ClubTest 2021: 18 forgiving, high-spinning new wedges tested and reviewed
With the help of GOLF’s research partner True Spec Golf, we asked 40 testers to hit more than 150 different clubs over three days to deliver the most inclusive and in-depth review of new gear in the 30-year history of our ClubTest franchise. Fact: The perfect woods, wedges, putters and irons for you are out there — and working with a custom fitter is the fastest way to find them.
For this installment of ClubTest 2021, our testers thoroughly examined 18 new wedges from all the top manufacturers. Which models provided the best spin, which were the most forgiving and which made testers most feel like they were Tour pros? We have all the answers. Check out all of the new wedges we reviewed below, read the test results, and see photos and videos to help you learn everything you need to know to find the perfect ones for you.
Whichever wedge you choose, you can purchase it with one click, or better yet, get custom fit for new clubs by GOLF’s sister company True Spec Golf.
Callaway MD5 Jaws
Our take: Roger Cleveland’s latest wedge creation for Callaway was a massive hit with testers who admitted to normally having trouble producing enough spin on short-game shots. “I sometimes ‘skid’ shots into the green, but these wedges make me feel like I’m a competent player again. Even when I didn’t catch it perfectly clean, I still saw the ball check and settle.” Testers also gave high marks to the low-bounce W grind and its ability to help the club glide through the turf.
Callaway Mack Daddy CB
Our take: As some higher-handicap testers found out, a cavity-back profile can reinvigorate your short game. “With the subtle offset and slightly larger head, I got the feeling that I couldn’t miss,” said a tester. “The grooves deliver consistent feel too.”
Our take: The CBX Full-Face wedge sports a design that makes it easy to play a variety of open-faced shots. You’re sure to impress your buddies while popping the ball up high and tight with this one. According to a seasoned tester, “I like the way the ball feels coming off the face, and the milling marks on the toe give it a high-end look.” Bonus: This wedge delivers all the spin you can handle.
Our take: A hollow-body wedge is not the type of scoring club we’ve come to expect from Mizuno, but consider us among the true believers of the ES21’s awe-inspiring technology and surprisingly efficient performance. According to a recent tester, “The weighting is amazing. I felt as though I always knew where the head was during the entire swing.” It looks like a traditional wedge but read below and you’ll quickly see it’s far from it.
Our take: Boron looks as though it’s here to stay, as Mizuno’s T20 has proven it to be the material of choice for added strength and consistency in its wedge designs. According to a tester, “I loved the beveled topline. It adds a boost of confidence, but still looks incredible clean. It’s subtle, but I’m a fan.” In our mind the Blue-Ion finish is among our favorite golf club colors we’ve seen anywhere.
Cleveland RTX ZipCore
Our take: Cleveland takes its wedges very seriously, as it should, having made some of the most influential designs in the last several decades. The all-new RTX ZipCore wedge rewrites the way Cleveland interprets wedge design with a slew of new innovations intended to help players gain consistency while also enabling more versatility. Which, in case you haven’t noticed, is a damn hard thing to do. (Well, maybe for Cleveland it’s not.)
Cleveland Smart Sole 4
Our take: “The wide sole is a genius design,” said one tester. “It should be embraced by more golfers — including me. It’s the epitome of an anti-chunk wedge.” More golfers should take this tester’s feedback to heart. Getting up-and-down from around the green isn’t easy, particularly if you struggle with consistent contact and turf interaction. Smart Sole 4’s futuristic profile differs greatly from a traditional blade wedge, but that’s by design. The generous sole and deep cavity add an impressive level of forgiveness and stability to the head. The entire package will make the chunk a thing of the past.
Cobra King Cobra
Our take: “Am I seeing that right?” one tester inquired after watching the ball check and stop on a dime from 30 yards out. “I don’t normally get that kind of sauce!” Cobra’s new Snakebite groove design impressed more than a few testers. This new groove-cutting method allowed designers to tighten the tolerances and sharpen the edges for maximum zip.
Honma T//World W4
Our take: Honma went to great lengths to up the feel and spin control found inside the T//World W4. Testers were keen to the improvements, with one proclaiming, “I’m getting the touch and spin I expect around the greens. It feels as if the grooves are grabbing the ball and then placing it softly on the green. It’s a feeling I’ve rarely felt with my wedges.” With two sole grinds delivering versatility and superior turf interaction, it’s easy to see why testers gave Honma’s latest creation high marks.
Tour Edge Hot Launch E521
Our take: The Tour Edge E521 wedges feature the “Houdini Sole.” Which, according to a tester during GOLF’s ClubTest, worked like magic. “They glide through wet turf well,” the tester said. “They pave the way for me instead of trying.” As for their next act? Turning your bogeys into birdies.
Ping Glide 3.0
Our take: It’s a harsh reality: Most golfers miss more greens than they hit. To deal with the consequences of all those wayward approaches, golfers are constantly on the lookout for more spin. Ping’s Glide 3.0 wedges, with machine-milled grooves and redesigned cavities, delivered it in spades throughout our testing process. Said one tester, “I expect to lose some zip on the ball from thick lies, but it came off hot and spinning.”
PXG 0311 Forged
Our take: We think the best wedges on the market today are the ones that disguise technology in a simple, versatile design. The PXG 0311 fits that bill, as it’s both easy to use for a variety of shots and has forgiveness and feel hidden within its relatively benign appearance. (Again, that’s a good thing.) Said a happy tester, “These wedges are very well-balanced, are controllable and feel great. I’d definitely put these in play.”
PXG Sugar Daddy
Our take: Wedges that emphasize versatility are among our favorite kinds because, like you, we’re prone to needing a do-it-all club to protect our scores. The premium-priced 0311 Sugar Daddy is considered PXG’s most engineered wedge yet. According to one of our testers, “It sits on the ground beautifully and is balanced really well. I can really feel the clubhead, which is key if I want to get crafty around the greens.”
Tour Edge EXS Blade
Our take: The EXS Blade wedges, according to Tour Edge, “are engineered to deliver exact distance control, maximum versatility and superior spin.” The engineering aspect did not escape a tester during GOLF’s ClubTest. “The wedges have reached a tech high point,” the tester said.
TaylorMade Hi-Toe MG Raw
Our take: As the name implies, the Hi-Toe MG Raw wedges don’t have a finish on their faces. Our testers found this to help produce notably higher spin rates on shots from around the green. “This raw face had me ripping the ball back on command,” one tester said. Also, when hitting shots from thin lies, testers commented positively on the way the leading edges sat closer to the ground.
TaylorMade MG TW Grind
Our take: As you can imagine, the sole grind Tiger Woods uses doesn’t look or perform like a normal wedge. “This grind lets me play it square or open,” one tester said. “Tiger is a smart man!” Of course, few, if any, have the short-game skill of Tiger Woods, but his custom-milled TW Grind design should give you a boost.
Titleist Vokey Design SM8
Our take: Spin-milled wedges by Bob Vokey get better with each new iteration, proving that the wedge is not only the most versatile club in the bag but the most important. Our testers spoke boldly of the SM8, stating, “These wedges have some serious sauce. The low-bounce models are amazing, and nary is there a wedge that cuts through the turf as well as the SM8s do.” High praise again for Vokey. We expected nothing less.
Our take: Whether you’re a high-handicapper or a single-digit, everyone can benefit from a club with enhanced feel — especially around the green. When it came to the design of its new wedges, Wilson relied upon its roster of Tour players to provide feedback on the look, performance and playability. The result: three wedge iterations — the Staff model, Tour Grind and HT — that tick all the boxes. “This wedge would be great for firm courses or those who pick it clean,” noted one tester. “Fantastic look with an aggressive grind that sits tight on the turf and nips the ball.”