Do rusty wedges give you more spin? RoboTest

Not all wedges are created equal. We’re not talking about groove or milling technology, but rather about the finer options available – such as the ability to choose between coated and uncoated heads.

If you haven’t heard the terms “coated” and “uncoated” before, here’s a quick explanation: The vast majority of wedges on the market feature a nickel chrome plating over the raw steel that prevents the head and grooves from developing a thin layer of rust. Removing the paint (“uncoated”) will cause the head to rust over time and relieve the overall feeling of shock.

Some golfers claim that there is another benefit to be had by removing the paint – adding more RPMs around the green. By adding a layer of rust to the grooves, there is the potential for more friction. Or at least that’s the legend of the gear that gets traded up to golfers on the weekends.

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Jonathan Wall

In our own version of the equipment mythbusters, we put an uncoated wedge at a 56-degree angle to the test against a painted version, with the help of Gene Parente’s Golf Laboratories swinging robot, to see if there was a noticeable difference in spin. The unpainted wedge was soaked in water for a week until a large layer of rust appeared on the head.

“The water looked pretty orange,” said Parenty. “You could see it was really bad.”

From there, both wedges were hit at 85 mph from the same central impact site to compare numbers. Although the unpainted wedge had a rusty face, it still produced nearly identical numbers to the chrome version at around 10,000 rpm. The launch angle, ball speed and overall distance were almost the same as well.

“They were within 45 rpm of each other, which isn’t statistically significant,” Parenti said. “They look different. But from the perspective of the launch screen, from a distant perspective, everything was almost the same.”

What does this tell us about today’s wedges? Groove technology makes a world of difference. In the end, the only noticeable difference you’ll find with an unpainted wedge is a softer feel and the grooves will wear out faster due to the lack of paint.

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Jonathan Wall Editor
Jonathan Wall is GOLF Magazine and Managing Editor of Equipment at Before joining the cast at the end of 2018, he spent 6 years covering equipment for the PGA Tour.

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