More on Shafts - Wedges
This series on golf clubs is generating lots of questions from you readers, so I'm going to stay on the subject a while longer. Last Friday I was talking about shafts, and that stimulated some questions specifically about wedge shafts. We deal with that subject with intensity at EIDOLON, as you might imagine, but let me share some things with you that you might not think about with regard to the shafts in your wedges.

In all fairness, you don't think about wedge shafts because the industry doesn’t ask you to. Every wedge in the display in the retail stores is fitted with the same old "wedge flex" heavy and stiff steel shaft, and so that's what you get. I’ve always been a proponent that the shafts in your scoring clubs should be given at least as much attention as those in your driver and irons. And I firmly believe that, no matter what brand of wedges you play, getting them re-shafted will improve their performance for 90% of all golfers out there. Hear me out.

First of all, the wedge shaft is asked to do things that no other club’s shaft is asked to do. First of all, it has to stabilize the heaviest heads in the set at full swing speed. But it also has to provide enough movement (i.e. flex) at very slow swing speeds to give you the feel you need around the greens to hit the shots you want to hit. The bioscience guys call it “motion feedback”. It’s the sensation of movement sent back to your hands during the backswing and downswing. Motion feedback is what tells you when to stop the backswing, how to manage the swing path and manipulate the face of the club to get the trajectory you are after, and the exact flight distance needed for that particular shot.

We enhance the motion feedback qualities of wedges by giving them heavier swingweights than our irons and other clubs, but the shaft is a huge part of this equation, too, if you allow it to be. I’ve long been a proponent of softer shafts in the wedges, and even the short irons for that matter. “Full swing” speed with these clubs is well under that of our middle irons, and we more often hit softer shots with the 8-iron on down than we do with our other irons. Having a slightly softer flex profile helps us optimize feel for these kinds of shots.

But if we make them softer through conventional means, it can result in a tip soft flex profile that can cause the ball to shoot upward, or “balloon” on full swings. That’s not desirable in wedge and short iron play. So, it takes some doing to get your wedge shafts right if you are retro-fitting some you already have. But it’s worth the effort and expense, I assure you. Here are my personal guides for getting the right shaft in your wedges:
1. Match material first. If you play graphite shafts in your irons, I think you’ll like the feel of graphite in your wedges. In fact, I think graphite in wedges is an awesome development, but only if it’s the “right” graphite. A good clubfitter can show you some options there.

2. Match weight second. Playing heavy steel shafts in your wedges when you have graphite or light steel in your irons can create what I call a severe “disconnect” between your set-match pitching wedge and your first true wedge. You can see this on a simple postal scale. We’re talking overall weight, not swingweight. There should only be a half ounce or s0 (10-15 grams) difference in weight between them.

3. Then match flex. If you play Regular or Senior flex irons, the stiff shaft that comes standard in off-the-rack wedges is just not a good fit for you. Heck, I don’t even think it is a good match for those of you playing Firm or Stiff flex irons. A good independent clubfitter can profile the flex pattern of your irons to see where you are there, then retrofit your wedges to blend nicely. I’m a proponent of the frequency graph flattening out at the 8- or 9-iron and continuing flat or even down-turning a bit for the wedges, but won’t get that technical here (you let me know if you want that next time). What I can tell you is that putting softer shafts in wedges has been a trick of the better tour players for a long time.
So, if you want to give your short game a shot in the arm, spend some dough and have your wedge shafts replaced with something that is more suited to short game precision. Heck, try it on one and see what you think. Experimentation is part of the fun of our equipment, right? And you just might be surprised.

photo source
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[ comments ]
Backquak says:
Hey Terry, great post, but who won the wedge this week? Hint, hint.
Swingem says:
What is the weight of a dynamic Gold "wedge" shaft?
TeT says:
9 Iron through lob wedge should all match length weight flex lie etc... as close as possible IF you do a lot of different shots with each of them. If you only do one thing with each then it becomes less crucial...
wedgeguy says:
Swing'em, that shaft weighs 120-130 grams.
wedgeguy says:
And Tet, how do you play a round of golf without hitting a variety of shots with your wedges? Or did I misunderstand your statement?
TeT says:
You misunderstood... all of mine match from 9 iron down. I hit the full variety (or try too) with all of them.

On the other end, when its going good all I need is a full 50° or 54° and maybe a 9 iron to run up on the green with if I am short.
Swingem says:
Thanks Terry, I couldn't find it on TT's web site. The reason I ask is because the weight progression for shafts in my set is (all shafts are stiff);
Dr-65g, 3W-71g, Hy-80g, irons-90g (TM T-90), then a jump to 120-130g in my 54 & 58. I'm thinking of re-shafting my wedges with something in the 100-110 range. Based on research I've done on iron shafts, mine are on the light side and have thought about re-shafting the irons with something a little heavier, but I'm currently pretty happy with the feel through the set. I would be interested to hear more about the frequency graph that you mentioned and how shaft weight influences that.
TeT says:
BTW; its nowhere near good this year....
onedollarwed says:
Thanks for all of the information. However, is there someway of knowing if there is a problem here? Is there some general kind of ineffectiveness? Or would you say distance/ direction should be within "x" variance.
If you are aiming at the 100yd marker at the range, what would be a good indicator?
Aiming at a barrel 25yds away?
Rolling a chip from the fringe from 30ft on a flat surface? How many should go right over the cup?
What I mean is, all of the "normal" wedge tasks should be balanced, would too heavy and stiff shaft be relatively better at one of these?
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Terry Koehler is "The Wedge Guy" and President of SCOR Golf- The Short Game Company.

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