TESTED: Which golf wedge works best when it’s wet?


Mizuno claim the grooves of of their new ES21 golf wedge perform best in damp conditions, so we put their claims to the test in a head-to-head with Titleist’s Vokey Design SM8 and Cleveland’s RTX Zipcore to find the best performing wedge for the wet conditions we find in winter golf.

The job of wedge and iron grooves is to perform like the tread on a car’s tyre, channelling debris and moisture away to maximise spin and control from rough, sand and in wet conditions.

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Mizuno showcased the new ES21 wedge in July 2020 and insisted that thanks to their Hydroflow micro groove tech (which brilliantly dissipates moisture), they’re the best performing wedges in damp conditions.

Other than how the hollow head creates golf’s first centred centre of gravity wedge, Mizuno’s ES21 claim is that it loses less backspin from 60 and 30 yards, from dry to wet conditions. That’s where golfers need ultimate stopping power, as it’s hard to generate spin and control on short distance shots.

Mizuno’s claim got us thinking: Could there be a best wet weather wedge? To see if the ES21 really delivered, we put it up against market leaders, Cleveland’s RTX ZipCore and Titleist’s Vokey Design SM8. 

RELATED: Tested – Cleveland RTX Zipcore vs Titleist Vokey Design SM8

Meet our Wet Golf Wedge tester

TG Test Pro Neil Wain (below) is a highly-experience PGA Professional based at Keele Golf Centre in Staffordshire. For added consistency we work with Neil on all of our golf club and ball tests.

Neil Wain is the Today's Golfer golf test professional.

How we performed our Wet Golf Wedge test

We used 56° heads with standard sole bounce from each manufacturer.

Neil hit balls to his typical 95-yard SW distance and we towel-dried the clubface and ball thoroughly for each shot hit.

We then used exactly the same clubs for the wet test session, but this time the face and ball were sprayed with water, recreating the conditions we encounter on damp winter days. 

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We pitted Mizuno ES21 against Titleist Vokey SM8 and Cleveland RTX Zipcore wedges.

What our Mizuno ES21 vs Titleist Vokey SM8 vs Cleveland RTX Zipcore wedge test revealed

The Mizuno was by no means the highest spinning wedge for dry shots. And we reckon part of that boils down to the way our pro uses wedges with a centre of gravity slightly towards the heel. By changing that CG position in the ES21 (it’s in the centre), and without our test pro changing his impact location, he got less spin as he wasn’t impacting the centre of gravity.

That’s by the by though; for this test we looked at wet weather performance. And boy does the Mizuno perform when things get damp.

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Compared to the Vokey, which dropped 50.5% backspin, and the ZipCore that shed 37.5%, moisture only shaved 14.6% from the Mizuno’s spin capability.

So while the ES21 gave up 1,146rpm to the highest spinning Cleveland (and 767rpm v the SM8) in the dry, when it’s wet, the Mizuno out-performed the SM8 by 1,415rpm and the Cleveland by 432.

That, of course, means Mizuno are absolutely true to their word.


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