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From the GolfWRX Vault: The story of the sand wedge

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In addition to continuing to look forward to new content that will serve and engage our readership, we also want to showcase standout pieces that remain relevant from years past. In particular, articles with a club building or instruction focus continue to deliver value and convey useful information well after their publish dates.

We want to make sure that once an article falls off the front page as new content is covered it isn’t relegated to the back pages of our website. We hope that you’ll appreciate and find value in this effort.

Cracking open the vault: In this 2015 piece, Mark Donaghy, author of “Caddy Attitudes,” looks at the game-changing history of the sand wedge, reminding us that “compared to the early days of golf, however, bunker play is relatively easy.”

A taste of Donaghy’s excellent piece…

Prior to the 1930s, the best club for short approach shots was the niblick, roughly equivalent to today’s 9-iron or pitching wedge. The design of this club, however, featured a flat, angled face and virtually no sole, making it difficult to use in sand and other soft lies as it was prone to digging into the ground. Players had to pick the ball cleanly off the sand, which required a good lie. The other alternative for bunkers was the jigger; it was similar to a chipper with a short shaft, but little loft. Less loft prevented the club from digging in too much on soft lies, but the compromise was the low launch angle and it was useless at moving through the sand to dig out a buried ball. The club was also not ideal for approach shots from a greenside bunker, as a chip shot made with this club tended to roll for most of its distance. The club designers in those days were often blacksmiths who offered up all sorts of strange solutions to the bunker dilemma.

The rake iron…was invented by a Scottish optometrist who became fed up of having to remove sand from the eyes of golfers playing at the local links, and created a club designed to cast up less sand when swung.

The governing bodies soon began to clamp down on design and banned many offerings. Spoon clubs offered varying degrees of loft and allowed players to scoop their ball out of sand traps and deep rough. Some had bowl faces, others featured deeply grooved faces, but not all of these designs conformed. Walter Hagen was using a lethal-looking sand wedge in the late 1920s, with a hickory shaft and a smooth concave face with a lot of loft and about a half pound of weight in the flange. This was deemed illegal and soon became outlawed.

It is widely acknowledged that the biggest breakthrough in sand play appeared in the 1930s, and many connect Gene Sarazen with the design of today’s modern sand wedge. The story goes that he dreamed this club up after flying with Howard Hughes, the aviation tycoon, movie producer and scratch golfer. When Hughes’s plane took off, the flaps on the wings came down. We don’t know if alcohol or narcotics were consumed at the time, but Sarazen made a connection between the flaps and the flange you could add to a club that would allow it to slide through the sand and help the ball pop up

Check out the full piece here. 

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Whats in the Bag

Vijay Singh WITB 2020

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  • Equipment is accurate as of the Honda Classic. 

Driver: Callaway Epic Flash Sub Zero Triple Diamond (8.5 degrees @ 7.5)
Shaft: Fujikura Atmos Tour Spec 5 TX

3-wood: TaylorMade SIM (15 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Black 8 X

5-wood: TaylorMade M2 (18 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Motore Speeder VC 8.2 Tour Spec X

Irons: Mizuno MMC Fli-Hi (3), Mizuno MP-20 (4-PW; all bent one club weak)
Shafts: Nippon N.S. Pro Modus 3 Tour 105 X

Wedges: Wilson Staff FG Tour PMP (54-11, 59-10)
Shafts: Nippon N.S. Pro Modus 3 Tour 105 X

Putter: Odyssey White Hot Pro 2-Ball (long)

Ball:

Grips: Lamkin

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Today from the Forums: “New Axis 1 Tour-HM models at the 2020 Honda Classic”

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Today from the Forums shines the spotlight on new Axis 1 Tour-HM models featured at this week’s Honda Classic. The flat-sticks have garnered lots of reaction from WRXers, with our members currently split on the unique designs.

Here are a few posts from the thread, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.

  • tiger99210: “I like them. Doesn’t look Odd at all.”
  • Barracuda: “I don’t get the hate on companies that are actually trying to do something better than what we have available. I don’t play axis1, but it was definitely on my shortlist, I ended up with a LAB putter. It does look funky; it also helps me score better than my stunning queen B6.”
  • Steel Dillo: “I’d be more interested if they were priced reasonably. Just don’t see what drives their cost up comparable to a fully milled specialty brand other than having Rose’s name on them. IMO, they should be in that $200-$250 range like their other putters.”

Entire Thread: “New Axis 1 Tour-HM models at the 2020 Honda Classic”

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Equipment

Cut Golf introduces Cut Blue DC golf ball – featuring higher compression and 360 dimple pattern

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Cut DC

Cut Golf has recently introduced the newest ball to its Cut Blue family—the Cut Blue DC, which features Dual Core technology, enhanced compression and a 360 dimple pattern.

The latest addition from Cut Golf is targeted towards golfers of all skill levels, and along with its Dual Core which bids to maximize initial velocity, the ball is Mantle designed to provide for high precision spin control as well as improved putting feel and sound.

The Cut Blue DC contains a 4-piece construction with a urethane cover designed to maximize spin and greenside feel, while the ball’s 360 dimple pattern is designed to increase aerodynamics.

The latest ball from Cut Golf is fully conforming to USGA rules, features 105 compression (up from 90 on the original Cut Blue) and arrives in both white and atomic yellow color codes.

The Cut Blue DC is available to purchase now at CutGolf.com and costs $29.95 per dozen.

Our friends at TXG, Tour Experience Golf, reviewed the Cut Blue DC, and you can check out the video below.

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