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Most people are going to be aware of the three basic wedges, chrome, black, and brushed steel. What a lot of people don’t know about is raw wedges, so in this post, we’ll cover what they are, the pros and cons, and whether or not you should use them.
Raw wedges don’t come with the same finish that other wedges do. The benefit is that it’s easier to adjust the bounce and grind of the wedge and it could provide a bit more spin. The downside is that they wear out quicker and will start to rust.
While this type of wedge could benefit some people, it’s not going to be for everyone. The simple answer is that they could work for you if you want to fully customize your wedges and don’t care about the cost. Let’s dive into more detail about what they are and who should use them.
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What Are Raw Wedges?
Whenever you’re looking for a new wedge, keep an eye out for the word “raw.” This is going to tell you that it’s a raw wedge. While it could be a good choice for some, it’s not the best choice for everyone.
Raw basically means that there isn’t a finishing coat on the wedge. Without the finish, you’ll get a few key benefits, but you’ll also have to deal with some drawbacks.
The main downside to raw wedges is that they’ll start to wear out and rust. This can happen quickly and will reduce the amount of spin you can get on your shots.
Having that finishing coat on your wedges will keep them in shape for longer. I think that’ll be better for most golfers, but that said, many professional golfers use raw wedges because of the benefits.
Why Do Tour Players Use Raw Wedges?
A lot of tour golfers use raw wedges because it’s easier to customize the bounce and grind of the wedge. This will help them fine-tune their game and will make hitting certain shots, like flop shots, easier.
Whenever you buy a wedge, it’ll come with a certain degree of bounce and a specific sole grind. That’s completely fine for hitting a standard shot, but it can cause some issues when you try to be creative around the green.
Bounce is the angle between the ground and the leading edge of your club. More bounce is better for softer courses and steep swings. Less bounce is better for firmer courses and shallow swings. Raw wedges make it easier to remove material from the sole to fine-tune the bounce.
RELATED: What Wedge Bounce Should You Be Using?
It’s also easier to customize the sole grind on a raw wedge. This is when you remove material in the heel, toe, trail, or leading edge of the club. This all depends on what type of shots you want to hit, the courses you’re playing, and how you swing the club.
RELATED: How Sole Grind Affects Your Wedge Shots
The second reason tour players use raw wedges is that they could produce a bit more spin. Taylormade has said that “Raw wedges create more friction, which as a result, can increase spin rates by 20-25%.”
On the other hand, Vokey has said that this isn’t the case for their wedges. I guess the only way to tell for sure is to buy two of the same wedges, one raw and one not, and see the differences.
I do know though that raw wedges wear out faster than the other types of wedges and will actually rust. Tour players can get new wedges whenever they want, so it’s not a big deal. Random hackers like us probably don’t want to do that.
Does Rust Add Spin?
According to all of the major wedge companies, rust does not add spin. In most tests I’ve seen, wedges with rust on them actually spin less than wedges with no rust on them.
A lot of people have said that rusty wedges feel softer and that the rust will make the ball spin more. I believed that myself for a while because it looked like a lot of the pros have wedges that were left outside for months.
Whenever I started looking into it, most of the wedge companies have done tests to compare this. All 8 of them said that rust didn’t help in any way. They produced more spin when the wedge was in good shape, but as soon as they got rusty, the performance declined.
RELATED: How Backspin & Sidespin Affect Your Golf Shots
How To Maintain Raw Wedges
If you’re going to buy a set of raw wedges, you have two options. The first is to use them and replace them after they start to rust and wear down. The second is to maintain them to make sure they stay in good shape. Option #2 is much cheaper.
Here are a few tips to stop your raw wedges from rusting:
- Wipe them down after each shot and round
- Clean them often with soap and warm water
- Store them in a heated area
- Use a wire brush to clean the grooves
- Try using some WD-40
I don’t know about you, but I always do tips 1-4. You should be taking care of your clubs regardless of whether or not they’re raw or coated. I’ve never tried tip #5 myself, but a lot of people recommend it.
Are Raw Wedges Worth It?
Raw wedges are only worth it if you’re looking to customize the bounce and grind of the sole. Since they wear down and rust faster than other wedges, you should also be willing to replace them often, which can get pretty expensive.
In my opinion, if you’re shooting in the 80s, 90s, or 100s, there is zero point in buying raw wedges. You (and me) aren’t good enough to benefit from the customization and increase spin (if it’s even true).
The only time it might be worth it is when you’re playing professionally and need the best performance possible. At this point, you’ll either get the wedges for free or are willing to invest in new wedges often to get that performance.
Note. This article is part of our series on what wedges to buy. If you want to know everything that goes into buying the right wedge for you, be sure to check that out.
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