Wilson may not be the first brand that you think of when it comes to wedges, but they have consistently been producing very strong-performing models for years, notably the PMP that found its way into many of the Wilson tour staffer's bags, at a lower price point than most of the major players.
So when I saw the new Wilson Staff Model wedges, created with a very similar design to the Staff Model Blade irons which US Open champion Gary Woodland has in the bag, I was excited to get my hands on one.
What's It All About?
Wilson says that the Staff Model wedges have been designed in conjunction with their Tour players, including major champions Padraig Harrington and Gary Woodland, in order to create a sleek, better-players look and softer feel around the green.
This feel is produced via a soft-forged 8620 Carbon Steel construction, while machine-engraved score lines in the precision-milled face are said to have a higher density pattern, which provides more consistent contact with the ball and generates better spin and control.
These new Wilson Staff Model and Staff Model Hi-Toe wedges deliver a clean design and precision milled clubfaces to give golfers a boost in confidence in their short game.
Designed with the feedback from our Wilson Staff PGA Tour players, including US Open Champion Gary Woodland and Ryder Cup Captain Padraig Harrington, both wedges look very different, but provide golfers the same control and greater consistency, while offering different shot-making capabilities.
Jon Pergande, Global Manager of Innovation
I received the Staff Model Wedge in 56 degrees, with 14 degrees of bounce which is the only option for this loft. I took it out on the course at Bramall Park Golf Club to give it a full working over during 18 holes of golf.
With some pretty wet, cold conditions it was the perfect opportunity to test the wedge's turf interaction and versatility on a variety of different lies, ranging from full shots to the fairway to bunker shots around the green.
Wilson Staff Model Wedge Review
I'm a fan of plain, simple design when it comes to irons and wedges and so this was right up my street. The brushed chrome finish provided a really premium feel, whilst also reducing glare, and I loved the minimal design of the font and logo on the back of the head.
I can safely say that this is one of the best-looking wedges I have seen in recent years, although I suppose that shouldn't come as a great surprise because we loved the look of the Staff Model Irons and Utility Iron too.
The Staff Model looked great at address, with a sleek, classical shape and thin topline which really made you feel like you could work your shots and be creative around the greens with the scoring clubs.
I don't like the really rounded head shapes so I was pleased to see the traditional look of the head - although there is also a Hi-Toe model for those golfers looking for an extended toe section for more forgiveness.
I spent some time on the practice area hitting full shots and found that the feel was good, but perhaps not quite as buttery-soft as I expected, particularly considering the fact that the wedge has 'FORGED' stamped in large letters on the sole.
It produced a nice 'dead' sound at impact - perhaps influenced by the input of Wilson's tour staff - which also then translated into the overall feel. The overall feeling that I got whilst hitting the wedge was that it was all quite muted, which paired well with its understated looks.
The club itself actually felt quite heavy during the swing, which I liked as it made it a little easier to swing smoothly, and although the ball popped up into the air easily I did not feel like it was ballooning.
Overall the performance of the Staff Model wedge was good, and I was impressed by the consistency of both shorter shots and fuller swings. So much of scoring well with wedges depends upon being able to trust the yardages, so this was reassuring.
However I do have to admit that I was expecting to see a little more spin considering these were brand new grooves, landing into soft, receptive greens.
Even when hitting out of a wet bunker and getting one of those ‘nippy’ strikes, it didn’t really zip to a stop in the way that I was expecting.
In comparison to the likes of the Callaway Mack Daddy 5 and TaylorMade Milled Grind 2 Wedges, the spin just wasn't as aggressive as I thought I would see.
There are relatively few loft options available in left-handed (52, 56 and 60 degrees) and only one ‘standard grind’ for both left and right-handed golfers, so if you are quite particular about your own wedge requirements then it may be worth doing a little research beforehand, but I actually found it was a really versatile all-rounder.
The 14 degrees of bounce performed nicely from the fairways, was really easy to use out of bunkers, and also seemed easy to manipulate around the greens from a variety of different lies.
If you play in very firm conditions or prefer low bounce on your wedges, then it may not be exactly your cup of tea but for the majority of golfers the Staff Model should provide an option which is adept all over the course.
Wilson Staff Model Wedge Verdict
To sum up then, the Wilson Staff Model Wedge looks fantastic and provides solid, consistent performance. It's easy enough to hit whilst also feeling compact and workable, allowing for plenty of versatility around the greens thanks to high bounce and loft options.
It would have been nice to see a couple more options - both in terms of bounce and loft - to cater to those golfers who play in different course conditions, and I also expected a slightly better response from the shorter shots around the green, considering they were fresh grooves.
However there is still plenty to like about this wedge. It looks great and performs very consistently, whilst also providing a little more forgiveness than you'd expect from a compact shape. It's at an excellent price point too, as much as £50 cheaper than other brand's wedge models.
Wilson often seems to get overlooked when golfers look for new irons or wedges, but I would definitely add the Staff Model to your shortlist.