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Opinion & Analysis

Finding the right wedge shaft for your game



In the minds of many golfers, wedges are the most important clubs in the bag. As a fitter, I am always surprised how this belief conflicts with the amount of consideration golfers typically put into selecting their wedges. When asked why certain wedges are in their bag, most reply with something along the lines of, “Well, I’ve always just used this loft and grind,” “I’m not really sure” or “My buddy, who’s a scratch golfer, told me I need it.” For most, wedges are in an unfortunate race with the putter to win the unceremonious award of the clubs that help golfers the least.

Most people know there are wedges with multiple loft and bounce options available, even if they’re not quite sure what’s best for them. Very few, however, have ever thought about the shafts in their wedges. In this article, I’ll be showing you the importance of finding the proper shaft for the wedges in your bag by illustrating how different shafts can impact performance.

The goal of this test is not to make some generic recommendation that “you should be playing XXX shaft,” but rather to highlight the variance that can exist across different shafts. I encourage you to do your own testing with a qualified fitter, but if one is unavailable in your area, these themes might help find a good wedge shaft for you.

Testing Process

To conduct these tests, I selected three testers with low single-digit handicaps and relatively consistent swings. Any findings will only be amplified for higher-handicap golfers due to increased swing variability, and any shaft-to-shaft variations might have been hidden by this inconsistency.

We used an Edel Wedge fitting system because of the interchangeable hosel system and extensive shaft options. Each tester selected a 56-degree head with the bounce that fit them best. They then used the same wedge head on each of the six shafts we tested. The order the shafts was randomized for each golfer during the testing process.

The shafts represented some common wedge shafts and crossed multiple weights, flexes and EI profiles. Testers hit five shots at a target 100 yards away with each shaft, and all shots were measured with FlightScope.

The Data

Data: To start, I’m posting a table that shows summary results for each shaft per golfer (below). A couple of things to remember when reading this:

  1. All distances are in yards.
  2. All distances are carry distances.
  3. On lateral distances: negative numbers represent left of target, positive numbers right of target.
  4. Standard deviation shows the variance in the range with smaller numbers being better.

Full Testing Results

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

A lot to digest, right?

To help gauge shaft performance for each golfer, I created an additional table showing the ranges in carry distance and lateral dispersion. These numbers were then multiplied to calculate the total area covered by the five shots with each shaft. This is the single best summary stat I can think of to grade wedge performance.

Simplified Testing Results


Now we can start to see some things. 

  • Based on the average size of the dispersion area, Wes is the best wedge player. Sorry Mike and Nick, but I’m pretty sure you already knew this…
  • Distance control is where variation really shows up, and this is where the best wedge players differentiate themselves. Of the 18 player/shaft combinations we tested, there were only two where the carry distance range was less than the lateral range.
  • Each player did have a specific shaft that stood out, one with a dispersion area much smaller than the other options. There just wasn’t any consistency in shaft performance across the golfers.

Best and Worst Shafts for Each Tester


Green indicates the best wedge shaft for each player. Red indicates the worst.

Launch Angle and Spin Rate Rankings

The same variation is found when looking at launch angle and spin rates, with the shafts that produced the highest and lowest launch and spin numbers varying for each golfer. These tables are simple stack rankings, based on performance.



  • One interesting correlation was that for two of the three golfers, the same shaft provided the smallest dispersion area and lowest launch angle. While not a hard and fast rule, it’s something to keep in mind when trying out wedge shafts.
  • The shafts that worked better for the testers weren’t necessarily the ones you would have guessed. The KBS C-Taper Lite 105R worked the best for Nick, who has an upright and aggressive swing. Wes has a flat, smooth swing and the relatively stiff and heavy True Temper DG Spinner Wedge+ shaft worked the best for him.

Two Big Takeaways

  1. Lighter and More Flexible is Probably Better. When selecting new or re-shafting your existing wedges, your best bet is to find a fitter with the proper experience and equipment to guide you through the options. If that’s not possible, a general trend shown here is that a shaft that’s lighter and a bit more flexible than what you’re using in your irons is a good bet.
  2. Enough about the Spin. Worrying about what wedge shaft creates the most spin should not be your top concern. Even though there was shaft-to-shaft variation in the spin produced, they all had enough to quickly stop the ball on the green. As good as these Edel wedges are, this is a consistent finding regardless of the brand we’re fitting. Finding the proper wedge head (loft, grind, bounce) and a shaft that helps your distance control should be your main focus when getting new wedges, not if one option gives you an extra hundred or two RPMs.

In our next article, we’ll talk more about selecting bounce and give you some tips on how to fit yourself if you can’t find a fitter with a proper wedge fitting system.

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Chris Wycoff is the owner of SwingFit, a custom club fitting and building studio in Hilton Head Island, SC. Prior to joining the golf world, Chris was a management consultant for over 7 years and brings a great deal of the data driven processes from that world into golf. SwingFit has spent the last 2 years with a Gears motion tracking system capturing thousands of swings and partnering with data scientists to research how clubs and human golf swings really interact. SwingFit was included on Golf Digest's list of 100 Best Clubfitters in America for 2015/16, 17/18 & 19/20 as well as's list of 25 Elite Club Fitters in 2019 .



  1. Steve Lack

    Aug 28, 2016 at 11:25 am

    Softer tips must be why some golfers tip trim their wedge shafts to 8 iron specs?

  2. Ezra

    Aug 21, 2016 at 4:35 pm

    Absolute BS from a fitter trying to sell his services.

    • Steve S

      Aug 31, 2016 at 1:53 pm

      Agreed. Most of the articles I see on fitting are BS. Especially on drivers. Anyone schooled in physics and dynamics laughs at most of the articles. The reality is you want a shaft and grip that is as light and stiff as possible because any weight that is not in the club head does nothing to contribute to the force and momentum of the swing. By doing that then it’s a simple determination on loft of the club face and speed to determine maximum distance for you. This assumes that you have a reasonably decent swing arc and impact position. If not, you should work on that before worrying about “getting fit”.

      • John

        May 27, 2020 at 3:46 pm

        The dumbest comment ive ever read on any golf related subject, ever..
        Clearly, You are an utterly clueless mental midget

    • Steve S

      Aug 31, 2016 at 2:45 pm

      Agreed. Most fitting advice is BS. All these guys try to make this complicated. Without a decent repeatable swing arc all “fitting” does is TRY to compensate for your mistakes which never works in the long run….

  3. tlmck

    Aug 19, 2016 at 3:06 pm

    Same shafts as my irons and low bounce since the 1980’s has always worked well for me.

  4. Benny

    Aug 19, 2016 at 6:53 am

    Great article even though I wasn’t able to understand all the data. I feel I am a better wedge player than most and know through trial and error what works well. S400 shafts my buddy had which he added weights too, were way to delayed so my shots went right while whippy wedge shafts or too light pull and hook. But how does the “bounce” play into this data? For instance I have always hit higher bounce heads much longer than low bounce. Regardless of the shaft. Should this be a factor when getting wedges fit and wouldn’t the bounce also cause different dispersion and accuracey?

  5. baudi

    Aug 18, 2016 at 9:25 am

    Nice test and great article.
    To me it simply proves that a good player should find his right wedge shaft.
    Although I wouldn’t go as far stating lighter is better. (A softer shaft than in irons is definitely better. Tom Wishon did a great test on this one)
    Point here is that a wedge being a utility club is used on partial shots most of the time. That implies a slower rhythm. A slightly heavier but softer shaft will create a lively feel in the swing.

  6. Christian

    Aug 17, 2016 at 10:39 pm

    I have tried lighter shafts in wedges and initially they work well, especially during testing. After a while I start to get more misshits, a jerky/handsy action and even skulled shots. Back to S400s now, the most stable option for me. I game 130+ gram X in irons

    • Scott

      Aug 24, 2016 at 9:34 am

      I had the exact same results after moving to lighter shafts. Worked great until it didn’t. I get more feel with the heavier shaft.

  7. Chris Wycoff

    Aug 17, 2016 at 10:33 pm

    Thanks for all the great comments and feedback – happy to answer any questions anyone might have!

    • jason c geraci

      Aug 25, 2016 at 9:07 am

      Why didn’t you test shafts that are specifically designed for wedges?

  8. Chris Wycoff

    Aug 17, 2016 at 10:30 pm

    It’s not a specific wedge shaft, but we used in testing due to it’s flex profile. It it fits you, it’s a great shaft option.

  9. Brian T

    Aug 17, 2016 at 10:12 pm

    Why not include the s200 as it is comes in pretty much every wedge out there? At least a baseline of sorts, or give us an idea of where it stacks up against the others.

    • Chris Wycoff

      Aug 17, 2016 at 10:27 pm

      Hi Brian –

      That’s a good point, we used the S400 as it’s very close to the S200, only 3 grams heavier.

  10. Matt

    Aug 17, 2016 at 8:01 pm

    I’m all messed up X100 in irons KBS Tour X in wedges.

  11. NS Pro

    Aug 17, 2016 at 6:04 pm

    Why were no Modus3 wedge shafts included in this fitting?

    • Chris Wycoff

      Aug 17, 2016 at 10:07 pm

      There was no reason it was intentionally excluded, we just had to pick a reasonable number of shafts with varying weights, flexes and profiles to show the variations. Love the Modus shafts, they very well may be the best shafts for you.

  12. jf

    Aug 17, 2016 at 5:53 pm

    “Any findings will only be amplified for higher-handicap golfers due to increased swing variability, and any shaft-to-shaft variations might have been hidden by this inconsistency.”

    So shaft fitting for wedges is of little benefit to most hackers?

    • Chris Wycoff

      Aug 17, 2016 at 10:09 pm

      Hi JF – thanks for reading, it actually means that wedge fittings are even more important for “most hackers’. Better players are better equipped to deal with a shaft that isn’t fit for their swing. Hackers need all the help they can get!

  13. Larry

    Aug 17, 2016 at 2:39 pm

    I’m using reg flex KBS Tour 90 shafts in my irons. So the recommendation for my wedges is to soft step the same shafts to get lighter & more flexible. Correct?

    • Chris Wycoff

      Aug 17, 2016 at 10:11 pm

      Larry – the real recommendation is to find a fitter that allows you to test multiple options and find the best possible shaft. If that’s not possible, it’s very likely soft stepping your same shafts would produce better results than a stock wedge shaft.

  14. DB

    Aug 17, 2016 at 2:12 pm

    What do you mean by this? You don’t like a lot of wedge or putter designs? Or they have the least tech?

    “For most, wedges are in an unfortunate race with the putter to win the unceremonious award of the clubs that help golfers the least.”

    • explainer

      Aug 17, 2016 at 3:17 pm

      He means essentially “amateur/high-cap golfers just pick their wedges and putter willy nilly at a detriment to their score”

    • Chris Wycoff

      Aug 17, 2016 at 10:47 pm

      DB – unfortunately explainer is correct. Few golfers are fit for wedges and putters even though they are used for over half the shots in a round. The wedges and putter in most bags are working against the golfer, instead of for them.

  15. T-Bone

    Aug 17, 2016 at 1:56 pm

    Chris, How does a shaft create more spin than another?

    • Chris Wycoff

      Aug 17, 2016 at 10:12 pm

      T-Bone –

      Thanks for reading. Different shafts have different flex profiles that produce varying flight characteristics. For many, a soft tip section will produce a higher flight with higher spin.

      • T-Bone

        Aug 18, 2016 at 12:16 am

        OK, thanks. How many more RPM’s of spin could an average swing speed player expect when switching to a soft tip shaft?

        • Chris Wycoff

          Aug 18, 2016 at 9:29 am

          It’s really impossible to say. There are so many variables in the swing and how they interact with the shaft is what matters. It’s best to really find somewhere to try some options and find out for yourself.

  16. Tyler Brown

    Aug 17, 2016 at 1:10 pm

    Why were wedge specific shafts like KBS 610 and Hi Rev not tested?

    • Chris Wycoff

      Aug 17, 2016 at 10:32 pm

      Hi Tyler –

      If I were trying to make general recommendations on specific shafts, I definitely would have included them. The intent of this article was to simply illustrate how much variance there is between different shafts for different golfers. In an actual fitting, I do typically include those for testing.

  17. GMR

    Aug 17, 2016 at 1:09 pm

    How often do these guys hit 100yd 56* wedge shots on the course? Personally I find that to be a relatively challenging scoring shot because the length of swing necessary and amount of spin generated (can get ball caught up in wind, spon back 15 feet on green, etc) and would normally opt to hit a 1/2 52* shot instead, which comes in lower and still stops dead. Would be curious to see these numbers again for testers hitting controlled half shots (e.g. 56* to 85-90) as I suspect the variation in swings and shaft performance may not be so substantial…

    • Chris Wycoff

      Aug 17, 2016 at 10:17 pm

      GMR –

      Great question, these guys tend to hit that shot pretty frequently. We’ve found in fittings that the trend of using a lighter, softer shaft is actually amplified on half swing. The hypothesis is that these lighter, softer shafts still flex on easier swings and provide feel and feedback that is consistent with a full iron shot. For most, using an overly stiff shaft for these touch shots reduces feedback and consistency. Of course, there is not rule that applies for every golfer so it’s best to test for yourself if possible.

  18. Uncle Buck

    Aug 17, 2016 at 12:54 pm


  19. Craig

    Aug 17, 2016 at 12:18 pm

    Great article, been looking for a good wedge shaft and this hits the bullseye. Thanks Chris.

  20. Ryan

    Aug 17, 2016 at 11:49 am

    Is there a reason you tested the shafts with a full to 3/4 wedge shot?
    Does the consistency with a specific shaft in your results continue with chips and pitches?

  21. desmond

    Aug 17, 2016 at 11:28 am

    Typically, wedge shafts are slightly heavier but more flexible than your iron shafts… hmmm.

    • desmond

      Aug 17, 2016 at 11:34 am

      But maybe it says that faster speed players with heavy irons shafts do not need heavy wedge shafts. And that makes sense in terms of one is not typically going full bore with a high lofted wedge.

      I can’t see a guy with 80g graphite shafts go to 75g graphite or steel in wedges. I see that guy (me) going from 85g graphite in R flex to 105g steel in R for greater precision, still keeping the shaft flex the same as irons. A golfer with stiff flex may want to go down slightly in flex.

      • Chris Wycoff

        Aug 17, 2016 at 10:18 pm

        Desmond – you may really want to try a lighter shaft in your wedges if possible. You might be pleasantly surprised.

        • desmond

          Aug 18, 2016 at 4:21 am

          Chris – I was fit for a KBS Hi Rev by an Edel fitter at 115g. My new Edel is fit with 110g Nippon Pro Modus Wedge 105. I think you’ll be surprised that if you get too light, you lose control, not to mention the balance of the club is affected. I am a strong wedge player. The lighter graphite iron shafts are for distance and less shock to body.

          • Chris Wycoff

            Aug 18, 2016 at 9:25 am

            Getting fit is the best answer – that’s why I was pretty careful to indicate these were trends, not solutions. Every player is different and what works for some definitely will not work for others. I’m glad you found the shafts that work the best for you!

  22. AllBOdoesisgolf

    Aug 17, 2016 at 11:06 am

    great article but I wouldn’t say their swings are consistent… maybe, after seeing the results, that’s why you used the qualifier of “relatively”. When you have 6mph difference from top to bottom is speed there are going to be different results.
    then again, we are not robots… it just surprised me that guys with low single digit handicaps can have such a large discrepancy of swing speeds.

  23. Leon

    Aug 17, 2016 at 11:05 am

    Or another thumb of rule: use one less flex shafts (the same model) of your irons for your wedges. For example, if you have DG S300 for the irons, consider to put the DG S200 or soft step the S300 once or twice for the wedges. In this way, the clubs will have the same feel and swing characteristics, and there will no transition gap between the irons and wedges.

    • Lee

      Aug 17, 2016 at 2:27 pm

      Agreed, I know one of Europe’s top fitter and this is exactly what he and many others are doing.

    • Chris Wycoff

      Aug 17, 2016 at 10:44 pm

      While it’s best to try multiple shafts and get fully fit, if that’s not possible, your rule of thumb is likely much better than a stock “Wedge” shaft.

  24. kyle

    Aug 17, 2016 at 10:23 am

    Agreed, terrific article. Thanks

  25. J

    Aug 17, 2016 at 10:05 am

    Seriously great article, well done!

    • DaveMac

      Aug 17, 2016 at 2:44 pm

      A big thumbs up from me, nice to see a data driven equipment performance article for a change. Really interesting conclusions.

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19th Hole

Vincenzi’s Sanderson Farms Championship betting preview: Eric Cole ready to show his class in Jackson



After a dominant performance by Europe at the Ryder Cup, the PGA TOUR heads to Mississippi for the Sanderson Farms Championship at the Country Club of Jackson.

The course is a 7,461-yard par 72 with fast Bermudagrass greens. The tournament had been an alternate-field event up until the 2019-20 season, when it was upgraded to a standalone event.

The field is largely as expected for a swing-season event, but there are some talented players teeing it up in Jackson this week looking to play their way into next season’s singature events. Some notable golfers in the 156-man field this week include Ludvig Aberg, Eric Cole, Keithy Mitchell and Emiliano Grillo.

Past Winners at Country Club of Jackson

  • 2022: Mackenzie Hughes (-17)
  • 2021: Sam Burns (-22)
  • 2020: Sergio Garcia (-19)
  • 2019: Sebastian Munoz (-18)
  • 2018: Cameron Champ (-21) 
  • 2017: Ryan Armour (-19)
  • 2016: Cody Gribble (-20)

Let’s take a look at several key metrics for the Country Club of Jackson to determine which golfers boast top marks in each category over their last 24 rounds.

Strokes Gained: Approach

SG: Approach will be important this week as the club was renovated in 2008 and tried to imitate some classic Donald Ross course features. This means the greens will be relatively small, and finding the right level on approach shots will be crucial. 

The course will generate plenty of low scores, so it’s important that players give themselves plenty of birdie looks. Sergio Garcia gained 7.0 strokes on the field in his victory three seasons ago, which was third in the field. Sam Burns gained 8.3 in 2021, which was good for second. 

Last season, Mackenzie Hughes gained 5.3 strokes on approach in his victory.

Total strokes gained: Approach in past 24 rounds:

  1. Chez Reavie (+26.8)
  2. Alex Smalley (+23.7)
  3. Sam Ryder (+23.1)
  4. Kevin Streelman (+18.1)
  5. Eric Cole (+17.5)

Strokes Gained: Off the Tee

Placing an emphasis on who the best drivers of the golf ball is a smart strategy. This stat has driving accuracy built into it, and though the fairways are relatively easy to hit at the Country Club of Jackson, long and straight is always a big advantage.  

I am looking for golfers who are going to have the shortest approach shots and are coming in from the fairway. In 2020 and 2021, respective winners Sergio Garcia and Sam Burns led the field (+5.5) and (+6.1) in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee. In 2023, Mackenzie Hughes was roughly average off the tee, but that seems to be an outlier when examining the winners in totality. 

Total strokes gained: Off the Tee in past 24 rounds:

  1. Brent Grant (+27.0)
  2. Ludvig Aberg (+26.8) 
  3. M.J. Daffue (+17.5)
  4. Kevin Yu (+17.1) 
  5. Trevor Cone (+16.8) 

Driving Distance

With the rough not being a major problem this week, the bomb-and-gauge approach should be very successful.

Driving Distance gained over past 24 rounds:

  1. Peter Kuest (+20.9)
  2. Brandon Matthews (+20.3)
  3. M.J. Daffue (+17.2)
  4. Garrick Higgo (+17.2)
  5. Kyle Westmoreland (+15.1)

Strokes Gained: Par 5

Three of the four par 5s on the course should be reachable by the longer hitters, with the longest par 5 hole measuring 587 yards. Finding eagle and birdie opportunities on the Par 5s this week may be the difference in determining a winner.

Total Strokes Gained: Par 5 in past 24 rounds:

  1. Stephen Thompson (+19.3)
  2. Scott Harrington (+14.1) 
  3. Stephan Jaeger (+14.0)
  4. Grayson Murray (+13.8) 
  5. Jason Dufner (+12.4)

SG: Putting (Bermudagrass Greens Fast or Lightning)

Historically, SG: Putting at the Sanderson Farms Championship has weighed as the most indicative score of the tournament winner. While this isn’t necessarily rare in PGA TOUR tournaments, it was 10% more important at Country Club of Jackson than the average course on TOUR. 

The greens have been either “fast” or “lightning” in every round the tournament has been played. Whoever wins this week will need to catch a hot putter, so the best putters on Bermuda should have the best chance to do that.

Total Strokes Gained: Putting (Bermuda+Fast or Lightning) past 24 rounds:

  1. Martin Trainer (+25.0)
  2. Chad Ramey (+24.3) 
  3. Brian Gay (+22.3)
  4. Alex Noren (+19.8)
  5. Ben Taylor (+16.2)

Statistical Model

Below, I’ve reported overall model rankings using a combination of the five key statistical categories previously discussed.

These rankings are comprised of SG: APP (25%) SG: OTT: (25%), Driving Distance (18%), SG: Par 5 (18%), SG: Putting (Bermuda) 14%.

  1. Peter Kuest (+8000)
  2. Stephan Jaeger (+2500)
  3. Kevin Yu (+6500)
  4. Trevor Cone (+20000)
  5. Callum Tarren (+6000)
  6. Chad Ramey (+9000)
  7. Scott Harrington (+30000)
  8. Luke List (+5500)
  9. Matthias Schmid (+10000)
  10. Joseph Bramlett (+20000)

Sanderson Farms Championship Picks

Eric Cole +2000 (DraftKings)

With the PGA Tour’s new fall format, there are a few very talented players that will be looking to parlay a strong fall into an invitation to all of the big money signature events come the beginning of 2024. Eric Cole, who’s looked excellent since his emergence on the PGA Tour, is among the players who has the skill and motivation to challenge for one of the spots up for grabs.

The Florida native is extremely comfortable playing on fast Bermudagrass greens. In the field, he ranks 14th in Strokes Gained: Putting on similar surfaces and has some strong results on Bermuda tracks to back up the statistics. Cole missed the cut at the Country Club of Jackson last year, but he’s a much different player now.

In his most recent start at the Fortinet Championship, Cole finished 4th and gained 12.4 strokes from tee to green, which led the field. In his past 24 rounds, he ranks 5th in the field in Strokes Gained: Approach.

Cole was among the most impressive performers in the fall swing’s first event. Now, he’ll have a much weaker field to grapple with and will benefit from Sahith Theegala, Max Homa and Justin Thomas not being in the field.

S.H. Kim +3300 (BetRivers)

S.H. Kim had one of the most impressive ball striking displays at the first event of the fall series. Kim finished 2nd at the Fortinet Championship and gained 11.0 strokes from tee to green, which was good for second in the field. He also gained 6.0 strokes on approach and 3.2 strokes off the tee.

If his strong performance at Silverado wasn’t enough, he also has an encouraging history at the Country Club of Jackson. Kim finished 13th at the course last season and should be much more comfortable in contention this year with some strong PGA Tour finishes under his belt.

Kim has had two runner-up finishes on the Korn Ferry Tour, both of which came on Bermudagrass greens. If he can build off the best ball striking performance of his career, he will be difficult to beat this week in Mississippi.

Sam Ryder +5000 (BetMGM)

I followed Ryder closely during the Fortinet Championship and he put on a ball striking clinic, which has been the case consistently since July. He finished 14th at Silverado and gained 6.4 strokes on approach, which was good for 2nd in the field. Over his last 24 rounds, Ryder ranks 3rd in Strokes Gained: Approach. 

The 33-year-old didn’t have his best putting week in his most recent start (-2.6 strokes), which makes some sense considering the putting splits he’s shown us throughout his career. He typically putts field average on POA greens but he’s statistically a positive putter on Bermudagrass throughout his career. The fast Bermuda greens should be a welcome change for Ryder this week, who grew up playing in Florida.

Ryder’s history at the Country Club of Jackson isn’t spectacular by any means, but he’s yet to play the course when he’s in the type of form he’s in at the moment. If he continues his superb ball striking, he should have a good chance to contend this week in Mississippi.

Ben Griffin +5500 (PointsBet)

Ben Griffin is a player who loves playing on Bermudagrass greens. He has top-5 finishes in his career at the Wyndham Championship and the Butterfield Bermuda Championship. After playing in the final few groups over the weekend, I believe he’ll feel much more confident when he finds himself in that position again. 

In his past 24 rounds, Griffin ranks 20th in Strokes Gained: Approach and 15th in Strokes Gained: Putting on fast Bermuda greens. Griffin is one of the better putters on Tour and can get hot in a hurry on the greens. Last year, we saw a shorter hitting good putter win this event, so the bombers can be beaten at the Country Club of Jackson, despite having an advantage.

Griffin played this event last year. He finished 24th in his first trip to the course and gained 6.2 strokes on approach, so the course layout seems to fit his eye. After making the FedEx Cup playoffs last year, the 27-year-old is ready to take the next step in his development on the PGA Tour.

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Opinion & Analysis

The Wedge Guy: 3 surefire ways to never get better at golf



That may seem like a rather strange title for an article, but hear me out.

I’ve written this blog every week for nearly 20 years so that I can share some observations from a lifetime in this game and over 40 years in the golf equipment industry. If you read many of my posts, you know that one of my favorite areas of subject matter is the process of learning how to play this game at a higher and higher level. I can’t begin to number the hundreds of instruction books and articles I’ve digested or the innumerable hours I’ve spent watching golfers of all skill levels.

The simple fact is that the more often you hit your best shots – and the less frequently your worst ones show up – the more enjoyable the game becomes. What amazes me is how many golfers I encounter who must really not want to get better at this game. How else can you explain the fact that, in spite of all the gains in equipment technologies and the unlimited amount of instruction available (much of it free), so many golfers just cannot achieve any measurable semblance of success?

So, a bit tongue in cheek, this week I want to share what I believe are the three surefire ways to never get better at golf.

Ignore the importance of a proper grip

I was taught from the very beginning that the first fundamental of golf is learning how to hold the club properly. Doing so takes no athletic ability whatsoever, and you can practice it to perfection anywhere. I’m a firm believer that there is really only one way to do that, and close observation of elite players on the PGA and LPGA tours seems to verify that.

It doesn’t matter whether you opt for the traditional overlap (Vardon) grip, or the interlock grip, which has become increasingly more popular since the best player of the modern era made it his own. You can even choose the full-finger (not “baseball”) grip on the club, particularly if you are not as strong in the hands (ladies and seniors take note). Your grip can be rotated a bit stronger or weaker, but the fundamentals are the same:

  • The club has to be controlled with the last three fingers of the upper hand, and the grip needs to be positioned under the heel pad, not across it.
  • The lower hand pressure is also in the fingers, more specifically the middle two fingers – the thumb and forefinger have to be more lightly engaged, if at all.
  • The upper or lead hand has to be “in control” of the movement of the club.

Very simply, if you are not holding the club in this fundamentally sound manner, the body and club just cannot move properly through the swing motion.

Disregard the importance of proper posture and setup

Likewise, it requires little to no athletic ability to “just stand there” in the proper posture for the athletic move that is a sound golf swing.  And again, watch the best players in the world – there is  little-to-no variance from one to the other in the way they position their body to be prepared for a fundamentally sound and powerful, repeating golf swing.  I don’t need to describe it – just look at pictures and video of good players – they all start from basically the same posture and set-up.  If you think you can become a solid player when you are starting from an unsound, “homemade” set up, you are sadly mistaken.  The biggest mistakes I see in this area are that the hands are too high, eliminating the Secret Angle of Success, or that the hands are positioned way too far ahead of the clubhead at address.

Take instruction from your buddies

Golf instruction is part art and part science, and your buddies — even those who seem to be pretty good players — are not likely versed in either facet of golf instruction. But tips and advice are cheap, and I cannot begin to count the number of times I’ve watched or heard a golfer who can’t break 80 (or even 90) try to “coach” someone who also can’t break 80. Unless your buddy has spent hours and years studying the golf swing and can play a pretty good game himself or herself, close your ears and eyes when they offer advice.

Compared to all the costs associated with golf, availing yourself of professional instruction is pretty darn cheap. My Dad had a wise saying: “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well.” And my bet is that you have already committed to the fact that golf is certainly “worth doing.” So, please, engage a professional instructor who “gets” you and see him or her regularly.

So, there you have it. Frank Sinatra made a fortune singing “My Way,” but that certainly isn’t the pathway to better and more consistent golf.

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19th Hole

5 examples of how Lexi Thompson has been treated harsher than any of her peers



Following Lexi Thompson’s Solheim Cup post-round presser on Friday evening, the 28-year-old has been the topic of much discussion.

Golf pundits and fans alike have been weighing in with their takes after this exchange with a reporter surrounding an untimely shank on Friday afternoon went viral:

After the incident, LPGA Hall of Famer Nancy Lopez said that Lexi has “been picked on and drug through negative comments. She is tired of it”

So has the criticism of Lexi Thompson been justified, or is this yet another example of her being unfairly treated?

Well, here are five times, in my opinion, that Lexi has been scrutinized far differently over the years than her peers.

2022 KPMG PGA Championship

At the 2022 KPMG PGA Championship, Lexi Thompson held a two-stroke lead with three holes to play. She couldn’t close the deal and lost the tournament.

Afterwards, she was fined $2k (as were the rest of the group) for slow play.

Lexi declined to speak to the media and got hammered on social media for doing so…

Almost every golfer at some point has skipped a media session following disappointment on the course, and nobody has really batted an eyelid.

Tiger skipped back-to-back post-round media briefings at the 2019 WGC Mexico after being frustrated with his putting. Remember the backlash over that? Nah, me neither.

Donald Trump


Every (or nearly every) big-name golfer under the sun has played golf with Donald Trump. Tiger Woods, Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy etc. Nobody really cared.

For whatever reason, when Lexi Thompson did, it was a story, and she took herself off social media soon after the photo was posted.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Lexi Thompson (@lexi)

2021 U.S. Women’s Open

In the final round of the 2021 U.S. Women’s Open, Lexi Thompson had a 6-foot eagle on her opening hole. She missed and made birdie to lead by five.

She then lost the tournament.

Following the round, Brandel Chamblee said on ‘Live From’:

“She’s got 6 feet away. Now professional golfers don’t miss the center of the face by a pinhead. Look where she hits this putt on the very 1st hole. Look where this putt comes off the face. She would have missed the center of the putter there by a half an inch. I have never — I have never — seen a professional golfer miss the center of the putter by a wider margin than that. That was at the 1st hole. “

Honest? Absolutely. Correct? Brandel usually is. Has any other LPGA golfer been handed the full-on Chamblee treatment? Not to my knowledge.

2023 Solheim Cup

Lexi Thompson spoke the words, “I don’t need to comment on that” when a reporter asked her about a failed shot, and the golf community collectively lost their minds.

Lost on many people is the fact that she literally answered the question instantly after.

Jessica Korda described the reporting of the awkward exchange with the media member as yet another example of the golf media shredding Lexi, but in reality, it was really just golf media covering the furore created by golf fans reacting to the viral clip.

Lexi then won her next two matches, collecting 3 points from 4 for the U.S. team. But nobody seems to care about that.


‘yOu ShoUlD PrAcTIce puTTinG’

There’s very few golfers that have been plagued with such inane posts on their Instagram page as Lexi Thompson has.

I’ve tracked golfer’s social media accounts over the past few years (job requirement, sort of?). I can categorically say that Lexi gets some of the angriest and most aggressive responses to her posts of any golfer. Male or female. (She also gets some very nice ones too).

Despite countless posts of Thompson relentlessly practising her putting, the number of comments from dummies accusing her of neglecting that area of her game is both bizarre and alarming. Notice how the comments have been disabled on the post below? Probably not a coincidence.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Lexi Thompson (@lexi)

Go on any other golfer’s social account, and it will be hard to find the same dynamic.

Throw in the scandalous rules decision at the 2017 ANA Inspiration that cost her a second major title and spawned the “Lexi rule,” and it’s hard not to think Lexi has had a bit of a raw deal at times.

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