If you’re like most golfers you’ll do just about anything to play better.
My 24/7 golf obsessions started when I was 14 years old as a freshman in high school. My parents would take me to the course immediately after school and I’d stay until dark. Rain, wind, cold weather, it didn’t matter… I was at the course.
Weekends were even better. They’d drop me off at sunrise and pick me up when it got dark.
My golf goals didn’t stop when the sun went down though. At night I would endlessly watch the Golf Channel, read golf books, and clean my clubs while thinking of how to get better.
One thing I did quite frequently was leave my clubs in a bucket of soapy water overnight. The goal was to get them to rust so they would generate more spin on the golf course. Like I said, I would do whatever it takes to shave a few strokes off my game.
In this article, we’ll break down if rust is actually helpful for creating spin, finished wedges vs. raw wedges, and other ways to generate more backspin.
Does Rust Add Spin to a Wedge?
Have you ever bought a new wedge only to notice some rust develop on the face a few months (or sooner)? If so, I’m sure you’ve gone into panic mode as rust is like a type of cancer with some purchases.
But what about golf? I’m sure you’ve asked yourself, does rust increase spin?
Unfortunately, my 14-year old self was wrong. According to what MyGolfSpy said on Twitter, “Raw wedges are popular on tour – often for their low glare characteristics, and many average golfers choose raw wedges because of the perception that rust adds spin. It doesn’t.”
They even reached out to eight golf club manufacturers (including Callaway, Vokey, and PXG) So why do so many golfers think that rust will increase spin on the golf ball?
The rust builds up on the face of the club and many people think this extra texture should add friction. But this friction doesn’t actually add more spin on the rusty face.
But there’s more to the story…
Raw Wedges vs. Plated Wedges
To further confuse golfers, more and more golf companies are now making wedges with “raw” finishes. These clubfaces intentionally rust but not for the reasons you might think. Some recent examples of these types of wedges include the TaylorMade Milled Grind 3 black wedge or the Titleist Vokey SM9.
So, why are these companies making wedges that intentionally rust?
Here’s what TaylorMade said on their website, “There’s a reason RAW wedges are preferred by the game’s best players. The unplated material will rust over time to preserve consistent spin while also delivering better performance in wet conditions. With RAW Face Technology, only the face will rust while the rest of the head maintains a premium finish.”
This is very interesting – the finish “preserves” consistent spin over time. While it might not add spin, it can help your wedges generate more juice for a longer period of time.
Another reason that Tour pros enjoy a raw wedge finish is because it reduces glare. Some finishes, like chrome, look as good as a brand-new car but aren’t great for your eyes.
A shiny finish from a plated wedge can lead to a lot of glare when looking at the clubhead. Since more loft creates more glare, this is why so many wedge manufacturers create other finishes (like jet black) as an alternative finish.
How to Prevent Golf Clubs From Rusting
While some rust on your wedges isn’t the end of the world, you don’t want it on other clubs like your putter. Here are some of the best strategies to prevent and remove rust from your golf clubs.
Wipe Your Clubs Down After Every Round
One of the easiest ways to prevent rusty wedges is by wiping your clubs down after every round. I first noticed my wedges rusting unintentionally as a kid because we had cold weather. I would play a round, not wipe my clubs down, and wake up to a rusty wedge or two.
This is why it’s important to wipe them down and dry them after every round. If you don’t play for a long period of time make sure to store in a warm environment and avoid humidity if possible.
Use Rust Remover
If your clubs do rust, buy some rust remover. It’s safe to use on golf clubs and should help you keep them looking like new. For an even better look use steel wool too.
Remove Rust with Coca-Cola
Yes, your favorite soft drink might actually help keep rust off your golf clubs. All you need is a 2-liter bottle of Coca-Cola, a pitcher, scratch-free scrubber, and a microfiber cloth.
According to Golf.com, “The interaction between the phosphoric acid in the soda and the iron oxide in the clubs helps dissolve rust. There is also an environmental benefit to the process: using Coca-Cola, instead of commercial rust removers, is an eco-friendlier option.”
Then, follow the instructions below:
- Fill the container up with half of the soft drink.
- Submerge the clubhead for 24 hours.
- Remove the clubs and dry them with the microfiber cloth. Most of the rust will come off but there could still be remnants.
- If there are, use a scratch-free scrubber to finish the job.
Hopefully this cheap and easy trick will have your clubs looking better than ever. This is a great idea to do if you have clubs in your garage and want to sell them.
FAQs About Wedges and More Spin
Do you have more questions about rust and how to get more spin on your wedge shots? If so, keep reading to learn more so you can protect your golf clubs and optimize performance.
Is rust good for wedges?
Rust isn’t bad for wedges and some manufacturers intentionally make finishes that will rust over time. While they won’t add extra spin like most of us think, they can preserve the spin which should help your performance over time.
Additionally, wedges that rust will also minimize glare at address position. This is a great benefit if you play in a lot of sunny weather and don’t want to battle the sun during most rounds of golf.
How do you make your wedges spin more?
Every amateur golfer wants to create extra spin with their wedges. While most professional golfers are trying to eliminate spin with full shots as it’s unpredictable.
To learn more about backspin, we have a full article here to give you the best tips.
While these tips will definitely help your short game, don’t forget that buying new wedges more frequently is also needed. Even the best form in the world can’t always create a lot of spin with wedges.
According to Vokey, one of the best wedge companies, “Golfers encounter a variety of conditions with their wedges that lead to the groove edge wearing down over time. Every golfer should evaluate their wedges and grooves at ~75 rounds of play to get the best spin performance.”
The main reasons wedges wear down is from:
- Frequent play. The more practice and rounds out on the course wear down the grooves over time (especially firm range balls).
- Bunker shots. Hitting from the sand exposes the clubs to tons of rocks, pebbles, and wear down the face.
- Abnormal conditions. This might include hitting from the rocks or other questionable lies that can impact the face of the golf club.
I read that Tiger Woods replaced his wedges every week on the PGA Tour to get the most spin possible. While that isn’t feasible for the everyday golfer, make sure to look at them after 75 rounds to see if you need a new set. More groove depth will make a huge difference!
Does rust affect golf clubs?
One of the biggest myths in the golf world is thinking that more rust means extra spin. I fell into this trap early on in my golf career but it’s been tested and it’s not true.
Rust doesn’t hurt golf clubs necessarily but it doesn’t look good either. If you ever plan on selling them (like irons or a putter specifically), you might not get as much resale value. This is why it’s a great idea to use the tips above to clean the rust off your clubs.
Why do TaylorMade wedges rust?
Yes, some TaylorMade wedges rust. A great example is the Milled Grind 3 black wedge. It will intentionally rust to preserve spin and keep them performing well for a longer period of time.
Do Vokey jet black wedges rust?
Yes, the jet black wedges from Vokey do rust like the Raw wedges.
I know this from personal experience as I’ve been playing this new finish since about 2018. The moment I saw rust on them, I had a childhood flashback to my oil can finish on my ancient Vokey wedges.
While the rust won’t add any “Tour sauce” to your shots, the grooves will do the work for you. I’ve played the new Vokey wedges each year and somehow, they just keep getting better and better. They seem to help produce extra spin with less effort.
According to Titleist, “SM9’s new grooves are cut to the edge to maximize spin. Each Vokey wedge is 100% inspected for utmost quality and performance, and a localized heat treatment is applied to the impact area to double the durability of the groove.”
If you’ve played them before, try the raw steel wedge on your next set as they look great.
Why do pros have rusty wedges?
Rusty wedges are a result of the finish of the golf club. A rusty wedge comes from playing a raw face vs. a finish like satin chrome.
If you don’t want rusty wedges in your golf bag, opt for plated wedges instead.
Does rust impact distance?
No, grab a launch monitor and you’ll see that total distance doesn’t change from rusty wedges to a new raw wedge.
What wedges should I play?
One of the most important things you can do is match your wedges to the rest of your irons. While you don’t need to play the exact same club for all wedges and irons, you should match the type of iron.
For example, if you play graphite shaft, cavity back irons, you should play a similar wedge. The worst thing you can do is play forgoing lightweight irons and then play heavy, hard to hit wedges. This makes it difficult to transition clubs and hit them consistently well.
Better players should opt for less forgiving wedges like the Callaway Jaws or Titleist Vokey wedges. While higher handicappers should look at more forgiving options like the Cleveland RTX wedges.
Final Thoughts about Wedge Rust
As much as it pains me to type this, rust doesn’t improve spin. My 14-year-old self couldn’t outsmart the Golf Gods after all. But it can persevere spin over time and keep your wedges better for a longer period of time.
While it won’t add any extra juice to your wedge shots, more and more companies are making wedges that intentionally rust. While it’s only the face surface, not the rest of the clubhead, it’s not to add more spin. The grooves are so sharp and technology is so advanced that new clubs spin plenty.
Instead, the raw finish that is an option with some new wedges is for anti-glare features. There’s nothing worse than looking down at a wedge and barely able to focus on the golf ball because of a nasty glare. The raw finish is a great option if you live in a warm location and don’t want to battle the sun every round.
Don’t forget, the key to creating more spin with wedges is with proper contact and mechanics. Speed equals spin with full swing shots and fresh grooves always help too. Replace your wedges more frequently for more friction, softer feel, and extra spin.