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Opinion & Analysis

WITB Time Machine: This week in 1999 Top 5 OWGR

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No. 1: David Duval

DRIVER: Titleist 975D @6.5 with True Temper EI-70 Tour X 45 inches 

3-WOOD: Callaway S2H2 @15 with Fujikura Vista Pro 90 TP X 42.75 Inches

IRONS: (2,3) Titleist DCI Black, (4-PW) Titleist 962B with Dynamic Gold X100 Sensicore 

WEDGES: (53) Cobra “Trusty Rusty”, (57 @58) Cleveland 588 RTG

PUTTER: Scotty Cameron By Titleist Newport Beach Proto 35 Inches with PingMan “blackout” Grip

BALL: Titleist Professional 100

GRIPS: Golf Pride Victory Green

GLOVE: Titleist Players

No. 2: Tiger Woods

DRIVER: Titleist 975D @7.5 w/ Dynamic Gold X100 (tipped to length) @43.5 inches long

3-WOOD: Titleist 970 @15 bore thru w/ Dynamic Gold X100 (tipped to length) @42.5 inches long

IRONS: 2-P Titleist 681T Grind Prototypes (Endo Forged) with Dynamic Gold X100

WEDGES: Titleist Vokey 258/08 @56, 260/06 with Dynamic Gold X100

PUTTER: Scotty Cameron GSS Version 1 with PingMan “blackout” grip

BALL:  Titleist Professional 90

GRIPS: Golf Pride Tour Velvet Cord

GLOVE: Titleist Players

No. 3 Davis Love III

DRIVER: Titleist 975D @6.5 with True Temper EI-70 Tour X 45 Inches

3-WOOD: Titleist 970 @13 True Temper EI-70 X 43 Inches

IRONS: 2-P Titleist 990 Prototypes with Dynamic Gold X100 Sensicore

WEDGES: Titleist “Bobka/Love” Grind (54,60) with Dynamic Gold X100

PUTTER: Ping Anser with Golf Pride “Pro Only” Pistol Grip

BALL:  Titleist Professional 100

GRIPS: Golf Pride Victory Green

GLOVE: Titleist Players

No. 4 Ernie Els

DRIVER: TaylorMade Firesole Titanium 8.5 w/ Bubble Shaft XMKP Tour Prototype X 45 Inches

3-WOOD: TaylorMade Firesole 13 degrees w/ Dynamic Gold X100 42.5 Inches

IRONS: TaylorMade Burner Tour 2-PW w/Royal Precision Rifle 7.0

WEDGES: Cleveland 588 (56,60) with Dynamic Gold S400

PUTTER: Ping Anser w/ Neumann Leather Grip

BALL: Titleist Professional 100

GRIPS: Golf Pride Tour Velvet

GLOVE: Titleist Players

No. 5: Vijay Singh

DRIVER: Kasco VS Tour @7 with Apache Prototype

3-WOOD: Orlimar Tri Metal @13 degrees Apache Prototype

IRONS: Wilson Staff Mid-Size RM with Apollo “Hump” Steel X

WEDGES: Wilson Staff (54) and Titleist Vokey Design (60) Apollo “Hump” Steel X

PUTTER: Scotty Cameron Pro Platinum

BALL: Titleist Professional 100

GRIPS: Golf Pride Victory Full Cord

GLOVE: Wilson Staff

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Johnny Wunder is the Director of Original Content, Instagram Manager and Host of “The Gear Dive” Podcast for GolfWRX.com. He was born in Seattle, Wash., and grew up playing at Rainier G&CC. John is also a partner with The Traveling Picture Show Company having most recently produced JOSIE with Game of Thrones star Sophie Turner. In 1997 Johnny had the rare opportunity of being a clubhouse attendant for the Anaheim Angels. He now resides in Toronto, On with his wife and two sons. @johnny_wunder on IG

3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Bob Jones

    May 11, 2020 at 9:56 am

    I play a 975D 11.5*. It is as straight as any club in my bag.

  2. Hugh Jass

    May 11, 2020 at 7:41 am

    Would love to see a show with Tiger hitting his old clubs and how they work for him now.

  3. jgpl001

    May 11, 2020 at 4:34 am

    Ah 1999 – when the 975D was King and the Titleist Professional was the only “real” ball

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Opinion & Analysis

The Wedge Guy: Why wedge mastery is so elusive

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I have conducted numerous surveys of golfers over my 40-year golf industry career, because I have always believed that if you want to know what people are thinking, you simply have to ask them.

As a gearhead for wedges and a wedge designer over the past 30 years, most of my research and analysis is focused on these short-range scoring clubs and how golfers use them. What this research continually tells me is that most golfers—regardless of handicap–consider the wedges the hardest clubs in the bag to master. That’s because they are. I would even go so far as to say that the difficulty of attaining mastery even extends to the best players in the world.

Watching the Genesis Open this past weekend, for example, it seemed like these guys were hitting wedge approaches on nearly every hole. And while there were certainly many shots that covered the flag—like Max Homa’s approach on 18–there were also a great number that came up woefully short. Not what you would expect when a top-tier tour professional has a sand or gap wedge in their hands.

The simple fact is that wedges are the most difficult clubs in our bags with which to attain consistent shotmaking mastery, and that is because of the sheer design of the clubhead itself. For clarity of this article, I’m talking about those full- or near full-swing wedge shots, not the vast variety of short greenside shots we all face every round. To get mastery of those shots (like the tour pros exhibit every week), you simply have to spend lots of time hitting lots of shots, experimenting and exploring different techniques. There are no shortcuts to a deadly short game.

But today I’m talking about those prime opportunities to score, when you have a full- or near-full swing wedge into a par-five or short par four. We should live for those moments, but all too often we find ourselves disappointed in the outcome.

The good news is that’s not always all your fault.

First of all, you must understand that every wedge shot is, in effect, a glancing blow to the ball because of the loft involved. With 50 to 60 degrees of loft—or even 45 to 48 degrees with a pitching wedge—the loft of the club is such that the ball is given somewhat of a glancing blow. That demands a golf swing with a much higher degree of precision in the strike than say, an 8-iron shot.

I have always believed that most golfers can improve their wedge play by making a slower-paced swing than you might with a longer iron. This allows you to be more precise in making sure that your hands lead the clubhead through impact, which is a must when you have a wedge in your hands. Without getting into too much detail, the heavier, stiffer shaft in most wedges does not allow this club to load and unload in the downswing, so the most common error is for the clubhead to get ahead of the hands before impact, thereby adding loft and aggravating this glancing blow. I hope that makes sense.
The other aspect of wedge design that makes consistent wedge distance so elusive is the distribution of the mass around the clubhead. This illustration of a typical tour design wedge allows me to show you something I have seen time and again in robotic testing of various wedges.

Because all the mass is along the bottom of the clubhead, the ideal impact point is low in the face (A), so that most of the mass is behind the ball. Tour players are good at this, but most recreational golfers whose wedges I’ve examined have a wear pattern at least 2-4 grooves higher on the club than I see on tour players’ wedges.

So, why is this so important?

Understand that every golf club has a single “sweet spot”–that pinpoint place where the smash factor is optimized—where clubhead speed translates to ball speed at the highest efficiency. On almost all wedges, that spot is very low on the clubhead, as indicated by the “A” arrow here, and robotic testing reveals that smash factor to be in the range of 1.16-1.18, meaning the ball speed is 16-18% higher than the clubhead speed.

To put that in perspective, smash factor on drivers can be as high as 1.55 or even a bit more, and it’s barely below that in your modern game improvement 7-iron. The fact is—wedges are just not as efficient in this measure, primarily because of the glancing blow I mentioned earlier.

But–and here’s the kicker–if you move impact up the face of a wedge just half to five-eights of an inch from the typical recreational golfer’s impact point, as indicated by the “B” arrow, smash factor on ‘tour design’ wedges can be reduced to as low as 0.92 to 0.95. That costs you 40 to 60 feet on a 90-yard wedge shot . . . because you missed “perfect” by a half-inch or less!

So, that shot you know all too well—the ball sitting up and caught a bit high in the face—is going fall in the front bunker or worse. That result is not all your fault. The reduced distance is a function of the diminished smash factor of the wedge head itself.

That same half-inch miss with your driver or even your game-improvement 7-iron is hardly noticeable.

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Golf's Perfect Imperfections

Golf’s Perfect Imperfections: Breakthrough mental tools to play the golf of your dreams

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Incredibly important talk! A must listen to the words of Dr. Karl Morris, ham-and-egging with the golf imperfections trio. Like listening to top athletes around a campfire. This talk will helps all ages and skills in any sport.

 

 

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On Spec

On Spec: Homa Wins! And how to avoid “paralysis by analysis”!

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This week’s episode covers a wide array of topics from the world of golf including Max Homa’s win on the PGA Tour, golf course architecture, and how to avoid “paralysis by analysis” when it comes to your golf game.

This week’s show also covers the important topic of mental health, with the catalyst for the conversation being a recent interview published by PGA Tour with Bubba Watson and his struggles.

 

 

 

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