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Opinion & Analysis

The Wedge Guy: So long to 2020…



I’m betting a lot of you feel like I do about 2020–it can’t be over and behind us fast enough. This time last year, as we were all preparing for the most joyous season of all, no one saw this coming. We’ve been dealt body blow after body blow since March when this pandemic was revealed and all hell broke loose.

But this column isn’t about all that…we talk golf here, and golf only.

One of the things that I think about this time of year is what I want my own golf game to be in the coming season. For any of us, if we will take time to reflect on our season behind us—if we will think about our best rounds and those not so pleasing—those parts of our game that need the most work will be revealed.

And my bet is, for each and every one of us, we could isolate just one or two parts of our games where we can most improve our round-to-round performance. From the survey results I’ve shared the past couple of weeks, our GolfWRX community is pretty equally divided between being oriented to the “process” of golf and the “results” we get from our rounds. But it doesn’t matter which camp you are in, the goals are the same–hit more of our best shots, and fewer of our worst.

Maybe your own path to lower scores and more enjoyment would come from hitting more fairways, giving yourself better places to hit your approach shots from. Or maybe it’s sharpening your iron play to give yourself more and better looks at birdie. Many of you shared that greenside scoring was your “opportunity zone”, while others pointed to your putting as the part of the game that needs the most work.

To share my own path to better golf, 2020 has been interesting. I turned 68 in March and found myself hitting more high-quality golf shots and fewer “uglies” than I have since my 40s. My handicap went lower than it has been in a very long time, and I was enjoying very exciting command of the ball, through the bag – driver to putter. I became aware that shooting my age was an attainable goal.

Then, in early April, I injured my right shoulder and couldn’t play for two months. All that “magic” was just not there through the summer and early fall. But through some hard work and peace in my life, that mojo has returned, and I’m setting a goal of shooting my age in 2021. One or two fewer loose swings—the discipline to back away from a shot when alignment, ball position, or frame of mind isn’t quite right, and a bit more work on my short putting.

But I cannot stress enough the importance of “peace in your life” to put you in position to play your very best golf. Stress in any aspect of your world–your work, family, relationships, health–can wreck your golf in a heartbeat. In the classic golf tome, Golf In The Kingdom, the words of wisdom from Shivas Irons told us “It takes perfect balance to play your best golf.” He was not only referring to the balance in your golf swing, but in your life.

For all my adult life, I’ve repeatedly found that to be so true. When things are off-kilter, the golf course becomes torture more than an escape. And I’m closing out 2020 on a high note there. Edison Golf gained momentum and a reputation for extraordinary wedges in our start-up year. My personal life is more balanced and joyful than in many years, and I have so many blessings to be thankful for.

So, as we take measure of 2020 and think about what we’ll do differently in 2021, I encourage all of you to examine your “personal peace quotient.” If it’s the slightest bit out of kilter, deal with that, and I’ll bet better golf will follow.

Merry Christmas to you all and a very Happy New Year. I’m going to take next week off and I’ll be back the first week of January.

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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 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.



  1. Idk who is worse anymore

    Dec 25, 2020 at 4:22 pm

    All these dudes do is post Facebook posts.

    Who cares about this dribble?

  2. PSG

    Dec 25, 2020 at 3:11 pm

    Merry Christmas, but is this your first writing gig? Time and again you say silly things.

    “But it doesn’t matter which camp you are in, the goals are the same–hit more of our best shots, and fewer of our worst.”

    That isn’t the goal. The goal is to make your best shots better and your worst shots better. It is pretty well settled that the best way to improve is to increase your top-end and, with similar statistical deviation, you’ll get more consistent.

    “Have your best shots happen more often” sounds like good advice but its bad advice. “Have your best shots be better” is actually good advice.

    If somebody put you in a time machine and you got out writing columns for Golf Magazine in 1982 you’d be phenomenal, but you don’t seem to really understand how much more we know about learning in 2020.

  3. David

    Dec 23, 2020 at 8:33 pm

    Very true Terry , for most of us when your mind is racing and lots of the sharper edge of real life is going on, the golf course is not the most forgiving place to hide especially if one expects to somehow play well. Some can but I think most can’t .

  4. Shallowface

    Dec 23, 2020 at 8:11 pm

    Meet the New Year.

    Same as the Old Year.

  5. Not Gianni or Teddy and definitely not Montesano

    Dec 23, 2020 at 2:25 pm

    Yeesh, this is even worse than Montesano’s article. Enough about your fridge Nancy…

    • Steve Hjortness

      Dec 23, 2020 at 3:07 pm

      Merry Christmas to you too?

      • Not Gianni and definitely not you buddy

        Dec 23, 2020 at 10:25 pm

        Have a gander at montesanos article for just one second and you too (like any person with a fully functional brain) would grow sick of even the tiny minnows in media like Montesano terry and Gianni…

        to you I would say “happy holidays” to not offend your tiny little brain…

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Opinion & Analysis

The future of club fitting is going virtual



Thanks to technology, you can buy everything from custom-made suits to orthotics online without ever walking into a store or working in person with an expert.

Now, with the help of video and launch monitors, along with a deeper understanding of dynamics than ever before, club fitting is quickly going virtual too, and it’s helping golfers find better equipment faster!

What really took so long?

The real advancements started in the coaching world around a decade ago. What used to require heavy cameras and tripods now simply requires a phone and you have a high-definition slow-motion video that can be sent around the world in a matter of seconds.

Beyond video, modern launch monitors and their ability to capture data have quickly turned a guessing game of “maybe this will work” into a precision step-by-step process of elimination to optimize. When you combine video and launch monitor elements with an understanding of club fitting principles and basic biomechanics, you have the ability to quickly evaluate a golfer’s equipment and make recommendations to help them play better golf.

The benefits of virtual fitting

  • Any golfer with a phone and access to a launch monitor can get high-level recommendations from a qualified fitter.
  • Time and cost-saving to and from a fitter. (This seems obvious, but one of the reasons I personally receive so many questions about club fitting is because those reaching out don’t have access to fitting facilities within a reasonable drive)
  • It’s an opportunity to get a better understanding our your equipment from an expert.

How virtual fittings really work

The key element of a virtual fitting is the deep understanding of the available products to the consumer. On an OEM level, line segmentation makes this fairly straightforward, but it becomes slightly more difficult for brand-agnostic fitters that have so many brands to work with, but it also shows their depth of knowledge and experience.

It’s from this depth of knowledge and through an interview that a fitter can help analyze strengths and weaknesses in a player’s game and use their current clubs as a starting point for building a new set—then the video and launch monitor data comes in.

But it can quickly go very high level…

One of the fastest emerging advancements in this whole process is personalized round tracking data from companies like Arccos, which gives golfers the ability to look at their data without personal bias. This allows the golfer along with any member of their “team” to get an honest assessment of where improvements can be found. The reason this is so helpful is that golfers of all skill levels often have a difficult time being critical about their own games or don’t even really understand where they are losing shots.

It’s like having a club-fitter or coach follow you around for 10 rounds of golf or more—what was once only something available to the super-elite is now sitting in your pocket. All of this comes together and boom, you have recommendations for your new clubs.

Current limitations

We can’t talk about all the benefits without pointing out some of the potential limitations of virtual club fittings, the biggest being the human element that is almost impossible to replicate by phone or through video chat.

The other key factor is how a player interprets feel, and when speaking with an experienced fitter recently while conducting a “trial fitting” the biggest discussion point was how to communicate with golfers about what they feel in their current clubs. Video and data can help draw some quick conclusions but what a player perceives is still important and this is where the conversation and interview process is vital.

Who is offering virtual club fittings?

There are a lot of companies offering virtual fittings or fitting consultations over the phone. One of the biggest programs is from Ping and their Tele-Fitting process, but other companies like TaylorMade and PXG also have this service available to golfers looking for new equipment.

Smaller direct-to-consumer brands like New level, Sub 70, and Haywood Golf have offered these services since their inception as a way to work with consumers who had limited experience with their products but wanted to opportunity to get the most out of their gear and their growth has proven this model to work.

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Opinion & Analysis

The Wedge Guy: Why wedge mastery is so elusive



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



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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