By Scott Kramer
When Callaway debuted the JAWS MD5 wedge in September, the company made a bold claim: The club has the most aggressive grooves in golf. The implication? By playing this wedge, golfers will get the most possible backspin and control hitting shots into the green. Spin helps control trajectory, stopping power and even distance.
Truth is, there are a lot of innovative wedge grooves on the market that are each designed to help generate maximum greenside spin. And each club brand seems to take its own approach. Here’s a sampling:
Each groove on the JAWS MD5 has walls, edges and angles milled into the face with meticulous precision, yielding what the company calls the sharpest edges and tightest tolerances it’s ever achieved. The new rendition is particularly effective from 80 yards and in, producing a preferred “one hop and stop” trajectory. Part of that effectiveness is because of the groove-in-groove technology: Milled MicroPositive grooves are placed in the flat parts of the face for added surface roughness. Three raised micro-ridges lie between each groove, adding grip to the ball’s cover, for increased spin.
This groove/micro-groove combination provides 84 different contact points, which in turn promotes more spin. “While you may not use all 84, it’s designed so that wherever you hit it on the face, the ball will grab the groove and the micro-grooves at impact,” says Roger Cleveland, chief designer and master wedge maker at Callaway. “And by interacting directly with all of that groove technology, it will give you a significant amount of spin and exceptional control.”
The new CBX 2 wedges feature the fourth generation of the brand’s Rotex Face technology. They’re the sharpest of the brand’s Tour Zip Grooves yet, with Cleveland’s most aggressive face milling and precise laser milling. This generates more spin with greater consistency. “It feels like the ball is really spinning off the face,” says 2019 British Open winner Shane Lowry of Rotex. “There are extra little grooves in there — it definitely does spin more.”
Each KING MIM wedge face is precision CNC-milled to exact specs, via a circular milling pattern that optimizes roughness and creates sharp groove edges. That maximizes spin across the face. The grooves are narrower and deeper in the low lofts (50, 42 and 54 degrees); wider and shallower in the higher lofts (56, 58 and 60 degrees) to optimize spin.
In its latest Glide 3.0 and Glide Forged wedges, the company uses precision-milled grooves that have gone through a patented wheel-cut process that results in a sharper edge radius which increases interaction with the ball at impact, creating more friction, spin and trajectory control.
Grooves in the lower-lofted wedges — from 46 to 52 degrees — are milled for optimal full-shot performance, while the higher-lofted wedges — from 54 to 60 degrees — feature an extra half-groove at the bottom of the face that imparts extra spin, especially around the greens. Sparing you technical details, the company mills the groove edge radii and sidewalls to exact specs based on the loft, so you get the right amount of spin from wherever you’re hitting your shot.
Its brand-new Milled Grind wedge – coined MG2 – features a raw face designed for optimal spin through precise geometry. The company touts that “the combination of face and groove design creates the ultimate spin.” The wedge’s ZTP Raw Grooves are sharper, deeper and narrower than their predecessors, and sport a sharper radius. Plus there’s a rougher surface from the laser etching between the grooves. All of this enables you to create more friction between the clubface and ball, generating more greenside spin.
Compared to common plated grooves, this boost in friction reduces the ball’s ability to potentially slide up the clubface before it grips the face, which leads to a more consistent ball flight.
All Vokey SM wedges, including the latest SM7 models, have “Spin Milled” faces. What exactly is that? It’s described as technology that helps players generate maximum spin, control and consistency. The grooves and “Parallel Face Texture” are optimized to each wedge’s loft and finish for sharp, consistent groove edges. Lower lofts — between 46 and 54 degrees — tout narrower, deeper grooves, while higher lofts — between 56 and 62 degrees — have wider, shallower grooves. The result is better spin and control on all wedge shots, according to the company.
Titleist also employs a proprietary heat treatment process that helps produce groove durability, so golfers get more spin for a longer time. The company inspects every groove on every wedge before it leaves the factory.
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