Think it’s time for some fresh wedges? Take this test to be sure

It’s easy to detect wear on a wedge surface, but it’s important to know when wear is affecting performance.

Jonathan Wall/GOLF

Welcome to another edition of the Fully Equipped Mailbag, an interactive series in which our resident Dimplehead (aka GOLF’s Chief Equipment Editor) Jonathan Wall) answers your tough gear questions.

I recently purchased a set of used wedges that show significant signs of wear on the faces. I’m not entirely sure if the wear and tear will affect my short game, so I continued playing them because they were relatively inexpensive. Is there a way to know for sure when they are fully shot? —Titus, Sacramento

Titus, I want you to think of your splines as a set of tires. As the tread begins to wear, the likelihood of a number of things going wrong increases – suspension, alignment, blowouts. These are just a few of the main problems that can arise when driving with low or no tread tires. And we haven’t even talked about factoring rain into the equation.

This isn’t a car mailbag, but it’s important to point out the importance of keeping an eye on tires. The “penny test” is a simple way to determine if it’s time for new wheels. Grab a single Abe Lincoln and you’re good to go.

What’s interesting is that a similar groove test can be performed on your wedges to determine if they need to be replaced. Commonly called the “fingernail test,” the test simply requires you to run your fingernail over the surface of the wedge to see if your nail gets caught in each groove. As you hit every groove along the way, you can rest easy knowing the wedge still has life.

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However, if your nail runs directly over one of the grooves – the bottom grooves are the most important for most amateurs – it is probably because they are completely worn out. Then you know it’s time to choose a new wedge.

Luckily, wedges are relatively inexpensive compared to a new driver or iron, so you don’t have to spend a lot of money on a new sand or lob wedge.

And if you’re still skeptical about how much groove wear affects performance, did a test a few years ago that showed a new wedge had almost 2,000 more RPM on a 90-yard shot Spin generated as a wedge with grooves were not nearly shot.

Now imagine what this spin delta would look like compared to a well-worn scoring tool. Try the “fingernail test” to make sure you don’t have to worry about performance loss on the track.

Looking to overhaul your bag for 2023? Find a suitable location near you at True Spec Golf.

J Wall

Jonathan Wall Publisher

Jonathan Wall is GOLF Magazine and managing equipment editor at Before joining the team in late 2018, he spent six years working on equipment for the PGA Tour. He can be reached at Think it’s time for some fresh wedges? Take this test to be sure

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