Looking down at your brand new wedge is a great feeling. Except when the thought hits you, how long are these grooves going to last before I have to get another one?
How long do wedge grooves last? The general rule of thumb is that the grooves of a golf wedge can last 2-3 years of moderate playing. As time goes on, the wedge grooves will start to fade which will cause changes in distance control and in the ability to spin the golf ball.
Many golfers, however, don’t keep good care of their wedges. And the worst part is, wedges are expensive! You don’t want to be having to be spending hundreds of dollars a year on wedges when you can learn to take care of them and make them last longer.
How Long Do Wedge Grooves Stay Strong
Golfers will start to notice a little wear and tear on their wedge grooves around 2-3 years of playing consistent golf. It has been said around the golfing community that it takes around 1,000 wedge strikes before the grooves start to fade. Whether or not this is true, we can all take away that your wedge has a pretty long life.
For a golfer who plays once a week during the golf season (approx. 30 weeks) and who hits about 15 wedge shots for 18-holes, they will hit 450 shots a year with that wedge. I know this might not be a great example for some of you but you probably get the point. Wedges grooves are meant to last for several years of use.
To make things easy, most golf companies tend to release new wedges every 2 years. This is a large enough gap to have a nice life cycle with a wedge and then upgrade when the new clubs come out
Here is a short video from Mark Crossfield explaining the groove duration in a wedge
What Do the Pros Do?
Because most professional golfers have contracts with club manufacturing companies, they have the luxury of being able to switch out their wedge every few weeks. They do this because:
- They aren’t paying for them
- Newer wedge grooves might give them a slight advantage when trying to spin the ball
What Happens When the Grooves Start to Fade
When the grooves start to fade on your wedge you will notice some of the following:
- Scratches along the grooves
- Dents obstructing the grooves
- Rust if you are using a RAW wedge
- Build up of hardened dirt in the grooves
- Less spin and more roll when landing the ball on the green
- A harder feel making contact with the golf ball
As the grooves fade, the golf ball will start to roll up on the clubface instead of being caught in the grooves like it would with a newer wedge. The result will be less spin and a change in a golfer’s distance control. If any of these symptoms above start coming up when hitting wedge shots, it might be time to look into getting a new addition to your bag.
What Is The Purpose of Grooves on a Wedge?
The purpose of wedge grooves is to help grab the golf ball and maximize the amount of spin on the shot so the golf ball can stop on the green.
Watch this really quick video here where the Fried Egg Guys compare the spin rates of a dirty wedge and a clean wedge. The results are very interesting!
What Can You Do To Lengthen The Life of Your Wedge Grooves
To lengthen the life of your wedge, try and take care of your wedge using some of these tips I created for you:
- Be careful throwing your bag around either in your car or garage. Wedges have large clubheads and can easily get digged up and scratched if not taken care of.
- Clean your wedge after every shot using a brush or golf towel. The best way to keep clean grooves is to clean them right away so you don’t forget. (Or just have your caddy do it for you…)
- If you tend to dig the ball when striking your wedge (like I do) make sure that there isn’t anything by the ball that could damage your wedge grooves. Ex. rocks, tree roots hard dirt.
- My personal favorite, DON’T THROW YOUR WEDGE OUT OF FRUSTRATION. Quietly put your wedge away and then you can start screaming
Do cast iron wedges last as long as forged wedge grooves?– While the feel off the clubface might feel different when comparing a cast iron wedge (harder feel) and forged wedge (softer feel), the grooves will still have about the same lifecycle.
Does water affect the spin of wedge shots?- According to a test done by pluggedingolf.com, they found that a wedge with worn grooves will spin up to 20% less when the face is wet. This is because when grooves are faded, water will stay between the clubface and the ball causing reduced friction.