Tour pro shines a light on one of golf’s biggest equipment myths

michael s kim wedge

Michael Kim plays a shot during a practice round prior to the 123rd U.S. Open at Los Angeles Country Club.

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With just over 67K followers on the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, Michael Kim has quietly turned into one of the best follows for golf fans.

In a sea of pay-to-post tweets, the former PGA Tour winner has conducted impromptu Q&A sessions and regaled followers with wild stories from his years on Tour, including the time a fellow pro willingly accepted a two-shot penalty for a ride to the next tee box.

Gearheads have even found Kim to be a great source for equipment insights. After asking followers if they’d be interested in a detailed “What’s in the bag,” Kim provided a detailed breakdown of every component — all the way down to the reasoning behind the shaft model and flex in each club.

The content was a rousing success that further highlighted something most golfers have known all along: Golf clubs are highly personal. Even Kim admitted he “wouldn’t be able to use 99 percent] of other pros clubs very well.”

Kim also busted one of the biggest equipment fallacies during his wedge breakdown when he proclaimed, “It’s a myth that the rust gives you more spin.”

For decades, golfers have been taught to believe that raw wedge grooves somehow generate more spin than their plated counterparts. Some believe adding a layer of rust and removing the plating allows the grooves to grip the cover more effectively, thereby increasing greenside spin.

As much as I’d like to sit here and tell you the claims are legitimate, testing conducted by Golf Laboratories’ swing robot says otherwise. Just last year,’s gear crew ran a head-to-head test between a non-plated 56-degree wedge and a plated version to determine if there was a noticeable difference in spin.

Titleist Vokey SM9 Raw Custom Wedge

For every shot, every lie, every course, there’s a grind fit for your swing. Finding the right grind to match your swing and playing conditions will give you the best turf interaction, contact and shot performance. Master Craftsman Bob Vokey has spent decades crafting, developing and improving his tour proven grinds to fit players of all levels. Anyone can manufacture a wedge, but it takes a master to turn a piece of high-performance technology into an instrument of creative control. Bob’s six tour-proven grinds are designed to offer maximum creativity, versatility and consistency, all meticulously developed through years of working with the best players in the world. PROGRESSIVE CENTER OF GRAVITY SM9 features a progressive center of gravity (CG) throughout the lofts, which optimizes ball flight, accuracy and forgiveness. Using tapered top lines and varied hosel lengths, the Vokey R&D team has raised the height of the CG in the higher lofts, which promotes a lower, more controlled flight. The CG is also forward of the face, resulting in increased MOI, exceptional feel and a club face that simply wants to square up at impact. SPIN MILLED GROOVES SM9’s patented Spin Milled grooves are meticulously engineered through a new cutting process to maximize spin and durability. The process starts by cutting the face perfectly flat with a high-speed saw. Then every groove is individually cut based on loft and finish; low lofts (46°-54°) are designed with narrower, deeper grooves, while higher lofts (56°-62°) have wider, shallower grooves. Micro-grooves are individually cut in between grooves, which maximize spin on partial shots. A proprietary heat treatment is applied to the impact area which doubles the durability of the groove without impacting feel, making it the most durable groove in golf. The process is only complete when every Vokey wedge is 100% inspected for utmost quality and performance.
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Both wedges were hit at 85 miles per hour out of the same center impact location to compare numbers. Even though the non-plated wedge had a rusty face, it still produced nearly identical numbers to the chrome version at roughly 10,000 RPMs. The launch angle, ball speed and total distance were almost the same as well.

“They were within 45 RPMs of each other, which is statistically insignificant,” said Golf Laboratories co-founder Gene Parente. “They look different. But from a launch monitor perspective, from a distance perspective, everything was practically the same.”

It’s true non-plated wedges elicit a softer feel at impact, but there’s nothing to be gained in the spin department. Chalk one up for Michael Kim the mythbuster.

Want to overhaul your bag for 2023? Find a fitting location near you at True Spec Golf.


Jonathan Wall Editor

Jonathan Wall is GOLF Magazine and’s Managing Editor for Equipment. Prior to joining the staff at the end of 2018, he spent 6 years covering equipment for the PGA Tour. He can be reached at