Wedges: New grooves, big and small

Many golf club manufacturers are looking at 2010 as the year of the wedge.

This is because USGA and R&A rules prohibit these manufacturers from producing wedges with aggressive U grooves, or square grooves, after next year. For amateur golfers around the world, 2010 will be their last opportunity to buy high-spin wedges that will remain legal and conforming until 2024.

These wedges can be sold at retail after 2010, but they can no longer be manufactured. So the supply will dwindle after the manufacturing period ends on Dec. 31, 2010.

Wedges with the current U grooves can be used for handicap purposes and in most amateur tournaments until 2024. The PGA Tour will switch to low-spin grooves on Jan. 1.

“I tell all my amateur buddies to rush right out there and buy as many wedges as they can afford,” said Roger Cleveland, who designs wedges and irons for Callaway Golf. “This is the time to stockpile wedges.”

The reaction of some manufacturers has been to introduce new high-spin wedges, even though these wedges cannot be made after next year. In effect, these wedges have a one-year life span in the marketplace.

The new PGA Tour grooves for 2010 are not necessarily V grooves. In some cases – particularly with Ping wedges – they are modified U grooves. In all cases, however, the grooves are smaller and contain edges that are rounded and less sharp.

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Callaway X Series JAWS wedges

The skinny: These new forged wedges are available in 52, 56, 58 and 60 degrees. All four feature Callaway’s popular C-Grind sole (the sole resembles the shape of a C). All four also have Callaway’s aggressive Mack Daddy grooves. Two finishes are available: chrome and dark vintage.

Cost: $109

Available: Nov. 15

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Wilson Tw9 Tour-Milled wedges

The skinny: Designed with input from three-time major champion Padraig Harrington, these wedges have aggressive U grooves. Lofts are 52, 54, 56, 58 and 60 degrees. Available in satin and black gunmetal finish.

Cost: MSRP $149.99

Available: Immediate.

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Tour Edge Exotics Xtreme Spin Tour Black 2010 wedges

The skinny: Made of carbon steel, these wedges have a thin face that is backed by a hollow core filled with thermal plastic elastomer gel. Featuring a removable weight screw, each wedge comes with a weight kit (with weight screws of 2, 4 and 6 grams). The grooves meet 2010 PGA Tour rules.

Cost: MSRP $129.99

Available: Nov. 15

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Miura Special Grind Y wedge

The skinny: Designed by Yoshitaka Miura, these are the latest forged wedges from the Miura factory in Japan. The wedges are designed with optimum heel and toe relief, along with grooves that conform to 2010 PGA Tour standards. Lofts available in 49, 51, 53 and 60 degrees.

Cost: $209

Available: Nov. 15

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Nicklaus Spin Slot wedges

The skinny: These wedges feature a cut-out slot in the heel, allowing golfers to easily open the face and hit a variety of shots. Made with large U grooves that are milled into a flat face, the nickel-plated wedges are available in 52, 56, 58 and 60 degrees.

Cost: $90

Available: Immediate

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