Few pieces of golf equipment have the stigma that the lowly ‘chipper’ does. Whether it’s the odd look or the outright admission that one’s short game is weak, it seems like it garners more disdain than even the long putter. Still, many people suffer near the greens, and there are products out there designed to help. In this review I’ll be talking about two of them, both very different in looks and performance, but both sharing the common goal of making the short game a little easier.
Herbie’s One-Putt Wedge
The idea for Herbie’s One-Putt Wedge was formed by company owner Herb Hyman as a way to help cure the struggles he personally saw around the green and in the sand. His belief was that he could find success using a wedge with qualities similar to a mallet putter, so he paired with club designer Kit Mungo to bring his thoughts to realization.
There is very little about the One-Putt Wedge that I would consider traditional. In fact, it probably bears more resemblance to a mallet putter than a wedge, which is exactly the way it was designed. The sole of the club is wide, mostly flat, and features an almost triangular shape. The face is quite deep and is roughly the shape of an oval, aside from the straight leading edge. The flange has a small white mark that assists with alignment, while the face has a circular-shaped outline.
Probably the most interesting looking part of the club is what the company calls its “X-Axis Double Bend Shaft”. The shaft looks very much like something we’d see on an offset mallet putter, though it’s sort of hooded since it enters the head behind the very tall face. The purpose of the bend in the shaft is to force the user into a ‘hands forward’ position, which should facilitate a pendulum stroke and a downward strike on the ball. The grip is a standard golf club grip, which is an important thing to mention, since installing a putter grip on the One-Putt Wedge would make it a non-conforming club under USGA rules.
Aesthetically, the One-Putt Wedge is a big departure from the sleek lines of a traditional wedge. It looks a little futuristic in many ways and isn’t something I’d call particularly attractive. At impact, it produces a very unique sound – sort of a high pitched ‘ting’. It’s nothing I’d ever heard come from a golf club before and I can’t say that I liked it much at all. However, beauty and sound don’t always help us get the ball in the hole faster.
The creators of the One-Putt Wedge designed it to be used with what they refer to as a ‘pendulum stroke’. Essentially, this is very similar to what many people would consider a straight-back/straight-through putting stroke. This is a fairly easy technique to master since there is very little movement or hand manipulation involved, and the benefits could be substantial to those that suffer inconsistency with wedges.
At 48° of loft, the One-Putt Wedge seems to be made mostly for chips, but the company claims that it can be used anywhere inside 100 yards. At some point, I do believe that some level of wrist-cock has to occur to reach these longer distances. While the pure pendulum stroke can be utilized closer to the green, as distance increases, I found the need to take what I’d consider my normal pitch-shot swing. It actually worked quite well for me, but I do think it’s important to note for those people hoping to cover 100 yards with only one type of stroke.
Going back to the pendulum motion, the One-Putt Wedge’s design does work well in conjunction with it. The way the double-bend shaft forces the hands forward makes ball-first contact an easy proposition. In addition, the flat sole seems to slide rather than bounce, which means that missing heavy results in somewhat better results than one may see from a normal wedge. I did see some worthy protection against the dreaded skulls and flubs that many fear so much.
The biggest question mark when it comes to specialty wedges or chippers is often centered on how versatile they can be. The most common argument I hear against using them is that they are one-dimensional and take the spot of a club that could be used more effectively in a number of situations. This is something I was especially aware of prior to the One-Putt Wedge review, so I payed close attention during my testing.
I found adequate performance in most facets of the short game while using the One-Putt Wedge. Chip shots were particularly easy to execute and I think many people could benefit there. Pitch shots were also easy to perform in the 30-75 yard range, though I felt the trajectory was often a little lower than I preferred. I was able to stretch out to the 100 yard range, but I felt most comfortable about 25 yards short of that. I successfully produced all of these shots from both fairway lies and medium-length rough.
I was also able to utilize the One-Putt Wedge successfully out of the sand. Again, I felt like the 48° of loft produced a trajectory lower than I preferred, but I was able to get out easily. That should only be an issue in deep bunkers or short sided lies, but it is worth mentioning.
The ability to alter shot height with the One-Putt Wedge was a concern of mine prior to the review, since it only comes in one loft. The company’s solution to this issue is that users should change ball position based on their desired trajectory. For example, they recommend the ball be placed back in the stance for running chip shots. Conversely, they say the ball should be placed forward for lob shots. This is a method I’m aware of, but I tend to limit how often I do it with my standard wedges.
Launch monitor and outdoor testing confirmed that moving the ball forward increased both my launch and spin on pitches, and I could see a visible difference in height on chip shots. Conveniently, the sole seemed to slide into the ball in this position, reducing the chances of hitting the ball heavy or a bounce-and-skull.
In comparison to my standard 49° wedge, the One-Putt Wedge produced less launch angle when hit with equal ball position. Spin remained fairly close, which surprised me, but the trajectory was lower across the board. The amount of spin I was able to generate on ½ and ¾ shots was a big surprise to me, but I did feel like I was hitting the ball too low for my taste when it came to pitch shots.
There are a couple elements to consider in terms of forgiveness when it comes to a club like the One-Putt Wedge.
On one hand, we can look at in the traditional sense – performance on off-center shots. The One-Putt Wedge was built with an oversized face and weighted tungsten rods inserted low in the back of the club. The effect of this is a tendency for the club head to resist moving when it hits a ball off-center. Testing showed me that I was able to hold a line well on miss-hits, so I do believe that most would find ample forgiveness in that regard.
The other element to consider is how the design of the club tempers common misses that we may see. The most obvious of those is the shank. The way the shaft sits behind the club face makes shanking a truly improbable miss with the One-Putt Wedge. I do think that alone could settle the nerves of many golfers around the green. The two other misses that comes to my mind are often the results of a heavy shot – the skull and the flub. The wide, smooth sole of the club did provide good results with this miss in most cases. While it is still possible to dig the club into the ground, most times the One-Putt Wedge slid into the ball without bouncing. The result of this was a shorter than normal shot, but not one that just required one step forward for another try.
The Worx Wedge
The second utility wedge that I reviewed for this article is closer to what I’d consider traditional, though it has many unique qualities as well. The club is called the Worx Wedge and was designed by club maker Byron Butler. It incorporates elements of a wedge along with design characteristics we more commonly find in hybrids.
From Worx Golf
Byron Butler is a master club maker, who over the past thirty years has designed clubs for many of the largest Manufacturer’s in the golf industry.
The functionality of the wedge is a combination of confidence in looks that these clubs give a player at address, along with the results of married innovations for performance.
This confidence is derived from a consistent flowing form. Though these wedges have an aggressive onset, for additional ball loft, the reverse taper hosel creates a flow to and through the leading edge.
Generous leading edge and top profile radius contribute to their easy looks.
Being a hollow body, allows for superior weight distribution advantages, for more forgiving playability.
At the sole of these wedges, is a tri-design profile. As the bounce angle is conventional, with the addition of a fairway type sole and a flat relief center pathway. This allows for correctional control.
…these are true Hybrids.
The Worx Wedge is available in two lofts – either 51° or 55°
As has been mentioned, the Worx Wedge possesses many attributes that remind me of a hybrid. The sole of the club has a rounded appearance, though closer inspection reveals the subtle grinds that give it the ‘tri-design’ profile. A picture would probably explain this best.
The face is onset, meaning that the leading edge sits ahead of the hosel. This sort of goes against what many consider a conventional game improvement quality, but it’s designed to provide additional loft. The head has a noticeable egg-shape at address, though it’s far less awkward looking than the One-Putt Wedge. In hand, the Worx Wedge feels quite similar to something more traditional – it certainly isn’t noticeably heavier or lighter than a normal wedge.
For this review, I tested the 55° Worx Wedge. As I did with the One-Putt Wedge, testing consisted of gathering launch monitor data on a mat and outdoor testing.
I’m only adding information on technique since I spoke so much about it in the first part of the article. Simply stated, the Worx Wedge is meant to be used in the same fashion as any other wedge. There are features that should make it more forgiving for poor technique, but the basic fundamentals are essentially the same.
Through both channels of testing, I saw a higher trajectory with the Worx Wedge. At 55° of loft, I’d expect that, so I wasn’t surprised in any way. This trajectory certainly made it an attractive option for soft pitches, chips that required more carry, and sand shots.
I was able to lower trajectory via ball position or an abbreviated finish, but in most cases, this club wants to get the ball up in a hurry. I do think this quality could be especially handy for people that fear deep bunkers.
It seems like the Worx Wedge picked up where the One-Putt Wedge dropped off. I found that it excelled in certain areas that I really appreciated.
I was able to use it from both the rough and the fairway with good success, though it seemed to falter a bit on hardpan-like lies. Chip shots were easy to execute, though it was a little difficult to keep the ball low for a running shot. Keep in mind that there is a 51° option available as well. Pitches were extremely simple from almost anywhere on the course, with a trajectory suited for a soft landing that many should find desirable.
It seems like the Worx Wedge was designed with bunker play in mind, and it certainly did not disappoint me there. Using my traditional set up, I found great success out of bunkers while using it. The trajectory was high enough that I believe I’d be able to use it for most reasonable bunker shots I’m typically faced with. The sole really seemed to glide through the sand and into the ball nicely. I do want to temper those statements by saying that I think a decent amount of technique is still needed for this shot. It behaved very much like a traditional wedge for me out of the sand, with some added relief due to the tri-design sole.
Speaking of the sand, it brings up another element of versatility – manipulating the face into an open position. The design of the Worx Wedge makes opening the face virtually impossible, so the stated loft (55° in my case) is what you’re going to be working with. In testing, I found that to be sufficient for my needs, but it is worth mentioning that you lose that option with a wedge like this.
Like the One-Putt Wedge, the design of the Worx Wedge makes it a very forgiving club in a couple ways.
The hollow construction of the head distributes weight around the perimeter enough that off-center shots retain some ball speed and their intended flight path. The lower portion of the face was surprisingly forgiving. Making contact there on pitch shots provided acceptable height and distance. I should note that I’m not talking about bladed shots here, but rather those shots that miss a few grooves low.
The sole design of the Worx Wedge is particularly forgiving out of the sand, though it performed nicely from both the fairway and rough. A good example of this came in the form of heavy contact on a 50 yard pitch shot. The sole slid nicely into the ball and I wasn’t punished too severely. With this miss, I saw a higher ball with less distance, but not a completely terrible result that may have occurred if the sole had dug into the ground.
This was certainly an interesting review for me. It required me to really shed bias and focus on results – not always an easy thing to do in the sometimes extremely judgmental game of golf. While I am far from an expert with a wedge in my hands, I do feel confidence in my short game and have never really considered using a club like the One-Putt or Worx Wedge. After reviewing both thoroughly, I don’t know if that’s going to change, but I will admit to being surprised at how much value I found in both clubs. Depending on one’s needs, they could really help build confidence and mask some very common mistakes.
On their own, I think both leave a little to be desired as the sole wedge in a person’s bag. I say this for a couple of reasons. I like being able to hit a variety of trajectories with my wedges, including soft lobs, and I couldn’t do that with the One-Putt Wedge. I also need a club that can negotiate hard-pan lies a little better than the Worx Wedge did for me. However, I think a combination of the two clubs could give a person that struggles around the green two versatile options that cover almost any shot imaginable. Both clubs go far beyond the hypothetical constraints that are often imposed on utility wedges and chippers.
Herbie’s One-Putt Wedge sells for $139.00 with a headcover on the company’s website, www.oneputtwedge.com. There is also a great deal of information about the club and the pendulum stroke that might be interesting to you. The Worx Wedge is available in two lofts and both retail for $119.00. Information and ordering instructions can be found at www.worxgolfusa.com.