whatever I want. All the stuff is obviously heavy, I believe the wedges go from D6 to D7 in the lob wedge.”
Why so much lead tape?
Jamie says: “The reason being I play a big grip, plus-4 midsize, so we lose a lot of swing points there. Obviously the irons don’t look as pretty as they should with all the lead tape, but that’s just what it takes to get ’em to proper swing weight.”
Jamie says: “This is a Cameron Tour (prototype) Newport. Looks good.”
Toning down the swing speed
Jamie says: “I mean I’m not swinging 150 mph, I’m still swinging 135 mph, but to me that feels slow. So it’s controlled. There’s times when I need to hit a big shot, whether it’s need to make birdie on the last hole to make the cut, win the tournament, whatever you need. I know I have the power if I need it. There’s always an advantage to hitting it far when you’re hitting a pitching wedges versus guys hitting 6 irons. So I’m not looking to take away distance, but I’ve obviously refined it to where I can hit controlled shots with good ball flight and good spin numbers.”
Srixon Z-Star XV golf ball
Jamie says: “The XV golf ball has been a huge change for me. The ball combination with all the clubs, but especially with the driver is exceptional. I’ve always been a high-spin player and (the golf ball has) taken my ball flight down, even flighting wedges. I’m able to get to back pins now. The wind doesn’t affect the ball.”
Do you intimidate fellow Tour pros with your distance?
Jamie says: “I guess it depends. I just go there and play my game. If you’re playing on tour you’re going to go out there and play your own game. If I’m paired with an amateur who’s a 10-handicap, I’d say yea thats probably pretty intimidating when they’re hitting 3 woods to my 6 iron. But when I play tour events, I don’t think it affects anyone that much. If I’m hitting 5 iron in and they’re hitting 3 woods… there’s different ways to skin a cat. I just happen to hit it really far.”
Are you getting more comfortable out on Tour?
Jamie says: “After a full year of playing Mackenzie this year. I’ve gained a lot of confidence playing a full year and signing my name to a scorecard for once. Hopefully this year will be a big year with the swing changes I’ve made, I’m feeling more comfortable with them.”
Jamie says: “(I’m getting) the backswing a little more on plane. I’ve always been a little up and rolled to the inside and across the line and I’ve really fixed that. Got it more on plane going back, more on plane coming down. It ables me to hit more shots, versus that loopy little draw. So I’m able to cut it now, hit some hold shots into right, left winds, where I didn’t really have that shot. Flighting wedges, anything inside 150 yards is kinda where I spend most of my time now.”
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