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In club fitting, three swings is all it takes

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I had a recent experience that reminded me of some lessons I learned as a club fitter. My wife and I were headed to a cooler climate to escape the August heat in Texas, and I threw my clubs in the trunk “just in case.” I got lucky and was invited to play a round. Having not touched a club for a couple of weeks, I got to the range early just in case I could discover the infamous “secret.” Only what I discovered was a slight miscalculation on my part — I didn’t bring a driver! In fact, the longest club I had was a 7 wood. This was a problem.

I went into the pro shop and asked if they had any demo drivers. Given my predicament, I wasn’t choosy. Any brand, loft, flex, etc., would work just fine.

They gave me three options, so I went to the range and warmed up. After getting my body loose, it was time to pick out my driver for the day. I hit two balls with the first driver, hit a few iron shots, then repeated the experiment with the second and third drivers. Driver No. 2 performed the best, so that’s the one I played with. I actually hit it very well, kept it in the fairway and had no problem keeping up with my playing partners, which was the norm.

So what’s the point? I only hit two balls on the range with each driver so I could simulate on-course conditions. I know from my club-fitting days that if I hit any more than two shots I’m not testing how the club fits me, but rather my ability to adjust to the club. This is critical, and an error I’ve seen made many times, either at the request of the player or the person administering the fitting. They will have the golfer will hit 10 or more shots “testing” the club.

I touched on this in a previous story, but it’s so vital to choosing the right clubs that I’m mentioning it again. Golfers must remember that golf is a one-shot game. You should warm up, give a club a couple of hits and let the ball flight tell you if it’s the right club for you. If someone is working with you and they want you to hit a lot of balls with one club, just remember, it’s a test to see how well you adjust to that club, not how the club fits you.

My formula as a fitter was three shots only. I discounted No. 1 just because it was the first one, counted 100 percent of No. 2 and discounted No. 3 because the player was starting to adjust.

Back to my story.

Part way through the round I looked at the shaft flex and it was an S-Flex! This completely violates all the launch monitor testing I’ve experienced over the years, because at my age I’ve moved into more flexible shafts. With all the measuring devices that indicate what I “should” be using, the human body is an amazingly adjustable and unpredictable vehicle. For some reason, like many others I’ve seen over the years, I reacted positively to that particular club in my hands. Some internal message told me it was the proper driver to play with that day.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a club fitter by trade and in my beliefs, but not to the exclusion of everything else. Don’t get me started on how many people I’ve had hit steel iron shafts straighter and longer, but “had” to have graphite. There’s nothing worse than selling clubs to a customer that you know aren’t the right fit.

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Barney Adams is the founder of Adams Golf and the inventor of the iconic "Tight Lies" fairway wood. He served as Chairman of the Board for Adams until 2012, when the company was purchased by TaylorMade-Adidas. Adams is one of golf's most distinguished entrepreneurs, receiving honors such as Manufacturing Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst & Young in 1999 and the 2010 Ernie Sabayrac Award for lifetime contribution to the golf industry by the PGA of America. His journey in the golf industry started as as a club fitter, however, and has the epoxy filled shirts as a testimony to his days as an assembler. Have an equipment question? Adams holds seven patents on club design and has conducted research on every club in the bag. He welcomes your equipment questions through email at barneyadams9@gmail.com Adams is now retired from the golf equipment industry, but his passion for the game endures through his writing. He is the author of "The WOW Factor," a book published in 2008 that offers an insider's view of the golf industry and business advice to entrepreneurs, and he continues to contribute articles to outlets like GolfWRX that offer his solutions to grow the game of golf.

38 Comments

38 Comments

  1. FA

    Oct 18, 2014 at 8:05 pm

    IL

  2. LT

    Oct 18, 2014 at 8:02 pm

    WC

  3. Joel

    Oct 3, 2014 at 5:33 pm

    So the only shot Barney would count is the 2nd one. That’s crazy. What if a person puts a really good or a really bad swing on it? You’re gonna let one swing decide if the club is “fit” for you or not?

  4. Pingback: Does The Body Know Best? - The Golf Shop Online Blog

  5. Regis

    Oct 1, 2014 at 2:01 pm

    I’m a lifetime player who does his own club work. Played a lot of brands, heads and shafts. My perspective is a little different. I can generally tell within 3 to 5 swings if the club/shaft is NOT going to work for me but it takes the better part of a season, both on the range and on the course to determine if the club is going to be a gamer into next season so as to form the base for next years comparison.

  6. David

    Oct 1, 2014 at 11:09 am

    I get the concept, and don’t disagree, but what’s wrong with adjusting you swing to the club? At root, isn’t that what all swing lessons are about?

  7. BJones

    Oct 1, 2014 at 10:51 am

    I agree with Barney, in particular hitting 3 balls with the driver. Any more that and I start to adjust my swing to the driver in order to make it work, and that starts something not good for a consistent swing which I strive for.

  8. Skyking

    Sep 29, 2014 at 10:06 am

    Dear God I wish customers could only take 3 swings per stick configuration. I put down 5 balls and they want to drag more over. Better golfers by an large figure it out in a few swings and move on. Have no clue what’s going on in their mind. Spending that much money? Posing…just wasting my time with no intent of buying? I agree about static fitting higher handicappers and moving on.

    • Phil

      Oct 1, 2014 at 12:09 pm

      I can understand the whole “waste your time and not buy anything” complaint, but isn’t that what your holiness is getting paid to do?

      God forbid you waste your holiest of time on a high handicapper trying to get better by looking to you for help in getting better..

      I get it.. You’re being pulled from one of those many club records to break.

      • Jafar

        Oct 13, 2014 at 4:52 pm

        The arrogance of golf shop “pros” is what keeps people away from the game.

        The idea of having 14 clubs to a beginner without knowing what any of them (besides putter and driver) does or is supposed to do is already intimidating.

        People need to get off their high horse and realize the game is already hard enough, buying/trying clubs shouldn’t add to that difficulty.

        • Larry

          Oct 13, 2014 at 5:58 pm

          To add to what you say, when you talk about slow play out on the course more then 50% is the lower handicap players that figure they have the right to take all day playing…..I would reather spend 4 and a half hours behind a higher handicap foursome then 10 minutes behind a group of low handicap players that think every par 5 can be reached in two, they have to watch each others shot and they spend three times as much time reading 4 foot putts. would someone please exsplain to these golfers if they are not plus 3 or 4 and playing over 7,000 yard courses they are not pros, they are amatures like the majority of us and we would like them to get out of are way.

  9. JG

    Sep 28, 2014 at 8:30 pm

    Bareny,

    I could not agree more with this article! As a 5 right now I can make anything work for my swing. I have seen this over and over when I switch equipment. I have also been fiti many times and have been fit into really stiff or regular. I have played both with success. I think the way to get fit is take 3 shots and then move on and maybe come back. Very insightful and thank you!

    • Larry

      Oct 16, 2014 at 4:29 pm

      Also agree, I hold firm if your about a true 15 or more handicap play what you want, If you love Ping you will play best with Ping Etc.

  10. Teaj

    Sep 26, 2014 at 8:38 am

    I get this the body is a funny thing and will compensate for slight differences. avid golfers can also knowingly change their mechanics slightly to compinsate for say a lighter weight shaft as I know I have altered my swing when I went with a lighter shaft to lessen my draw.

    though I think you should swing the driver more than 3 times, maybe that doesn’t have to be in a row. next time I do a fitting maybe I might have them bring in their 6 iron warm up with this as they are used to this club (I hope) then have them take 2 swings with the driver 5 with the iron 2 driver and so on so not to allow the golfer to make swing after swing naturally adjusting their mechanics to the driver.

    Thanks for the post I enjoy hearing these different takes on any golf related subjects. Food for thought…. and im hungry

  11. Jason

    Sep 25, 2014 at 10:26 pm

    I’m one of those hackers that plays around 16-20 over on a normal round and have never considered myself good enough for a fitting for the reason that I can hit 3 balls and show you 3 different shots. I really would like to upgrade to a new set of irons so I have been working on making a consistent swing before I get properly fit for a new set. It makes me feel a little better to hear what you had to say about fittings.

    • Larry

      Sep 27, 2014 at 2:07 am

      There is more then a chance you may never have a swing that remains the same long enough to make a long fitting worth the time….get fit with a general fitting like the ping formula, then find clubs you like and play into the fit, hitting something you really like and want to play is more important for the higher handicap and sometimes just getting the right shaft flex can make the biggest difference….

  12. KevinS

    Sep 25, 2014 at 8:32 pm

    Sorry Barney but that’s crazy. I have been fitting clubs for over 20 years and am also a qualified PGA Professional instructor. All you proved with your test is what I have said all along, there is no standard among manufacturers when it comes to shaft flexes, bend points, etc; The “S” flex in that driver you hit May have been a Lite flex from another manufacturer. The only way to proper fit someone is hit several clubs, look at the numbers on a launch monitor and compare, then when you find a group of clubs that are close, let the player decides what club feels best. If I tried to fit someone after 3 swings before long all my credibility would go away and I wouldn’t have any customers.

    • Barney Adams

      Sep 27, 2014 at 5:21 pm

      I. Kept. Data for 2 years as a club fitter . No doubt whatsoever after 2 maybe 3 hits you are adjusting to the club. Golf being a one shot game doesn’t allow that latitude on course.

    • Tom v

      Sep 28, 2014 at 10:06 pm

      You are missing the part where he hit irons in between. Then moves to another driver. After decades of fitting myself I couldn’t agree more with Barney here. The golfer adjusts every single time to the driver. If you are fitting people that are not adjusting then there might be other issues. This holds true even more for tour guys who many times don’t even look at numbers and base it entirely on feel and how the ball flies. 15 years ago I witnessed a tour pro walk on to the range with 50+ drivers and hit a few shots with each and could immediately tell if it was going to work. He walked away with 3 clubs that he liked of the 50+. Point being, it doesn’t take more than a few swings to tell if the club is going to work. Not 2-3 total swings but break it up with other clubs in between and adjust/try different clubs. Just beating balls doesn’t help anyone, the golfer will eventually adjust or he will need a different club.

  13. BobbyL44

    Sep 25, 2014 at 5:30 pm

    I actually couldn’t agree less!

    In 3 swings you’ll hit a club that best matches your current swing, sure, but that club may not help you achieve your more optional swing.

    Nobody wants to believe that you should guy your swing to the club, but why not?

    I bent my lies flatter to promote more of a body release, at first thought I’d ruined them but now rotate through the shot better than ever without having to worry about the heel of an upright club getting stuck in the ground. Most players can’t swing that way today because the clubs are too thought to allow it! Having the clubs in the right position (lie angle) forced me to do that.

    It’s no different to running barefoot. It teaches you to run with proper form and when done properly (ie. Slowly and for short distances) it improves running efficiency. All the new technology yet running injuries having increased because they prevent good form (the cushioned wedge under the heel). This is exactly like the change in golf clubs (lighter, more upright, etc).

    Now I’m not advocating going from Nike shoes to a barefoot marathon overnight will make you an elite runner, the same as I wouldn’t say that going from upright cavity backs with graphite shafts to old blades with stiff steel and flat lie angles is going to make you a PGA Tour player.

    However, if your swing has flaws today’s technology allows you to run from them, hide from them, so they more often than not get amplified, they don’t disappear.

    With clubs that are ‘correct’ for purpose but not ‘fit’ for your (current) swing you may just find you force change in your swing and take your game to a whole new level.

    • BobbyL44

      Sep 25, 2014 at 5:31 pm

      Thought=upright (damn auto-correct!)

    • Alex

      Sep 25, 2014 at 11:27 pm

      Remember though…we’re talking club fitting. Not swing changes.

      There is no club that will “fit your swing better” in those terms. Nothing to “grow into swinging better” or anything like that. The only exception would be a draw or offset driver versus a neutral one.

      3 swings is perfect for narrowing down your choices. After you have your 5-6 contestants narrowed with the 3 swings each idea, then you can hit a few more with the 1-2 left to see any fine tuning. I would constantly switch though. Never hit more than 4-5 in a row with one on a certain setting. Then that’s just practice.

      • Brad B

        Sep 30, 2014 at 11:00 pm

        Two ways to fit (IMO) – – – #1, fit to the swing you have; #2, fit to the swing you want.

        For most people who decide they want to improve (rather than just have fun with what they have), the fit for the “swing they want” would be different from “swing they have” . . . . makes sense to get the fit that will work once you incorporate what you’re working on.

        • Barney Adams

          Oct 1, 2014 at 7:01 pm

          That swing I wanted. 60 years later I still want; no find!

          • sandman499

            Oct 5, 2014 at 5:05 am

            I have always thought the lighter the shaft, the faster the swing and more distance. You said some players hit the steel shaft better and farther, but still wanted graphite shafts. What am I missing? Why would they hit the steel shaft further then the lighter graphite? Thanks for the great article. sandman499

          • ABgolfer2

            Oct 13, 2014 at 9:11 pm

            HAHA – no kidding. The swing I want looks a helluva a lot different from the swing I see on video. I just want clubs that make sense for me. Can I trust that I’ll be able to make my somewhat natural swing (tweaked with lessons and practice but after almost 30 years my terrible swings look really close to my my goods ones on video) and that the club face will be aligned the way I visualized it at address as it reaches the ball. The swing is what it is at this point.

          • timbleking

            Oct 20, 2014 at 10:21 am

            Sandman,

            There is a no-return point on shaft stiffness on both direction. Either too hard, or too weak. In both cases, you just lose energy that the shaft is not able to compensate. It all dépends on your tempo, I would say.

    • Ryan K

      Sep 27, 2014 at 2:41 pm

      Oh boy, I hope you don’t do any shoe fitting or sports/running training. I’m just sayin..

  14. MHendon

    Sep 25, 2014 at 4:55 pm

    Yeah most Pro’s follow this rule, usually its about 4 to 6 shots to determine if its the right club for you. I’ve always followed that rule too.

  15. gvogel

    Sep 25, 2014 at 4:15 pm

    I’m glad Barney said it, because I have felt the same way for a long time.

    Yesterday I was out fooling around with a couple of G30 drivers which I have bought, and the results were mixed. I reached for my G25 driver and striped it, just the shot I like to hit. What did that tell me?

    Here is some advice: if you hit a demo club and you love it – buy the demo if at all possible!

    The same holds true for wedges and putters.

    • DK

      Sep 26, 2014 at 1:18 am

      100% agree. Reminds me of when I last changed my putter. Was in the shop to kill time and just took a few putters to try. Tried an Odessey black metal #8 for fun and my word, it felt so good and so natural in my hand. Then I tried almost every putter on the rack, and none felt even as close, even the other Odessey Black metal #8s available there. I knew I had to get that particular one even though it was slightly scratched up while the other same model ones were pristine. I always say, when it feels right, just grab it regardless the cost.

    • timbleking

      Oct 20, 2014 at 10:23 am

      Agree 100000%.

    • Jim

      Oct 22, 2014 at 4:10 pm

      I learned this from a pro a long time ago and it has saved me time, money and frustration on a grand scale.

  16. James

    Sep 25, 2014 at 3:10 pm

    One of the differences between a good player and an average player is just what Barney said, that is that a good player can make adjustments to hit about any shaft and the average player can’t. Proper fitting is indeed important but there are things a fitter can’t measure like feel.

  17. Marc

    Sep 25, 2014 at 2:50 pm

    Makes sense, but I guess it has to be assumed that the golfer has a decent level of repeatability in his swing. Which begs the question, how much can club-fitting help a high handicapper?? It’s a tough situation for a club fitter when a customer doesn’t have the consistency to make repeatably solid contact, but expects results.

    • Alex

      Sep 25, 2014 at 11:28 pm

      Static fitting can help a higher capper more than dynamic fitting in a lot of cases. If they’re consistent you can fit for lie angles somewhat…but you can’t really go into shaft fitting or tuning trajectory like you can with someone who is more consistent.

  18. nikkyd

    Sep 25, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    This makes a lot of sense BA . I always ask people ” ya dont buy and wear the wrong sized shoes do ya?”

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Mondays Off

Mondays Off: Steve’s worst shot of his life and Knudson’s handicap is heading up!

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Steve played in a tournament and hit one of the worst shots of his life. Knudson’s game is on the decline but his handicap is heading north. Steve talks about member-guest tournaments and the one-day event they have coming up.

Check out the full podcast on SoundCloud below, or click here to listen on iTunes or here to listen on Spotify.

Want more GolfWRX Radio? Check out our other shows (and the full archives for this show) below. 

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What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done for golf?

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Golf, like many hobbies, can drive people to do some crazy things—whether it be to play a course on your bucket list, purchase a club you’ve been looking for, or drop everything just to play with your buddies.

As a purely self-diagnosed golf junkie, I have gone out of my way to do all of these things on many occasions, and I have a feeling a lot of others here have some stories to tell similar to these.

The Long Trip

Let me start by saying that I’m not a “Bag Tag Barry” or really a bucket list course kinda guy. Yes, I have courses I want to play, but at the moment the highest on the list starts and ends with the Old Course at St. Andrews – because, simple – it’s St. Andrews. Beyond that, my “hoping to play” list pretty much the standard classics.

But it doesn’t mean that I haven’t gone WAY out of my way to play, especially when you think about the recent 1600-plus mile journey I just took to Sweetens Cove to play in the First Annual “Oil Hardened Classic” run by Eternal Summer Golf Society.

Sweetens has been on my radar since I first heard about it, and if you are at all interested in course architecture I’m sure it has been on your radar for a while too – great piece on it here from WRX Featured Writer Peter Schmitt (You’ve Never played Anything like Sweetens Cove).

Sweetens Cove

When I first heard of this event, I knew it was something I HAD to do. I’ve been playing persimmon clubs (not to be confused will full hickory) for a couple of years now and in case I haven’t made it clear in the past—I love blade irons. To be able to play with a bunch of other “golf sickos” made this something I really wanted to do, and to let you in on a little secret I’ve been hiding for a while, before this I had never done a real “golf trip” before.

Problem: Being in the Great White North puts me a long ways away from South Pittsburg, TN and a golf trip like this with air travel and a rental car was out of the question. So what’s the next best thing? load the car up with a bunch of old wooden clubs, some blades, three golf bags, lots of balls, gloves, enough clothes for a few days, a cooler, and a passport: BOOM my first golf trip.

I-75 was my route for an entire day. 14 hours total with stops: It was an easy drive to Chattanooga, where I filled up on BBQ and stayed the night. From there, it was a simple 40-minute drive over in the morning and with Sweetens Cove in Central Time (just across the line, I should add), I even got a much appreciated extra hour of sleep. The golf course was ours for the whole day and beyond the for fun scheduled matches it was a playground. Groups of 12 people playing the same hole, three-club mini loops, trying out impossible putts on the rolling greens—we did it all.

A few years ago, if you had told me I would drive 28 hours round trip to endlessly loop a 9-hole golf course with persimmon clubs and a bunch of “strangers,” I would have probably called you a total idiot. Now, I can’t imagine not doing it again.

Speaking of long golf trips, how does a 2,700-plus mile round trip to play Cabot Links and Cliffs Sound?

It started with an already planned two-week road trip, Toronto, Boston (to see Fenway), Portland, Halifax then finally to Inverness, Nova Scotia home of Cabot Links—and at the time, only open for “lottery bookers” and resort guests Cabot Cliffs. We had times booked for the links course but Cliffs was another story. Since I’m not one to take no for an answer, and although staying at the resort was well beyond our road-tripping budget, I had a little tip that if you call very early the day you are hoping to play they could potentially find spots for players when resorts guests cancel. Cliffs was still under preview play and tee times were 20 minutes apart so the chances we’re slim but a 5 a.m. alarm and some not-so-subtle begging and bartering got my wife and I an afternoon tee time on the best new course in the world!

It was an amazing experience made even better by the beautiful weather and fun we had that day. I have, still to this day, never had an experience like that on a golf course.

The Must-Have Wedges

I’m an obsessive club collector and builder. There I said it. Not only do I love clubs, but I love the idea of making things, or taking things that are considered less desirable and making them better than ever before.

This all stems from a piece I wrote this spring about a HUGE used club sale about an hour from where I live, Check it out here: Hunting Used Clubs at Fore Golfers Only

Although I did get some fantastic deals at “The Sale,” as the locals call it, there were a few wedges I could not get out of my head after visiting the accompanying retail store after the sale. As I was driving home, in a bit of a snow storm, I couldn’t help but think about the potential of the raw Nike Engage wedges I left behind. I wanted them for a number of reason including the fact that I hadn’t had the chance to work and grind on raw wedges in a while and these were the last Mike Taylor-designed Nike wedges before Nike decided to shut the doors and Artisan Golf was born.

By the time I realized I had to have them, it was already too late to drive back and they were closed, so first thing the next day, I called and asked if they 1) Still had the two exact wedges I remembered seeing  2) if they would hold them for me until the Monday morning after the sale—the only chance I would have to get back there in the next month. Why did I need them when snow was still on the ground? Because I’m a nut!

Monday rolled around, I got out of bed bright and early during another not-so-fun snowfall to shovel the driveway, gas up the car, and drive three hours round trip to pick up two rusty used, Nike Engage wedges for the grand total of $120. But when I finally got the chance to work my magic, it’s hard not to say the effort was worth it.

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The Wedge Guy: You and your wedges (survey results part 2)

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As I promised last week when I presented the first layer overview of the GolfWRX/Wedge Guy survey, today I’m going to dive into the section of the survey where you shared your thoughts and feelings about wedges and your wedge play. I’ve made a study of golfers and their wedges for nearly 30 years now, and have always found it fascinating. It also has helped me immensely in breaking from traditional wedge design to address what golfers have told me about where they need help most.

I’m proud that this insight gained from golfers over those years led me to develop “the Koehler sole,” which I patented back in 1990, and have brought to market as both the “Dual Bounce Sole®” and the “V-SOLE®”. That insight also guided me to begin to introduce higher and higher CG in wedges since the mid-90s (which almost all wedge companies have finally begun to do to one degree or another), and to create the first progressively weighted wedges with the SCOR™ line in 2011.

But this is about you and your wedges, so let’s dive right into what you all shared in the surveys.

First of all, you GolfWRX readers are way ahead of rank-and-file recreational golfers in the respect you show for your wedges, with 70 percent or more of you carrying at least four wedges, counting the set match “pitching wedge” that came with your set of irons. I’ve long been an advocate of having more wedges in your bag to give you more options in prime scoring range. As manufacturers have continually strengthened the lofts of the set-match pitching wedge, down to as low as 43-44 degrees in some models, it just makes sense.

Partly as a result of this attention, you GolfWRXers rated your wedge play much higher than golfers at large, based on my prior research. What I found interesting is that fewer of you rated your wedges play outside 75-90 yards as a strength of your game (26 percent) than you did on your wedge play inside 75-90 yards (30 percent). Almost 30 percent of you said your wedge play outside of 75-90 yards was “not as good as it should be,” but just 21 percent said the same about your wedge play outside 75-90 yards. It is generally accepted that full swings are harder to master than the partial swings those short-range shots require.

I have an intern student at University of Houston-Victoria diving into these surveys to cross-tabulate all the answers to reveal more interesting insight for all of us to share, but that is going to take a few weeks, I’m sure, as there is a lot of data here. But what my takeaway from this question is that the vast majority of revealed you have lots of opportunity to improve this segment of your game, as 70-75 percent of you rated your wedge play in both categories as average or below-average. One way to do that is to re-allocate your practice time to hit more wedge shots of different distances, really focusing on distance control. Which brings me to the next couple of questions.

Two questions are very closely linked, as proven by the answers you shared. Nearly an identical number of you responded that your full-swing trajectories were “about right,” and your distance control was “pretty good.” But the majority of you said your trajectories trended too high and your misses come up short almost all the time. You are not alone—my experience with wedge design and golfer feedback is that this majority of you GolfWRX readers is actually much better than the majority of all golfers.

The harsh reality is that this is not all your fault. While mastering wedge play is probably the hardest part of the game, the design of wedges aggravates these two problems. Robotic testing of wedges indicates that essentially all models on the market are very unforgiving of impact moving around the face. We all know that low-face impact, nearly bladed wedge shot is going to fly low and have lots of spin (i.e. “thin to win”). And that likewise, that shot you catch high in the face is going to fly high, come up short and have much less spin.

Tour professionals spend countless hours working to perfect their wedge impact point to be low on the face, a goal helped by the very tight-cut fairways they play. But for the rest of us playing higher-cut fairways, the ball is sitting up more and we are much more likely to catch the ball higher in the face, which—by design—causes the ball to fly higher and have less spin. Conventional wedges have as much as a 20 percent lower smash factor when impacted just half an inch above the “sweet spot.”

The fact is that consistent wedge distance control requires a consistent impact point, lower on the face. One way to try to improve in that regard is to focus your eyes on the forward edge of the ball when you are hitting any wedge shot, but particularly on full swing wedges. From a technique standpoint, your left (or lead) side must be more influential on these shots. In other words, try to make impact with your hands ahead of the clubhead. I’ll dive into that whole subject in a dedicated article soon.

I believe that this challenge of wedge play is aggravated by when and where the majority of you purchase your wedges—let me explain that reasoning.

The vast majority of you are playing relatively new wedges, with 36 percent having purchased them in the last year, and another 43 percent playing wedges that are 1-3 years old. That’s the good news—your wedges are relatively fresh. But now for the bad news.

Almost 45 percent of you said you purchased your wedges at a large off-course retailer, which means you most likely purchased wedges with a heavy, stiff steel shaft—but how does that compare to the shafts in your irons? Is it a match or even close? If not, I’ve learned that the wrong shaft is a huge factor in wedge play, as it creates a feel disconnect in prime scoring range. My experience is that, for most golfers, a thoughtful re-shafting of your wedges to produce the same weight and flex as in your irons will make a huge difference in your wedge-range performance.

This is getting a bit long so let me share another interesting takeaway from this survey, then leave you with another question to sound off about.

Less than 18 percent of you said your last purchase was of a different brand with the goal of improving your performance. I find that puzzling, as I’ll bet nearly 100 percent of you chose your last driver, putter or irons specifically with that goal in mind.

I can only take that to mean that you have relatively low expectations of improvement when you buy wedges—can you all share some thought with me to help me understand why that is?

Thanks, and I look forward to some lively dialog this week. I don’t chime in often to your comments, but I will this week if you want to have a discussion. Should be fun!

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19th Hole

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