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From a Fitter: An in-depth discussion of wedge bounce, grind, loft and lie

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Wedge fitting is an interesting subject due to so many variables of the player and the course we play on. This article is to help break a few components down and help you make better choices when purchasing wedges.

Bounce is generally given a number which is a reference to the angle measured through the center portion of the sole of a club, from leading to trailing edge. The larger the angle, the more bounce you have, and the lower, the less bounce you have. No doubt this is a handy number to know, but for me, it is only the beginning of understanding the wedge.

It has often been said that “better players” use lower bounce, but this is not always true. Many tour players use higher bounce wedges these days, with special grinds (shapes of the club’s sole). Do not get pigeon-holed into a wedge option because of your handicap!

For me, wedge fitting is about versatility, forgiveness, and compatibility for that one player’s style.

I start the wedge fitting with an intensive interview process about the player’s entire bag layout and how many wedges can be fit into the bag. I then discuss their perception of the shots they play a lot of (specific yardages, flights of shot, etc.). Finally, we discuss the conditions of their most played course. Unfortunately, a lot of us do not have the luxury of owning multiple sets of wedges for all conditions, but if I can give a set of wedges some versatility, that will give the player more choice of shot from course to course.

I then measure a player’s angle of attack with their PW through to their highest loft wedge with what I call their “stock shot” or most played shot with that wedge. This process is really just an indicator of the options I will try first.

From here, it is very much player-driven. We move to the grassed area and cycle lofts, bounce and grind options. Not letting a player hit too many shots with each (otherwise they can start to manipulate the wedge too much from their normal action, especially good players). We look at divots and flight, keeping an eye especially on the bad shots and how they feel through the turf and how the shots fly/land. During my intensive sessions, we also go to a bunker area and play sand shots and shots to a green to hone in specialist areas of the short game.

Generics I use for grind

  • Players who play ‘square to square’ shots, such as bump and runs, or mid-flight shots often deliver leading edge to the ground first. Depending on conditions I combat this with leading-edge relief i.e the shape of the sole looks like a V from heel to toe. Sometimes a softer rounded leading edge can also do the trick.
  • Players who hit lots of flop shots and try to manipulate the club on the ground. I experiment with variations of heel and trailing edge relief. These players often have success with aggressive grinds, as when the club is splayed open they feel as though the missing heel and trailing edge material allows the leading edge to sit snug to the surface, and it prevents the club bouncing too much through strike.

Ultimately, I facilitate a player with options and information.

The number one key of knowing you have the right wedge is clean strike! This means the club does not want to dig or bounce, but is allowed to slide through the ball and turf delivering the loft you intended.

One of the big areas that gets missed for me is the loft and lie adjustments. If a player’s lie is way out when testing a wedge, it can make it impossible to use. During a session, I try to keep uniformity between iron setup and wedge setup ensuring distance gaps are covered. This means I manipulate lofts and lies during the fitting. I have to be aware of the implications of bounce and turf interaction as I bend loft due to it adjusting the look of offset and most importantly the presentation of leading and trailing edge. The lie is just as important: one little tweak the right way and strikes can go from average to perfect.

Generics of loft and lie adjustment

  • Adding loft can deliver more trailing edge, de-lofting can present more leading edge.
  • Having more upright lies can help ‘square to square’ players, whereas flatter lie angles can help the Mickleson flop shot specialists!
  • It’s not uncommon for me to flatten a player’s lob wedge a little more to allow that shaft to lay down easier.

Key points to get the most out of your wedge fitting

  • Test options outside on turf.
  • Do not base your fitting on just your angle of attack!
  • Play lots of style of shots during testing.
  • Make sure you have enough wedges to cover important distance and shot types for your game (have versatility in your wedge setup).
  • Make sure length, loft and lie have been accounted for—as for shaft, that’s another article!

If you attain all of this and like the look and feel of your wedges, you will be set to play your best golf home and away. No matter the lie you encounter, you will feel you have a tool for the job at hand. This gives you the confidence in your swing at the scoring end of the game.

 

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Jack Gilbert is currently a Master Club/ Putter Fitter and Builder at Cool Clubs Australia, with 10 years experience in the industry. Day to day he is fitting and helping players from beginners to Major winning golfers and everywhere in between. Jack helps produce specific Putter Studio designs, alongside R&D for club fitting technology. He has played in the U.K and U.S.A as a Collegiate Golfer. In the last decade he has worked out of London, Gold Coast, Sydney and Melbourne and has been publishing content for Cool Clubs Australia since the company's inception. His content focuses on club fitting, club/shaft design and technology advancements.

5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. freowho

    Dec 31, 2019 at 5:59 pm

    Good article. I agree with a slighlty flatter lie angle for flop shots but it makes the club hard to use for full shots. So the lob wedge basically becomes a specialty shot only club. I think if you are someone who enjoys playing different courses you do need a a couple of different setups. If I was playing a firm course I would carry the specialty 60 which means I would need a good 56 for pitch shots. If I was playing a softer course I might carry a 58 with more bounce instead of the 56 and 60.

  2. Dan

    Dec 31, 2019 at 1:49 am

    Good to know mate. Interested in your next article about wedge flex. As I play with Ap1 R300 shafts. I was fitted with a vokey wedge, 46F bounce 10. Half an inch long, 1 degree flat. Brought 3 more vokey wedges, same length and lie off a mate. Which have been upgraded to KBS hi rev 2.0 125/S. The feel and contact are amazing. Thinking about doing the same with my 46F. Your thoughts.

    • Jack

      Jan 1, 2020 at 4:50 pm

      Hi Dan,
      Thanks for the comment. I will go into a little more depth in the article but I would base your 46* on shots you hit the most – Generally this will be fuller shots for most players, therefore I would install the shaft that matches the rest of your iron setup (if you have been fit for those and enjoy their performance etc.. too).

  3. ht

    Dec 30, 2019 at 3:04 pm

    Yeah this is great info. Thank you. Looking forward to the wedge shaft post

  4. Adam

    Dec 30, 2019 at 1:40 am

    Very informative. Thank you

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Whats in the Bag

Jordan Spieth WITB 2021 (April)

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Jordan Spieth what’s in the bag accurate as of the Valero Texas Open.

Driver: Titleist TSi3 (10 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Blue 6 X

3-wood: Titleist TS2 (15 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Blue 7 X

Hybrid: Titleist 818 H2 (21 degrees)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD DI 95 X Hybrid

Irons: Titleist T100 (4-9)
Shafts: True Temper Project X 6.5

Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM8 (46-10F, 52-08F, 56-10S), Vokey Proto (60-T)
Shafts: True Temper Project X 6.0 (6.5 in 46)

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Aaron Dill (@vokeywedgerep)


Putter: Scotty Cameron Circle T 009
Grip: SuperStroke Traxion Flatso 1.0

Grips: SuperStroke S-Tech

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x

 

 

 

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Equipment rewind: A deep dive into the Cleveland HiBore driver legacy

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I have always been fascinated by product development, specifically the development of unconventional products. Now in the world of golf clubs, one of the most unconventional designs ever introduced was the Cleveland HiBore driver, which during its lifespan, experienced tremendous success through a number of generations, including the HiBore XL, XLS, and finally, the Monster XLS, which, as you may remember, hid the acronym “MOI” on the sole, alluding to its massive level of forgiveness.

As a golfer, I played the original HiBore, along with the XL Tour for a period of time and was always curious about the story behind the “scooped out crown.” In a search for answers, I reached out to Cleveland-Srixon to get the lowdown on the HiBore and discuss where it sits in the pantheon of drivers.

Ryan Barath: Considering how engineers are continuing to do everything they can to increase MOI and push the center of gravity low and deep in driver heads, it feels like the original HiBore and the subsequent models were well ahead of their time from a design perspective. 

It makes logical sense the best way to save weight from the crown is to make the crown “disappear” compared to traditionally shaped drivers, am I correct in assuming that?

Cleveland design team: You nailed it.

At the time of the HiBore, there were really only two solutions to create a low and deep center of gravity:

    1. Make the crown lighter – by either replacing the crown with a lighter-weight material such as a graphite composite or magnesium or by thinning out the material on the crown. Thinner crowns were possible thanks to advances in casting technology and using etching techniques to remove material.
    2. Make the driver shallower – this change in geometry created a very forgiving low profile design, but the downside to this was that you ended up with a very small face that looked intimidating compared to the larger-faced drivers on the market.

The HiBore took a new approach and inverted the crown geometry so that all the crown weight was moved lower. By inverting the crown the HiBore design allowed for a very long and flat sole, therefore there was space in the head that was really low and deep to put the weight.

The HiBore was really the first driver to eliminate, or nearly eliminate the tapered skirt. Almost every modern driver in the market is inspired by the HiBore in that respect. It was a two-part solution where we lowered the weight of the crown and simultaneously created a low/deep location to put any extra mass.

The lower and deeper CG of the HiBore improved launch conditions significantly, but also made the driver much more consistent across the entire face. The deep CG increased MOI resulting in tighter dispersion since the sweet spot was in the center of the face. Misses both low and high performed exceptionally as opposed to having a small hot spot high on the face.

RB: In every conversation I have ever had with engineers, there is always this give-and-take mentality from a design perspective to get to the final iteration. Was there anything that was given up or sacrificed for overall performance with this design?

Cleveland design team: The hardest part about the HiBore design was the sound. Prior to the HiBore, internal ribbing in a hollow golf club head was nearly unheard of. To make the HiBore sound acceptable, we had to design a ribbing structure to control the sound and design an entirely new manufacturing process to produce those internal ribs. To this day, most drivers include some form of internal ribbing to control sound or improve ball speed and that ribbing technology can be traced back to the HiBore.

In terms of tradeoffs, the major one was the low spin nature of the driver made it more difficult for low spin players to use. If a golfer is already low spin, this club would be too low and drives would just fall out of the air. Low spin golfers tend to be low spin because they hit the ball high on the face. Since we lowered the sweet spot, a high face impact was further from the sweet spot so ball speed fell as compared to a higher CG driver. Fortunately for us, in that era most golfers were fighting too much spin or way too much spin, this wasn’t a real issue.

RB: Do you have any final words on the HiBore drivers and the legacy they have left behind?

Cleveland design team: We are very proud of the HiBore driver family and the success it had at the time, but we are also proud of its legacy.

In the same way that you can trace nearly every modern band back to the Beatles or Led Zeppelin, you can trace nearly every modern driver back to HiBore either through the internal structure that is prolific across modern drivers, or the long, flat sole that is a must-have in a high-performance driver.

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Coolest thing for sale in the GolfWRX Classifieds (04/03/21): Tiger Woods spec’d irons

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At GolfWRX, we love golf, plain and simple.

We are a community of like-minded individuals who all experience and express our enjoyment of the game in many ways. It’s that sense of community that drives day-to-day interactions in the forums on topics that range from best driver to what marker you use to mark your ball. It even allows us to share another thing, including equipment or, in this case, a sweet set of irons!

Currently, in our GolfWRX buy/sell/trade (BST) forum, there is a listing for Tiger Woods spec’d TaylorMade P7TW irons, or as they are also known: the GOAT irons.

To check out the full listing in our BST forum, head through the link: TaylorMade P7TW **TIGER SPECS* 3-PW

This is the most impressive current listing from the GolfWRX BST, and if you are curious about the rules to participate in the BST Forum you can check them out here: GolfWRX BST Rules.

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