More Then Just A Putter Company
Like many golfers, my introduction to Boccieri Golf (Heavy Putter) occurred several years ago when the company released their original lineup of Heavy Putters. I remember testing those early putters, and although I loved the feel, and the perceived accuracy, the looks, well…they left a little to be desired (I think I may have called it FrankenPutter). Thankfully, the Heavy Putter has come a long way since those first couple of years. The lineup now includes medium and what I’d guess you’d call ‘normal’ or not-so-heavy weighted putters. The days of looking like Frankenstein’s monster are largely over as well (though the original designs are still available) as the heavy putter in now available in a variety of styles and finishes, many of which I’d be more than satisfied to have in my bag.
Today, Boccieri is becoming much more than just a putter company. Bolstered by the success of those putters and using their heavy technology as the foundation, they up and developed the Heavy Wedge to bring the same principles behind their putters to the rest of the short game.
The reported benefits of the the Heavy Wedge are solid enough, I suppose. The abbreviated version goes something like this – The extra weight of the Heavy Wedge promotes a better plane on takeaway, more or less forces you to set your hands more quickly, and creates a smoother transition. On the downswing, that weight allows one to hold the angle of retention longer, square the face at impact, create full extension, and finally, finish in a balanced position. That’s Boccieri’s story anyway.
Not Just A Gimmick – The HeavyWedge Is For Real
Before we get to the review, I think it’s only fair that I lay my preconceived notions about the Heavy Wedge out on the table. When it comes to golf clubs, I’m very much a traditionalist. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got no problems with 460cc drivers, or Super Game-Improvement irons. I don’t long for the days where everyone played with hickory shafts and bagged a mashie, but when when I get to thinking you’re making a club that doesn’t need making, I can get a little bit ornery. Maybe it’s ignorance, maybe I’m just bullheaded, but going into this review, I had more or less decided that the Heavy Wedge belonged in the same category with other clubs I consider suspect (Cleveland Niblick, and Odyssey’s X-Act Putting wedge as examples). I think they’re gimmicky, and largely unnecessary. They’re not golf clubs, they’re crutches – crutches that just happen to have a number stamped on the sole – and they’ve got no business in any respectable golfer’s bag.
Of course, thinking like that is exactly why we test.
Heavy Wedge Technical Specifications
- Available Lofts: 52°, 56°, 60° (04), 60° (07)
- Length: 35 ¼”
- Conforming: No
- Metallurgy: 8620 Carbon Steel
What We Tested, and How We Tested It
Boccieri sent us a Heavy Wedge for testing. Our sample has the following specifications:
- Loft: 56°
- Shaft: FST Hi REV
- Flex: Wedge
- Lie: 64°
- Grip: Golf Pride Heavy Wedge Custom
- Back Weighting:65 grams
As usual, the majority of our testing was conducted on PGA TOUR Simulators, powered by 3Trak, from aboutGolf. Testing took place at Tark’s Indoor Golf Club; a state-of-the-art golf training, club fitting and repair facility located in Saratoga Springs, NY. In addition to accuracy and data, the aboutGolf simulators provide us with the spin rate, launch angle, and apex for each and every shot. This data is invaluable when evaluating, and of course, purchasing a new wedge.
* To determine the performance rating for the Heavy Wedge, we hit a series of shots with a full swing as well as to pins at 40 yards and 15 yards to get the best overall view of how this wedge will perform in on course conditions.
(TESTED) The Full Shot
On full shots, the Heavy Wedge is a superstar, perhaps the most accurate I’ve ever hit. While I’m generally hesitant to buy into any manufacturer’s marketing hype, there does appear to be something about this wedge that helps one hit the ball straighter. Our testers, despite varying distances, all found themselves more tightly pinned to the center line than they’re more generally accustomed to.
I think most of us would be more than satisfied if we could consistently hit 100% of shots from full sand wedge distance to inside of 25 feet, especially if 60% of those were inside of 10. When the situation calls for a full swing, I’d love to have the Heavy Wedge in at my disposal.
“While I’m generally hesitant to buy into any manufacturer’s marketing hype, there does appear to be something about this wedge that helps one hit the ball straighter.”
(Target area illustrates a 30 foot radius from the hole)
Though we don’t track distance in absolutes when we do our wedge testing, I promised I’d point it out when I hit one wedge noticeably longer or shorter then another. Normally the most I expect to get out of a sand wedge is 90 yards. With the Heavy Wedge, my well struck shots were consistently in the 100 yard range. Other testers saw similar, although not quite as substantial, distance increases. Perhaps most impressively, performance is reasonably consistent across the face, with distance loss on off-center hits being measurably less than with some other wedges we’ve tested.
One other note from our performance testing that’s probably worth mentioning; the Heavy Wedge absolutely chews the cover off a golf ball. Given the spin rates we saw, this wasn’t a huge surprise necessarily, but we did spend quite a bit of time cleaning bits of golf ball out of the grooves and off the face itself.
Full Shot Accuracy Grade: B+
(TESTED) The 40-Yard Shot
At 40 yards, our testers had somewhat of a difficult time zeroing in on the target. Again, testers struggled to get a feel for the wedge on what for many is a half-swing. Although a couple of our test shots missed by only inches consistently putting the ball where we wanted to proved challenging. It’s worth pointing out that a couple of the left-most shots resulted from landing the ball on the wrong side of the break. A couple of feet shorter, and they would have trickled closer to the center line, but again, distance control was a struggle.
(Target area illustrates a 10 foot radius from the hole)
40 Yard Accuracy Grade: B
(TESTED) The 15-Yard Shot
At 15 yards my testers and I again struggled to get a feel for the Heavy Wedge. As you can see from the graphic below, the Heavy Wedge proved easy enough to hit in a straight line, but dialing in distance, even at 15 yards, proved to be difficult.
As most of you might expect, our early efforts tended to be long as we adjusted to the extra pop that comes from the extra weight. Subsequent efforts (where we tried to dial it down a bit) were often well short of the target. As more than one tester pointed out, if you played with this wedge every day, you’d probably adjust, but during our tests, none of us really did.
(Target area illustrates a 10 foot radius from the hole)
15 Yard Accuracy Grade: B-
The Heavy Wedge Test Chart:
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I put the Heavy Wedge in my bag for a few rounds to get a better feel for how the club performs in the real world. For the most part, results were in line with what we saw on our simulators. On a full swing the heavy wedge is deadly accurate. I was also was finally able to develop a feel for those little chips from 20 yards or less that were problematic initially. Despite having several opportunities, I never did get a feel for those those 40-60 yard shots that require a little bit of finesse and a whole lot of feel. I was well long with my first attempt, well short with my second, and back and forth it went. I still think I’d sort it out in time, but I’m certain I’d leave a few strokes on the course while that adjustment is taking place.
Where the Heavy Wedge falters most, at least for me, is in its almost lack of versatility. The entire Heavy lineup lacks any sort of sole relief (whether it’s a C-Grind or something similar, trailing edge relief, or even heel relief). It’s pretty much a no-frills wedge, which is just fine, I suppose, but when compared to other offerings industry-wide, the Heavy Wedge comes up a little short. If you play your wedges straight up, and don’t manipulate the face at all, the Heavy Wedge is great. Golfers who play a variety of shots from around the green will likely want more.
I can’t say I was any more or less accurate out of the sand with the Heavy Wedge, but my consistency is definitely better. What I like is that the extra weight more or less helps the club swing itself, which makes it very easy to get the ball out of the sand, without having to take a vicious hack at it.
Overall Performance Score: 87.00
Purely on physical appearance, there’s next to nothing outside of the ordinary about the Heavy Wedge. As mentioned above, there’s no C (or any other) grind, no leading, or trailing edge relief, and nothing taken off the heel either. The non-glare satin finish is no different than you’d find on many other wedges, and while I like the familiar Boccieri green paint fill, our testers were pretty much in agreement that the Heavy Wedge is a good looking golf, but not drop dead gorgeous club.
Looks Grade: B
Feel is a tough one to quantify with the Heavy Wedge. As far as how it feels at impact goes, the 8620 gives the cast Heavy Wedge a nearly forged feel. It’s worth mentioning that although you can tell mis-hits from your better efforts, as with distance, feel is reasonably consistent across the face, which means off center hits don’t feel the least bit harsh.
Overall, our testers think the Heavy Wedge feels as good or better than most of the clubs on the market today. We agree.
Feel Grade: B+
With a street price of $110 the Heavy Wedge is appropriately priced. It’s not the bargain many of us wish it is (not much is), but there’s no doubt you could spend a lot more and get a lot less.
Value Grade: B
Overall Subjective Score: (34 out of 40)
I can’t recall ever being more surprised by a SpecCheck result than I was with the Heavy Wedge. My assumption going into this review was that the weight of the Heavy Wedge was all in the head. As it turns out, the heft actually is the result of 65 grams of counterweight placed in the shaft. While it’s not uncommon for wedges to measure in the high D range of the swing weight scale, the Heavy Wedge tested out at B9. You won’t find a better example of how swing weight doesn’t always reflect head weight.
When measured flex on our DigiFlex (butt clamped 5″). The TrueTemper Dynamic Golf shaft registered 350 CPMs at 35¼ inches, which places it inside the X-stiff range.
While the numbers speak for themselves, it has been a bit of a struggle conveying the meaning behind them as far as the Heavy Wedge is concerned. For me, the versatility (or lack thereof) is a major downer. That aside, however, I’ve become a big fan of the Heavy Wedge in a relatively short period of time. I’m pleasantly surprised, and now freely admit, that the Heavy Wedge is a legitimate golf club, not a hacker’s crutch. Of course, I’d be remiss if I failed to mention that the Heavy Wedge would likely offer significant benefit to anyone struggling with the occasional bout of deceleration around the green or in the rough. It practically swings itself (in a very non-crutch-like way). Our testing suggests that the Heavy Wedge, which on full shots showed the tightest average dispersion pattern for a wedge to date, would also benefit any golfer looking to hit his wedges consistently straighter – and who doesn’t.
As much as I love the full shot performance from the first time I hit it, and as much as I’m growing to love it on short little chips, the partial swing shots still present a problem for me, which combined with our versatility concerns, are why the 56° Heavy Wedge hasn’t made it into my bag. If Boccieri had sent us a 52° along with the 56°, it would probably replace my Vokey as my gamer. Although I do use it frequently around the green, and occasionally out of bunkers, I tend to play the face of my gap wedge exactly where the manufacturer put it, which in my case, makes the Heavy Wedge perfect for the task.
If and when Boccieri offers the Heavy Wedge with a little bit of sole relief, or even a lower bounce offering in the sand wedge I’d certainly take a 2nd look.
Total Score: 84.64