Knowing Your Game Part 2
Continuing on the subject I started on Tuesday, I know it might be difficult for many of you to find that deserted hole to conduct the exercise, but there were some good ideas tossed out there about going out late and early. And when you do, pick a spot over near the edge of the fairway, nearer the tee, where approach shots are not typically played. And please do take some sand with you if your course provides that.

The fact is that there is no substitute for accurate knowledge about your distances. And you might have to put out a little extra effort to find a way to chart yours. But it is one of the smartest things you can do for your scoring this season, trust me.

Moving along with this subject, I'm giving more and more presentations these days about "Golf By The Numbers", a concept that I think will eventually replace the historic and very obsolete notion of a set of numbered irons. At the long end, we have loft-indicated hybrids, and at the short end, loft-indicated wedges. This makes sense. But in the middle, we can only select from "numbered" irons, which keep it rather secret as to what the lofts really are.

Making this even more cryptic, the irons-makers keep cranking down the lofts of the middle irons — 4-8 — so that they can advertise them as "longer than the other guys'". What I'm seeing is that these culprits are increasing the gaps between the shorter irons from the traditional four degrees to five, thereby increasing your distance differentials where you need precision the most. What you get then, is a set of irons that have very small distance differentials at the long end and big ones at the short end — IT SHOULD BE THE OTHER WAY AROUND!!!!

I talk to clubfitters all the time who tell me that most recreational golfers of average skill have 2-3 clubs at the long end of their set that essentially go the same distance ... or not far enough apart to warrant carrying them. I am a big watcher of the "What's in the bag?" features in the magazines and see tour professionals having this same issue — 9-12 yard gaps at 200+ yards, at the expense of 20-25 yard gaps inside 8-iron range.

But if the best tour players average over forty feet from the hole on approach shots outside of 200 yards – that's 13-14 yards, right or left — why do they need distance gaps of only 4-5 yards long/short at that range? Especially when it comes at the expense of those tight gaps in short range when it really counts.

I'm just sayin ... why not have your directional and distance accuracy more in line, all the way from long to short?
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[ comments ]
DoubleDingo says:
I need to do the exercise. This is a little off topic: I have been creating a yardage book for my use that is specific to the country cluconcentrates on approach distances to the center of the greens. I used aerial photos that I inserted into AutoCAD, drew in arcs/circles radiating out from the center of the greens at specified yardages, and then used google earth the get elevations for various spots at those yardages and the center, front, and back of the greens. I'll use number 11 as an example. It is a 600 yard par 5, that is up hill the entire way, and slopes heavily from 6 to 13 feet higher on the left than the right. The tee is 918 el and the green is 1002 el. 150 yards leaving you with either 20' rise/28' rise/or 35' rise to the center of the green. The green slopes from back to front, and the greens are lightning fast. It has always been a guessing game hitting to that green and almost always coming up short. Now I have a better chance of getting the right club for the shot, and can concentrate on the
3/22/13
 
DoubleDingo says:
Crap that was supposed to be cut for editing...let me clarify...sorry guys...
3/22/13
 
DoubleDingo says:
I have been creating a yardage book for my use that is specific to the country club I play, that concentrates on approach distances to the center of the greens. I inserted aerial photos into AutoCAD, drew in arcs/circles radiating out from the center of the greens at specified yardages, and then used google earth the get elevations for various spots at those yardages and the center, front, and back of the greens. I'll use number 11 as an example. It is a 600 yard par 5, that is up hill the entire way, and slopes heavily from 6 to 13 feet higher on the left than the right. The tee is 918 el and the green is 1002 el. 150 yards leaving you with either 20' rise/28' rise/or 35' rise to the center of the green. The green slopes from back to front, and the greens are lightning fast. It has always been a guessing game hitting to that green and almost always coming up short. Now I have a better chance of getting the right club for the shot, and can concentrate on the shot instead of worrying if I have the right club.
3/22/13
 
larrynjr says:
I read a recent Golf Digest article online from a teaching pro who suggests that anyone who isn't regularly breaking 90 should only have a pitching wedge and a sandwedge then fill in with more mid length hybrids for long rescue shots. I like and follows Terry's view point regarding this!
3/22/13
 
michsar says:
Terry, have all club manufacturers changed the lofts on their numbering? I play Pings and for the past 10 years they've been pretty consistent. Are some more notorious than others? I've also noticed that this information is usually not easily found on most sites. BTW, I love the approach of knowing the metrics around the club and starting from the wedges out. It is such an obvious approach yet it is difficult to shift from the "old way". Once I did, and factored in yardage, I have so much more trust in my club selection even if my bag is drastically different than my friends'.
3/22/13
 
jasonfish11 says:
That article was in the magazine as well. I understood his reasoning but didn't like the concept.

I also agree with closing the gaps from short yardages then if you still have room in your bag closing the gaps in the middle/top of your bag.

At the top of my bag I have Dr, 3w, 3h then I get into my irons. I can cover any yardage from 200 to 280 with those 3 clubs (200 to 250 from the fairway). I also have 3 wedges at the bottom of my bag that contains a massive gap from 115-125 that I need to fix.

Saying I should just hit a knock down PW from 115 and buy a clup fill a small gap around 220-230 yards at the top of my bag is insane IMO.

I agree with Terry.
3/22/13
 
GBogey says:
@michsar - I've been looking at new irons and based upon my research, Ping, Mizuno, Titleist haven't changed their loft much but everyone else has or is in the process of doing so.
3/22/13
 
kes300 says:
hi their set up my bag a couple of years ago with driver , 2hybrid then my irons go from 5 down the p has 44 deg loft
wedges 48 (de lofted 52) 52,56,60 so I've got a 30yd gap at the top end thats not as important to me as trying to keep the low end gaps tight
3/22/13
 
windowsurfer says:
I have gone back + forth on wedges, from 4 to less. I built a chipper by taking a 50* spin milled wedge, bent it to 37* and stuck a putter shaft in it. I use that around the green + chip with a 56* sw + a 51* gap wedge. Depending on the sitch, I sometimes use the Ray Floyd putt-with-your-iron technique, with the 37*. This is my set up now - summer may see the 60* find its way back in.
3/23/13
 
TR1PTIK says:
@mchsar & @GBogey - I've noticed the same thing with those club manufacturers... Sadly, I think a a lot of golfers feel they aren't good enough to play with those clubs or shell out the money for them (especially in the case of Ping irons). I've been playing Titleist clubs for a few years now and can't bring myself to even consider a set of Taylormades or Callaway clubs - I'd rather know that my numbers aren't inflated and be able to feel mishits (even when I get penalized for them).
3/24/13
 
Tim Horan says:
I won't say all manufacturers have jacked there lofts...but even Mizuno, (hellishly) Ping (especially) and Titleist (marginally) have jacked down their lofts. Here I am going to make a generalisation...any manufacturer that offers a range of "specialist wedges (48-60+) are going to want you to buy their wedges so they move their irons away from the wedges creating a gap between PW (anything from 43-47 (Mizuno. Ping and Titleist quoted)and any sand wedge (normally around the 56 degree). These gaps were never there but course situations always demanded that golfers adapted and fashioned shots to fill gaps (knock down wedges and 9 irons). It is only in the last 10-15 years that AWs, GWs, LWs have been thrust upon the market - first as a novelty and then as the lofts got jacked down a necessity (almost).
3/25/13
 
Tim Horan says:
I have kept faithfull to a set of lofts (21 degree for a 3 iron ranging to 48 degree at PW) and each set I buy I buy to those lofts. I adjust within these to close up any playing gaps and I have a four piece (48, 52, 56 and 60 dgree wedge set). The two 48 degree clubs are swapped in and out as they have completely different sole attributes and one is better suited to dry conditions than the other.
3/25/13
 
kayagum says:
It's not just lofts that are being jacked up- shaft length too. Not just drivers- irons are doing the same. Even the lie angles- maybe people are taller, but I suspect it more has to do with artificially helping golfers hit left.
3/29/13
 
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Terry Koehler is "The Wedge Guy" and President of SCOR Golf- The Short Game Company.

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