Backspin for Sale!

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Think that trusty old sand wedge of yours is good for another season? I thought so too, but recently, I saw the light; woke up and smelled the coffee; saw the writing on the wall. And somewhere in the background, I think I heard a fat lady singing. Yes, the time has come to retire my old wedges and upgrade to some fresh, new ones. Have you checked the condition of yours lately?

Testing launch angle and spin rates

New wedges significantly outperform old ones!

These days, you need your wedges to come in with a low, penetrating launch and lots of spin. That spin can be bought! Here’s proof.

This test was conducted at Riverside Golf Centre on March 22. The balls used were Srixon Z-Star, which is essentially a Pro-V1 equivalent, high-spin, premium quality ball. Each shot was hit from the exact same spot, from a “tight lie” on a mat, by the same golfer. The goal was to hit shots that carried between 65 and 70 yards – right in that little half to 3/4 swing range that gives a lot of us fits! The only variable was the equipment: 6 shots were hit with my trusty old 56* Callaway “Jaws” Wedge, circa 2011. The other 6 were hit with a brand-new 56* Ping Gorge wedge.

The difference was amazing. (See the full TrackMan Golf data summary here (pdf) Wedge Test March 22-13 )

New Ping vs Old Callaway

Callaway: Average Backspin Rate 4959 RPM. Ping: Average Backspin rate: 7124 RPM – New wedge spins 2165 RPM higher

Callaway: Average Launch Angle 36.8 degrees. Ping: Average launch angle 33.8 degrees – New wedge launches 3 deg lower

Now, the idea here is not to say Ping wedges are better than Callaway. The key takeaway is that NEW wedges will always perform much better than old, worn-out wedges. The reason behind this is friction – in layman’s terms, it means the ball grips the club face for a longer period of time in the presence of clean, fresh grooves and uniform roughness on the face. Of course, high spin rates are also contingent on having a good, clean lie, playing a high-spin ball and employing decent technique – but the “friction factor” with fresh new wedges is significant.

Bottom line? If you are: serious about your game and your wedges are more than 2 seasons old, its long past time to start thinking about updating. Keep your old wedges for practice and update your gamers sooner rather than later. The numbers tell the whole story.