SmithWorks Extreme Range 3.0 and Elite 3.0 Wedges Review

Ever since I took up golf, there is one shot that I have been enamored with, the wedge shot that just sticks like Velcro. There is no denying that at times I have chased it, and I don’t think I am alone in that camp. Admittedly, as I have improved and learned more about wedges, I don’t seek it out as much because it now becomes too much at times. However, that certainly doesn’t take away from just how fun it is to see.  Introducing SmithWorks Extreme Range 3.0 and Elite 3.0 wedges.

SmithWorks Extreme Range 3.0 and Elite 3.0 Wedges Review

SmithWorks golf is a brand that wants to put the fun and function back into the short game, and are willing to create both conforming, and non-conforming, wedges to do just that. THP was sent both the 54-degree and 56-degree wedges in both orientations to put to the test. How did it turn out? Read on to see. 

SmithWorks Extreme Range Finish options

Quick Take

There is certainly a lot going on visually with the SmithWorks Extreme Range wedges from the slightly industrial shaping to the full-face grooves with their “X” pattern between them. However, the quality of finish stands tall, as does the function. They both perform, but each model excels in areas you both expect, and might not. 

Who are SmithWorks?

SmithWorks was founded by Stuart Smith, a PGA Professional with over thirty years in and around the industry with brands like MD Golf, Seve Wedges, and TaylorMade. As for pedigree, he has worked with some of the greatest to ever play the game including Nick Faldo and Severiano Ballesteros. 

The reason for founding SmithWorks was in their words, to bring fun back to the short game while bridging the gap between Tour and amateur golfers. A major part of that is addressing that the groove rule changes were aimed at 0.5% of golfers, so by offering both conforming and non-conforming wedges, amateurs have an opportunity to put more fun back in their short game. At the same time the brand is adamant that both of their wedge options cut no corners and utilize all the technology possible beyond just the groove types. 

SmithWorks Extreme Range 3.0 and Elite 3.0 Wedges

As mentioned earlier, THP received both versions of the current 3.0 SmithWorks Extreme Range wedges for review, and that includes each face design in both 54-degree and 56-degrees. Upon unboxing, I have to say, there was a lot going on. Initially, I saw some similarities to my eye of the original Hi-Toe from TaylorMade, but with a much more tech forward shaping where it comes to mass manipulation. 

SmithWorks Extreme Range sole milling

The overall shaping at setup is very clean in both wedges, the leading edge is sightly rounded but not what I consider overly aggressive. The soles are fully milled into a somewhat wider sole that in the 54 and 56 have a very aggressive C-Grind on them, though the width aims to keep playability. The C is present in the sand and lob wedge lofts, while the gap options seem to have more of an S/M grind blend to them, but that is based purely on pictures since we didn’t get those options in-hand. 

SmithWorks Extreme Range grind options

Along with that higher looking toe and full face grooves to increase the striking area for amateurs, is a “progressive weight cavity” on the back flange of the wedges that helps shift the center of gravity away from the heel and more to the middle of the club, a story we know well. Along with that, the weight is optimized for each loft to keep trajectories in check.  The savings in the cavity let them apply a thicker weight pad near the topline that gives the wedge a look verysimilar to what Mizuno is doing in their T-Series. All of that is tied together with three finishes, “Stealth Black”, “Brushed Copper”, and “Frozen Satin”. The finishes are some of the best I have seen in any wedge out there, and kudos to SmithWorks for making options like this possible. 

SmithWorks Extreme Range face texture

The difference in the two cast Chromium Nickel wedge lines is, of course, the face. The Elite 3.0 wedges feature conforming grooves with “X-Spin Laser Milled” X’s between the grooves to add friction. The faces are also finished with a ceramic blast to add durability. The Extreme Range 3.0’s on the other hand have one of the wildest wedge faces I have ever seen with the “X’s” actually cast into the wedge face between the grooves, hence their non-conforming status. 

So, what is the difference when put into play? Well, it might surprise you. 

Smithworks Extreme Data and Performance

More than likely, you looked at the above pictures and said to yourself, those (Extreme Range 3.0) are going to shred golf ball covers. You would be right, in testing I sacrificed a great many premium golf balls for this review, though the results weren’t quite as cut and dry as you might expect. 

When it came to the touch shots, I put the wedges to work both from 10 and 25 yards. On the course, you could see the difference into the surface with the non-conforming Extreme Range 3.0 54 and 56. Off of clean lies the conforming Elite 3.0 held their own, but the second you got into thicker lies, bunkers, or moisture, those crazy looking cast X’s on the Extreme led the way. Frankly, there were some absolutely laughable shots I hit with them, even as someone who doesn’t struggle to stop a wedge anymore. 

CLUBTARGETBALL SPEEDLAUNCHSPINCARRYTOTALHEIGHT
54.11 Extreme Range 3.010Y2529303212132Y
54.11 Elite 3.010Y2628278712131Y
CLUBTARGETBALL SPEEDLAUNCHSPINCARRYTOTALHEIGHT
54.11 Extreme Range 3.025Y4026504328294Y
54.11 Elite 3.025Y3925408026283Y
CLUBTARGETBALL SPEEDLAUNCHSPINCARRYTOTALHEIGHT
56.12 Extreme Range 3.010Y2427341811    111Y
56.12 Elite 3.010Y232825519101Y
CLUBTARGETBALL SPEEDLAUNCHSPINCARRYTOTALHEIGHT
56.12 Extreme Range 3.025Y3825 503326263Y
56.12 Elite 3.025Y3728367525263Y

The data above was recorded off a mat, and thus the debris funneling aspect was neutralized. As you can see, in the 10 shot averages the non-conforming Extreme wedges still did what you would expect them to by offering a good deal more spin given the short distance of those touch shots. Any time you can hit a 10 or 25 yard shot and have it sit where it carried, you can now have a whole lot of fun. 

SmithWorks Extreme Range at setup

However, when I moved to longer swings, things sort of broke my mind. When you look at the data below, you will see why I was borderline shocked at the results of the 10 shot sets, so much so that I re-recorded them four times to make sure I wasn’t seeing things. The conforming Elite 3.0 spun a ton more for me than the Extreme did. 

CLUBTARGETBALL SPEEDLAUNCHSPINCARRYTOTALHEIGHT
54.11 Extreme Range 3.080Y70296045818215Y
54.11 Elite 3.080Y71277227828215Y
CLUBTARGETBALL SPEEDLAUNCHSPINCARRYTOTALHEIGHT
54.11 Extreme Range 3.0FULL9329769711511629Y
54.11 Elite 3.0FULL9327914411611628Y
CLUBTARGETBALL SPEEDLAUNCHSPINCARRYTOTALHEIGHT
56.12 Extreme Range 3.080Y70306098818216Y
56.12 Elite 3.080Y71278051828215Y
CLUBTARGETBALL SPEEDLAUNCHSPINCARRYTOTALHEIGHT
56.12 Extreme Range 3.0FULL9330743911411530Y
56.12 Elite 3.0FULL9427985611411329Y

Why did this happen? Well, that took me a minute to realize, but it comes back to the speed of the swings. You see, at higher speeds the deep cast X’s definitely shredded the covers of the urethane golf balls, but that was it, one hard grab and done. While on the Elite 3.0’s the conforming roughness between the grooves allowed the cover to grab instead of shred and made for more efficient spin generation. 

Both wedges were still playable on the course, but the launch monitor confirmed for me that other than in touch swings, it sure seems like wedge groove and face design has surpassed the groove rule. The other thing of note is looking at the launch of the two styles, you will see that the Extreme 3.0’s launched higher and hit higher peaks, but they also feel heavier. Part of that is likely the CG placement, but when I swing weighted the two different lies I did notice that in both the 54 and 56 the Extreme was 1 point heavier than the Elite. 

The DetailsSmithWorks Extreme Range

What does it all mean? In my opinion, SmithWorks has two options for two totally different wants and needs. The face on the Extreme Range will give superior spin on touch and debris funneling that will appeal to amateurs looking to maximize fun while the Elite sacrifices nothing for better players or those wanting to stay conforming. Golf is meant to be fun, and props to SmithWorks for living by that mantra. 

The SmithWorks wedges are available from 48 to 60 degrees (in two degree increments) with a price of $174. They can be found directly at www.smithworksgolf.com

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James Miles
James is a staff writer for The Hackers Paradise along with being a professional educator. With his background in education James seeks to broaden his own knowledge while also sharing it with all those who share his passion for the game.
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