"Sole Food" - Wedge Grinds, Camber, Etc.
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 email@example.com.
Well, this is the "WedgeGuy" column, and I do get questions daily about the vast array of sole grinds on the market, available in the racks or even custom ground to supposedly "fit" individual golfers. So I thought I would pick one today to dive into this topic a little more. Based on the volume of mail and calls we get, and the myriad of information (and mis-information) we get at EIDOLON and here, maybe the most confusing aspect of golf equipment is the way a wedge sole functions. It started with a question I received from Michael Y, who asked:
"Quick question on grinds and camber. Has the heel to toe camber effectively moved from the leading edge on old clubs to the trailing edge on modern clubs as specialized grinds? My 25-year-old Palmer The Standard sand wedge has a lot of heel to toe camber, but most modern sand wedges appear to have a relatively straight leading edge without much heel to toe camber, while having C grind, etc., near the trailing edge."Well, Michael, in one moment of observation you have seen the evolution of the "sand wedge" in modern times. To me, it’s an interesting story in the area of golf equipment, and it goes back to the origin of the sand wedge itself, generally credited to Gene Sarazen. Back in his time, bunkers were real hazards, presenting the golfer with an extremely difficult challenge, given the narrow and sharp soles common to iron designs then. Inspired by the way an airplane exhibited lift upon landing, Sarazen welded material to the bottom of a niblick and created that same lifting effect as the club made contact with the sand. Boom, bunkers became not so intimidating.
For decades, "sand wedges" were just that – clubs designed to extricate your ball from the sand. Nothing more, nothing less. Through the 1960s, most had large rounded soles, with much camber (heel to toe radius), to make them "bounce" off of the soft sand, allowing the execution of the explosion technique. The Hogan Sure Outs, Wilson R90s, and others became legendary for how good they were at this task.
Back then, golfers revered their pitching wedges as their "go to" scoring clubs around the greens, and most had 50-51 degrees of loft so that they would be effective in that use. The sand wedge was limited to shots from the bunkers. Somewhere in the 1970s/80s, as iron lofts began to be strengthened, sand wedges began to take on narrower soles and various bounce angles, which made them more suitable for shots from the fairway and other "non-bunker" lies. As this more versatile use became more adopted by golfers, the leading edge of these wedges got a little straighter and the sole a little flatter, with reduced camber. Nowadays, the modern "sand wedge" is the "go to" scoring club for most golfers around the greens, and for all shots inside pitching wedge range.
Well, now that we've had this little history lesson, it appears that I need more time to get into the real question, and that is how these various grinds affect shotmaking, and your own scoring. So, I’m going to make you wait until Friday to see if I can’t help you sort through the fog of bounces, grinds, etc. that proliferate in the wedge category.
Enjoy your new EIDOLON V-SOLE wedge, Michael, and I hope all of you enjoy this two part series.
* 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.
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