The Big Review – Wilson Staff FG Tour Wedge
While Wilson Staff might not be in the top 5 largest golf companies, their irons have won more Majors (61) than any other manufacturer. Until recently, many golfers would have been surprised to know that fact but the rise of Padraig Harrington and Ricky Barnes has brought them back into many peoples awareness. These same people might also be surprised just how good their clubs are.
The FG Tour is Wilson’s new forged wedge, designed in Chicago to “deliver a family of precision wedges that meet every shot requirement, course condition and style of play”. We got to try one to see what sort of performance we could coax out of it.
Wilson have this to say about their new wedge: “Designed for players of all abilities, the FG Tour wedges compliment the Tour-proven FG Tour irons, which have been used by Wilson Staff Tour professionals Ricky Barnes and triple Major winner Padraig Harrington. The wedges, which adhere to the latest groove specifications, have been designed following advice from Wilson’s Tour professionals.”
A slightly more rounded face than the modern teardrop that we see with the likes of Titliest Vokeys or Mizuno MP-T series, the FG Tour has a slightly arced leading ledge and looks very attractive at address. The face is milled across the entire width, not just the grooved area and the milling marks are biased to work best when the face is opened up while the CNC milled grooves are beautifully sharp.The top notch satin finish adds a final elegant note.
Lovely soft feeling if not quite as soft as some but a beautiful level of feedback that lets you know exactly how you have struck the ball. The quality Lamkin grip meant that nothing was hidden on all strikes; partial or full shots, perfect hits or less than perfect ones, all is all there for you.
First off you can see straight away that these wedges produce a lot of spin. All shots, from partial to full produce shots with a truckload of spin. On anything more than a half shot you can watch the ball dance on the green and on a receptive green the ball with happily rip back. Interestingly, the FG Tour seems to do this without causing too much damage although the ball is not completely untouched. The grooves are Condition of Competition conforming and Wilson say that they are the absolutely on the limit of the specifications. Since the ball spends so long on the face the natural trajectory is low for a wedge but this aids playability since your shots are less likely to be affected by the conditions.
The sole grind (below) does dictate how you can use this wedge. Although the 10 degree bounce (measured at 9.5 degrees) on the 54 degree review model is not unusual for that loft, the width of the sole and the lack of any trailing edge grind means that it really only suits full shots and chipping. If you opening the face up, the leading edge rises very quickly so that you would really only want to do this out of a very fluffly lie or very soft sand. The good news is that the 58 and 60 degree wedges do have a different sole grind that allows the face to be opened without the leading edge rising too much since this hand grind takes off some of the sole towards the heel.
The FG Tour is good is firm conditions and excellent when the going is softer. Play out of soft sand is easy, especially since the phenomenal amount of spin allows you to really throw the ball in the air and the bounce makes digging almost impossible.
This wedge is very good on full shots and frankly awesome on chips; put the ball back in your stance, lead with the heads and you can produce the type of fizzing shooter that comes off the face low, bounces once and then grabs to a halt. You know, the sort of unbelievable shot that Paddy used to stick the 18th green after dunking two in the water the first time he won The Open. Okay, we probably aren’t going to be in the same situation but it’s a high percentage shot that makes greenside play very simple and this club plays it as well as any we’ve tried.
With great feel and good looks it’s a top wedge, even if we would have liked to see the more versatile grind offered on more lofts than the 58 and 60. Wilson have showed just how much spin you can get from the new grooves and it’s a lot and it’s only when you find yourself in deep rough do the conforming grooves start to offer less spin that their non-conforming . A quality wedge from a quality manufacturer, the FG Tour is an excellent wedge and you will not be upset if it finds its way into your bag.