What’s in the bag, or WITB for us golf geeks, is a staple of every Monday morning press release. This is where everyone oohs and ahhs at what clubs the winning pro used to win the latest PGA event. Sure, I am interested in what driver and irons were involved in the victory, but it’s the wedges and putters that I primarily focus on because, right or wrong, I can still hold out hope that my short game can become world class with the right tool of the trade (don’t go bursting my bubble).
You see, in my head I’ve always had an idea of what these exotic clubs were all about and imagined that if I could get my hands on them my game would magically improve. Earlier this year, I got my first chance to put this notion to the test when I reviewed the Giannini G6 putter, and while I am still seeking my Tour card, I firmly believe there is absolutely a clear difference between mass-produced and boutique clubs. For one, the simple act of opening the box provokes feelings akin to paging through a Playboy for the first time, those articles… they’re amazing!
The clubs we received from Vega were the VW-02 in the Raw finish with a 56° loft and the VW-08 in the Satin finish with a loft of 52°. I’m gapped at 4° starting at 52° so the wedges fit perfectly into my current setup.
Delivery Day: They say good things come in small packages, but when I saw the box from Vega was no bigger than a loaf of bread, I was perplexed. Were they foldable clubs or a miniature version of the real thing? As it turns out, neither. Vega had sent me just the club heads. ARGG! Rather than heading straight to the range I was now going to have to wait a couple more days since they would need to be shafted.
As it turns out the way the Vega’s were shipped was a blessing in disguise. Since I needed to get the shafts and grips installed at my local golf shop I was able to match them to my most recent club fitting. During that fitting a big change was made to my equipment. I went from a stiff, lightweight shaft to a regular flex one that is heavier compared to what I’ve used in the past. Being able to get the Vega wedges setup with the same configuration as my other irons has been a huge benefit – that’s obvious, right?
Since I was going to have to wait a few days before I hit the wedges, I tried to temper my anticipation by doing some further research. What I realized was that Vega offers a proverbial boatload of options.
First off, the Vega Wedges come in three different finishes; Satin, Brushed and Raw. The Satin finish is a stunning look for any club but with the elegant design it is outstanding on the Vegas. If you’re not a fan of the clean, smooth look the Satin produces, the Brushed finish is an excellent variation with a more aggressive tone, while the Raw finish is without a doubt the club you don’t take home to mother. The dark appearance just screams “Don’t mess with me!” and is easily my favorite variation. Additionally, the Raw and the Brushed finishes are not plated and will rust over time, similar to the old Cleveland and Callaway wedges.
Beyond the three choices in finishes, Vega also offers five different sole grinds so you can get the exact type of grind you are looking for to fit your game. Here’s a breakdown of their unique grinds:
The VW-02 wedge comes with the Angular Tri Grind which features three very distinct grind areas with toe and heel relief. Vega states this is an aggressive wedge to play. For me, this means I feel comfortable using it in even the most difficult lies.
The VW-04 wedge comes with the Three Port Grind which offers cutbacks on the heel and toe areas of the club, enabling this wedge to cut through the rough.
The VW-06 wedge adds a little extra grind to the heel which allows the club to be laid wide open while still maintaining the low bounce.
The VW-08 is your classic wedge in looks but Vega uses a versatile sole grind making it a very playable club from all types of lies. Being more traditional in looks and in feel, this has been my go to wedge around the green and within 90 yards.
Lastly the VW-10 is another traditional looking wedge with one unique element that makes it one of the most resourceful wedges there is. The leading edge of the club is curved and when added to the Vega grind, which is similar to the VW-08, the VW-10 is excellent for tight lies.
Throw into the mix loft variations of 50°, 52°, 54°, 56°, 58° & 60° and you can see the possibilities are near endless. Five grinds, three finishes and six lofts (on a few clubs there’s also a 48° option) equals 90 different wedges available and I didn’t even mention the clubs offered for lefties. Yes, Vega was nice enough to take care of those folks from the other side of the stance too!
Gorgeous, stunning, splendid, marvelous are all great words to describe the craftsmanship of the Vega wedges. The grinds are so clean they appear more like works of art than tools to attack flags!
Unfortunately in golf, beauty will only get you so far (unlike in real life) and it certainly won’t help you stuff it close to that back right, tucked pin. The clubs have to perform, and from the first time I struck a range ball before my first outing with the Vegas I was sold.
On course testing: When I finally got my mitts on the shafted clubs, I quickly headed to the course to see if the performance could live up to my lofty expectations. So jacked to hit these guys, I didn’t even care about my tee shot, I just wanted to get about 100 yards out so I could put one of the clubs in play on the first hole.
Almost immediately I fell madly in love with the 52° VW-08. For me a 52° wedge is my go to club anywhere from 100 to 75 yards out, but I also use it for chipping and short bump and runs around the green.
The 56° VW-02 I use for short chipshots and as my sand wedge for greenside bunkers, if they’re not too far away of course. With the special Tri Grind there hasn’t been a lie I’ve found where I can’t get the club to lay wide open, which has helped me get out of some tricky spots and also some nasty bunkers.
As a reference point, it may help to know that I’ve had my current set of wedges for over two years and I never imagined I’d find another set of wedges I like well enough to make a change. Well, it looks like my old wedges feel a lot like the broom and dustpan from the Swifter commercials. Sorry old friends, you have been relocated to the “extra club” bag.
As you can imagine, the Vega wedges are a bit more expensive than your average club so it is worth considering whether they are right for you game. While I have been extremely impressed with the clubs, I thought it would be valuable to get some insight from a real Pro who also plays the Vega wedges.
Interview with Sam Goulden:
Bio: Sam is the founder of TourQuest, accomplished player, respected instructor and author of Square to Square. As an active member of team #TourQuest, Sam is traveling all across the country vying for spots in some of the PGA events by playing in the Tour Qualifiers. Everyone, including Sam, knows the importance of solid wedge game and Sam trusts Vega to deliver for him when he needs it most.
I first want to say thanks to Sam for taking some time out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions about the Vega wedges for us and, by doing so, adding some valuable insight to this review.
TGG: How long have you been playing with the Vega wedges?
SG: I was fitted in early May and have been using them since then.
TGG: Which Vega wedges are you currently playing?
SG: I play the VW-06 in 50°, 55°, and 60°. All satin finish and no paint fill.
TGG: Was there anything specific about the Vega wedges that helped you make the switch? Did the different grinds Vega offers have anything to do with it?
SG: The main reason I switched was for the look and feel. The Performance turned out to be way more than I expected. It was hard to get used to at first. I hit each wedge around 6 yards longer than my previous set with the same lofts. I think the main reason for this is that I got a really good bounce fit for my swing.
TGG: Do you feel the Vega wedges are made only for the high caliber players like yourself or can the mid to high handicapper benefit from the technology used in them?
SG: I’ve suggested Vega for a ton of players. Because of the variability in grinds, lofts and finishes there is definitely a wedge out there for every type of player.
TGG: Since adding the Vega wedges to your bag have you seen any notable improvements to your wedge game? Anything you’d care to discuss?
SG: The main difference in my wedge game has been the feel of the hit and the distance increase. The hit feels really solid. Not soft, not hard. Like hitting a tiny nail with a heavy mallet hammer. They are not heavier than other wedges; they just deliver a really solid blow.
TGG: Thanks for your time and good luck to you and the TourQuest team.
Sam also wanted to point out that beyond making amazing wedges Vega has been outstanding as a sponsor for team #TourQuest. He feels they are super committed to making sure the correct wedges are in their players’ hands and Vega is continually checking to make sure all the guys are happy with everything and offering to help any way they can.
You can check out all of the Vega wedges and options on the Vega website.