You may have noticed that the finish on some wedges have a rusty look to them and wondered if there are any benefits to letting your wedge rust.
Do rusty wedges spin more? Rusty wedges do not offer an increased amount of spin compared to wedges with a plated, finished coating. Many golfers prefer the look and appearance of a rusted wedge because it minimizes the suns glare at address and allows a better feel for the grind of the club.
This question of spin has always intrigued golfers. The look and feel of a rusted wedge have been used and preferred by many players so there has to be a reason why they use them.
Do Rusty Wedges Increase Spin?
For years, many golfers (including myself) believed that rusting your wedges would increase spin and give shots a softer feel making contact with the ball. After a little google research and testing different wedge finishes, I found that RAW, rusted wedges do not increase the spin of your golf shots and can actually produce the same and often less spin than a finished, chrome plated wedge.
What is a RAW wedge?
A RAW style, or wedge that can rust, is a wedge that has an unfinished coating and is without the protective chrome that covers other wedges. This idea for leaving the wedge “unfinished” was founded by wedge designer Roger Cleveland when he created a line of wedges for tour players. His thoughts were to make a wedge that had a non-glare surface to appease the visual of the wedge at address.
What Are the Benefits using a Rusted Wedge
As mentioned above, many tour players jumped on board with the RAW wedge appearance. Golfers like Jordan Spieth have claimed that rusted wedges allow him to better dial in the grind of the wedge.
Another reason people use rusted wedges is that they are believed to have a softer feel because they lack the extra chrome coating. You can take this belief with a grain of salt because I have tried both chrome finished and RAW wedges and they feel extremely similar.
Honestly, one of the biggest reasons golfers use rusted wedges is for the really cool look that they give at address. The darker finish might allow some golfers to better line up their shots and receive more consistent contact.
I actually use them myself, I use Cleveland RTX 4 RAW design and have loved the look and feel of the wedge. Maybe there is a little bit of a placebo effect that the wedge feels and performs better but at least for myself, that added confidence is enough to make happy around the greens!
How Do You Make a RAW Wedge Rust?
Making RAW wedges rust is pretty simple. Because there isn’t a protective chrome layer, with time and playing, it will rust all on its own. However, if you want to speed up the process, you can do what I did and just dip them in a pond or lake around the course and just not dry them. I have even had some friends just leave their wedge outside in the rain. In the end, its all about keeping the head humid and they will rust in no time.
Your RAW wedge will at first start with little rust dots on the face. This rust will then spread and fully coat the face and head giving the wedge a very dark, gold appearance. Be careful. Rust can spread onto other clubs, towels and golf bags so be sure to give your wedges distance from other objects. My best advice would be to use a darker towel that you don’t really care about and separate your RAW wedges from your irons to make sure that they do not touch
What is the Downside of Using Rusted Wedges?
The downside of using RAW wedges is that the rust, over time, will cover and affect the grooves of the wedge. As you probably know, the grooves of a wedge are what allows the golf ball to spin. We need to create spin with wedge shots in order for the golf ball to launch correctly and land softly onto the green.
Wedges made today are designed with laser milled grooves that cover the face of a wedge. The point of this is to offer golfers the maximum amount of spin possible to get the golf ball to stop quickly onto the green. Because RAW wedges do not have a protective chrome layer, they will be less durable and will soon create less spin than a finished wedge, as the rust will interfere with the milling.
Most of these wedge companies today do claim that the rust will not affect their laser milling. I’m not 100% sold on this belief because these wedges still collect a lot of rust. However, the impact of rust on their performance over time is improved due to newer face technologies. Since money isn’t an issue for most tour professionals they can consistently be switching RAW wedges as to not diminish the amount of spin on their wedge shots. If only we could be so lucky..
How Do You Un-Rust a Wedge
Rust will spread quickly and after time and play, can hinder your club’s performance. So if your wedge is rusty over, don’t worry. There are some simple techniques that can use.
- You can use steel wool sponge and scrape down your wedge
- You can use a bottle of coke and pour that into a bowl to soak your wedge. (Kind of disturbing that we drink this stuff)
- You cover your wedge in ketchup and the salt/vinegar will eat away at the rest to get your wedge back to the RAW steel look.
If you want to watch a quick video on how the rust comes off, you can watch just watch the first part below
Do RAW Finished Wedges Cost More?
In the past, RAW style wedges have been more slightly more expensive than finished chrome wedges. I’m not sure why because you would think that because of the extra work adding an outer layer, you would charge more for a finished wedge? Oh well. Regardless, golfers find RAW wedges to be special and visually appealing which is why they are sometimes priced more.
As of right now, Cleveland RTX4 wedges are all priced the same, regardless of finish, which might be a new trend for wedge companies as their laser milled grooves continue to improve.
Here is a list of club companies that offer RAW wedges:
Can Rusted Wedges Travel Further?
Just to be clear, I was not able to find any data that actually flat out told me this information. So, I tested it out myself to see if there were any differences.
I used a 56 degree Cleveland RTX 4 Satin and my 56 degrees Cleveland RTX 4 RAW finish hitting shots into the trackman. Here were my results in distance after averaging ten shots with each club:
- RTX 4 Satin Chrome finish- 115.4 yards
- RTX 4 RAW finish – 117.2 yards
The Conclusion of The Distance Test
As I mentioned above, I really don’t think RAW finishes are going to affect the performance of the wedge too much. As you can see, I did receive a little bit more distance with the RTX 4 RAW. However, this mostly due to the fact that the chrome finish did have more spin and a higher ball flight than the RAW finish.
This makes sense because a golf ball that generates more spin will travel higher and land softer. A rusted wedge might create less spin for a lower ball flight and a further total distance because of the roll. Again, I’m not claiming this test is super scientific but it was a fun little experiment that I hope can give some insight into the difference between wedge finishes.
Can you rust a chrome wedge? Only wedges that have a RAW, unfinished coating will rust. A chrome wedge has a protective layer that will not allow it to rust.
Does salt water rust clubs – Salt water does speed up the rusting process of RAW wedges because of the softer carbon steel, the salt will penetrate the metal faster and create rust.