Did You Get The Golf Club You Paid For?
I had an experience Saturday that I just have to share. As you know, EIDOLON is a small, niche wedge company, and we pride ourselves on having the finest wedge engineering AND building the finest wedges in the marketplace. Our return rate of less than 1% on a Full Money Back Guarantee is testament to that.
But I also have high respect for the tremendous engineering talents at the major companies. Titleist, Callaway, TaylorMade, Nike and the others have some very good people, and spend millions of dollars creating products that really are engineered to work.
But then the production and accounting people take over. Sheesh.
A rather new acquaintance told me he was having fits with his new top-line wedges which he had just purchased (before he met me), and asked my opinion of why he just was not getting any distance and was dissatisfied with his consistency. I offered to have him bring them to the shop and we’d see if there was a reason for this in the clubs themselves (which is always where I start analyzing a problem like this).
So, he brings in his 52, 56 and 60 degree wedges from one of the “big 4”. He says the 56 is fine; he bought it off the rack and liked it, so he had the pro shop order him a 52 and 60 to match.
Here’s what we found:
His 56* was really 57, which isn’t so bad. The company states that club is 35.38” in length, and his was 35-3/8”, so that’s OK as well.
But his 52*, which the company says is 35.63” long, was only 34-5/8” – a full inch short ! And his 60, which they say is 35.13”, was 34-7/8” !
No wonder he couldn’t hit the 52 any further than his 56, and had trouble with the 60.
I struggled with whether or not to name this company, and just can’t. [But if you are as struck by these oddball “standard” lengths as I was, and you’re the investigative type, you can go online and find out.]
I advised him to take the clubs back to the pro shop and have them sent back for refund or replacement.
The moral of this story is this:
1) Great engineering can be totally wrecked by mass manufacturing sloppiness and poor quality control – and it happens every day in the major companies’ factories.
2) You don’t always get what you think you paid for. Whether you purchase from a pro shop or retail store, before you ever leave with a new club or set, insist that they put it/them on a length board, loft/lie machine and frequency machine to prove that you are getting what you paid for. If they don’t have that, at the very lease you should make sure they have a money-back guarantee, so that you can take them to a qualified independent clubfitter/clubmaker to have them analyzed.
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Well, at least the customer service at that company is pretty good ;-) I wonder what the shipping is to C---s--d? :-)
1) I know there's variation in woods, etc., but is there supposed to be an industry "standard" (or standard range) shaft length for each wedge loft, considering the emphasis on distance control for thses clubs?
2) Is there a formula for gain/loss of distance per inch variation of shaft length, all other factors being equal?
I was just thinking about what a good post this was. I had a set of irons that I wanted checked out, so I took them to a good clubfitter/clubmaker to be checked out. The lofts on a few of the irons were off, and the flexes were way off. They ranged from stiff to a strong X! I've had them reshafted, and reweighted, etc., because I like the heads. Real simple, clean look. But your point is super valid, and we should all get to know a good clubmaker, because what you get isn't what you thought you were getting! Credit where it's due, good R&D and engineering, but mass production is mass production...
Our pro offers a free club fitting and swing check a couple of times a year at the club practice facility. The club he normally uses to check for lie for the set is the six iron - which I am told is the standard method. You hit a few balls off the black "lie" board and if the mark on the tape is centered it is assumed the lie is correct for your swing. Mine was dead centered and the ball flew straight with a little draw with the six iron. But I kept pulling the shorter irons during play on the course and was going crazy trying to hit it tight from 150 yards in. Finally, after a particulaly bad day I stopped at Golf USA on the way home and had the irons checked for loft and lie. Guess which was the only iron in the bag with the correct lie. You got it. The same six iron which was used as the set's indicator for lie at the fitting. Every other iron was two to three degrees upright. The six is the longest iron I carry as I have hybrids for 5,4, 3 iron replacements. The SW, GW, PW, 9, 8 and 7 iron had to be bent to spec which resulted in added effective loft and more proper spacing of the set's ball carry distance. Ball striking became more solid too as the face is now square at impact. It was like a miracle cure for only $3 a club. Get all your irons checked for loft and lie. It is cheap and makes a world of difference. And do not depend on one club to represent your set.
Rick, Sorry for the delay in responding to your question. As for "standards" in this industry, there just aren't any. At EIDOLON, we build our wedges 1/4" different from a 35" Lob Wedge to a 48* Pitching Wedge at 35-3/4". Others build at 1/2" increments, others all the same. Makes it difficult for you golfers, for sure.
And no, there is no reliable formula for distance gain per 1/2 inch, for example. Each golfer has to experiment to get his or her own distance charts. In our book, "The SCoR Method", we detail this process and provide charts to log your results.
Mike McClellan says:
Had the same problem with a putter L\L were spot on but it was 1" longer than stated on the factory installed label should have been 34 baut was 35 the Pro I was doing the work for wanted it the same length as his other putter 33.5" so now he know it wasn't always him on the missed putts. :>
Bill Garden says:
Great blogpost! I have a set of "Big 4" wedges and, similar to your friend in the story, I seem to have difficulty hitting my 52 compared to my 56. Never could figure out why, but now I definitely have my clubs measured and see how consistent (or INconsistent) they actually are! Thanks for the tip, Terry! Maybe I can get a refund and switch to Eidolon wedges!
Gary Fallon says:
I was talking to a local club fitter this week about frequencies. Among my questions was, "What frequency do the Rifle 6.0 spec out to?" His answer? "I have seen them from 4.5 to almost 8." Not very inspiring on the confidence level. I'm not bashing a company as I have other stories like that as well, just noting that I may not be getting the club I pay for.
Gary, That's why I tout again and again the value of a personal clubmaker/fitter. They have the equipment to check your clubs to make sure they are right. The major companies have manufacturing tolerances (which mass production requires) that are, in my observation and opinion, too broad for consistent golf. Realize that the difference in frequency cycles-per-minute between an X shaft and ladies flex is only aoubt 12-15%. So a 5-7% variance is two full flexes!!!!!
Terry: Would you agree or disagree with the following; Stan Thompson was one of the finest custom clubmakers, fitters and inovators of clubs in the past century? I bought a substantial number of clubs from him at his shop (1960-1980) before he passed away. We would sit down and talk and then fully evaluate my needs, he then would produce clubs from his inventory to fit those needs, I would pay him for them and he said to bring them back if they didn't work and he would make them "right". They were "Right" and I still play many of them today, even though they are considered "vintage", to post low scores without "Hybrids" other than "Original Ginties"! I doubt that relationship can be found in todays marketplace?? He did not receive proper recognition until after he passed away!! JWHpurist
JWH, Stan Thompson was one of an era of great golf club men. They knew clubs by feel and observation and a keen knowledge of the game. Today's designers at the major brands are often skilled engineers, but with little or no insight into the swing and the game. I think that limits their effectiveness. But there are some very good golf club guys out there that really know their stuff. You just have to look for them.
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