More On Our "Tool Kits"
Thanks for all the comments on last week's article. Since this subject of our tool kits seems to strike a nerve with some of you, let's stay on topic a while longer. Let me address a few of the specific posts:
  1. The loft gap/distance difference connection. Here's the simple physics of the design of golf clubs. Loft differences of 4* all the way through the set will still result in a slightly larger distance differential at the high-loft end than at the low loft end. As the manufacturers have compressed these differentials at the long end to 3* and expanded the differentials at the short end to 5*, they have aggravated this issue. Look at the tour players bags that are published and you'll see smaller differences at long range than at short range. It should be the other way around.

    The manufacturers are not focused on presenting you with the optimum set of golf clubs as much as they are competing against the other companies. This is big business at the top level. And if the other guy has a 6-iron that is longer than yours, in today's world that is a huge problem for you. Clubs are sold at demo days and on launch monitors, and they've fed us a constant diet of "bigger, faster, longer" for decades. We follow along like lemmings.

    My bet is that this week's PGA Championship will be won by someone near the top of the stat-pack in fairways and greens, not driving distance.

  2. Quality Control. This has always been a burr under my saddle, that what's "acceptable" in variances in loft and lie are so broad. It is very common to find that your irons are as much as 2* off in stated loft and lie angle. We see it all the time when we examine other brands of clubs. That's just due to variances in the casting or forging process, and the emphasis on speed of manufacture (time is money, right?). Which is why we put every club on a loft/lie gauge before it goes out, to make sure that every SCOR4161 club is within ¼" of a degree of what it is supposed to be. It takes time, which costs money, but to us, it's simply the right thing to do.

  3. Laws of ball flight. I'll finish with the last post by "jasonfish11", asking if modern clubs launch the ball higher than old ones. The laws of golf ball flight are really pretty simple. Given other parameters that are equal, a golf ball reacts to the loft, clubhead speed and weight distribution of the head. Look at hybrids. By getting away from iron design in the low-20 lofts, and building those clubs around a "squished up" fairway wood, we can put mass lower and back, which delivers higher ball flight for a given loft and clubhead speed. And voila ... golfers of all skill levels can now handle clubs on the low end of that 24/38 benchmark I wrote about. And the higher the clubhead speed, the more weight distribution affects trajectory. With modern golfers swinging so much faster/harder than golfers used to, these young guns all hit these towering shots, even with long clubs. And they fight that too-high trajectory with their short clubs.

    Because they insist on making all irons look alike, we get the same weighting in our 40* 9-iron as in our 28* 6-iron, and it balloons the trajectory. We're doing robotic testing right now on the top "p-clubs" compared to the SCOR4161 club of the same loft to quantify just how much higher and less consistent they are ... with their very low center of mass and very thin face ... than is our approach to the "money clubs". I'll report on that soon, but for now, understand that the harder you swing, the higher the ball goes. The lower the mass, the higher the ball goes.

    And what makes a good 6-iron typically makes a really lousy 9-iron ... or 3!
  4. So there you go with a "deeper dive". Where do you guys want to go from here?
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 ]
birdieXris says:
Funny, the commentators on the PGA live feed at the championship just commented on how the manufacturers are putting different numbers on the bottom of clubs and jacking up the lofts, and Phil "figured this out" and that's the reason he won at Muirfield --- because he adjusted his equipment for it. Thought of Terry.
jrbizzle says:
I agree many sets use the same design through the set, but there are also lots of sets that do not. For instance, my Cobra Amp irons. They do have "jacked up" lofts, but the head of the club narrows as it moves from the 4 iron down to the PW. And they weld a "hot" face to a solid body for the 4-7 irons for more help getting the ball in the air, and use a solid one piece for the 8-wedges for a more solid feel and feedback.

As I've state din the past - these articles are great for informing the folks here on what to look out for when choosing sets or evaluating their own. You may be surprised what you find (good and bad).
jasonfish11 says:
I know I've criticized many of your articles in the past. But your articles on club manufacturing, design, and physics are very informative.

Thank you.
jasonfish11 says:
my question then is if the lofts of older clubs were higher but the ball flight lower what really is the difference? I ask out of ignorance not trying to be a smart ass (at least not this time lol).

For example I use to have a PW w/ 48* loft and a launch angle of 43*. now I have a PW with a loft of 45* and launch angle of 43* still. What problems does this cause?
GBogey says:
JRbizzle - with this year's models "progressive" features became a big deal for almost all manufacturers. Cleveland even allows you to mix and match your iron set from their players / game improvement / max game improvement line-ups to personalize your progression. Don't think that was the case a few years ago, and maybe not even one year ago.
mlf16507 says:
I play a set of Wilson Forged progressive irons from the early 90's. The first set of progressive irons I used were Dynacraft Spectrum designed by Tom Wishon in 1987. In golf there are not many "new" ideas, mostly old ones repackaged!
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Terry Koehler is "The Wedge Guy" and President of SCOR Golf- The Short Game Company.

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