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Short Iron & Wedge Performance
Today’s post might sound a little like a commercial for our new SCOR4161 line of precision scoring clubs, but it is in response to an inquiry from George, who was asking for more explanation of the importance of center-of-mass location on short irons and wedges. That, of course, puts the discussion right “in the kitchen” of what this new product is all about. Let’s start with a little history of golf club evolution.

In the “old days” when we all played blades, you lived to get within 7- or 8-iron range, where you could put a club of 40* loft or more in your hands. These old blades were accurate from that range, with their thick faces and high center-of-gravity (CG) weighting. But that same weighting caused mid- and long-irons to be quite challenging. Then along came investment casting and perimeter weighting, and iron design was revolutionized. With the much lower CG and heel/toe weight distribution, mid-and long-irons instantly became much easier to master, delivering higher ball flights and more forgiveness.

The problem is that the industry has always applied the same look to all irons in a set, so the short irons and set-match wedges also got this weighting, even though they did not need it. So they would shoot the ball straight up into the air and made short iron play much worse for most golfers. The industry’s answer to that was to begin a strengthening of lofts in an effort to keep ball flight down, to where we are today. “P-clubs” have migrated from lofts of 50-51* in the 60s to as low as 43-44 degrees today, with some as strong as 42. That’s just ridiculous, because those are not “pitching wedges” – they just do not have enough loft to “pitch” the ball effectively.

There are two major problems with most of today’s irons and even many wedges:
  1. The very low CG is wonderful for mid- and long-iron play, but it doesn’t help you at all when lofts get over 40* or so. As clubhead speed increases, the super-low CG will cause a higher ball flight, almost regardless of loft. That’s NOT what you want for solid and accurate short iron and wedge play.

  2. The extra-thin face of these irons, even many of those that kind of look like blades, does not promote consistent distance control. Most amateur golfers miss short irons and wedge shots long and short, not right and left, and that is aggravated . . . or even caused . . . by the design of their short clubs.
Now, here’s something else to think about. The difference in loft between a typical modern 6-iron and “P-club” is 16 degrees . . . exactly the same difference between that 6-iron and your 3-wood! I’ve never heard a golfer say “I love my 6-iron and wish I had a 3-wood that looked just like it.” But you are carrying short irons that look just like it. And that’s just not going to give you solid scoring range performance.

So, George, there’s the history lesson. What we did at SCOR Golf with the new 4161 line is to design each club’s CG specifically for optimum ball flight with that narrow range of lofts. We engineered seven distinctly different head designs across 21 different golf clubs – lofts of 41 to 61 degrees. These are your “money clubs”. Regardless of your handicap, you have to beat the golf course with these, not your mid-irons. So the lob wedges (59-61*) are slightly different from the sand wedges (56-58*), the gap wedges (50-52*) are slightly different from the pitching wedges (47-49*) and those are different from the short iron replacements – the weighting science “morphs” with each three-degree range of lofts to optimize trajectory and distance control for the specific clubs.

This radical departure from the norm allows us to build exactly the right combination of precision scoring clubs that optimize trajectory, distance control and spin with the new grooves, and blend them to the golfer’s mid-irons (#3- or 4 thru #8); those clubs with less than 40* of loft. And each club has been engineered for dart-throwing short range performance.

There is a lot more to this line – shafts, metallurgy, etc. – but that is the key to the weighting science that you asked about. The higher CGs, combined with the thicker faces makes the SCOR4161 line of scoring clubs more accurate, while having just the right amount of forgiveness any golfer needs. Very simply, we’ve unlocked the key to precision short iron and wedge play and build the best scoring clubs in the business.

It’s not bragging if you can back it up.
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 ]
rdl says:
What is the big difference between the blade type iron and the irons that have more or wider bottom for the average golfer higher handicaps
8/26/11
 
jmdwan says:
The course that i play the most has "hard" fairways. It is a little more difficult to take a divot with a wedge - the club tends to 'bounce' instead of 'digging-in'. What type of wedge design (bounce, etc) do you suggest?
8/31/11
 
[ post comment ]
Terry Koehler is "The Wedge Guy" and President of SCOR Golf- The Short Game Company.

Click here to learn more about Terry.
 
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