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Pinemeadow is not exactly a household name in the world of golf, but it’s worth noting that they have about 30 years’ worth of experience under their collective belt, and with good reason. Most folks who do know of Pinemeadow probably recognize them as one of the best clone club manufacturers, but they do have some nice gear of their own (to wit, their line of Yukon drivers is fairly successful). Some of you may cringe at the word “clone”, while others may be scratching their heads wondering what’s this all about. Don’t worry, in this Pinemeadow wedge review we’ve got both groups well covered.

In a hurry?

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What is a Clone Wedge?

For those of you not in the know, there are basically three types of golf wedges (or clubs in general, for that matter) – original, clone, and knock-off. Both the first and last terms are pretty much self-explanatory, but plenty of folks have a problem with grasping what a clone club is. In a nutshell, it’s halfway between the original and knockoff, in that it’s made with zero research, but with permission of the original developer.

Also, on that same note, knockoffs will make something that looks like the original and stick the same name onto it, and then sell it for less. These are horrendous and you shouldn’t waste your time on them (thin grips or grips that constantly move, heads that snap in two because they’re made of poor materials, faces that are twisting at impact, which makes it impossible to find target, that sort of things).

On the flipside, clone clubs will make pretty much the same club (with cheaper components) and sell it under their own name. Whether they encourage the buyer to compare it to the original is up to them, and oftentimes makes or breaks the deal for many a player out there.

Clone Companies

Now, it’s important to note that clone companies will oftentimes have their own research and development department (R&D), as well as original clubs, but they’ll also make licensed copies, or clones, or some major brands. Of course, more often than not they’ll cut corners on materials. This makes clone clubs much more affordable, but also sacrifices some feel and performance. They’re the perfect embodiment of the “you get what you pay for” rule, basically.

So, to recap – clone clubs are great for beginners and players working with a tight budget, but if you do have the money, you should go with an OEM, if for nothing else, to support their R&D department.

Pinemeadow

If all the main manufacturers are outside of your budget, that doesn’t mean you should forget about playing golf, not by a long shot (no pun intended). It just means you should find other options, and that’s where the Pinemeadow wedges step in. The main point is getting the best clubs for your budget/abilities, and Pinemeadow is definitely what you might call a bang for the buck.

It’s nowhere explicitly stated, but the wedge does come off as a clone of the Callaway Forged, and probably comes from the same foundry as well (most manufacturers use the same few foundries anyway). The company’s been in business for about three decades now, which in and of itself speaks volumes of their production line.

What Pinemeadow does with their wedges is give you a similar look and feel to the original version, but only to a fraction of the original’s price. As a matter of fact, saying it’s inexpensive would be an understatement. Granted, the feel is not actually rivalling the original Callaway, but it does come close (especially if you have it custom fitted – we’ll talk more about that shortly).

Seeing how the debate about whether to use clone clubs or not is such a heated one, Pinemeadow takes special care not to make mistake advertising, and they even have a whole section/blog dedicated to this on their site. We’ll dedicate this section to this debate, just so we can get past it and get to know the Pinemeadow wedge itself. That said, let’s get stuck in!

Clone Clubs or Off-Brand Clubs?

Some might prefer getting used clubs from an original equipment manufacturer (OEM from now on), but the quality difference is very much arguable in case of Pinemeadow wedges. On the flipside, if you’re worried about the budget (well, worried is a strong word, but you get the meaning), going with a used OEM set should be slightly better in pecuniary terms as they’re more likely to keep some resale value.

Conversely, the average clones (or off-brands or no-names or whatever you want to call them) tend to have very little resale value, if at all (even if they’re as good as the Pinemeadow wedges).

Pinemeadow Golf Pinemeadow Wedge

In any case, here’s a nickel’s worth of free advice – always get custom fitted clubs if you want to get the most out of your abilities. Of course, you can always go with any off-the-rack length/lie – more often than not you’ll end up with some great quality clubs.

However, you should always keep in mind that you’ll always hit a club that actually fits you much better than one that doesn’t (fit you, that is). So, if you don’t want to spend too much money on getting a custom-fit set from a major brand, off-brand sets such as Pinemeadow start getting more and more attractive.

Getting Custom Made Clubs

It’s important to note that Pinemeadow takes custom requests, and they ship in about a week. The longest stage of making your order would be leaving the club to cure for 24 hours (well, it’s actually to cure the epoxy resin which is used to connect the head and the hosel to the shaft of your choice).

Now, the shafts they offer are decent enough (Apollo Lite as stock, plus three other steel and two graphite options), as are the grips (Pinemeadow Standard as stock, Lamkin Crossline as the second favourite choice, with 14 other options), though you can always order other brand shafts and grips. Of course, this might not be doable, and even if it is, it will undoubtedly lengthen the time it takes for it to ship out, but should be worth it.

Loft and Bounce

The Pinemeadow wedge comes with 5 loft options, from the lowly 50 to the ultra-high 68, all in 4-degree gaps, which is the optimal spread to cover your yardage (though it somewhat encourages you to carry hybrids, which might not sit well with everyone). It would’ve been nice if they had more options in the lower lofts rather than the somewhat gimmicky 68 loft, but then again, some players may have spent their entire lives looking for it.

This is a unisex wedge (which is basically another way of saying they don’t have a women’s specific wedge), and should suit anyone. Granted, it’s a bit heavy for a ladies’ wedge, so it might impair your swing speed, but on the flipside, it does make you develop some upper body strength. In this sense, it could indeed be considered a GI (game-improvement wedge).

On a more serious note, Pinemeadow does have each and every loft for both right- and left-handed players, which is a rare enough occurrence even with some of the more established brands.

The bounce selection is wedge-specific and somewhat poor, to be honest, but overall adequate. What we mean by wedge-specific is that there are four bounce angles to suit the four types of wedges (well, three and a half, but that’s another story). This includes:

  • 4-degree bounce for the approach wedge, aka gap wedge (52 loft);
  • ​10-degree for the sand wedge (56 loft);
  • ​14-degree for the lob wedge (60), and;
  • 5-degree for the Ultra-lob and the overkill Ultra-lob + (64 and 68 lofts, respectively).

On the bright side, the 10-degree bounce sits well (no pun intended) with its loft, and the sand wedge plays beautifully out of bunkers. The same applies to the lob wedge. One downside is that there’s no relief, which really opens up the possibility of bladed shots on tight lies (especially in higher lofts).

What it Feels Like

As far as the wedge itself goes (cue the trumpets), it’s actually very well made. It feels great around the green, letting you work the ball from pretty much any distance (though it does favour short chip shots). It makes a nice, sharp sound at impact, though it’s a subjective matter, and it might not sit well with some players.

Pros

  • thumbs-o-up
    Very inexpensive, excellent for first-timers
  • thumbs-o-up
    Quite forgiving
  • thumbs-o-up
    The sand wedge plays surprisingly well out of greenside bunkers
  • thumbs-o-up
    Decent amount of control, should suit mid to high handicappers
  • thumbs-o-up
    Sounds nice and sharp (though it’s subjective, so it can be either pro or con)

Cons

  • thumbs-o-down
    Not really designed for more advanced players (anyone under a 10 handicap)
  • thumbs-o-down
    For a unisex club, it does feel a bit on the heavy side
  • thumbs-o-down
    The 68 loft is more of a gimmick than an actual tool (seriously, it’s overkill)

Our Rating:

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The Final Verdict

All things considered, the Pinemeadow wedge is a great budget-friendly option for anyone just getting interested in golf or any high to mid handicapper working within a strict budget. It’s not exactly a GI wedge, nor is it a precision tool, but it will do its job. It would’ve been nice if it had more lofts under 50 instead of the overkill that is the 68, but on the flipside, it’s a godsend for those of you who’ve been looking for such a high loft. Now go outside, grip it, and rip it!

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Ryan S

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