Connect with us

Opinion & Analysis

The Wedge Guy: Equipment tidbits for you to think about

Published

on

One of the most fun things about being a golfer is that we all want to get better–hit drives longer and straighter, iron shots that find greens more often, pitches and chips that get closer, and putts that go in more often. And we all seem to take great pleasure in finding that next “missing link” in our bags that will help us achieve one of those goals.

Today I want to share some thoughts about how little things can often mean a lot when it comes to tweaking your equipment. On the surface, a golf club seems to be a pretty simple thing—a piece of metal, at the end of a tubular piece of metal or graphite, with a rubber-like handle at the end. But when that golf club is put into motion at 100 mph or so, a lot of dynamics begin to happen.

As we ponder the dynamics of the complex action of swinging a golf club and the broad set of mechanics that come into play on every shot, I thought I’d share some random observations I’ve made over the years about equipment cause and effect:

Increasing your driving distance: The industry has taken us on this dramatic quest for distance and power, and the average driver sold today is over 45” long. That’s two inches longer than the standard of 25 years ago. And while the humongous driver heads brag about “forgiveness”, the fact is that your longest drives (and straightest) will always come from dead center hits. It’s still a fact that a sweet spot miss of just ½” will cost you 7-9% distance loss, and a miss of 3/4” will increase that to 12-15%. I suggest you try gripping down on your driver an inch or more the next time you play and see if you don’t hit the ball closer to the sweet spot and see it consistently going longer and straighter. It’s been proven over and over again.

Examining iron specs: The “standard” way a set of irons was engineered for decades was that the irons vary in length by ½”, and in loft by 4 degrees. But the past few years – driven by the relentless quest for distance – we have seen the loft gaps increased to 5° at the short end of the set and as small as 2.5° at the long end. The harsh reality of this geometry is that almost every golfer will have much smaller distance gaps at the long end of the set than at the short end, where distance precision is critical. I have tweaked my irons for years so that I have smaller length and lie differences at the short end than the long, and that allows my distance gaps to be more consistent. Most golfers could benefit from examining their TRUE carry distances from club to club and then tweaking lofts and lengths to fix their gapping.

Fit your putter. It amazes me to watch how many golfers–even some of the pros on TV–and see the toe of the putter up in the air at address. Simple fact is that this makes the face point left because of the loft. I’ve become a true believer in putter fitting. A good fit will ensure that your putter really is aimed at the target, and that the lie angle allows the ball to come off the putter straight. Yes, the style of putter is a matter of personal preference, but a putter that is accurately fit to you makes this maddening part of the game much less so.

Watch your grips. We spend hundreds of dollars on a driver or set of irons, and we get disposable “handles”. It’s a fact that grips wear out. They get dirty. And they need replacing regularly. Take a close look at yours. Worn, dirty grips cause you to grip the club tighter to have control. And bad shots are much more frequent because of that.

Experiment. The toys are a big part of the fun of golf, so don’t be afraid to experiment. I’ve long suggested all golfers should try the blade style short irons of one of your better player friends or pros, but experiment with other clubs, too. Hit your buddies’ hybrids, fairways, irons, drivers. Try different golf balls. [But I just can’t buy that tees can make a difference, sorry.] It’s fun.

So, there you have some random thoughts of the hundreds that swirl around in my head. Let me know your other questions about equipment, and I’ll try to address them in future columns.

Your Reaction?
  • 145
  • LEGIT21
  • WOW2
  • LOL1
  • IDHT2
  • FLOP5
  • OB0
  • SHANK11

Terry Koehler is a fourth generation Texan, a native of a small South Texas town and a graduate of Texas A&M University. He has had a most interesting 40-year career in the golf industry. He has created five start-up companies, ranging from advertising agencies to golf equipment companies. You might remember Reid Lockhart, EIDOLON, SCOR, or his leadership of the reintroduction of Ben Hogan to the golf equipment industry in 2014. For almost 25 years, his wedge designs have stimulated other companies to slightly raise the CG and improve wedge performance. He has just announced the formation of Edison Golf Company and the new Edison Forged wedges, which have been robotically proven to significantly raise the bar for wedge performance. Terry serves as Chairman and Director of Innovation for Edison Golf, which can be seen at www.EdisonWedges.com. Terry has been a prolific equipment designer of over 100 putters and several irons, but many know Koehler as simply “The Wedge Guy”, as he authored over 700 articles on his blog by that name from 2003-2010.

4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Kyle

    Oct 30, 2020 at 12:29 am

    Amen on the loft of irons topic! It always cracks me up when playing with strangers and after hitting shots into greens, they’ll turn to me and ask what club I hit. If I say “7 iron”, I’m immediately hit with something along the lines of “Geez, I only hit 8 iron” to which my reply is “what’s the loft of your 8 iron?” which is then met by a blank stare and silence.

  2. John

    Oct 29, 2020 at 6:02 pm

    Yeah, that stupid Tiger guy in the early 2000s winning major after major with the toe of his putter up.

    He actually preferred to put like this at times because it allows the toe of the putter to open and close more. Agree with the putter fitting, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with the toe of the putter in the air if there’s a reason behind it.

  3. geohogan

    Oct 28, 2020 at 2:36 pm

    ..on larger clubheads and longer driver shafts:

    the longer the shaft for any given head weight, the greater the potential for unwanted shaft droop, flexing and twisting.
    …the larger the clubhead, ditto above
    …the heavier the clubhead..ditto above
    ..the heavier and larger the clubhead..ditto above.
    ..the lighter the clubhead and shaft lower end, the greater the potential for head deceleration resulting from impact.
    ..the lower the clubhead speed at point of separation between ball and face, the slower the ball leaves the clubface.

  4. Jason

    Oct 28, 2020 at 2:08 pm

    Very good suggestions.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Podcasts

The Gear Dive: Back to show #1 with Larry Bobka: Tiger Woods’ irons myths and facts

Published

on

In this throwback episode of TGD brought to you by Titleist, Johnny and Larry Bobka chat Tiger, Duval, and Davis and put the Tiger’s irons rumors to bed once and for all.

Your Reaction?
  • 4
  • LEGIT0
  • WOW0
  • LOL0
  • IDHT1
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK1

Continue Reading

Opinion & Analysis

“There is no magic bullet in club fitting” – On Spec podcast

Published

on

On this week’s episode of the “On Spec” podcast on the GolfWRX radio network, the discussion was focused on all things club fitting and what it can and can’t do to help golfers.

One of the most important take-aways was about some of the misconceptions around how much a club fitting can help improve the results of a less than ideal swing.

“There is no magic bullet when it comes to fitting… It’s not to stop you from doing anything (in your golf swing) … But by going through a proper fitting, and process you can help reduce a miss (improving consitency)” 

You can listen to the full show below, the above quote starts at 41:38 

You can check out other episodes of On Spec, as well as the entire collection of shows on the GolfWRX Radio Network here: GolfWRX Radio on SoundCloud

Your Reaction?
  • 1
  • LEGIT0
  • WOW0
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK0

Continue Reading

Podcasts

TG2: Testing a RAW golf ball and some different holiday gift ideas

Published

on

Wilson Golf has a new raw golf ball that has no paint on it. The raw golf ball gives a more precise dimple depth and offers better dispersion and consistency. The ball has a firmer feel than the first Staff Model but really good performance off the tee and with the wedges. Also, a few ideas for some different holiday gifts.

Your Reaction?
  • 2
  • LEGIT0
  • WOW0
  • LOL1
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK1

Continue Reading

WITB

Facebook

Trending