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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