BOBBY JONES Wedge by Jesse Ortiz and Dave Pelz
Teachers’ Comments: Precision instruments. Very versatile.
As deadly as they are beautiful, the Bobby Jones wedges are like fine obsidian blades ready to carve the heart out of traps and greens.
Designed by Jesse Ortiz in conjunction with short game guru Dave Pelz, the Bobby Jones wedges have the classic look that better players demand. The topline is thin; the face pear shaped; the finish satin. The striking area is framed nicely and there’s an attractive copper medallion on the back.
Here’s what their website has to say about the construction and materials:
The aerospace steel alloy Carpenter 440XH face material – a remarkably wear-resistant metal alloy (often used in industrial bearing assemblies and critical valve components) – will maintain both face friction and groove integrity far longer than conventional wedges, thus providing consistently high backspin longevity. With new USGA regulations on the horizon, wedge durability will be more important than ever for maintaining shot trajectory and control. The Carpenter 440XH material is milled to a USGA-conforming texture of 180 micro-inches, creating a face texture and edge-groove radius perfect for consistent shot making.
Many golfers do not realize that backspin longevity is so fleeting that tour professionals replace their wedges often throughout the golf season to keep ball control and shot performance at the highest possible level.
“These enduring wedges will help golfers hit better scoring game shots, control their wedge distances to tighter tolerances, and consistently shoot lower scores,” said Pelz.
Using a proprietary design technique, Bobby Jones – Pelz Wedges provide the perfect combination of soft-feeling shots and extremely low face wear to produce a superior-performing wedge, season after season. By applying heat and pressure to a special structural bonding membrane, Ortiz facilitates the release of an epoxy resin, which – upon cooling – creates a bond between the club’s stainless body and face material that is stronger than welding. Upon curing, the membrane returns to its slightly spongy state, thus creating a soft forged-like feel to each shot.
And about the design:
The club’s body is cast from a soft 302 stainless steel. A pocket and deep set channels are milled to accommodate the club’s wear-resistant Carpenter 440XH face material. The channels behind the clubface-insert remove substantial weight from the central section of the body, allowing additional weight to be repositioned to the sole for a low center-of-gravity.
I’d know about all that, but I do know that I no longer fear sand traps. Unlike the one that came with my game-improvement TaylorMade XD set, I can fully open the Bobby Jones wedge, creating trajectories that extend to the absolutely vertical. That has allowed me to greatly expand my repitoire in traps and around the green.
Now, for fun while waiting between holes, I’ll sometimes pop a ball straight into the air, catching it without moving my feet. It’s not as good as bouncing a ball repeatedly off a clubface, but it still impresses the natives.
Play out of the sand has improved dramatically. While I could always get onto the green with my XD wedge, distance and direction often were random. With just a very little practice with the Jones/Ortiz/Pelz, I’ve been able to put the ball consistently in one-putt range.
Stalled behind a series of slow groups, and with no one behind me, I recently tossed a dozen balls into different corners of a steep greenside bunker. All but one stopped within six feet of the hole. The one that didn’t actually hit the hole and richoched off in a Sergio-like fashion.
The downside for me is that from the fairway, I don’t hit the Bobby Jones as consistently well, or as far as my XD wedge. The Jones is ten yards shorter, and correspondingly higher. I’m also hitting it fat, cutting long strips of turf along with the ball.
Included in the review package was a gap wedge. It’s just as versatile around the green as the sand, and I have had great success with it at short range from tight lies. But again, I have not been able to hit it as well from the fairways.
Ten years or so ago, the wedges in my bag were Clevelands. In recent years, however, I abandoned them for the ones that came with my XD set. I didn’t hit the Clevelands significantly better around the greens and was sure that I played the XDs better from further out. I also would often skull the Clevelands at the most inopportune times (is there ever a good time to skull a wedge?). I never hit the XDs thin.
The Jones wedges have caused me to reevaluate my bag. I’ve become convinced that the gains I experience from the traps and around the greens outweigh the loss from the fairway.
There’s also the distinct possibility that I’ll become longer and more consistent the more I play them.