Review: Scratch 8620 Wedges

The newest “cast” member of the Scratch family
Scratch has made a name for itself in the wedge market through its soft forgings and custom fittings.  Those super soft forgings and custom fittings and grinds came at a price that was just slightly higher than the other OEMs.  The 8620 wedges have taken a little longer to make it to the market than Scratch had hoped, but they have positioned themselves nicely for the late 2009/early 2010 season.  The 8620s come in cheaper than any other comparable wedge on the market.  As an addition benefit for the company, they signed Ryan Moore to the Scratch brand.   His PGA tour presence and market exposure for Scratch products will be perfect for the price conscience consumer and the discerning golfer looking for a top performing product.
The 8620s come in one stainless-steel finish with a single scratch logo “S” on the back of the face and the loft carved into the toe.  Just like all the other Scratch wedges, these are available with various grinds; Sweeper/Slider; Driver/Slider; or Digger/Driver.  My 1018 wedges are D/D and fit perfectly, but I really wanted to see if the various grinds would play differently and would impact my game.  I’ve seen numerous people ask if it really makes a difference.  After my numerous rounds with these wedges, it does make a difference.  I have been working on my swing trying to adjust just a little from the D/D to the D/S and that work has paid off for the most part.  When I have my new wedge swing working the D/S were perfect.  When I lapsed back to the D/D swing, I ran into a few issues.  There isn’t a question in my mind at all; the different grinds do make a difference.
The first thing that anyone will notice on the 8620s are the aggressive milling marks on the face.  They are really amazing to look at.  I don’t think I’ve seen any other wedge that has such distinct milling on the face.  I’ve seen other wedges with milling, but nothing like this.  These wedges also have the last of the super spinner grooves, which will be deemed non-conforming in 2010 for the pros and not for a number of years for the rest of us, but you will only be able to buy these new for one more year. (So get them soon)  The aggressive grooves and milling impart more spin than the other Scratch wedges.  These wedges spin with the best on the market.  These wedges don’t have ABC grooves; All Bite, no Cover.  These have AB but do shred the Cover.  It might seem weird trying to describe how they shred the ball, but these are a little gentler than some wedges I have.  They leave just little tiny gills on the ball, not the cheese grater markers or completely shearing the cover.

I had the KBS wedges shafts installed in mine to see how they played compared to the 1018s.  These shafts are outstanding wedges shafts.  On those half shots they feel crisp and offer a great release and straight lines on full shots.  These came in with some impressive long ferrules with a white ring on them.  The grips were standard Scratch Golf Pride Velvets.  The one surprise on these were they came in a little longer than standard length.  They are about ½” longer than my 1018s.  According to the Scratch website, this just happened with mine.  

The 53* has trailing edge relief with some extra ground out of the middle.  It set up really nicely out in the fairway from about 110 yards.  I found the grind on the wedge was a good fit for my modified swing.  I could take a full shallow swing and results were outstanding.  Low running bumps were so easy and spin was so controlled with this wedge. 

The 56* has a similar grind to the 53* just a little more aggressive.  It too worked perfectly off the turf from about 95 yards.  I also used this as my sand wedge.  I found that it worked very well on tight sand, but struggled to get the contact I wanted in the soft sand when I needed to really dig in.

The 60* has an aggressive C grind.  This club was a bit finicky for me.  It was either lights out amazing or forehead slapping oops.  If I swung with that D/S swing, the ball popped up nicely and stuck.  If I got too steep I had a tendency to get some inconsistent results.  I didn’t find this grind quite as easy to open for flopping for my swing as the D/D grind.  

The biggest overall difference I noticed between the D/D grind and the D/S grind would be the leading edge grind.  On my 1018s the leading edge is on the sharper side while the 8620s were more blunted.

The feel is very crisp and stainless.  You wouldn’t mistake these wedges for being forged.  They do not have the soft feel of the 1018s, but that slight difference in feel is replaced with superior durability.  These wedges are tanks.  I played a bunch of rounds with these at Bandon Dunes, which is tight, rugged and sandy.  These wedges still look very new.  The milling still remains very aggressive and distinct even after multiple rounds.

The newest “cast” member to the scratch family is a winner. If you are in the market for new wedges, or even if you’re not, these are winners.  At the price you won’t find a better wedge, for that matter you would be hard pressed to find a better cast wedge at any price.  Get them now before the new groove rules and enjoy the extra spin.  Go on Scratch’s website, figure out what kind of grind you need and get a set “cast” for you.

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