Wedge Grinds Explained: Callaway Jaws Raw WedgePublished on 06/16/2023 · 8 min readEver looked at a new wedge online and wonder what "grind" means and how it applies to you? Golf Expert Tyler Monroe explains what they are and how they are useful.
Photo by Tyler Monroe
The green complexes are a golf course's most significant test and barrier to players making par. The variables golfers encounter from 100 yards out to just off the putting surface are almost endless. Different slopes, bunker sand, and grass types require many creative shots and specific tools to pass the challenges and make or beat par.
Often termed the “scoring game” or the "short game," wedge play and the myriad of shot techniques players must possess to keep their scores low is the subject of countless books and teaching programs. Playing the game is a significant source of confidence and enjoyment when performing well. From distance wedge shots to bunker shots to chips, pitches, lobs, and flops, and whether using a pitching wedge, gap wedge, sand wedge, or lob wedge, there are many different opportunities a player has to perform the right swing using the most effective wedge loft to tuck the shot close to any pin location.
Wedges are the tools that enable golfers to imagine, visualize, and pull off these highly technical swings. Designers like Roger Cleveland, Bob Vokey, or Callaway Golf, often a direct result of tour player feedback seek to give players a tactical formula with complex design attributes to work specifically for them. As with every other club in the bag, the properly fit wedges for the player will achieve the best results. The right loft, level of forgiveness, steel shaft or graphite shaft, and bounce and grinds in the soles of the wedge all need to match the player's ability, angle of attack, club position at impact, thought process in shot techniques, overall goals around the greens, and types of turf and sand conditions they typically play in.
Callaway's new Jaws Raw Wedge lineup is designed to deliver that very specific forgiveness and soft feel to players of varying abilities and handicaps. With 17 different loft and bounce options and four different sole grinds offered, each wedge is designed to provide a valuable tool for many types of players' attack angles and approaches to their wedge game. In this article, I will discuss these four grinds and sole profiles in depth, whether they're better fit for a steep angle of attack players or potentially a "digger," or shallow angle of attack players who tend to sweep their shots, along with the course conditions they perform best in.
What Different Wedge Grinds Are Intended to Accomplish
At the PGA Tour and LPGA Tour Professional level, having highly detailed grinds through the manipulation and removal of material from the sole of the club allows players to play various shot techniques to achieve consistent and desired results from anywhere around the greens. From opening the clubface to add loft to a shot, to "toeing" the club up in chip shots to prevent the heel drag from slowing the clubface down, to leaning the handle back for an easy lob shot, these specific techniques can all be enhanced by grinding down portions of the sole, enabling a wider variety of greenside shots
For some amateur players, these grinds also work to prevent impact errors and inconsistencies from costing too much loss in distance and accuracy. Before digging into the various grind options in the new Callaway Jaws Raw Wedges, here are a few definitions of the common types of grinds and adjustments applied to the sole of the wedge to benefit various players.
Removing material from the back portion of the sole or creating a trailing edge ribbon ensures the wedge sits closer to the ground. It works to help create lift on the golf ball and slides through the ground faster, even when opening up the clubface in firmer turf conditions.
Leading Edge Relief
Grinding out leading edge relief on the sole creates a sharp leading edge ideal for cutting through firm turf conditions like dry soils or tight lies in fine fescue grasses and links-style turf.
Another popular grind, moderate heel relief is achieved by taking material out of the heel to allow players to open up the face without having the heel catch up on the grass or sand, typically slowing the clubface down and affecting distance and direction.
Another way to manipulate the sole and effective bounce angle of a wedge is by changing the camber or curvature and roundness of the sole from the leading edge to the back trailing edge. Substituting for additional bounce, a rounder camber, and wider sole help reduce digging, adding more forgiveness to a wedge.
The Callaway Jaws Raw Wedge Grind Options
Callaway offers four grind options within this lineup's lofted wedges, designed to benefit many golfers with varying techniques, angles of attack, and playing in various turf conditions. They include the Z, S, X, and W Grinds.
The Z Grind is a new addition to the Callaway grind options, providing a sweeper or players who tend to pick the ball clean taking minimal divots, a low bounce option ideal for tight lies and firm course conditions. It puts a lot of camber on the aggressive leading edge with a tri-level sole design. The wedge also features leading and trailing edge relief, amounting to a ton of versatility, whether playing open-faced shots or hitting it square.
- Player and Swing Type: Designed for better players with shallow attack angles who take minimal divots.
- Condition Type: Medium to Firm.
- Wedge Bounce: Low Bounce Wedge at 8 degrees.
- Lofts Available: 58, 60 degrees.
The S Grind is a medium ground grind with a slight ribbon on the trailing edge, a little toe and heel relief, and a small leading edge chamfer or skid plate, providing added bounce on the leading edge for enhanced turf interaction. As a result, this grind option will likely benefit a wide swath of golfers and is also useful in a wide array of turf conditions. The S Grind is played a lot on the PGA Tour.
- Player and Swing Type: Built for a variety of handicap players who take moderate divots and prefer a square face.
- Condition Type: Soft to Medium to Firm.
- Wedge Bounce: Medium Bounce Wedge at 10 degrees.
- Lofts Available: 48, 50, 52, 54, 56, 58, 60 degrees.
One of the highest bounce wedge options, the x-grind features a narrow width in the sole for versatility when opening up the face or on full shots. The wedge also employs leading edge relief, enhancing turf interaction perfect for medium-to-soft course conditions.
- Player and Swing Type: Steeper angle of attack players who take deeper divots and prefer to play a variety of shot techniques around the greens.
- Condition Type: Medium, Soft.
- Wedge Bounce: High Bounce Wedge at 12 degrees.
- Lofts Available: 58, 60 degrees.
The W Grind is the most forgiving grind with the widest sole option, designed with a tighter front-to-back radius and a leading-edge skid plate meant to reduce digging. It’s ideally built for softer turf conditions and lofts from the gap wedge to the high loft wedges.
- Player and Swing Type: Mid to higher handicap players with steeper angles of attack, taking deep divots and seeking the highest level of forgiveness from their wedges.
- Condition Type: Soft.
- Wedge Bounce: High Bounce Wedge at 12 degrees.
- Lofts Available: 50, 52, 54, 56, 58, 60 degrees.
Final Thoughts: Maximizing Spin and Forgiveness
The S Grind may be the most common Jaws Raw Wedge option played. The W Grind may be the most forgiving of these Callaway wedges. The Z or X Grinds may be what Tour Pros like Xander Schauffele, Rory Mcllroy, or Tiger Woods might play for unique versatility. However, studies on achieving more spin and trajectory control and maximizing players' potential, suggest that the best-fit wedge for the player is paramount for solid contact and greater control at impact from various types of lies on the course.
From the right shaft, grip, the wedge setup (if playing 4 wedges like Jordan Spieth or Justin Thomas), and characteristics of the correct bounce and grinds in the wedges all enable golfers to have that tactical advantage over their short game providing a variety of shots from any location and course condition.
Callaway’s new lineup of wedges delivers players a forgiving wedge with those specific grinds to fit many golfers and provide a seamless transition in playability from their iron set. Premium shapes, a raw face construction, and sharp grooves provide the catalyst for outstanding feel and spin control, for hop and stop shots from any fairway location. This is in part due to Callaway's groove-in-groove technology that ensures groove-edge sharpness for exceptional spin control, tungsten weight ports behind the face to stabilize the center of gravity (cg) for added forgiveness, and a non-plated, raw finish to reduce glare and its surface roughness adds increase friction in damp conditions while also allowing the face to rust over time. So if you are ever sitting in fine fescue links-style grass behind a bunker to a downhill tucked pin on fast greens like the picture above, you will have that ideal wedge and shot in your arsenal to pass that test and every test the green complex puts in your way.
If you don’t have that shot down yet or need the right wedge to pull off the shot pictured in your mind, here on Curated, reach out to me or one of my fellow Golf Experts for free, personalized advice, and we’ll discuss the ideal wedge or wedges to set you up for success.