Review: Scratch 1018 Wedges

Are you itching for better wedge play?
Scratch has made a name for itself on the Nationwide tour.  Over the past few years, more and more Nationwide players have been adding Scratch wedges to their bags.  Such popularity on the Nationwide tour is a testament to the quality of wedges coming out of the Scratch factory.  When players are not bound by contracts and can play whatever clubs work best for their games, a strong presence in their bags speaks volumes about a product.
Scratch just introduced their newest addition to their line up of wedges, the 1018 series, at the PGA show.  I got the unique opportunity to put these in my bag prior to their public release.  I took them with me to Phoenix in mid-January.  They saw five rounds of play during that time frame.  Thankfully, the box arrived the day before I hopped on the plane.  A special thank you to Ari for working with me on this.   

Selecting wedge grinds, bounce angles and lofts can be an intimidating task for the average Joe hack.  Scratch Golf has a fantastic site to help you out. If you are not sure what grind you need, go on the website and get fit.  It is simply the best fitting tool for wedges on the web.  It explains grinds for the slider/sweeper, the slider/driver and the digger/driver.  No matter how your hit your wedges, there is a grind for you.

Seeing the Fed-ex guy pull up with a box labeled Scratch wedges is rather exhilarating.  After ripping through the tape and newspaper to investigate the newest addition to my bag, the drooling started.  These have to be the prettiest wedges on the planet.  The smoke satin finish is gorgeous and the simple white Scratch stamp and white numbers for the degree are the only things I want on my wedges.  The milled face was dulled enough to make for a very traditional round appearance.  Weighing in at D5 and matched with Scratch Golf Pride grips and a proprietary KBS tour wedge shaft (minus shaft band) Scratch offered a classic, non-busy, all business wedge. 

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Pulling the 60* wedge with the DD grind for the first time was a little intimidating.  It was hard to concentrate on the first few swings, I didn’t want to damage or harm this club in any way.   I had every horror story I could ever think of running through my head.  So for the first 10 minutes on the range, it was shank-city.  Then I cooled down and realized, this is a wedge, it is made to take the abuse.  The ecstasy that followed was watching pitches, bumps, flops and punches fly out on the range at the various pins. The best part was they were actually going and doing what I wanted them to do.  It was a little hard to tell exactly how they were spinning at the range.  I didn’t actually need the wedge on the first couple holes hitting the green in regulation, but once the need arose, I was fairly confident I could hit the shot I needed.  Sure enough, a nice 25-yard pitch did a 3 hop and stop, leaving me a tap in for par.  It spun just the way I wanted it to.  The day continued on with multiple wedge shots checking up nicely.  I had one actually pull back; but most were stopping around the ball mark.  The C-grind allowed me to really open the face for flop shots from some rather tight lies around the green.  Another benefit of the new 1018 wedges is what Scratch calls ABC grooves,  “All Bite, no Cover.”  Grooves that impart spin without destroying the ball.

It was almost halfway through the 1st round before I had to pull out the 56* wedge with the SND grind.  I was again a bit hesitant to put this baby through the abuse of coarse AZ sand, but that is why I had it in my bag.  Again it did what I wanted it to do.  Slicing through the sand, lifting the ball with ease onto the green with plenty of spin to keep it from rolling off the green.  It took me a little time to adjust on distance because I had been playing a 60* sand wedge.  I think the 56* wedge will be more versatile and benefit my game.  I did use the 56* wedge a few time from the fairway for a 105-yard shot.  It performed very well.  I normally don’t use my sand wedge from the fairway, it is some sort of mental block I had, but that might be changing because I had excellent results sticking the 56* wedge onto the greens.

I have always been a fan of forged wedges, the soft feel and the way the ball releases off the face works for me.  Other people I have played with prefer the feel of a cast wedge.  I just can’t seem to control the feel off a cast wedge.  In my mind it feels like it releases to quickly off the face, too clicky.  A trade off comes with durability.  My forged Scratch wedges will wear quicker than a cast head.  For me, I can live with that trade off.  After five round in AZ, (no desert shots) they did show a little wear.  The smoke satin has a fair amount of brush marks on the bottom of each club.  Obviously the sand wedge got the most beating.  I can’t say it is any more durable or less durable than the same finish from other companies; just any dark finish shows wear marks over time.  I do think it is an improvement from some of Scratch’s previous finishes I have seen.

One surprise that came a couple weeks after I had returned was the fact that the wedge shaft is a KBS tour design shaft for Scratch.  It was kind of an epiphany that made sense.  I really liked the feel and weight of the shafts while I was playing, the flight and control was great.  I just assumed they were DG S400 or something along those lines.  Now it makes sense why I liked the feel of the shaft so much, because I love KBS tours in my irons.  Without a shaft band I had no idea what was in each wedge.

At the new price point, of $149, these wedges should sell well. The new grooves, beautiful finish on a forged wedge with so many different grind options should propel the Scratch 1018 wedges into the bags of pros and amateurs alike.  If you are itching for better wedge play, pick up a couple 1018 Scratch wedges.

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