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.
Since I chose this great little South Texas city of 70,000 as EIDOLON's home – and we are two hours to Houston, San Antonio or Austin – as you might imagine, EIDOLON's factory is the only fully equipped golf shop for miles around. So, even though we keep a rather low profile, more and more golfers are turning to us for insight and work on their golf clubs. To accommodate that, we've set up a parallel custom shop, where we not only build custom wedges, but we also build and re-build irons, drivers, fairways and hybrids. It’s been quite enlightening.
Because I've been in this industry for 30 years now, I've seen a lot in the way of equipment. And with the new models coming out with such frequency and volume, it's hard to keep up with all of them. So, to be honest I don't really try. It would fry my brain, I'm sure. My approach to helping golfers optimize their equipment is simple. Whether it be irons or a driver, or anything in between, find a head design you like (and that’s right for your game) and get the shaft right. That’s how to optimize your skills. The next-level step of actually being fitted for the right length, lie, etc. is icing on the cake, but if the head and shaft combo isn’t right, then all that other stuff is wasted.
Let me relate three stories to you that somewhat prove my point.
Story #1 – Helping a lady golfer get more from her equipment.
A friend from my club had us build his wife two new wedges, and asked if I could look at his wife’s equipment and see if we couldn’t help her get more distance and height on her shots. She’s a 14 handicap player that has a pretty good swing. They bring in her bag and it’s full of old original Ping Eye irons, with men’s stiff flex steel shafts in them! No wonder she can’t hit them above eye level or very far. And she doesn’t have a hybrid at all. Sheesh. So, I re-shaft the 4-9 with UST Mamiya Pro Force V2 75 graphite shafts, in an ‘A’ flex, build her an EIDOLON 50* Gap and 57* Sand wedge on our new SCoR Lite graphite shaft, and a 23* hybrid, also with the V2 ‘A’ flex. After her first round she’s delirious.
The moral of this story is that the shaft is the engine of the golf club and it can make a big difference.
Story #2 – A Frustrated Assistant Pro
We have a new assistant pro at our club who is pretty fresh out of college. We call him “Grasshopper”. Since he’s only been in the PGA program for a little over a year, he hasn’t gotten on any company’s staff yet, so his bag is full of “hand-me-downs”. A set of Titleist irons that have worn out faces and that have been re-shafted at least once, with soft R flex shafts. As soon as I put them on the frequency machine, I asked him “you don’t have any idea where these are going , do you?”, to which he replied “not really.” So I looked into my back room and found a set of prototype Sonartec blades (which never came to market in the U.S.) that had strong Firm flex shafts in them, adjusted the lie angles and sent him on his way. He called me that night to tell me that it was “unbelievable”. Now we can turn our attention to the rest of the bag.
Story #3 – Getting A Pro Back On Track
Our first assistant, Joe, is a really good player who tests his game at the competitive level often. Because he’s playing with these young guns on the Adams and Hooters Tours who hit the ball a mile, Joe recently switched to a more aggressive cavity back, jacked-up set of irons to get more distance. Of course, his natural, rehearsed draw turned into a bigger hook, and his iron play deteriorated. His scores have climbed to the low- to mid-70s. He was in the shop working with me on driver analysis, and I convinced him to go back to his blades and his old putter. Two days later, I drew him as a partner and he shoots 64! With a holed out wedge for one eagle, and three birdies from within 2’. Needless to say, he’s happy again.
The point of this article today is that a lot of secrets can lie in your equipment. If you’ve never done it, visit a good independent clubmaker who has a fully-equipped shop. Have them analyze your equipment and you’ll be amazed at what might be there. I’m going to continue this topic for the next couple of Fridays, as I have more interesting stories to share that I think will help you understand the nuances of the tools we use to play this crazy game.
* 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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