Looking At Your Team Wrap Up
This is a topic that I’ve chosen to give extra attention to with this three-part series, because I get the most interest and feedback on it when we discuss wedges with golfers of all skill levels at the many demo day events we are doing for SCOR. As I mentioned, I’m not a proponent of more wedges because I design and make them . . . it’s quite the reverse. SCOR was created because I believe we all have been short-sheeted by the major companies’ relentless quest for more distance, which they’ve extended all the way to the irons.
I know lots of you say you have your ½ and ¾ swings down pretty good, and maybe you do, but the average amateur golfer doesn’t. Hitting consistent shots with a full swing is much easier. You even see tour players laying up to precise full-swing sand and lob wedge yardages to give them that kind of shot, rather than a “finesse” half or three-quarter swing wedge shot.
My simple premise of this series is that your set is “jammed” at the long end with smaller distance gaps than it is at the long end. The geometry of golf clubs – 4 degrees of loft and ½” length differentials – will yield smaller actual distance gaps at the long end than the short. And many iron manufacturers are aggravating that by increasing the gap between the 9-iron and PW to 5 degrees.
But on the golf course, you really will benefit from the opposite – wider gaps at the long end and increasingly smaller gaps as you get closer to the hole, where you are needing and can benefit from more pinpoint distance control. So how do you get there? It’s not that hard.
It starts by really knowing how far you hit each of your clubs, and most of us don’t. I published an e-booklet called “The SCOR Method” that shows you how to do this with the short clubs; but you can use this all the way to the driver (get it here). Once you really know your distances, then you can see where the gaps are small and fix that.
I’m not a long hitter, but I am a low single-digit handicap player, so let’s use my set as an example of how you can fix the gaps by tweaking lofts and lengths from what manufacturers offer. Below my driver, I play a 17* 4-wood at 42” length. This gives me a club I can turn over to about 220-225, or hit approach shots from 205-220 on par fives or long par fours by gripping down a bit. Then I play a 21* hybrid at 40” that I use for approaches or positioning shots from 190-205 or so.
For those shorter driving holes, for which many golfers carry a 3-wood, I’ve spent a short amount of time learning to hit a driver gripped down 2-3” to give me a 225-245 accurate tee shot option.
To widen my distance gaps in my positioning clubs, I varied off the “standard” 4* and ½” differences to this:
By increasing the length difference to 3/4” between the 6 and 5, and 5 and 4, I’ve widened the distance gaps there. Below the 8-iron, I carry SCOR wedges at 43, 47, 51, 55, 58 that are ¼” length differentials. That gives me full-swing yardages every 10-12 yards from 125 down to 82-85. With all of these clubs, I know I can cut my gaps in half by simply gripping down on the club about one half to three quarters of an inch.
With this set arrangement, I have increasingly narrow full-swing distance gaps as I get closer to the green. And that’s where scores are made, whether you are a tour pro or a recreational golfer trying to break 90 or 100.
I’ll leave you with this experiment. Play a round of golf without ever hitting a shot with anything more than a 5-iron, other than your drives. On holes where that is not enough to reach the green, simply pick a spot where you have a nice flat lie for your wedge shot and lay up to it. You might be surprised at how little it affects your scoring to not hit any shots with the distance clubs.
As long as you are sharp with your wedges.
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.
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Terry, I have been doing this experiment the last few rounds. My strategy and philosophy is to treat every hole as a par-3 challenge. I try to position myself off the tee (and lay-up) to play this challenge. If I am not in a good position like being in the rough or trees, I still have to get it up-and-down in 3 strokes. I haven't improved much in scoring but I am putting, chipping, pitching, and punching out a lot better. I am becoming more accurate, more confident in my club distances based on situations(lie, wind, uphill/downhill shots, etc) and better at course management. After reading this series, I will re-evaluate my gapping of clubs.
Ebooklet link is not there?
@phraynck- I fixed the link.
I enjoyed the first two parts of this series, but unfortunately this one left me in the dust in terms of understanding. It's not Terry's fault ... I just think it might expect a bit more precision than a high handicapper can muster. This series HAS made me think about my "team" quite a bit, though. I had thought for a while about carrying four wedges (PW, GW, and two sand wedges that I hit very differently) and this convinced me to do so in order to get the best possible match on my approach shots. To make room, I ditched my five iron, which I really won't miss much.
That PDF seems to have a typeface dependency. All I see are dots!
Matt F says:
Terry, my irons 6-8 are the same lofts as yours, except I play a 43* 9 iron then I have a 5* gap to my Eidolon 48, 52 and 56* wedges. On the other end a 15* 3 wood (which I'm replacing with a 17* 2 hybrid) 22 and 28* hybrids.
I found the most interesting aspect of this article is Terry's focus on shaft lengths rather than lofts. It seems to me that this puts the exercise out of reach of the average joe. We can buy a new wedge with a different loft from the bargain barrel easily. It is a bit more involved to get your existing shafts trimmed or reshafted longer. I guess that makes going carefully through Terry's scor fit epub thingy first import. I'm gonna chat to my pro about all this.
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