Gear Test: Boccieri Golf’s Heavy Wedge

Like the Heavy Putter before it, Boccieri Golf’s new Control Series Heavy Wedge iron is golf’s steel-shafted equivalent of a double-edged sword.

Satin shots: the Heavy Wedge in all its satin-finish glory. This one comes with 56 degrees of loft and 11 degrees of bounce.

It’s a weighted but well-balanced club that’s designed to help significantly in cases where a golfer catches the ball fat out of the bunker, or struggles in the search for consistent contact around the greens. And like any club with the potential to dramatically influence a player’s sense of feel, it’s an all-or-nothing proposition.

Boccieri’s world of the Heavies is not one to be entered into lightly.The Heavy Wedge is arguably a more serious proposition than its famous putter predecessors — it’s a heavier club that’s used for a number of different swings (everything from a chipping stroke to a full-on swing from the fairway) that are all significantly more complex than the putting stroke.

Of course, if you’re like me, your short game is a train wreck that ruins excellent fairway percentages, negates a strong game off the tee and results in dismal scramble stats — meaning that, if it’s effective, any dramatic feel changes that might come from using a weighted club would be well worth the strokes it’s liable to save.

So, consider this the start of a summer-long exercise in evaluating the Heavy Wedge’s ability to perform miracles for an unreformed short-game sad sack.

First, a bit of the science.

As in the case of its flat-stick friends, the bulk of the additional 65 grams of weight in the Heavy Wedge is not in the clubhead but in the grip, near the butt end of the club. The idea is to help players groove a smoother motion through the ball, with fewer of the fast-twitch hijinks at impact that result in inconsistent distance control, poor contact and red-faced, 10-pace walks to hit your next shot.

The clubhead itself has a mass that Boccieri says is only “slightly heavier” than a conventional wedge, resulting in a balance point that’s 40 per cent higher on the shaft. The result, the company says, is better distance control, an improved swing path, tighter shot dispersion, acceleration through impact, smoother tempo and unparalleled feel.

Indeed, the whole thing doesn’t feel all that dramatically different from a conventional wedge — until you hit a ball with it.

“The Heavy Wedge is the natural evolution of our brand and establishes Boccieri Golf as more than just a putter company,” says president and chief executive Stephen Boccieri.

“Sharing the same counterweighting technology that propelled the Heavy Putter to the forefront of the golf equipment world, this new line helps players of all skill levels improve performance and lower scores.”

The Heavy Wedge comes in a gap model, too

Aesthetically, the Heavy Wedge is a good-looking club, with a low-glare satin finish, a traditional shape and a CNC-milled face with high-spin grooves (so get ‘em while they last, since manufacturers have to stop making the square grooves after this year). The 56-degree model comes with 11 degrees of bounce, the 52-degree with eight degrees of bounce. The lob wedge is available with either a low or a higher-bounce configuration (four and seven degrees, respectively), and all but the four-degree lob wedge are available left-handed. The shafts are FST Hi-REV.

You can imagine what sort of problems might result from a short-iron club that had all of its excess weight in the head. It would wreak havoc on the flex of an already softish shaft, not to mention the typical player’s finicky short-game tempo and always-fragile confidence. Which is why the weight is concentrated in the grip end: it offers a tremendous opportunity to school a better weight shift and swing speed while employing the big muscles of the body and keeping the hands quiet.

... And two lob wedges, one with seven degrees of bounce, one with four

The club compels a player to engage the legs and torso muscles, rather than exclusively the hands and arms. It’s hard to get flippy or wristy at the ball with the Heavy Wedge, but not impossible.

The HW seems to produce a dramatically higher ball flight, with a trajectory that looks more like that of a full-swing lob wedge than a conventional 56-degree club — the result, presumably, of the heavier grip end, which allows the clubhead to pass the hands earlier in the swing, resulting in more loft at impact. The ball also travels off the face with authority, even if the trajectory is less than penetrating. It felt to me as if the Heavy produced as much as 10 yards more distance than my standard-issue sand wedge.

Like the Heavy Putter, the bottom line with the Heavy Wedge is this: if you struggle to save shots with the short game, explore the Boccieri option to determine whether it’s a club to which you’re prepared to make a long-term commitment. Because it’s such a dramatically different-feeling club than a more conventional wedge, switching back and forth is sure to do more damage than good. Don’t go into it half-heartedly.

Watch this space all summer for a blow-by-blow account of how the Heavy Wedge fares in the Gear Head’s bag.

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James McCarten

When James McCarten isn't at the Ottawa offices of The Canadian Press, where he works as parliamentary news editor, he's either on the golf course or putting off his latest freelance golf-writing gig to spend time with wife Lisa and school-age kids Claire and Lucas. With 20 years of experience in Canadian journalism, James also suffers from a financially crippling addiction to all things Scotty Cameron.