What Modern Technology Has Done To Your Scoring
Unless you’ve been hiding in a cave, you probably have taken advantage of modern technology and are hitting the ball much further than ever. In my own estimation, looking back at a lifetime of golf from the “other side of 60” now, I’m hitting my driver 20-30 yard longer than I hit the old persimmon driver in my 30s. Well, I’ll tell you something, it’s not because I’m stronger now, that’s for sure. It’s all about the ball and the driver technology.
When I was younger, I played a local municipal course that was a nice layout. Being a scratch player of reasonable length, my typical approach shots were in the 5-8 iron range on most holes, with a few longer ones and a few shorter ones. Now, on that same course, those 5-iron holes have become 9-iron shots, and the wedge lofts get a thorough workout. And I still play Reid Lockhart blade irons with traditional lofts, so I actually hit them a little shorter than I did back then. The difference is all in the driver and ball.
I’m sure the same has happened to all of you, but is being that much closer to the green lowered your handicap significantly? According to the industry statistics . . . NO. Not at all. So why not?
You’re hitting approach shots with less club than ever before – which is the whole idea behind trying to hit it further off the tee, right? But you are not scoring better. Why not?
Well, my answer is that while technology has totally changed how far you hit your driver, fairways, hybrids and irons, it has also given you fewer true scoring clubs by jacking up the lofts. The wedges you are playing look and play just like those you had in your bag 20-30 years ago (in what other category could that fly?). And you probably have not done a careful review of your wedge lofts in years, still playing the same lofts you did 2-3 sets of irons ago, even though your new “P-club” is a stronger club than your old 9-iron or even 8-iron used to be.
I was amazed to read that this week’s winner, Ted Potter, Jr. carries only wedges of 54 and 60 degrees of loft, but selected a 9-iron for his 164 yard approach on 18. So, that would lead me to believe he can hit 6-iron about 200. So, he at least 6 clubs that go over 200 and only 3 that go less than 165. That’s just crazy and totally illogical. Yes, he won, but that just makes no sense. Inside prime scoring range, he has to continuously manufacture shots to get close to the hole. Readers, that just cannot work with consistency.
Forget the notion of carrying “4-5 wedges”. Think of it as having the right selection of clubs available so that you can dial in shots of any distance by making the same swing, and only varying your hand position on the grip and maybe the face angle slightly. You can’t get there if you have 20-25 yard gaps between your scoring range clubs. If “the other guy” would have had the confidence in his wedge play that a tour player should, he would have laid back on the second play-off hole, given himself a clean fairway wedge shot, and known that he could stick it close to the hole and make Potter look at that while he was facing that little pitch. The outcome might have been totally different.
My whole point is that technology has compressed your clubs to the long distances, and left you fewer options when you are in scoring range.
You should really fix that.
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I am good, I carry a 47* PW then 52-56-60. Ideally i would get 3 Scor wedges of 51-55-59 but i am poor and nothing wrong with my current wedges. The lack of wedges might be why Potter missed 24/24 cuts one year.
If only there were same wedge company that could tailor the lofts of wedges to our current set of iron specs so the gaps weren't so large.
I feel like you're preaching to the wrong choir here Terry. I think the typical guy or gal on a site like oob is more obsessive and knowledgeable than your average player. I am definitely aware of lofts, gaps, etc. and I think the rest of the oob community has to be by now as it is beaten to death.
I just try to pass this knowledge on to the golfers who don't play or care as much as I think an extra scoring club for that golfer really makes a difference. I loaned a work league friend a lob wedge and it opened up a new world for him around the greens (previously only had a 52).
Matt McGee says:
Years ago, when I took golf far too seriously and didn't have any fun playing, I had one wedge in my bag. I tried to learn to hit that wedge from every imaginable distance and lie, up to a full swing. While I agree that some compensation has to be made for the change in lofts in newer clubs, I'd also argue that there's something to be said for learning to use one club very, very well.
I was at the local golf shop one day, just browsing, trying to figure out what my next club purchase would be. I got into a discussion with one of the staff. I told him what I had "in my bag" and explained that I was actually carrying 4 wedges. He told me he only has the "p" that came with his set and a sand wedge. He is older, and has been playing for many years and has that 1 wedge dialed in so well that he does not need the array that I have. I explained to him that I was new to golf, and was just a casual player with less time than I would like to play/practice, so it made more sense to me to be able to make the same swing with different clubs to get the same distances he gets by adjusting his swing with his 1 club. He liked the idea, though it was not for him. I think he might be using my line to help him sell more wedges of varying lofts now, though.
@dartboss. I recently did something similar. I ordered a couple lob wedges and had them delivered to two of my playing companions. One fellow--the most stubborn of the pair--took to it right away and it's already helped him around the greens. The other is afraid to give it an honest trial because he's one of those guys who's always done all of his short work with a 7 iron. To each his own I guess.
Terry, after reading all your articles I went out and bought a used set of Titleist ZB (blend blade to cavity)irons to improve my ball striking... After an initial struggle, I came to love them and sold the AP1 I bough a year before... To the same extend I own you the fact I carry 4 wedges (even if I really use 3 of them): 47* pitching, 52*, 56*, and 60*. 52 is for anything between 95-115, 56 is for any shot around the green, short pitches up to the 90 yds full shot... the 60* is a work in process and I still don't fee to comfortable to use it for a lot of shots: mainly on short lob shots that need to pass a tree and drop...
I have had a 5 degree gap between my wedges and have struggled with the 61* so I am patiently waiting on my scor 59* and 55* to make it 4 degrees between them which I am hopeful will improve my confidence and help me get the ball closer to the hole.
Granted tour players can "manufacture" shots a helluva a lot more consistently than I can given the number of balls they hit. I'm surprised he has only two wedges tho. Why would anyone do that despite how good you are??
played with one of the slow pair from this weekend who had a 64degree wedge. He used it constantly. He was also pretty good with it, but couldn't do anything else. Here's where i say willingness to learn how to use the scoring clubs (and clubs in general) is a big part of scoring inside 150 yards. After getting up and down 9 of 12 times during the round to his 2 of 10, i suggested he try the "rule of 12". i explained it to him and he refused to acknowledge that it was even good. It had worked for me all but 3 times (chunked chips) and i was sure it would have worked then too. insisted that his flop was good enough. I let him go. The next couple times he asked "how do you keep doing that" i just said "you wouldn't believe me if i told you". Doesn't matter how many wedges you have if you don't know how to use them in a few different ways.
I sorta think the Wedge Guy did not get/give full info on Ted Potter's 9-iron this week. I thought the Greenbriar played at or close to altitude, which would mean that the ball naturally would fly farther. Also, the last hole was a par 3 that he was hitting off of a tee,i.e. the perfect lie, hitting to a downhill green, which would also allow the ball to go a little further.
Not to hate or bash on the Wedge Guy because there have been several instances where his advice helped me out on the course, but I really get tired of hearing about how "jacked up" golf technology is and (more specifically) club lofts. I'll agree that too much emphasis has been placed on distance, but I know that there is very little difference between the clubs I play now and the first set I owned (originally my grandfather's from about 20 years ago) in the way of loft (except for my driver). Is it possible that Wedge Guy hits the ball further because he has gained a better understanding of golf mechanics? I know I have, but even still I only hit the ball mildly farther than I did as a physically fit teen. This sales pitch is getting old!
Yes, but that is his primary purpose of writing on this site. To promote his product. His articles are heavily laden with marketing and promotion for SCOR. We all know that. We all understand scoring clubs and the benefits of more rather than fewer. At least most of us here do. Many of his articles are good. Too many are overly salesy. I just stop reading when they sound that way.
I think golfers these days just play fewer rounds, no? That alone can eat into your scoring. I have seen a number of sources which calculate that modern industrialized people have half the free time of their previous generation.
My big takeaway from Terry is the need to focus on 150 yards and in. I have recently read some Bob Rotella books and he has a very similar focus (he actually wants his pro clients to focus on holing any shot within 150). How one focuses between wedge gaps, grip positioning, half swings, etc., I think is up to the individual and what makes them comfortable. I think that Terry makes great suggestions. A little salesy maybe, but I believe it comes more from passionate beliefs than attempts to sell.
I personally am not yet convinced that I would be better off with 4* wedge gaps versus my current 6* gaps. At my mid-handicap level, my first goal is to hit the green with an easy two putt - I'm getting better at this. Not yet convinced that smaller wedge gaps would increase the number of one putts and adding a wedge would require eliminating a club in my distance challenged game. If money wasn't an object, I'd buy several more clubs and test the configurations, but that is not the case.
Well, I've been following the Wedge Guy for some time, and he knows a heck of a lot more about wedges than me. I learn as much from other contributors to be fair, He brings us together, and doesn't hide the fact that he is selling wedges.
I used to be a Vokey player, primarily one wedge beyond the P in my set. I got more Vokey wedges and used highly varying bounces. When the time came I bought 4 matched and blended Eidolons. The transition took some getting used to, but has been well worth it. I replaced the P from the set and top out at 60*. I haven't been paid to tell you this, but I received prompt, courteous service and was able to get matched and blended wedges: loft, shaft, length, etc. My club are guaranteed and I don't need to worry about bounce. Now all I have to do is play.
Let me address a few of your comments, which I always appreciate, of course.
dartboss04: Your lead-in question was either sarcastic or you haven't been to scorgolf.com. We do exactly that.
srogers13: Yes, the altitude would have to figure in, but still? 164 yard pitching wedge?
Tr1PTIK: The evolution of iron lofts is indisputable. But it does depend on the make/model you are comparing. Blades to blades, not much. But the typical P club in game improvement sets these days is 44-46 degrees.
DougE: My primary purpose of this blog is to share things I know about golf clubs and golf to hopefully help others play better. But I'm too commercial here, I trust you guys will tell me.
To all, what would you like to have me write about? Just click the link below and send me your suggested topics and I'll get to them.
Wedgeguy - Another good topic is practicing putting tips. I work on my putting all the time and inside 4 feet I am great. 5 feet to 7 feet about a fifty percent make rate. 8 to ten feet I seem to never make a putt and I can't remember the last time I rolled in a 20 footer. I practive 10 and 20 foot putts all the time. Any tips, games, ideas, adjustments to make more of these putts. I think I need a putting lesson.
A-M, I have several good putting games, I'll try to find a link...
Well, it was a 9-iron from 164 for him. Now, I am not long with my irons ( i don't think) but in Alabama not too far above sea level, I am about 135 with my nine from a fairway, to a same level green. When I add a tee shot, I go to at least 140. If I played at altitude, 10%, I go to at least 150. Downhill, 1 club (approx 10 yds) makes me 160. Seems to me 164 is not that much of a stretch for a pro, even if it was a PW.
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