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The Wedge Guy: More on a sound setup

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Last week I started the conversation on the crucial importance of a sound posture and setup. Very simply, quality golf shots and consistent performance absolutely require it.

As you watch golf on TV, or when you page through the golf magazines, pay particularly close attention to the setup posture of the players, especially when the cameraman is directly behind the golfer, looking down the target line. While you will see some degree of “personalization” of address posture, it’s not nearly as much as you notice even in your own group of golf buddies. The basic fundamentals of a good starting position are not really all that flexible.

To get your body in position to execute a powerful and repeating golf swing, certain things are just not negotiable:

  1. Your legs have to be flexed at the knees so that you are in an athletic position, which allows your body to move properly.
  2. Your upper torso should be bent over at the hips, not the waist so that your spine is relatively straight. That allows your shoulders and hips to turn on the same plane, back and through.
  3. Your head should be up so that your left shoulder can turn under your chin without getting trapped.
  4. And most importantly, your left arm should be in an almost vertical position, hanging naturally from your shoulders. This positions your hands almost directly under your shoulders and creates a definite angle formed by the left arm and the shaft of the club.

While you can see all sorts of contortions from this set of fundamentals, I believe the most common error I see in golfers at address is that their hands are too far from their body, reaching toward the ball so that their left arm and the shaft form almost a straight line. That is not a power position at all as it severely restricts the proper motion of the clubhead through the impact zone.

With the hands starting in a much more natural “low & close” position at address, they can more easily “find” that position as they pass through the impact zone. And only from this position can you accurately achieve the powerful and proper rotational release of the club through impact.

I’m convinced one of the real “secrets” to playing good golf is the understanding that the release through impact is not as much an unhinging of the wrists as it is a rotation of the arms and hands that produces a tremendous magnification of clubhead speed as a multiple of arm speed. And that’s what we are all after.

What you are trying to achieve in your setup is to get in the right athletic position to execute a sound and powerful golf swing. And what your routine is designed to do is to get you in exactly that same position each and every time you take a shot.

I hope you are enjoying this deep dive into the basics of good golf that happen before the club even moves away from the ball.

Next week, I’ll wrap this up with a detailed examination of just how to build a proper and repeating setup that anyone can learn and use to improve their golf almost immediately.

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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 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.

9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. EDH1989

    Sep 16, 2021 at 10:50 am

    I’m struggling to see how this is a “deep dive” into the setup. There is nothing here that hasn’t been written thousands of times before. Not to knock too hard, but I was expecting a lot more thorough; not a four-point checklist and a few added thoughts.

  2. Pelling

    Aug 8, 2021 at 2:10 pm

    Rory, king of the back door top ten finish, up to his old tricks again today, out in 30 at Memphis on Sunday…

  3. pi

    Aug 6, 2021 at 3:33 pm

    Point 4 and much of th text after does not apply to Deshambeau…or “the greatest striker ever” Moe Norman. Most driver positions at address are a bit more reachy as well.

    Though I do the hanging arm trick as well, as I read this everywhere, if we were all taught th DeShambeau/Moe method and cut out more variables, that would have been one of golf’s swing dogmas

  4. Paul Runyan

    Aug 4, 2021 at 6:31 pm

    Or they don’t not have any talent like you geo!

    • geohogan

      Aug 5, 2021 at 3:15 pm

      your nickname, “Little poison” well earned.
      The poison you create only contaminates the source.

      • Notgeo

        Aug 6, 2021 at 1:56 am

        Speaking about poison……. You got a mirror in your apartment little guy?

  5. geohogan

    Aug 4, 2021 at 1:53 pm

    Many thousands of hackers have perfect set up, grips and address the ball, by the book… and cant break 100.Why is that?
    Maybe , just maybe it is worthless golf instruction personified.

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Club Junkie

Club Junkie: Reviewing TaylorMade’s P770 Irons and SuperStroke’s Wrist Lock Putter Grip!

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Finally, I have had a full set of TaylorMade P770 irons out on the course for the last few weeks. The P770 takes a bunch of DNA from the larger P790 and packs it into a smaller size. Don’t be fooled, the smaller size still gives you a bunch of distance and forgiveness! SuperStroke’s Wrist Lock putter grip is designed to help add stability and consistency to your putting stroke. It really does give you the feeling that the putter is locked into your stroke and won’t go anywhere.

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Opinion & Analysis

The Wedge Guy: My thoughts on single-length irons

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One of the bigger stories in golf equipment the past few years – thanks to Mr. De Chambeau – is the development of single-length irons. So, are they right for you or not? That’s a question only a fair trial can answer, but let me offer some thoughts on how your set make-up might look if you do take that direction.

First of all, the concept is not about single-length clubs — the conversation is about single-length irons. No one is playing a driver or fairway woods at the same length as their irons. Probably not even the hybrids. The putter is typically not either. So, the question is where in the set does the “single-length” begin and end?

I’ve long espoused the concept that your set of clubs (excluding the very specialized putter) should be divided into three sub-sets: Distance Clubs, Positioning Clubs, and Scoring Clubs. And generally speaking, these subsets each cover a specific range of lofts.

The Distance Clubs are those up to 20-25 degrees or so. This subset begins with your driver and encompasses your fairway woods and maybe your lowest loft hybrid or two. Your goal with these clubs is to move the ball “on out there” and put you in a place for your “positioning shot.”

The Positioning Clubs then begin after that highest loft Distance Club and take you up to 38 to 40 degrees of loft. Generally speaking, this subset would begin with your 3 or 4-iron or hybrid and go up to through your 7- or 8-iron. The goal with these clubs is to set up a reasonable putt or chip so you can get down in no more than 2-3 shots. My opinion is that it is only within this subset that “single-length” might serve you.

The Scoring Clubs – those over 38-40 degrees of loft — are the ones with which your scores will likely be determined. Long ago, I wrote several posts about the “round club mindset” when 8-irons had a more curved topline than the seven – a distinctly different look, and those 8-irons were 38 to 40 degrees. These are the clubs designed for putting the ball close enough for a makeable putt, hopefully, more often than not.

So, most conversations about single-length irons should be limited to that subset of “Positioning Clubs,” from your longest iron through that iron of 38-40 degrees. While many golfers may not see the distance separation between clubs that you would ideally like to have in that subset, others might. I’ve long observed that the distance a club can be hit is a combination of loft AND club shaft length. I just don’t see how you can get the range of distances from the longest to shortest in the set by changing loft only. I have tried several of these sets and just do not experience the distance differentials I want from that subset in my bag.

But I can certainly assure you that you simply cannot be as accurate with wedges that are 37 or 38 inches in length as you can with those clubs being 35 to 36 inches. It’s simple golf club physics. With very few exceptions, the shorter the club, the narrower your distance dispersion is going to be.

Consider that a “wide” shot with a 45-inch driver might be 30-40 yards off-line, while even the worst “wide” shot with your 35-and-three-quarter-inch pitching wedge is not likely to be more than 15 yards offline. In between, your lateral dispersion is progressively narrower as the shaft length is reduced.

So, I just cannot see why anyone would want to make their wedges the same length as their 5- or 6-iron, 37.5 to 38 inches, and give up the naturally more accurate dispersion that the shorter shaft delivers.

I am looking forward to hearing from those of you who have tried single-length irons and longer wedges to share your experiences.

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Golf's Perfect Imperfections

Golf’s Perfect Imperfections: Sharing some time with one of the best PGA Professionals in America

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Meet Jimmy Stewart. From his early childhood junior days in Singapore and Thailand, to golf course and driving range operator in California. We talk Turkey, where the game was, where it is and to where it’s going.

 

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