With little margin for error at the Copperhead Course this week, it’s not surprising to see few major changes from the participants in this edition of the Valspar Championship.
That said, we’re still spotting plenty of interesting things in Florida, including the apparent end of Kevin Kisner’s armlock experiment and Dustin Johnson sticking with a surprise putter switch he made in the final round of the RBC Heritage.
Remember, you can check out all our photos from the Valspar here!
Viktor Hovland is putting a 2021 Pro V1 in play after using it last week at the Zurich Classic. According to Titleist, he’s seeing higher ball speed with the driver and more control into the green.
Denny McCarthy is testing a TSi2 driver (10 degrees). He’s seeing more speed and better spin control.
Roger Sloan is testing a U500 4-iron, which he finds easy to launch and is able to work it both ways.
Byeong-Hun An put a Fujikura Motore X F3 6 X in his TSi3 driver.
Staffer Jimmy Walker tested a L.A.B. Blade putter before returning to this Scotty Cameron.
Kevin Kisner moved from the armlock to a “very stable and consistent” 2-Ball Ten putter with a Red Stroke Lab double-bend shaft. SuperStroke Traxion 2.0 Tour grip. 34.25 inches. 3.5 degrees of loft.
Grayson Murray is testing a Graphite Design Tour AD DI 9 X in a Mavrik Sub Zero 7-wood.
New to us since we last saw him, Phil Mickelson is going with a Callaway PM Grind ’19 “Raw” (52, 58, 64) setup.
After putting it into play for the final round of the RBC Heritage, it looks like Dustin Johnson is sticking with a new TaylorMade Brandon 1 prototype putter and LA golf graphite putter shaft. If this putter seems familiar, it’s because we saw Tommy Fleetwood put something very similar into play a couple of weeks ago too (pictured below in photo from TaylorMade).
Andrew Putnam is testing a Fujikura Ventus Red 6 X shaft in his driver.
Scottie Scheffler (not a staffer) is decreasing loft in his Ping G425 LST driver.
James Hahn tested a Cobra RadSpeed driver with a prototype Aldila shaft.
Scott PUREd KBS C-Taper 125 Custom Black shafts for Gary Woodland and Project X 6.5 shafts for Jordan Spieth (3-PW, 6.0 in wedges).
Justin Rose was spotted testing a number of grips.
Chris Kirk is testing a Cobra RadSpeed driver with a Mitsubishi 1K shaft.
Both Brendon Todd and Rory Sabbatini are testing Mitsubishi MMT iron shafts.
William McGirt is testing a Graphite Design Tour AD DI HB 95 S shaft in a Callaway Apex Hybrid.
Best wedges of 2021: Game improvement
With so much time dedicated to finding the right driver or a 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
- RELATED: Best fairway woods 2021
- RELATED: Best hybrids 2021
- RELATED: Best irons 2021
In 2021, 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 shots.
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
Traditional wedges generally share similar exterior esthetics, 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 then preference for look.
Just because wedge design hasn’t appeared 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: Game improvement
Callaway Mack Daddy CB
Their story: The Mack Daddy CB wedges feature two sole grinds. In the lower lofts, a full sole provides iron-like turf interaction with moderate bounce. In the mid and higher lofts, a modified W Grind is designed to enhance bounce in order to add forgiveness out of bunkers and thick rough. The modified W Grind is also designed with a low leading edge if you need to open the face.
The Mack Daddy CB wedges also feature the newest JAWS grooves with increased edge sharpness to provide maximum grip and spin from all types of lies.
From the fitters
- The Mack Daddy CB is a really nice option for players that want a stand-alone wedge but still need more help than something traditional like an MD5. It’s not quite as soft feeling as other wedges in this category but super forgiving on off-center strikes which makes up for that.
- The Mack Daddy CB is an extremely easy-to-hit wedge but still offers some versatility for times when you need to manipulate it around the greens.
- It has a nice large face with a wide sole design—if you miss a lot of wedges because you hit them chunky this could be your savior around the green.
Cleveland CBX 2
Their story: The Cleveland CBX wedges have a lot of technology to help make the short game easier. First, they have a Hollow-Cavity Design to maximize perimeter weighting for increased forgiveness around the entire face and to enhance the feel of the cavity back design they also have a Gelback TPU Insert which reduces vibration for a pure feel at impact.
The CBX wedges also have Cleveland’s Rotex Face to deliver the company’s sharpest Tour Zip Grooves and most aggressive face milling. This improves spin in all conditions, especially on half shots, and around the green when moisture is present.
From the fitters
- This is the best cavity back wedge ever! It’s completely game-changing for some of the higher handicap golfers that I work with that struggle with their wedges—and that’s most of them.
- Grooves all over the face help create extra spin on mis-hits, especially out of deeper rough when it’s more likely to hit one higher on the face towards the toe. Were not talking thousands of RPMs but every little bit helps keep the ball on the green.
- The size of the clubface, the head weight, sole design, and bounce, have been a great configuration for a lot of high handicap players and beginners. It is a great all-around wedge for full swings and around the green versatility.
Their story: To get the most of the Mizuno E21’s performance, engineers relocated mass higher and deeper in the head by using a hollow body construction. The E21 wedge brings together a 1025 Grain Flow forged boron face and hosel with a 431 Stainless steel back to maintain the soft and solid feel Mizuno is known for while also increasing groove durability.
Speaking of grooves the ES21 wedges use the same perpendicular laser-etched micro-grooves as the Mizuno T20’s to channel moisture away faster than conventional parallel ones. They also come in both a narrow and wide sole option, but unlike with irons where a wide sole is generally reserved for game improvement clubs, the wide sole models of the E21 have been configured for maximum versatility while still being “anti-chunk”.
From the fitters
- By doing what they did with the center of gravity, Mizuno helps the wedge maintain spin when hit outside of just the middle—this is a big help, especially out of the fluffy lies.
- Looks are deceiving. From the address position, you wouldn’t know this wedge had such a thick top line, so as much as it is a game improvement design, I suggest any player looking for extra consistency to give this a try.
- Neutral CG placement makes this a closer fit for more golfers than most other wedges. Incredibly versatile sole design works very well for steeper attack angles, but also for more of a neutral delivery style. Easy to lay the face open and create higher effective bounce from the bunkers or gnarly lies around the green.
Ping Glide 3.0
Their story: The Ping Glide 3.0 wedges leverage multi-material construction that combines a 431 stainless steel head with a soft elastomer Custom Tuning Port (CTP) insert. The volume of the CTP allows for a larger insert covering more of the back of the face, resulting in activation of the elastomer at impact in a bid to produce a soft yet solid feel. The cavity design and larger CTP also expand the perimeter weighting to increase the MOI and position the center of gravity higher in order to provide lower-launching, and higher-spinning trajectories for more control.
The Glide 3.0 wedges also feature wheel-cut grooves for a sharper edge radius, which is designed to increase interaction with the ball at impact—resulting in more friction for maximum spin and trajectory control.
From the fitters
- Even though the Glide is on the “smaller” side when it comes to being a game improvement wedge it maintains all the cavity back benefits while also feeling great.
- What separates the Glide 3.0 wedges in this category is the loft and grind options that are available, including the ES—Eye sole—design.
- It really is a players wedge that also happens to offer game improvement benefits, which makes it so versatile.
TaylorMade Hi-Toe Bigfoot
Their story: The TaylorMade Hi-Toe Bigfoot wedges offer a thin topline paired with the extra mass behind the hitting area and redistributed away from the flange to raise the center of gravity and increase spin. The hollow ports save unnecessary mass, which allows the wedge’s sole to be made wider without sacrificing the performance gained by the CG location.
Much like the better player-orientated MG2 wedges, the Bigfoot wedges come with a milled sole to eliminates variance created by hand grinding and finishing, and raw faces to keep the wedge spinning to its maximum potential through its lifespan.
From the fitters
- Thanks in part to the larger effective hitting area, full face grooves & neutral/toe biased CG it works really well for a lot of golfers.
- The Big Foot wedge almost makes it feel like cheating for the less skilled golfer around the greens. Loft up hit down, and don’t worry about much else.
‘How many GolfWRXers have a backup bag?’
In our forums, our members have been discussing backup bags. WRXer ‘thibeedough’ kicks off the thread saying:
“Interested to see how many of us have a backup bag of clubs. Doesn’t have to be a full set, maybe some extras that you swap out depending on the course, or just old clubs you have laying around the garage?”
And our members have been sharing their thoughts on the validity of having a backup bag and what clubs they have in reserve.
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.
- GLF4EVR: “Have two sets of irons & another set of iron heads. Two other drivers, two sets of the wedges I use, & one putter. The 3 wood is the only club that I do not another one of lying around anywhere. One guy I play with every weekend has an old putter. Three others that we try to get out together when we can have at least one of my old clubs.”
- 14max: “My back up bag has some older clubs I’m fond of (Hawk Eye 5 wood, ISI-S irons, Eye2 wedge), and I swap out driver and putter with my main bag. I also have a set of Warbird woods that I’ll switch out with the 5 wood and longest iron as well…”
- NDGolfer13: “I don’t have a backup bag per se, but I do have a travel set up that I will either travel with or ship when I’m going to be somewhere where I can play.”
Phil Mickelson WITB 2021 (April)
Driver: Callaway Mavrik Sub Zero (8 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Black 6 X (@47.5 inches)
2-wood: TaylorMade “Original One” Mini Driver
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Black 7 X
4-wood: Callaway Mavrik Sub Zero (16.5 degrees)
Shaft: KBS TD 80 C5 TX
Irons: Callaway X-Forged UT (16), Callaway X21 UT Proto (19 degrees @20.5, 25), Callaway Apex MB ‘21 (Small groove) (6-PW)
Shafts: (16) MCA MMT 105 TX (4-PW) KBS Tour V 125 S+
**(Callaway X-Forged 16 degree driving iron also in the bag and could be rotated in)**
Wedges: Callaway PM Grind ’19 “Raw” (52, 58, 64)
Shafts: KBS Tour-V 125 S+
Putter: Odyssey Milled Blade “Phil Mickelson”
Grip: SuperStroke Pistol GT Tour
Ball: Callaway Chrome Soft X w/Triple Track
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Professional golfers who have never had a lesson
Phil Mickelson WITB 2021 (April)
Driver: Callaway Mavrik Sub Zero (8 degrees) Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Black 6 X (@47.5 inches) 2-wood: TaylorMade “Original One” Mini Driver Shaft:...
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:...
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