Ben Hogan Sure Out Wedge
"Sole Food" - Wedge Grinds, Camber, Etc.
Well, this is the "WedgeGuy" column, and I do get questions daily about the vast array of sole grinds on the market, available in the racks or even custom ground to supposedly "fit" individual golfers. So I thought I would pick one today to dive into this topic a little more. Based on the volume of mail and calls we get, and the myriad of information (and mis-information) we get at EIDOLON and here, maybe the most confusing aspect of golf equipment is the way a wedge sole functions. It started with a question I received from Michael Y, who asked:
"Quick question on grinds and camber. Has the heel to toe camber effectively moved from the leading edge on old clubs to the trailing edge on modern clubs as specialized grinds? My 25-year-old Palmer The Standard sand wedge has a lot of heel to toe camber, but most modern sand wedges appear to have a relatively straight leading edge without much heel to toe camber, while having C grind, etc., near the trailing edge."
Well, Michael, in one moment of observation you have seen the evolution of the "sand wedge" in modern times. To me, it’s an interesting story in the area of golf equipment, and it goes back to the origin of the sand wedge itself, generally credited to Gene Sarazen. Back in his time, bunkers were real hazards, presenting the golfer with an extremely difficult challenge, given the narrow and sharp soles common to iron designs then. Inspired by the way an airplane exhibited lift upon landing, Sarazen welded material to the bottom of a niblick and created that same lifting effect as the club made contact with the sand. Boom, bunkers became not so intimidating.

For decades, "sand wedges" were just that – clubs designed to extricate your ball from the sand. Nothing more, nothing less. Through the 1960s, most had large rounded soles, with much camber (heel to toe radius), to make them "bounce" off of the soft sand, allowing the execution of the explosion technique. The Hogan Sure Outs, Wilson R90s, and others became legendary for how good they were at this task.

Back then, golfers revered their pitching wedges as their "go to" scoring clubs around the greens, and most had 50-51 degrees of loft so that they would be effective in that use. The sand wedge was limited to shots from the bunkers. Somewhere in the 1970s/80s, as iron lofts began to be strengthened, sand wedges began to take on narrower soles and various bounce angles, which made them more suitable for shots from the fairway and other "non-bunker" lies. As this more versatile use became more adopted by golfers, the leading edge of these wedges got a little straighter and the sole a little flatter, with reduced camber. Nowadays, the modern "sand wedge" is the "go to" scoring club for most golfers around the greens, and for all shots inside pitching wedge range.

Well, now that we've had this little history lesson, it appears that I need more time to get into the real question, and that is how these various grinds affect shotmaking, and your own scoring. So, I’m going to make you wait until Friday to see if I can’t help you sort through the fog of bounces, grinds, etc. that proliferate in the wedge category.

Enjoy your new EIDOLON V-SOLE wedge, Michael, and I hope all of you enjoy this two part series.
The Wedge Guy is sponsored by SCOR Golf, where Terry Koehler is President/CEO. He encourages you to submit your questions or topics to be considered for his columns on Tuesdays and Fridays. Each submission automatically enters you to win a SCOR4161 wedge to be given away monthly. Click the button below to submit your question or topic today.


[ comments ]
TravisMiller says:
I guess everyone is waiting for the second half of the article to comment. I love my sand wedge 56* but I am learning to use more than just it around the green. The other day when I was playing using "The Rule of 12" I about sunk a chip with my PW.
9/14/10
 
larrynjr says:
My 56* sand wedge is currently my close scoring club. I used it tonight to chip in to 12" for par on one hole and pitched to 3' for birdie on another. I plan though to get a 52* club as my "gap" wedge and see how that treats me.
9/14/10
 
Tim Horan says:
I have several "sand" wedges ranging from a Mizuno with high bounce and heavy camber (I just cannot use this from the grass)to an old Ping look alike with a straight sole, sharp leading edge and zero bounce. I also have my Eidolon and Kane 56 degree wedges. All have a place in my bag if the conditions demand it. Zero bounce (sand only) on wet days. I will say though that the Eidolon with it's dual bounce is perhaps the most used because it is so versatile.
9/15/10
 
Banker85 says:
I love my sandwedge, atleast for now. Yesterday I hit my approach shot on 18 from about 78 yards to 5 feet and finished with birdie.
9/15/10
 
SingleDigits says:
Jason Day carries two pitching wedges... www.golfdigest.com/golf-equipment/whats-in-my-ba
9/16/10
 
onedollarwed says:
Sand wedge: 56 degrees, 16 bounce - greenside bunkers, fluffy lies, 100-110 yds from tee or fairway.

Other situations are for lob (60/04): 95 and in tight lies, flops, pitches.
and GAP (52/07): 115-125, chips, some longer bunker shots

P from set = 48 degrees
9/17/10
 
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Terry Koehler is "The Wedge Guy" and President of SCOR Golf- The Short Game Company.

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