Lessons From A Tour Pro
I had the opportunity to play golf yesterday with David Lundstrom, a former Champions Tour player and one of the top senior pros in Texas. David was the top qualifier for the Champions Tour in about 2000, and played four years out there until injuries forced him off. He’s a helluva player at 64 years old. He hits it long and makes the golf ball do pretty much whatever he wants.
The purpose of our outing was to show David the pre-production samples of the new scoring clubs we will be introducing next month under the brand name SCOR. There is a litany of product features and benefits that change the “wedge” category completely in this product called “4161”. You’ll be seeing the full story and product when we announce it later this month. But for now, this story is about learning more about golf from the way a tour professional plays the game.
David’s process for testing this set of scoring clubs was to put them through the paces at all ranges with all kinds of shots. It was interesting to watch him hit 40 yard wedge shots with a low draw, higher fade, and varying amounts of spin – all with the same club! Even better amateurs do not show the command of the golf ball that tour professionals have. But I think this was more about age and seasoning, too. David grew up with the old blade irons of the 50s and 60s, and has progressed through the technological evolution of the past 50 years. He expressed how his approach to playing and shotmaking has evolved with this progression, but he never lost the ability to make the golf ball do whatever he wanted it to do.
He told me that many of the younger players – whom he regularly beats in mini-tour events, by the way – don’t show the interest in learning how to do all kinds of things with a golf ball. Most of them just want to hit full shots, as far as they can, for the most part, and try to pound the golf courses into submission with their power. In David’s opinion, learning the physics of what you can do with a golf ball my varying different elements of your swing makes you a better player. I’d have to agree.
In contrast, I had a visit with a mini-tour player who’s playing EIDOLON wedges and we were talking about his distances in an effort to arrive at his proper “prescription” for scoring clubs. He told me he hits the ball very high, so he had his 8-iron strengthened two degrees, and hits it on average 168 yards! So I asked him if he could hit that 8-iron 185-190 if he had to – to which he replied “no way!” I explained that Mr. Hogan always said you should have 15-20 yards in reserve with every club in his bag, and published his avg/min/max yardages with all his clubs in his first book – Power Golf.
My advice to this player was to swing easier to see his trajectories come down, and bring his average distance with that 8-iron down to about 150. I guaranteed he’d be a better player for it. He said that made a lot of sense and that he’d work on it, so we’ll see.
I’ll leave you with this thought as we all watch the U.S. Open unfold this weekend. My bet is that the trophy will go to a player who isn’t as long as the big guns, and who exhibits creativity in club selection and shotmaking. Will be interesting, for sure.
Have a great weekend, and don’t miss the chance to win a new EIDOLON wedge by participating in our contest on our FaceBook page.
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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A wedge guy article where it is mentioned that older seasoned players who used to play blades and persimmon clubs are better than younger players who prioritize distance?! How surprising! :)
All sarcasm aside, I fully agree about the need to change trajectories, control spin, and work the ball around a course. My high school golfers never club up...they hit sand wedges into greens where the pin is back, and...wait for it...they always hit that wedge hard and its either a nice shot that spins back away from the hole or they overswing and blade it past the green or hit it fat and leave it short.
Care to revisit your U.S. Open prediction? :)
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