Welcome to Gear The Questions You’re Afraid To Ask, a GOLF.com series produced in partnership with Cleveland/Srixon Golf. In this column, we explore some pointers to look for when to decide if your clubs fit your swing.
Does the finish on my wedges affect how much spin I can produce? – Hudson M, Washington
Some wedge manufacturers offer a variety of finishes (or lack thereof) to choose from, ranging from chrome plated, satin, oil quenched, rough, etc., each designed to give a specific look and feel. Despite what you might think – as it may sound – the finish or coating on your wedge has little or no effect on the amount of spin your wedge gives the ball.
Even we (our self-proclaimed gear heads) sometimes swing to believe that the finish on the wedge plays a bigger role than it actually does. Conventional wisdom would make it appear that because a rusty finish appears rougher, it will result in more spin. But in reality, this is not true. We’ve even seen some wedge tests that prove otherwise, showing that rust can actually work against you by effectively reducing grooves and/or covering up patterns or small grooves on the front of the putter. This means that you likely have a rusty wedge damping the rotation, not adding more of it.
So, what does it matter when it comes to generating spin? grooves; And to a lesser degree, the fabric on the front of the club. The angle, sharpness, depth and width of your wedge’s primary grooves are true spin generators, with finer grooves and/or milled patterns providing additional traction to generate more.
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Let’s look at CBX for Cleveland Full Face wedge as an example. Not only does it come with a face full of grooves (something we think every wedge should have at this point), it comes with just as much spin-inducing technology that a Cleveland can throw at it. The face is milled for a flexible texture and there are laser-cut Utilizip grooves between the larger Tour Zip grooves, keeping them as spiky as possible/allowed under USGA rules.
With so much technology helping golfers generate more of the wedge, you can rest assured knowing that whatever finish you choose, you can be confident in designing your wedge to help you spin the ball as far as possible. This technique is also a big part of how the spin is created as well – golfers who have a high loft on impact generate more spin than those who don’t. Simple and clear.
Since we are talking about this topic, another factor that contributes to the generation of rotation is the shaft. Softer “wedge” shafts are known to help golfers increase their spin rates, which has done the opposite for players who want more control of the course and spin.
Whatever finish you choose, go with the look that looks best on you. Satin or rough finishes tend to have less glare, but chrome is undoubtedly easier to clean. Some players don’t like the way the dark finish looks while others like it. There’s no wrong answer – go with the shape that looks best to your eye and let your wedge front tech (not the finish) handle the spin.