More On Choosing Wedges
Today's topic is somewhat of an extension on my take last week of the theft of our pitching wedges by the major iron makers. In that article -- HERE -- I exposed how few modern sets of irons have a real pitching wedge, as all the lofts have been jacked up to give golfer the illusion that they are hitting the ball further than with the other company’s irons. It's all smoke and mirrors. As this trend continues, we talk with golfers every day who are seeking solutions to their set make-up, so that they will have the right array of scoring tools. I'm visiting that topic again today to respond to a question from Alan E., who asked:
"Why do wedges only seem to be available in lofts of even numbers, and how do I get the exact loft combination I need to optimize my short game?"
Well, Alan, let’s start with the first part of your question. It would not be practical or necessary for the manufacturers to make wedges of every conceivable loft, so they typically and historically have hit only on the even numbers – 52, 56, 60, etc. I’m guessing that was derived from the fact that early sand wedges were 56 degrees, and when most set-match pitching wedges were 48* in loft, it made sense to build “gap” wedges of 52 to divide that difference. The lob wedge of 60* followed, and then it was only logical to the big brands to expand their offering by hitting those gaps with 54 and 58, then 50 degree wedges, and then to offer a myriad of bounce options at each loft, so that they could follow the “big company mantra” of more is better. At last count, the two major brands of wedges had over 150 models between them!!

But, as I wrote in that article a couple of weeks ago, virtually no sets have a true pitching wedge in them anymore, with some offering a “P-club” of as little as 43 degrees! For Pete’s sake, that’s an 8-iron!!! Or at least a 9.

In EIDOLON’s approach to wedge-fitting, the first part of the equation with a golfer is to find out what the true loft of their P-club is, and then see how many wedges they want/need to carry. And what is the highest loft wedge with which they are comfortable. Then we divide that gap by the number of wedges, and come up with what should be the right formula for scoring precision. So, if a golfer has a 45 degree P-club, is a little afraid of lob wedges but wants to carry three true wedges total . . . we would probably arrive at a “prescription” of 49, 53 and 57 degree wedges. From our product line, we would tweak a 48, 52 and 56 model each one degree weak to hit those precise lofts. And we would set the shaft lengths ¼” apart, beginning with the 49 at ¼” shorter than the golfer’s P-club. The result would be a precision set of scoring tools that pick up where the irons leave off.
You can tweak any wedges on the market to hit the in between numbers, but not all will give you the same results. And most will adjust 1-2 degrees in either direction without issue or breakage. But which way you go is important, too.

Making the loft stronger decreases the effective bounce, while making the loft weaker will increase it. So, if you are tweaking on a low bounce model, you probably want to be careful about reducing that by making the loft lower, and conversely, if you are tweaking a high bounce wedge, you might want to be careful about making the loft weaker, which will increase the bounce. If you want me to go into more detail about this, I can continue this analysis on Friday, but that should give you food for thought for now.

The key is to not settle for what is off the rack, and have fun tweaking your scoring tools to give you the performance you need.


photo source
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[ comments ]
Scott Shields says:
This makes perfect sense. I'm stuck in a bit of a gap issue myself. My adams A7's have a PW of 45 degrees. I picked up 3 vokey's @ 52, 56, and 60. Because I wanted a 60 for around the greens, and working backwards from there I figured I'd rather have a larger gap between the PW and 52 ... instead of the 56 and 60. (assuming 60-54-50 set as the alternative).

*shrug* its tricky now because my PW is a 130-140 club for me. But I can't hit a controlled 52 outside of 115 ... (or at least I prefer not too). So I do have a bit of a yardage hole ... :(

Any suggestions?
6/22/10
 
SingleDigits says:
Maybe bend the PW to 46* and the Gap to 50* would do the trick... and maybe bring the Sand Wedge down one degree to 55*.

The other option is to grip down 2" on the PW for those 120 yard shots.
6/22/10
 
mjaber says:
@youngstructural... if you want to add a 4th wedge, you could have your A7 P bent to 44, and then add a 48* (creating 44/48/52/56/60)
6/22/10
 
Banker85 says:
or just get new irons.
6/22/10
 
Banker85 says:
i searched high and low to find irons that werent so jacked. finally found taylormade rac LT 2005 model that had PW of 47* so only 5* gap from p-gw. so i got 47*/52*/56*/60*. now that i am not hitting it as far i wish i would have gotten a jacked set, playing like 46*/50*/54*/58* but oh well...
6/22/10
 
windowsurfer says:
It would be interesting to hear what a major iron maker has to say on the issue.
6/22/10
 
wedgeguy says:
I'm not thinking that you'll hear the major brands sound off on this one, windowsurfer, but it would be interesting, I'll admit. Getting your irons "right" is not much more than a simple application of physics. The numbers don't really mean anything -- results is what we're all after, right?
6/22/10
 
SingleDigits says:
Yeah, I play with 2006 Taylormade RAC MBs that have a 48* PW and then 4* increments for my GW, SW and LW. Just got some 2009 Mizuno MP 62s (with a 47* PW) but don't think I'll put them into play until the grooves of my current irons wear out.
6/23/10
 
SteveS says:
How is this relevant? Does it really matter what is stamped on the club? I get a kick out of players who ask the person who just hit what club they used; like someone hitting their 8 iron is the same as your 8 iron!! They should just do away with the numbers and stamp the loft on each club. That ego thing just will not go away. I could care less what someone hits their PW as long as I know what I hit my PW; that's all that matters. Also, tweeking a 46* to a 47* is a waste of time and money; for what, a 3 yd difference if you are that good and consisitent. I'd bet most if not all golfers can't hit their PW 5 times in a row and have each one hit within 3 yds of one another; golf is not that precise.
6/23/10
 
Zepo1a says:
I ask what club my playing partners hit because if they hit farther than me (most do), if they used an 8 I'll want to use a 7 or 6. No ego involved.
6/23/10
 
Scott Shields says:
Lol ... I have a friend that insists on constantly asking what iron number I'm hitting ... say its a 145 yard approach ... I tell him my 145 yard club. Because to say a 9 iron is irrelevant as it might be a pw to him .. or a 7 ... or a 5. It doesn't matter.
6/23/10
 
SteveS says:
@Zepo1a - Doesn't that mean you need to know their game as well? I'm a short hitter as well, 230 driver, 30*hybrid=150yd, PW (47*) - 100 yds. My brother and I play every week and he's a 8 hdcp-hits the ball a mile. When we play, we actually help each other out on reading greens and comparing distances to the flag; kind of like acting as each other's caddy. When we decide the distance to the flag, the only things I observe when he hits is 1) did he get good contact, 2)how the ball is affected by the wind, 3)how the green is receiving his approach shots. Now he spins his ball more than I so, he figures on firing closer than I; mine release more so I figure on some release to the pin factoring in landing the ball a shorter distance. So a flag at 145yds I would proabaly use my 140.
6/23/10
 
Bryan K says:
When you play with the same players all the time, you get a feel for what you shoot in relation to what they shoot. My regular playing partner gets about 10 more yards than I do with the same loft of club. My new irons are slightly jacked up (meaning the lofts are lower), so now I hit about the same distance with my 7 iron as he does with his 7 iron. I know that if he hit his 7 iron and went over the green, I should be able to use my 8 or 9 to get a perfect shot. Of course, I don't ever ask him directly (that's a penalty, if I'm not mistaken). However, I do try to sneak a peak of the bottom of the club while he's taking practice swings.
6/23/10
 
SteveS says:
Unless it's playing for money or prizes or competition, it's a lot easier to ask!
6/23/10
 
Banker85 says:
ya nothing wrong with asking a buddy if he is not a jerk he will tell you. My friend usually is about 1 to 1/2 a club shorter than me so it helps us out if we ask eachother like bjohn said. last week he hit a full SW from 75 yds long to back of green so i hit a soft lower SW to pin high.
6/23/10
 
SteveS says:
Banker - Just curious; it's obvious you didn't hit a full SW, and if you carry a lob wedge probably would have been a full LW for you since you are 1 club longer; so why did you pick the SW vs the LW? Also if 75 yds isn't a full SW for you, you had to do something, choke up, smaller backswing.etc. how does the fact that you knew he hit a full SW help you with a partial shot? You could have accomplished the same outcome with a full LW or even a low trajectory one hop and stop GW/PW.
6/23/10
 
sepfeiff says:
I ask all the time, never heard of it being a penalty. I'll ask especially if we're directly into or with the wind and their ball goes way long or short.
6/24/10
 
SingleDigits says:
Rule 8. Advice; During a stipulated round, a player must not:

(a) give advice to anyone in the competition playing on the course other than his partner, or
(b) ask for advice from anyone other than his partner or either of their caddies.

8-2. Indicating Line of Play
a. Other Than on Putting Green

Except on the putting green, a player may have the line of play indicated to him by anyone, but no one may be positioned by the player on or close to the line or an extension of the line beyond the hole while the stroke is being made. Any mark placed by the player or with his knowledge to indicate the line must be removed before the stroke is made.

Exception:Flagstick attended or held up - see Rule 17-1.

b. On the Putting Green When the player's ball is on the putting green, the player, his partner or either of their caddies may, before but not during the stroke, point out a line for putting, but in so doing the putting green must not be touched. A mark must not be placed anywhere to indicate a line for putting.
6/24/10
 
SingleDigits says:
8-1/2 Exchanging Distance Information

Information regarding the distance between two objects is public information and not advice. It is therefore permissible for players to exchange information relating to the distance between two objects. For example, a player may ask anyone, including his opponent, fellow-competitor or either of their caddies, the distance between his ball and the hole.

Except when the Local Rule allowing the use of distance-measuring devices has been adopted (see Note to Rule 14-3), information regarding distance must not have been obtained from an artificial device used during the stipulated round. A player who obtains distance information that he knew was measured by anyone with an artificial device during the player's round is disqualified under Rule 14-3.
6/24/10
 
SteveS says:
So back to my point in a previous post - isn't it much more helpful to get the distance to the flag, now knowing that players can do this (I didn't know that), than it is knowing what club the other player hits.
6/24/10
 
Banker85 says:
Steve: i dont like hitting full lob wedges, not comfortable with it. so ya i choked down brought club back to a little past parallel and hit a punchy SW. sorry i was not detailed enought for you.
6/24/10
 
Scott Shields says:
Jesus .... If i've had a nikel for everytime someone hit me up for a distance with my range finder ... I'd be DQ'd quite a bit, and have paid for it by now. =)
6/25/10
 
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Terry Koehler is "The Wedge Guy" and President of SCOR Golf- The Short Game Company.

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