Call it the Wedge Wars.
Several equipment manufacturers are intensifying their efforts in the category. No surprise, longtime wedge leaders such as Titleist, Ping and Cleveland are battling for greater market share, but others, including Cobra, are joining the fray.
Cobra first developed its Trusty Rusty wedge series in 1997, but the company never expanded the Trusty Rusty family to compete consistently with category heavyweights.
But now, Cobra officials say, they mean business.
The 55-degree Tour Trusty wedge is about to be introduced in a limited-edition version. That wedge will be followed by additional Tour Trusty wedges, starting at 47 degrees and going all the way to 63 degrees in odd-numbered loft increments. This means nine different Tour Trusty lofts will be available. Furthermore, the 55- and 59-degree wedges will feature a choice of different bounce configurations.
Consumers also will have a choice of two finishes, black or satin chrome. Neither finish will rust, which is a departure from the Trusty Rusty wedges.
“In recent years, there have been a lot of changes in what people believe in and look for in wedges,” said Jose Miraflor, Cobra’s director of product marketing. “We wanted to come out with a modern tour version of the Trusty Rusty, and we wanted to get our (staff) players into our wedges. So we came up with a solution: We asked our staff members to help design the new wedges.”
Rickie Fowler and Jonas Blixt already have played custom Tour Trusty wedges ground by Cobra master fitter Ben Schomin, and Ian Poulter also is engaged in serious testing.
From a design standpoint, how is Tour Trusty different from Trusty Rusty?
For starters, Tour Trusty has a leading edge radius (roundness) that helps prevent any excessive divot.
“I call it a ski,” Miraflor said. “The leading edge acts like a ski in the snow.”
What Cobra is trying to prevent is the leading edge sticking in the ground or, even worse, the leading edge bouncing off the turf and into the center of the ball.
In another change, all offset has been removed from the new wedges. What’s more, the leading edge is straighter than ever before in a Cobra wedge. The Tour Trusty wedges also have new grooves.
The new wedges include prominent heel and toe relief areas. This helps golfers execute a variety of shots by manipulating the clubhead – opening the face at address, for example, or standing the wedge on its toe for minimal contact with the ground.
The primary creator of Tour Trusty is former PGA Tour winner Phil Rodgers, known as one of golf’s top short-game instructors. Rodgers also designed the Trusty Rusty wedges.
“Phil put a notch grind in the back of each wedge,” Miraflor said, “and this makes sure the leading edge doesn’t stand up too tall. The notch really helps smooth out the path when the wedge exits the turf.”
The limited edition 55-degree Tour Trusty is scheduled to ship to retailers on June 1. The back of the wedge includes an authentic “Go Time” inscription created by Fowler. A total of 1,600 will be sold. The cost is $149 apiece.
The entire line of Tour Trusty wedges is scheduled to be at retail on October 1.