Balls, Bunkers and Feel
First of all, thanks to all of you who sent in questions this past week. I received dozens and have been sorting through them for ideas for articles. There are some good ones that require a full article and I’ve set them aside, but today I want to address three topics that came up repeatedly from you guys.
What Golf Ball Should You Play?
This was probably the most asked question, and my answer is simple and consistent. All golf balls on the market today are plenty long . . . but your scores will reflect your ability to control the ball with the wedges and putter. So, play the ball that feels the best off the putter and spins the best on your short shots around the green. And for Pete’s sake, do not think you need to play the hottest ball on tour . . . unless you are a tour-caliber player. If you lose 2-3 balls a round, or more, it’s senseless to tee up a Pro V1 or other $50/dozen pellet. You won’t get the benefit of the top-shelf golf balls until you are consistently breaking 80, in my humble opinion. Save yourself some dough, play a more reasonably priced ball and spend the extra buying a bucket of that same brand from one of the used ball companies, so that you have a short game shag bag.
Bunker Play Dilemma
I had several questions relating to how to deal with the variety of sand most recreational players find from course-to-course, and from bunker-to-bunker on the same course. The tour players have the privilege of playing the same texture of sand almost every week, and it’s manicured to PGA Tour standards – moist and firm. You’ll see very few fried eggs, plugged lies, etc. out there. The TV audiences like to see these guys work magic from bunkers, and they do.
But the rest of us might encounter anything and every kind of sand, even in a single round of golf. You need wedges that can handle them all, and a technique that you believe in. For the former, I’ll brag that only SCOR has that sole – it is patented, and we guarantee its performance. You know where to find it.
For the latter, there are as many bunker tips and techniques are there are teachers, it seems. I encourage you to research my archives, read elsewhere online and in books, watch videos and try them all, until you find one that seems to work . . . . for you. Then spend time in the practice bunker drilling it into your head and getting confidence in your skills.
It all boils down to the shaft, and you will improve your short game touch by pulling the heavy and stiff steel shaft that came in your wedges, and replacing it with something more similar to the shaft in your irons in weight, material and flex. If you play graphite in your irons, match that in your wedges. Ditto for light steel. But for better feel, get the next softer flex than your irons, tip the shaft a little and you’ll have a great improvement.
Or spring for a set of SCOR4161s!
Thanks for the questions this week and keep them coming. I’ve got a lot of writing to do.
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 ]
Concerning the question on balls: how do you feel about the spin rate of a ball and how that spin effects full shots, in particular with the driver? In other words will that same tour caliber ball that spins well on the green cause an amateur more problems from side spin off the driver?
"...tip the shaft a little..."
What does that mean?
On one radio show I was listening to one day, guy called in to get advice on the "which ball" to play. He said his game is around high 90s/100s and want to improve his game via using new ball. Teaching pro on the show said "play any ball as long as it is white. You need to improve on other aspect of golf, and not worry about which ball to play". So, I agree with Terry on his article. Also, I wish casual players can play off from PGA Tour quality sand traps...that will definitely lower my score by couple of strokes for sure.
"...tip the shaft a little"
that's what she said.
I am not sure saying a prov1 wouldnt help me. I lose a ball or two a round but the touch around the greens is so good when i am hitting a short pitch with a prov1 i feel very confident in what to expect. i know it is all about what works best for each person but to say it would not help someone who shots in the 90's is off IMO.
joe jones says:
Play any ball you can find as long as its in good shape. I give away all of the Pro V balls I find because my swing speed can't compress the ball enough to play it. I prefer softer balls if I can find them. Luckily I live in a senior community so a lot of my golfing buddies and I swap "finds". They save me Noodles and I give them Pro V or equal In return.
"tip the shaft a little"
I'm not positive but I think it's also called soft/hard stepping. Which is when you put, say a 6 iron shaft in a 7 iron to soft-step (and trim the grip end down 1/2 inch accordingly). This moves the taper point up giving it a lighter feel. Conversely, putting a 7 iron shaft cut to 6 iron length in a 6 iron moves taper down giving firmer feel. But I'm no expert on clubs and probably wrong... Terry?
For the last 35 years, I have been putting 8 iron shafts in SW and LW. My touch on bunker shots,pitch shots and lobs is tremendous with this set-up Now that I am officialy an old fart(went on Medicare this month), I use graphite shafts in my irons . Even if you don't use graphite in your, I feel you should use them in the SW and LW. I started the soft tipping after talking to Lee Trevino at the 1976 TPC during a thunder storm. I weas spotting for ABC and Lee was playing the 16th hole at Inverarry. We both ended up in an ABC trailer for about an hour and talked about club set-up the entire time!
"Tipping" a shaft relates to trimming it slightly. It will stiffen the feel.
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