More On Choosing Wedges
By Terry Koehler, The Wedge Guy
Terry Koehler has been in the golf industry for over 30 years and currently spends his days as the President of EIDOLON Golf, a small premium wedge company in Victoria, Texas. He's been blogging for over 3 years and has written hundreds of articles ranging from golf tips to equipment issues. His blog will appear on ClubSG twice per week. You can reach Terry to have your golf questions answered at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Today's topic is somewhat of an extension on my take last week of the theft of our pitching wedges by the major iron makers. In that article -- HERE -- I exposed how few modern sets of irons have a real pitching wedge, as all the lofts have been jacked up to give golfer the illusion that they are hitting the ball further than with the other company’s irons. It's all smoke and mirrors. As this trend continues, we talk with golfers every day who are seeking solutions to their set make-up, so that they will have the right array of scoring tools. I'm visiting that topic again today to respond to a question from Alan E., who asked:
"Why do wedges only seem to be available in lofts of even numbers, and how do I get the exact loft combination I need to optimize my short game?"Well, Alan, let’s start with the first part of your question. It would not be practical or necessary for the manufacturers to make wedges of every conceivable loft, so they typically and historically have hit only on the even numbers – 52, 56, 60, etc. I’m guessing that was derived from the fact that early sand wedges were 56 degrees, and when most set-match pitching wedges were 48* in loft, it made sense to build “gap” wedges of 52 to divide that difference. The lob wedge of 60* followed, and then it was only logical to the big brands to expand their offering by hitting those gaps with 54 and 58, then 50 degree wedges, and then to offer a myriad of bounce options at each loft, so that they could follow the “big company mantra” of more is better. At last count, the two major brands of wedges had over 150 models between them!!
But, as I wrote in that article a couple of weeks ago, virtually no sets have a true pitching wedge in them anymore, with some offering a “P-club” of as little as 43 degrees! For Pete’s sake, that’s an 8-iron!!! Or at least a 9.
In EIDOLON’s approach to wedge-fitting, the first part of the equation with a golfer is to find out what the true loft of their P-club is, and then see how many wedges they want/need to carry. And what is the highest loft wedge with which they are comfortable. Then we divide that gap by the number of wedges, and come up with what should be the right formula for scoring precision. So, if a golfer has a 45 degree P-club, is a little afraid of lob wedges but wants to carry three true wedges total . . . we would probably arrive at a “prescription” of 49, 53 and 57 degree wedges. From our product line, we would tweak a 48, 52 and 56 model each one degree weak to hit those precise lofts. And we would set the shaft lengths ¼” apart, beginning with the 49 at ¼” shorter than the golfer’s P-club. The result would be a precision set of scoring tools that pick up where the irons leave off.
You can tweak any wedges on the market to hit the in between numbers, but not all will give you the same results. And most will adjust 1-2 degrees in either direction without issue or breakage. But which way you go is important, too.
Making the loft stronger decreases the effective bounce, while making the loft weaker will increase it. So, if you are tweaking on a low bounce model, you probably want to be careful about reducing that by making the loft lower, and conversely, if you are tweaking a high bounce wedge, you might want to be careful about making the loft weaker, which will increase the bounce. If you want me to go into more detail about this, I can continue this analysis on Friday, but that should give you food for thought for now.
The key is to not settle for what is off the rack, and have fun tweaking your scoring tools to give you the performance you need.
* The Wedge Guy's views and opinions are his own do not necessarily reflect those of SkyGolf.
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 ]
I am far from being able to dial into exactly what I need to be carrying as I haven't been around the game long enough or played nearly enough to be consistent. That being said, I finally went back and checked the specs of the set of irons I have. My question would be, at what point do you want to have the gap in loft?
For instance, I play with Cobra FP II irons and just looked at their online specs. The 9i is 40.5*, PW is 44.5*, and GW is 49.5*. My SW is 56* and I am quite excited to say I have a 60* Eidolon LW arriving tomorrow. At some point I will likely replace my GW, SW, and quite possibly my PW. If/When I do, should I just spread the degree of loft between my 9i and LW, should I have a gap between my 9i and PW, or should I wait until I have a better idea of what my particular game requires (which I'm not sure if I'll ever dial in)?
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