How Do I Inspect My Wedges for Groove Wear and Spin Loss?

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By Zack R., Team Titleist Staff

  • 12 Replies
  1. Team Titleist Staff

    Master Wedge Craftsman Bob Vokey frequently says "if it looks worn, it probably is"... But, let's take that to another level. The tricky thing about groove wear is that it doesn't happen overnight, it takes time, which can make it difficult to identify. "A sure sign that you are starting to lose spin is if you notice the ball launch higher than normal, carry shorter, and roll out further," says Corey Gerrard, Brand Director of Vokey Wedges. 

    What Causes Wedge Grooves to Wear Down?

    Golfers encounter a variety of conditions with their wedges that lead to the groove edge wearing down over time. Every golfer should evaluate their wedges and grooves at ~75 rounds of play to get the best spin performance.


    • Regular practice and play creates normal wear and tear to the wedge that results in a gradual wearing down of the groove.


    • Bunker shots expose the face to millions of small pebbles and rocks, essentially sand blasting the face and grooves of the wedge.


    • Sandy lies, debris on the golf ball, rocks, and bag chatter can all lead to gradual groove wear.


    • Vokey Wedges are cast from soft 8620 carbon steel. Range balls and other hard covered balls will, over time, wear down the edge of the groove.

    Not all wedges in your set will wear out at the same time. It's likely that you will wear through the wedge that has the most frequent play, or practice, particularly out of sand or abnormal conditions. On tour, players use the 4-3-2-1 as a general guide. That is, they will update 4 lob wedges, 3 sand wedges, 2 gap wedges and 1 pitching wedge per year. "This makes sense when you think about which club you play and practice with the most, let alone blasting one from the sand," says Gerrard.


    • A new wedge can spin up to 2,000 RPM more than a wedge played for 125+ rounds.


    • A new wedge will launch lower than a wedge with 125 rounds of play.


    • A new wedge has less than half the roll out of a wedge played 125 rounds.

    What are the Effects of Groove Wear on Performance?

    We tested wedges played for 125 rounds, 75 rounds, and a new wedge with fresh grooves.

    • 125 Rounds: 35° launch angle | 6500 RPM Spin | 24' of roll out.
    • 75 Rounds: 34° launch angle | 7400 RPM Spin | 18' of roll out.
    • Fresh Grooves: 33° launch angle | 8500 RPM Spin | 10' of roll out


    At Titleist, we make every effort to deliver the best performance and quality. This includes inspecting every groove on every Vokey wedge head, and taking the extra step to apply a localized face heat treatment that doubles the groove durability. However, because all wedge grooves wear out eventually, our Titleist Certified Fitters are also here to provide professional wedge evaluations, helping you maximize spin and stay on top of your game.


    Custom fit wedges lead to lower scores. Meet with a Titleist Certified Fitter to see if a wedge replacement can help add spin to your short game.

    To learn more about groove wear and Vokey Wedges, check out past Team Titleist Talks to hear directly from the experts behind Vokey Design Wedges.



  2. I never thought I was a skilled enough player for it to make a difference but I just got a new SM10 lob wedge last week. Finally retiring my long overdue for a replacement 60° wedge and for the first time in my life I was able to put enough back spin on a ball to zip it back about 6 feet. I surprised even myself!
  3. Eric H

    Eric H
    Ridgway, PA

    Wow, this is a great post. Thanks for this useful information
  4. DK

    Doylestown, PA

    This is great. I was just talking with a friend about this same thing. Only we were guessing on time frames. What are thoughts on getting grooves "recut"? Or should the wedges just be replaced. I have a 48, 52, 56, 60 set up now.
  5. Great info; especially the spin rates. I knew it reduced spin but not that much and didn't realize the effect on trajectory. Makes perfect sense though. Now I'm "forced" to get a new 56. Darn! Sure wish I had the money the pros have or a Titleist sponsorship. Hint, hint. Lol.
  6. Todd T

    Todd T
    San Diego, CA

    I just check flight and spin on the ball!
  7. jsh_golf


    This is great information for me to know since I feel like I’m getting to that 75 round threshold with my 52 degree wedge that’s from another competitor. My other two wedges are Titleist which I love!
  8. How much quicker does RAW wear out than chrome?
  9. John B

    John B
    Kenmore, NY

    I agree with the assessment as I put 2 new wedges in play this season and saw a big difference. But unfortunately my golf budget doesn't allow me to replace them a the frequency suggested. I'm sure the 4-3-2-1 works great when you are getting your wedges for free like the tour players.
  10. Awesome write up, love to see the supportive data on spin, angle and roll out! Not surprised to see the huge impact to spin rates but never knew the wear affected the carry distance and launch angle of wedges.

    The 4-3-2-1 rule doesn’t seem applicable to the typical weekend golfer like myself as I’m not hitting anywhere near the same number of shots a pro does in a season. Would be great to have an indicator or means to measure the wear over time on my wedges to know when it’s getting time for replacement.
  11. I’m sure that if I could be as precise as a pro with my wedges the 4-3-2-1 would make sense. At a 14 handicap and think I could live with the difference through 125 rounds. That said I bought a new Vokey sand and lob wedge this season and can see the difference immediately. The replaced wedges were probably closer to 250 rounds including range practice.
  12. gary h

    gary h
    Torrance, CA

    Safe to say get new wedges every 2 years?
  13. RBH


    I replace my wedges close to every 80 rounds as I thought that was the previous recommendation. It makes a huge difference not only on full shots, but short control shots around the greens. One thing I always have done, is kept my previous wedges in by Club locker at the club and use them for warm up and practice. Keeps the grooves biting just a little longer.

    As always great knowledge information provided by Titleist.

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