Wedges Classic and Modern in 2005

By Mercer BaggsJanuary 28, 2005, 5:00 pm
2005 PGA Merchandise ShowORLANDO, Fla. -- Poor ole wedge. He gets so very little consideration from the public. As the PGA Merchandise Show continues to roll full steam ahead, drivers and irons and putters reap all of the praise. Even the new kid on the block, the hybrid, gets far more publicity than the poor ole wedge.
 
But if youre one of the few who really digs the sand saver ' someone who realizes that the wedge is instrumental in keeping your score down, then here are a few of the newest items to hit the market in 2005:
 
Ben Hogan -- According to Bob Arnold, director of marketing for Ben Hogan, the company is trying to get the message out that we are no longer considered a niche brand for the traditional player. One of the ways they are doing that is by offering a very forgiving sand wedge with a very familiar name.
 
The Sure-Out wedge is a new take on an older model. In the short-game world, it would be the equivalent of a hybrid, said Ben Hogan director of public relations Dennis Blake. Its got a real wide sole on it, which prevents it from digging too deep into the sand.
 
The standard 56-degree Sure-Out sand wedge and the 60-degree lob wedge both have a head design which features the bulk of the weight in the sole behind the golf ball, which they claim will better help you escape from bunkers and help you get your ball closer to the hole from the fairway and around the greens.
 
Both have a stainless steel construction and a nickel chrome finish.
 
Bridgestone -- Bridgestones new J33 Forged Wedges are said to be forged from 1020 mild carbon steel for exception feel on finesse shots. The wedges incorporate U-grooves for maximizing spin and control on approach shots.
 
They have a double-cut sole design to allow players to use them from a variety of sand and grass conditions. And a longer hosel is in place to raise the center of gravity and produce a high-spin, low-trajectory shot.
 
The J33 wedges are available in a gap wedge (52 degrees), sand wedge (56) and lob wedge (60). The suggested retail price is $149 each.
 
Cleveland -- Cleveland boasts the No. 1 wedge in golf. Theyre not offering a new product in their wedge line this season ' due to the success of their CG10 wedge, which was introduced last year, but they are making a slight change.
 
In addition to the satin chrome look on the CG10, it is now being offered with a Black Pearl finish to reduce glare. The Black Pearl ranges from 46 degrees of loft to 60, according to Todd Harmon, director of product marketing for Cleveland.
 
The suggested retail price for the Black Pearl is $149 with a steel shaft and $175 in graphite.
 
MacGregor -- MacGregor has two new wedges on the market, in line with their V-Foil series. The V-Foil Tour wedge is forged with 1025 carbon steel with a perfectly flat (to within 0.001) CNC-milled face for accuracy, and precision engraved scoring lines to maximum depth and width dimensions for optimal spin.
 
Designed for the low handicap player, it has a brushed Satin-Nickel-Chrome finish and is available in 52, 56 and 60 degrees of loft; each for $149.
 
The V-Foil EZ Out wedge is designed for the higher handicap player. It has an exaggerated back weighting, which causes the trailing edge to hit the sand first for more successful sand shots. It is available in 56 and 60 degrees of loft, for $149 each.
 
Mizuno -- Mizuno has added an MP T wedge to its MP series. The difference is primarily cosmetic. The MP T is a forged wedge with a teardrop (that's what the T stands for) shape to its face ' as opposed to the classic round shape in the original MP. It comes in a Black Nickel or Raw Haze finish. The Raw offers a little more feel and control for the exceptional player, according to one of their sales representatives. There is no chrome finish overlaying the grooves, thus allowing a player to create more spin and control.
 
The Black Nickel version of the MP T has a suggested retail price of $99, while the Raw is $109. Both have degrees of loft ranging from 51-60.
 
Nike -- The newest Nike wedges are dubbed SV, for spin velocity. They have a CNC-milled flat face (to within 0.002). They are offered in a black nickel finish, and range from 50-60 degrees of loft. Nike says the 8620 carbon steel construction provides a soft, enhanced feel. They also have Nikes U/V groove design ' a hybrid of U grooves and V grooves for just the right amount of spin and control. The suggested retail price is $99.
 
Srixon -- Srixon's latest wedge is the WG-504. It is forged out of soft carbon steel with a glare-reducing, gunmetal finish. The WG-504 presents a classic shape and address profile preferred by better players.
 
There are seven different specifications, according to Mike Pai, the vice president of marketing and advertising for Srixon. The wedge is offered in two-degree increments from 52-60 degrees of loft, each with an 8-degree bounce. The 56-degree wedge comes in a 12-degree bounce and the 58-degree wedge comes in a 14-degree bounce.
 
Tommy Armour -- Tommy Armour is offering a blast to the past to the consumer this season, the Ram Laser. Its a throwback, according to Jim Howell, director of sales for Tommy Armour. Its a pro-line wedge for a very affordable price. The wedge comes in gun-metal gray in 52, 56 and 60 degrees of loft. Howells says the wedge combines a soft feel with a traditional look. It has a suggested retail price of $49.99.
 
Wilson -- Part of Wilsons new line in 2005 is the Tw5 wedge. Designed under the supervision of staff member Padraig Harrington, the Tw5s Tour Grooves, slightly lower lofts, and Tungsten weight pads strategically placed in the back of the head help create more spin and control around the green. The weight pads are an option in the gap (50 and 52 degrees of loft), sand (54 and 56) and lob (58 and 60) wedge models. The listing price is $199.99 for each.
 
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    What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

    Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

    Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

    Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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    Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

    Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

    While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

    The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

    So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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    Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

    By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

    The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

    As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

    Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

    And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

    And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

    McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

    The Ryder Cup topped his list.

    Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

    When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

    “Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”



    McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

    Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

    “The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

    European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

    And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

    The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

    Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

    And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

    Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

    The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

    The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

    More bulletin board material, too.

    Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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    Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

    Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

    The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

    It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

    The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

    “I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

    Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.