By Ed Travis
Bridgestone Golf for the 2019 season has introduced a new line of wedges, the XM-1s, that can produce very high ball spin rates for control with the soft feel players want.
Weekend golfers often are in a quandary about wedges. Maybe its they don’t understand the need for precise gapping of lofts or how to solve the mysteries of bounce, but the truth is these clubs though overlooked by some are considered by better players as the basis for their scoring.
Wedges must be versatile since in every round they are called on for full swings, part swings, chips and pitches therefore one of the keys for the average player to improve scoring is to understand how the proper wedges will make an immense contribution.
Almost everyone should be carrying four wedges starting with the pitching wedge in your set of irons which probably has a loft between 43° and 48°. The idea is to add wedges that progressively carry the ball 10 to 15 yards less and this means successive lofts are 4° to 6° weaker. For example, if your pitching wedge is 45° then a 50° gap wedge, 54° sand wedge and 58° lob wedge would make sense.
The amount of bounce to have on your wedges is not complicated if you understand that bounce is the angle the leading edge of the sole is higher than the trailing edge. Softer sand and turf require wedges with more bounce and conversely from firm sand and turf less bounce works better. Typically bounce angles range between 4° and 14°.
As with all club buying decisions its best to figure all this out with the help of a professional club fitter. His knowledge is invaluable.
Bridgestone set out to create a wedge line for better players that would have lots of spin for precise distance and trajectory in a forged 1020 mild carbon steel head for a soft confidence-producing feel.
“Low-Mid handicappers are going to love the control and feel that our new TOUR B XW-1 Wedges deliver,” said Zack Kupperbusch, Golf Club Marketing Manager at Bridgestone Golf. “The combination of the industry’s most premium forging and our new Biting Rail Milled grooves provide unparalleled softness and optimum spin on a variety of short shots.”
TOUR B XW-1 wedges offer a choice of sole designs: The F (Flat) sole grind profile is found in the 50°; the M (Multi-Purpose) on the 52°, 54°, 58° and 60° to give maximum versatility; the A (Forgiving Sole) on the 56° for shots needing high bounce such as explosions from the sand. For me though the name, “Biting Rail Milled,” given to the grooves pattern is inspired.
Brand & Model:
Bridgestone TOUR XM-1 wedges
Biting Rail Milled grooves
Multiple Sole Designs
Retail Price & Availability:
$140 with Modus Tour 105 stiff shaft – in shops now
Online at Bridgestone Golf
Need to Know:
Better player design with aggressive “Biting Rail” groove design milled in a soft carbon steel forged clubhead. Very soft feel particularly on short scoring shots with lots of control from the high spin rates. Satin chrome finish.