Dry vs. Wet Wedge - What's the difference?

Golf is an outdoor sport where you can never control the weather. Accordingly, it sometimes happens that you play in the rain. Very few players are concerned with the specifics of wet conditions. Obviously, the ball comes to rest better because of the softened and wet ground. But what happens, for example, when you suddenly have to attack the flag with a wet rather than a dry wedge? We wanted to know exactly and compared a 55m wedge shot with a dry and a wet wedge. The wedge is otherwise absolutely identical, of course, as is the ball.

First of all, there are no big surprises with the dry wedge. Our player can control the ball very well and estimate length and direction. He achieves backspin of just under 9500rpm with a launch of 31.6° - the ball lands at a good 45° on the green. These are all very good numbers for a controlled wedge.

Now we make it wet:

And try to play the identical shot. You immediately notice that the wedge launches much higher. The ball no longer spins but rolls out. The wedge is also much more difficult for the player to control. The balls are sometimes relatively long or short. A directional deviation, which was not visible before, is now also noticeable.

Let's take a look at the numbers:

The differences are extreme and were not expected by us in this dimension. The backspin has shrunk by 4000rpm to 5500rpm and the launch has increased by a whole 7° to 38.5°. That's a big difference!

Also, the variance is much higher with the wet wedge and this is true for all numbers. This means that the individual results fluctuate more around the average. In the case of spin alone, 790 vs. 250 standard deviation is already a lot and ultimately means that the player cannot really say how much spin the ball will actually take.

The club data is practically unchanged:

Especially the dynamic loft is not a factor and with the wet wedge even 1° flatter. Our player only had to step on the gas a little more because he felt he needed more length due to the high launch.

Our explanation

We knew in advance that this difference was to be expected, but not that it was so clear-cut. When the clubface is wet, there is simply less friction. The ball glides far up from the bottom of the clubface, but does not pick up any spin along the way. The result is that the launch is correspondingly higher, but the spin remains low. The variance can be explained by the fact that the clubface is not uniformly wet and the ball sometimes takes on more, sometimes less spin.

Our recommendation

In this test, we did not deal with the differences between the individual wedges. Some wedges work better with wet clubfaces than others. For your game, however, you should definitely keep in mind that the spin is drastically reduced and the launch becomes much higher. So you play with "more loft", but only generate half as much spin. The wet wedge only stops well on the green because the landing angle is also quite steep due to the high launch. You also have to live with the fact that control becomes more difficult and uncertain in wet conditions.

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