With so much time dedicated to finding the right driver or set of irons, wedges often become an afterthought for many golfers—to the detriment of their own game. Wedges play a crucial role in helping save shots around the green, and more importantly, their performance is highly correlated to how well they fit you and your playing style.
At GolfWRX, to determine the 2021 best wedges and the categories, we compiled an expert panel of fitters to help you find out which of the 2021 wedges are best for your game.
- RELATED: Best driver 2021
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- RELATED: Best hybrids 2021
- RELATED: Best irons 2021
This year, OEMs have continued to push the engineering envelope of wedge development with most of the focus directed to furthering performance gains through advanced manufacturing methods, weight distribution, and fittings opportunities. These fitting options are important because shots hit with your wedges play a key role in scoring and also saving strokes.
That being said, ultimately the best way to find your personal best wedges is to work with a professional fitter using a launch monitor. The difficult part is a lot of people don’t have easy access to fitters, launch monitors, and club builders—so at GolfWRX, we have done a lot of the work for you.
The methodology is simple: We want to give you the tools and information to go out and find what works best for you by offering recommendations for your individual wedge needs with insight and feedback from the people who work every single day to help golfers get peak performance out of their equipment.
Best wedges of 2021: How we did it
Before starting the process of building our best wedge survey, we reached out to our trusted fitters to discuss how they sort through the cornucopia of wedge options available to golfers, and the consensus was clear. The best fitters in the world see all the available options, analyze their performance traits and fitting potential, and pull from their internal database of knowledge and experience like a supercomputer when they are working with a golfer.
It’s essentially a decision tree derived from experience and boiled down to a starting point of options.
Modern wedges fit into two categories; traditional and game improvement. Both categories offer a lot of options but the wedges in each vary in their approaches to helping the target player. These are the best wedge categories we have developed to help you the reader determine what rankings are most important for you.
Best wedge of 2021: The categories
Best traditional wedge
Traditional wedges generally share similar exterior aesthetics, even though each manufacturer uses different techniques to shift mass and improve spin, along with consistency. Traditional wedges also usually come in a variety of bounce and sole grind options to help golfers pick what will work best for them based on their technique, regular course conditions, and preferred look.
Just because wedge design doesn’t appear to have changed that much in the last 50 years doesn’t mean you won’t see a big benefit to finding the right ones for you.
Best game improvement wedge
Wedge forgiveness is less so tied to overall MOI (a measurement of forgiveness) and more specifically linked to helping golfers with the most difficult and frustrating shots they will face on the course. Whether it be chipping around a green or just escaping a sand trap in one shot, these game improvement wedges and their designs provide the best opportunity to help you save shots where you struggle.
Best wedges of 2021: Meet the fitters
Nick Sherburne: Founder, Club Champion
Clare Cornelius: Fitter, Cool Clubs
Eric Johnson: Fitter, True Spec Golf
Shaun Fagan: Fitter, True Spec Golf
Kirk Oguri: PGA Professional/ Club Specialist, Pete’s Golf
Sue O’Connor: Fitter, Cool Clubs
Scott Felix: Owner, Felix Club Works
Mark Knapp: Club Fitter, Carls Golfland
Ryan Johnson: Club Fitter, Carls Golfland
Eric Hensler: Manager & Fitter, Miles of Golf
Brad Coffield: Fitter Carls Golfland
Nick Waterworth: Fitter, Haggin Oaks Golf Super Shop
Adam White: Co-Founder & Director of Club Fitting, Measured Golf
Scott Anderson: VP of Sales, Fitter, True Spec Golf
Matthew Sim: Director of Operations, Modern Golf
Ian Fraser: CEO & Founder, Tour Experience Golf
Mike Martysiewicz: Director of Club Fitting & Building, Tour Experience Golf
Shawn Zawodni: Fitter, Miles of Golf
Ben Giunta: Owner, The Tour Van
Best wedges 2021: Traditional
Titleist Vokey Design SM8
Their story: For the new Vokey SM8 wedges, performance is about creating better short game tools for golfers of all skill levels, shot after shot. It’s about offering state-of-the-art technology alongside tour-proven consistency to give golfers more control than ever before. The biggest overhaul to Vokey wedge design since the introduction of Spin Milled grooves is the “out of head” center of gravity (CoG), with the 58 to 62-degree wedges having tungsten placed in the toe to push CoG more forward and out of the head into a space beyond the face of the club to offer more rotational control.
Constant refinement is the name of game, and the SM8’s featured Vokey’s six tour-proven sole grinds—F, S, M, K, L, and D—to allow golfers of all skill levels to be expertly fit for their swing types, shot-making preferences, and course conditions. The wedges
From the fitters
- When it comes to wedges, Titleist and Vokey set the standard for bounce, grind, and finish options, which is why so many golfers and fitters gravitate towards them. The other thing that I have found is they have done a really good job explaining bounce and grinds to consumers, so even if you can’t go see a fitter you make sure you are picking your best option.
- Vokey wedges can fit any golfer that wants a classic-looking wedge that offers performance. For those who love customization, you can go absolutely nuts with the wedge works program.
- Pure performance you can trust.
Callaway MD5 Jaws
Their story: With the MD5 Jaws wedges, Callaway changed the shape of the grooves to increase spin and total control. The end result is the MD5 Jaws spins over 10 percent more on shots hit around the green compared to the Callaway MD4 and launches lower by one degree.
Beyond the grooves, Callaway and the wedge team re-evaluated the whole shape and profile of the MD5 Jaws, along with the grind options. As the trend of more players swapping their stock pitching wedges for wedges that match the lower end of the bag (up to 45-46 degrees). Callaway designers decided to reshape the lower lofted wedges from 46-56 degrees to have a smaller profile and flow better from the lowest to highest loft in the wedge set. Don’t think this is just for looks either—smaller heads allow for more concentrated mass and with a smaller shape comes better workability.
From the fitters
- Callaway stepped way up with the MD5 wedges, and the Jaws groove is only part of the story with these. To me, the biggest thing is how they shaped them to create a really nice transition from a pitching wedge or even 9-iron. These are the best wedges they have ever made.
- They look great and spin a lot on partial shots hit inside 60 yards, which for most golfers is a trouble zone.
- The MD5 wedges don’t get enough credit for the number of bounce and loft options they offer, but it’s right up there with Titleist and Cleveland. The other thing that is really cool is the Callaway customs program to get extra stamping and cavity dots.
Cleveland RTX ZipCore
Their story: The Cleveland RTX ZipCore wedges feature a low-density “ZipCore” in the hosel of the wedge head to shift the center of gravity higher and towards the toe to boost what Cleveland is calling High-Low MOI. What this means is you get less spin rate variance (aka better spin robustness) on shots hit both higher and lower on the face. This also creates greater control over launch, which leads to better distance control.
The wedges also feature UltiZip Grooves which are 11 percent sharper and 7.3 percent deeper than previous generations, while also being 7.4 percent closer together for more groove contact area. The RTX Zipcore wedges are offered in a large variety of grind and bounce options to help golfers find the best fit for their game and playing conditions.
From the fitters
- The ZipCore wedges feel great and they really nailed it with the shaping. I realize that when it comes to wedges in this category, there isn’t much that separates one from the next, but it’s the little transitions around the head and the sole that make these my personal favorite.
- You get a bunch of grind and bounce options, which is exactly what golfers are looking for with a traditional wedge.
- The Tour Rack custom program that is offered by Cleveland is as close to working with your own custom wedge grinder as it gets, and for the discerning player who wants to be dialed in for their playing conditions, it’s hard to beat.
Their story: The TaylorMade MG2 wedges feature ZTP Raw Grooves designed to offer sharper, deeper, and narrower grooves with a sharper radius, which aims to allow players to create more friction between the clubface and the ball for maximum greenside spin. The other standout features of the MG2 wedges are the raw face designed for optimal spin, along with CNC milled sole grinds allowing them to be accurately and consistently replicated wedge after wedge.
Compared to previous generations TaylorMade increased the face thickness of the head from 5.1 mm to 6.5 mm in for a new “Thick-Thin” head design to create a solid, positive feel at impact and optimized center of gravity.
From the fitters
- The MG2 wedges have a slightly higher toe that gives them a compact classic look, and you really get the best of both worlds with the raw face/low maintenance chrome and a glare-reducing raw face.
- These wedges feel really good and spin a lot.
- Although these wedges might not offer all the bounce and grind options as some of the others in the market, they do offer the TW sand and lob wedge grinds, which are beyond versatile.
Their story: Just like with the MP-20 iron, engineers brought a more extreme CG (center of gravity) shifting philosophy to the Mizuno T20 wedges to relocate the CG throughout the set and change the sweet spot height. This allowed the engineers to alter the launch and spin precisely for each loft.
Also, for the T20 wedges, Mizuno engineers took a concept from the high-performance tire world and introduced perpendicular laser-etched micro-grooves to channel moisture away faster than conventional parallel ones. This directional “tread” has proven to increase spin on shots especially in conditions with moisture up to 1,200 rpm (on a 60-yard shot). All of these refinements—CG, micro-grooves, and reconfigured scoring lines—add up to one thing: more control and improved shotmaking with your wedges.
From the fitters
- For the traditional wedge consumer who wants a forged head, it’s basically Mizuno or Ping Glide (Forged) wedges, and Mizuno offers a lot more when it comes to options including finishes. Also, whereas other companies charge extra for a raw finish, Mizuno offers it at no additional cost.
- What gets overlooked is Mizuno wedges offer a lot of technology when it comes to their grooves to help retain spin in wet conditions.
- I really like that they build their wedge matrix around having an option for every single loft. It’s no secret that it involves simply bending wedges to spec and using a badge, but for golfers who don’t want to have to remember what their wedges are tweaked to, it’s quite smart.
‘I should have went 7-wood sooner. Wow!’ – GolfWRXers react
In our forums, our members have been responding to a post giving a glowing reference for 7-woods. WRXer ‘Tee1Up4’ recently picked up a Ping G425 7-wood to replace his hybrid and has been blown away by the results, saying:
“Picked up a G425 7 wood to replace my 3 hybrid. My hybrid used to be my go-to club. I had such confidence with it. It’s almost like as I got to be a better player, I just got worse and worse with it. Finally picked up a 7 wood and WOW! Wish I’d done it way sooner. Point of this post is for anyone wondering if they should try the 7 wood… the answer is yes!”
Our members have been sharing their thoughts on 7-woods and whether they are now tempted to take the plunge themselves.
Here are a few posts from the thread, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.
- Flyer712: “I actually just placed an order for a g425 7 wood yesterday with Ventus blue. Pretty pumped, but the 5-6 week wait is going to be torture…”
- blkjazz: “Yep. I figured it out two years ago when I bought my 917 7 wood. It is now my favorite club.”
- wchahn: “I just added a PXG Proto 7 wood to replace my 3 hybrid. The 3 hybrid was just too close to the 4 hybrid to be useful. I’m using a heavenwood shaft length, and it fits the gap between my 3 wood and 4 hybrid perfectly. After 3 rounds, it’s working well. I was worried about hitting out of iffy lies, where I used to use my hybrid but so far so good.”
- JohnKHawk: “I’ve had a 7 wood in the bag until 2017 when the Cobra OS 3-4 hybrid was released. It never really got much love here, but I liked it so much I have a backup in case it breaks. It blurs the line between a hybrid & fairway. Really fits my eye. There is just a nice natural looking size progression between my Cobra 5 wood, the Cobra OS & my Cobra 5 hybrid.”
Billy Horschel WITB 2021 (April)
Driver: Titleist TSi3 (9 degrees)
Shaft: Project X EvenFlow Riptide 65 6.5 TX
3-wood: Titleist TSi2 (15 degrees)
Shaft: Project X HZURDUS Smoke 70 6.5
5-wood: Titleist TSi2 (18 degrees)
Shaft: Project X HZURDUS Smoke 80 6.5
Irons: Titleist 620 CB (3), Ping Blueprint (5-PW)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100
Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM8 (52-12F, 56-10S, 60-08V @62)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400
Putter: Ping Sigma 2 Tyne
Jimmy Walker spotted testing L.A.B. Blade, graphite putter shaft at Valspar Championship
The putting green at a PGA Tour event is always full of interesting things as players get ready for the week ahead, and this week at the Valspar Championship in Palm Harbor, Florida, is no different.
One of the biggest trends in golf is technology-packed graphite shafts for putters, and we continue to see them in more players’ bags week after week. Louis Oosthuizen had a BGT Stability Tour in play last week at the Zurich Classic, and this week, we spotted 2016 PGA Championship winner Jimmy Walker working with a L.A.B. Blade putter fitted with an LA Golf Shafts Prototype graphite putter shaft.
Although we don’t have the specs of the exact shaft Jimmy is using, LA Golf shafts are well recognized as being one of the leaders in creating ultra-stable graphite shafts for the tour’s biggest hitter Bryson DeChambeau, who not only uses their Texas Rebar shafts in his irons but also a specially designed shaft for hit putter too.
As for Jimmy, this is an interesting move since one of the bright spots of his 2021 stats is his putter where he currently ranks 40th on the PGA Tour in strokes gained: putting.
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Billy Horschel WITB 2021 (April)
Driver: Titleist TSi3 (9 degrees) Shaft: Project X EvenFlow Riptide 65 6.5 TX 3-wood: Titleist TSi2 (15 degrees) Shaft: Project X HZURDUS...
Louis Oosthuizen WITB 2021 (April)
Driver: Ping G400 (9 degrees @8.75) (D4) Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Blue 6 S (45 inches, tipped 1.5 inch) 3-wood: Ping G425 Max (14.5...
Garrick Higgo’s winning WITB: 2021 Gran Canaria Open
Driver: Titleist TSi3 (9 degrees) Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Blue 3-wood: Titleist TS2 (15 degrees) Shaft: Fujikura Pro 2.0 Tour Spec Hybrid:...
Marc Leishman, Cam Smith winning WITBs: 2021 Zurich Classic
Marc Leishman WITB Driver: Callaway Epic Speed Triple Diamond DS (10.5 degrees loft) Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Black 7 X 4-wood: Callaway Epic...
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