I did this experiment because I am currently using blades after using game-improvement irons for a long time. And after a few rounds with the blades, I have found no real drop in performance.
Moment of inertia (MOI), a measure of an iron’s forgiveness, is as a selling tool for new irons, but I am not sure how much real improvement it is offering the golf community. My video goes a long way to show that maybe the way we’re thinking about fitting irons to our game is quite wrong.
Both the irons I tested in the video had stiff shafts. The Mizuno MP-5 (blades irons) had True Temper’s Dynamic Gold S300, while the JPX-EZ (game-improvement irons) had True Temper’s XP 95 S300 shafts. Both irons were tested with stock lofts and lengths.
The Wedge Guy: Mastering the basic pitch shot
As promised in last week’s post about basic chipping technique, this week let’s move back to that dreaded “half wedge” range; I get so much feedback that this is the place where “wedg-ilepsy” so often sets in.
I have to give credit to a friend for that term, and I will admit that I have suffered from “wedge-ilepsy” at times throughout my golf life. It’s like the putting yips, in that it is a maddening “disease”, but there IS a cure. My experience and analysis is that both stem from a drift away from good basic technique—which begets terrible results—and the spiral begins.
But, back to the subject matter at hand today – those mid-range pitch shots that are longer than a chip, but considerably less than a full wedge swing. Please bear with me today, as this post – by necessity of the subject matter – is a bit longer than usual.
As I repeatedly admit, this column is not a substitute for instruction from a PGA professional, but I’ll do my best to give you some basics to work on for this range of shots. And I believe those basics start with the same fundamentals I outlined for chipping last week. You might want to refresh those HERE.
As I’ve written many times before, all golf shots are infinitely easier to master if your starting “geometry” is sound. That means solid posture and ball position, and a grip that is light for maximum feel and to help maintain a slow, smooth tempo. You should feel control of the club in the last three fingers of the left hand, and a light touch in your right fingertips to optimize feel and to keep you from getting quick – it’s almost impossible to get too fast in your swing if your right grip is very light.
Mid-range wedge play is only about distance and trajectory control. Unfortunately, there is just no shortcut to developing that. It takes commitment to a technique, and practice time. I strongly suggest that at least half of your range time – whether a dedicated practice session or your pre-round warm-up – be given to this part of your game. Do that and your scores will reflect the dedication.
While some promote the notion of different swing lengths relating to a clock face, I think this shot is most reliable and repeatable when you make a “half swing” that is long enough to foster some rhythm and tempo. And I think that swing length is where your hands and forearms reach a point at or just past having the lead arm roughly parallel to the ground at the end of this shortened backswing. That allows you to make a mini-swing, longer than the chip shot, but shorter than a full shot.
Once you have found that comfortable backswing length, you can make the same length basic “mini-swing” and achieve the desired distances for this shot by changing clubs and altering the speed of the forward rotation of the body core.
I like to use the analogy of driving speed. And you never swing a wedge at “freeway speed”. That’s for your longer clubs only.
For your longer pitch shots, I like to think rotating my body through impact at “country road” speed – 55 mph and relaxed. Just below that is “city driving”, slower and careful. And for the shortest shots, that forward swing – from the same backswing position – is “school zone” speed, which is the most precise and careful pace of all.
But for all these shots, the key is to finish the backswing! You want to feel the end of the swing and then allow your body core to begin its forward rotation into and through impact and follow-through at your desired speed.
I know many of you are wintered in, but you can learn this technique in your basement or garage. Just take your wedge and practice this approach to see how it feels. Once you have found your comfortable backswing length, and have become familiar with these three speeds, you can further dissect your “distance chart” by learning how far each of your wedges flies and rolls out with these three speeds, and even further by experimenting with gripping down on the club various amounts.
It’s hard to explain this completely in a single blog post, but that’s my best effort. Let me know where you want to get more, and we’ll continue this dialog as long as you wish.
Keep those emails coming, OK? [email protected].
Club Junkie: New Callaway Epic drivers and fairways + Apex hybrids!
New Callaway Epic drivers are better than last year! Three different drivers offer options for every level golfer. Epic Speed is lower launching and easy to work the ball, Epic Max LS has a penetrating flight but good stability, and the Epic Max with its higher launch and maximum forgiveness. The new Apex hybrids are easier to hit and more user friendly than last year.
Golf’s Perfect Imperfections: Golf Test Dummy with Chad Ferguson
Today, we have a great conversation with a fellow YouTuber Chad Ferguson on the evolution of teaching and Chad’s first couple of lessons with Wisdom in Golf. A lot of our students have been saying how they appreciate his take on our methodology, and it’s very refreshing to hear another unique perspective on learning and acquiring skills in golf.
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