What Is Wedge Grind? (And What To Use)

When looking for a new wedge, most people know about the different types of lofts and the different degrees of bounce. What a lot of people don’t consider is what grind they have on the sole of the club, and in this post, we’ll cover what grind is, how it impacts your game, and what to use.

Wedge grinds allow you to change the shape of the sole of the club, which changes the way the club interacts with the ground, allowing more consistent shots. Different grinds are designed for different swing types as well as different course conditions.

There are a number of different factors that go into picking the right grind for your game. Whether your swing is steep or shallow plays a role. So do the course conditions you’re playing at. We’ll talk about everything you need to know as well as the different options out there from each brand.

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Wedge Grind Explained

Everyone hits their wedges differently. Some people have steeper swings than others. Other people open or close the face to hit certain shots.

Everyone also plays on different courses. Some people play on courses with firm fairways and fluffy bunkers. Others play on softer fairways and firmer bunkers.

This all plays a role in picking the right wedge for your game. Choosing the right sole grind is important if you’re looking to fine-tune your game and become more consistent around the green.

The easiest way to think of sole grind is the shape of the bottom of the club (the sole). If you change the shape of the sole, the club will glide through the turf or sand differently.

Certain shapes are better than others at hitting out of the sand. Others are ideal for clipping the ball out of tight lies. It can get pretty confusing for weekend hackers who don’t play a whole lot, but as you start getting better, it can help your game a lot.

Some grinds will remove a small amount of material towards the heel or toe of the wedge. Others will remove a long strip along the center. You can also have a combination of the two.

The best thing to do is buy the right sole grind from the start. You can use an online fitting tool or go in and get fitted for the right wedge. If you’re not sure about what grind is right for you, you can get a raw wedge, which is easier to customize after the fact.

Wedge Grind vs Wedge Bounce

Both grind and bounce are pretty similar. You should consider both of them when picking your next set of wedges. Your swing type and course conditions play a role in each of them.

Bounce is the angle created between the ground and the leading edge of your club. Grind is a way to customize the amount of bounce when you open or close the face of your wedge.

When you put your club down to address the ball, it’ll have a certain amount of bounce. When you open the face, you’ll create more bounce. When you close the face, you’ll create less bounce.

Different grinds will allow you to fine-tune that to get the perfect club for whatever your situation is. If you’re curious about bounce, you can check out our wedge bounce guide here.

The Different Types Of Wedge Grind

When it comes to wedge grinds, you have a number of different options to pick from. Each brand has its own name (some don’t give you an option), but when it comes down to it, you’ll have 3 basic grinds to choose from:

Full Sole Grind: This grind has a consistent shape and is most likely what you’ll see when you buy a wedge off the shelf. This is probably the best option for the majority of golfers who want to hit full-swing shots with a squared clubface.

This is kind of your all-purpose wedge that’s forgiving in a wide variety of situations. It’s ideal for softer turf and sand shots and is used by most golfers on tour out of the sand.

In my experience, I like these types of wedges when I’m hitting full shots from the fairway or in the sand. I have a pretty steep swing and the courses I normally play have softer fairways. The full sole helps the club not dig into the ground as much.

Heel & Toe Grind: This grind is where they remove material in the heel or toe of the club. In most cases, the material will also be removed from the trailing edge as well.

The main benefit of these wedges is that they’re more versatile and suited to better players. It allows you to be more creative around the green, where you might want to open or close the face of the wedge.

In my experience, I like these wedges when I want to be a bit more creative around the green. When the ground is soft, I like to open the face of the wedge and hit something similar to a sand shot. I find these wedges to perform the best for that.

Trail Edge Grind: This grind is where they remove material along the trailing edge of the club. The difference between this and the heel/toe grind is that nothing is removed from the heel or toe.

The main benefit of these wedges is that it helps you maintain speed through the ball. It’s ideal for square-faced shots, but ones where you change the loft of the club (changing ball or hand position).

In my experience, these wedges performed the best when I needed to hit a lob shot from a tight lie. A lot of the other wedges ended up hitting the ball thin, but with this grind, I was able to get the ball to pop up better and get close to the hole. I also think they’re better for neutral to firm courses.

We’ll get into more detail about the different options and which might be best for you. Before we do that, I’ll give a table of each brand and their grind options:

Vokey Wedge Grind Chart

GrindBenefit
MModerate heel, toe, and trail grind: Use if you have a shallow swing and want to hit shots with an open or closed clubface.
STrail grind: Use if you like to control the loft of your wedge while having a square clubface. Also ideal for neutral to firm conditions.
DModerate heel, toe, and trail grind: Use if you have a steeper swing and want to hit shots with an open or closed clubface. Ideal for neutral to soft conditions.
KFull sole grind: Use if you will be playing in softer conditions. Ideal for steep swings and square clubface shots.
LModerate heel, toe, and trail grind: Use if you want to open or close the face of the wedge and are in firm conditions. Also ideal for shallow swings.
TMaximum heel, toe, and trail grind: Use if you want to open or close the face of the wedge.
FFull sole grind: This grind is popular and fits a range of golfers. Use if you want to hit full-swing or sand shots with a square clubface.

Mizuno Wedge Grind Chart

GrindBenefit
DModerate heel and toe grind: Use if you want to slightly open or close the face.
CMaximum heel and toe grind: Use if you want to open or close the face and are in firm conditions.
XMaximum heel, toe, and trail grind: Use if you want to open or close the face a lot.
STrailing edge grind: Use if you want to hit full-shots with a square clubface.

Callaway Wedge Grind Chart

GrindBenefit
ZModerate heel, toe, trail, and lead edge grind: Use if you want to open or close the face and are playing in neutral to firm conditions.
SModerate heel, trail, and lead edge grind: Use if you want to hit a variety of shots with a square face. Ideal for soft and firm conditions.
XMaximum heel, toe, trail, and lead edge grind: Use if you have a steep swing and want to open or close the face. Ideal for neutral to soft conditions.
WFull sole grind: Use if you want to hit full-swing shots. Ideal for softer conditions.

Taylormade Wedge Grind Chart

GrindBenefit
CHeel, toe, and trail edge grind: Use if you want to open or close the face. Ideal for shallow swings and firm conditions.
StandardHeel grind: Use if you want to slightly open the face at times. Ideal for neutral swings and normal conditions.
WideFull sole grind: Use if you want to keep the face square and hit full shots. Ideal for steep swings and softer conditions.

Cleveland Wedge Grind Chart

GrindBenefit
LowHeel, toe, and trail edge grind: Use if you want to open or close the face. Ideal for shallow swings and firm conditions.
Low+Heel, toe, and trail edge grind: Use if you want to open or close the face. Ideal for shallow swings, firm conditions, and sand shots.
MidTrail edge grind: Use if you want to hit both full shots and chip shots with an open face. This is the most versatile wedge.
FullFull sole grind: Use if you want to hit full shots and need forgiveness. Ideal for steep swings and softer conditions.

Ping Wedge Grind Chart

GrindBenefit
SHeel and trail edge grind: Use if you want a wedge that can be used in a variety of situations, course conditions, and swing types.
WFull sole grind: Use if you have a steep swing or are playing soft courses. Ideal for square-faced and full shots.
TLead edge grind: Use if you have a shallow swing or are playing firm courses.
EHigh-toe grind: Use to hit out of the sand.

Cobra Wedge Grind Chart

GrindBenefit
VersatileHeel, toe, and trail edge grind: Use if you want to open or close the face of the wedge. Ideal for neutral to firm conditions and steep to shallow swings.
Wide LowFull sole grind: Use for hitting full shots with a square clubface. Ideal for neutral to steep swings as well as soft courses.
ClassicTrail edge grind: Use for hitting full shots with a square clubface. Ideal for neutral to steep swings as well as all course conditions.

What Wedge Grind Should You Use?

Know that you have that info, you need to decide which option will be the best for you. The easiest thing to do would be to go to the Vokey website and use their wedge fitter. I did that and here were my results (I have a steep swing and play on softer courses):

  • 48.10F gap wedge
  • 54.12D sand wedge
  • 58.14K lob wedge

It recommended a 48-degree gap wedge because my pitching wedge is 42 degrees. Just because that’s what was recommended to me doesn’t mean it’s right for you. Here are the three things you need to consider when buying wedges:

  1. How many wedges should you be carrying?
  2. What wedge bounce is right for your swing and course conditions?
  3. What grind is best for your game?

When it comes to grinds, it’s going to depend on a number of different factors. It might not seem like a big deal, but picking the right grind can make a huge difference in your consistency. Here are some things you need to consider:

  • Whether you’re hitting full-swing shots
  • Do you take a big divot when you hit your wedges?
  • Are you opening the face of the wedge or hitting square shots?
  • Are you hitting out of bunkers?
  • Is the course firm or soft (bunkers and fairway)?

I think the best way to figure out what will be the best for you is to go through each type of wedge and talk about who should use what. Just know, everyone will be different, and what works for some people might not work the best for you.

Gap Wedge

These wedges have two main uses, to hit full-length shots from the fairway and to hit bump-and-run chips around the green. Most people will hit this wedge with a square face, so being “creative” isn’t really a factor with it.

Since that’s the case, most gap wedges will come with a full sole grind (Vokey F grind). The reason is that they’ll be more forgiving when you’re hitting into the green.

You probably aren’t using this club out of the sand. You probably aren’t opening the face and trying to hit a flop shot. That’s why the main option is a full sole grind. You can then customize the grind to fully fit your swing (most people don’t need to though).

RELATED: What Is A Gap Wedge? (A Complete Buying Guide)

Sand Wedge

With the sand wedge, you have many more options to pick from. That’s because you’ll need this club to be a lot more versatile. You’ll be using it to hit full shots, you’ll use it out of the bunker, and you might even use it to hit creative shots around the green.

The first option you have is to get a full sole grind (Vokey F Grind). This will be perfect for people who want to hit full shots and chips with a square clubface. It’s also a good option for people who hit a lot of fat (chunky) shots.

If you’re someone who wants to open or close the face, you’ll probably want a heel, toe, and trail edge grind (Vokey M & D grind). When you open the face, the degree of bounce increases. When you close the face, the degree of bounce decreases.

This grind just makes sure the bounce is correct when you open or close the face. Some of these grinds are made for shallow swings while others are made for steeper swings.

If you like to hit the ball with a square clubface, but you want to change the loft of your wedge (hand or ball position), you’ll want to have a trail edge grind (Vokey S grind).

By removing some of the material from the trailing edge, you’ll be able to maintain club speed as you hit through the ground. I like this type of wedge for neutral to firm courses.

RELATED: What To Know About Buying A Sand Wedge

Lob Wedge

The lob wedge has the most options when it comes to grinds. The reason is that there are a number of different situations where you could use one. Full shots from the fairway, out of the bunker, simple chip shots, and high flop shots with an open face are all examples.

Your first option here is going to be a full sole grind (Vokey K grind). This is going to be the best option if you have a steep swing, you’re just going to be hitting square-faced shots, or the courses you normally play are soft.

This is generally considered to be the most forgiving grind. If you hit behind the ball a lot, something like this should help you out. That said, it won’t be as good as flopping the ball up from a tight lie.

The next option is going to be a trail edge grind (Vokey S grind). This is going to be a good choice if you like to hit simple chips (square clubface), but want to change the loft (change hand and ball position).

By removing some of the trailing edge, you get a bit less friction as you hit through the ground. This is ideal for neutral to firm conditions because it helps you maintain speed.

The final option is going to be a heel, toe, and trail edge grind (Vokey L, M & D grind). These are going to be your versatile options because they help you hit a number of different shots around the green.

In most cases, this grind is used by better players who want to hit more creative shots. Things like opening the club and hitting flop shots. You can also close the face to hit certain shots as well.

What’s important to note is that not all of these grinds are the same. The Vokey L grind, for example, is only available on low-bounce wedges and is designed for shallow swings and firm courses. The Vokey M grind is the same, but available on mid-bounce wedges.

If you want to be able to open or close the face but your swing is steeper, you’ll want to play the Vokey D grind, for example. The grind is quite similar, but the degree of bounce is even higher.

RELATED: 58 vs 60 Degree Lob Wedge

Note. This article is part of our series on how to pick the right wedges for your game. If you want to know the other details you need to consider, be sure to check out that guide.

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Hey, I'm Jon. I started Out Of Bounds Golf to share my findings after testing golf gear for the past 10+ years. My goal is to make the game a little easier to understand, whether that's with finding the right product or answering common questions. I currently live in the Pacific Northwest.

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