Wedge Fitting

By Bruce MartinFebruary 5, 2008, 5:00 pm
Editor's Note: Bruce Martin is a PGA Master Professional with the San Diego Golf Academy. SDGAs program offers a curriculum of golf instruction and golf business management at all four golf schools, and provides graduates with the education required to get the golf job they desire. You'll soon be teaching others how to improve their game! Click here to learn more about SDGA
 

Driver and iron fitting are very popular these days with the technology available for club fitters, but wedge fitting is commonly overlooked. We will discuss the advantages of a certain type of wedge, set make-up, and the technological advantages of specific manufacturers. The wedges below are two of the most popular wedges on the PGA Tour.
 


 
Lets discuss set make-up first. One of the first decisions the golf channel viewers should make is to decide which wedge combinations to purchase and their corresponding lofts.
 
Manufacturers in the late 1980s started to make all their lofts stronger on the irons. Why? Improved technology with lower centers of gravity, shaft technology, and ball design produced higher trajectories, in addition to the average golfers desire for more distance. Current manufacturers lofts are stronger on the average of 3-5 degrees from traditional lofts. With the loft trends in mind, a new club emerged over 20 years ago = gap wedge. The sand wedge has remained close to the same loft 55-56 degrees, but pitching wedge lofts have strengthened to 46-48 degrees. The gap wedge loft average is 51-52 degrees. Below is a chart of wedge average wedge lofts. The goal of the club fitter is to recommend a set of wedges with no yardage gaps. This would equate to a 4-5 degree loft increment between each wedge.
 

Recommended wedge set-makeup options

 
Pitching WedgeGap Wedge Sand Wedge Lob Wedge
46 -4851-5255-5658-60
 

 

David Pelz may recommend a 64 degree x-wedge, but you can create well over 80 degrees of loft by opening a lob wedge up. I am a big believer in the versatility of the lob wedge.
 
Advantages of a lob wedge:
 
1)The Lob wedge offers a lower bounce angle. Great out of tight fairway conditions/hardpan inside 60 yards of the green.
 
2)The increased swing speed with the higher loft will also produce more spin.
 
3)Bounce is created by opening the blade, combined with the widest sole, offers a fantastic advantage in greenside bunkers.
 
4)Flop and lob shots are easier to accomplish: The wider sole avoids digging and the lower bounce keeps the leading edge closer to the surface.
 


 

I would recommend this 4 wedge system for many golfers. The high handicapper who adds loft at impact with a scoop may be better of leaving the lob wedge out of the bag, as a result of his/her increased dynamic loft at impact.
 
Also, understand that if you go from a three wedge system to four, the golfer will sacrifice one of his/her longer irons, fairway woods, or hybrids. The students entire game should be analyzed to determine where in the bag the weakest link occurs: Is it the short game, or the tee shot and longer approach shots.
 
Once the proper wedge make-up is determined with the proper lofts, we have resolved half of the golfers battle = distance control.
 

Bounce considerations:
 
Higher bounce is recommended when:
 
1)Your divots are deep = digger (steeper angle of approach)
 
2)Course conditions are softer and deep rough
 
3)Bunkers have a lot of sand and the sand is softer with a lighter appearance
 
4)Your lie angle testing indicates a sole impact on the leading edge: You can see your local PGA Golf Professional for this evaluation.
 
Lower bounce is recommended when:
 
1)Your divots are shallow = picker (shallow angle of approach)
 
2)Dry and firm course conditions
 
3)Firm bunkers with sand that is generally darker in appearance
 
4)Lie angle testing indicates a sole impact on the trailing edge
 
Innovative Wedge Designs, Materials, and Finishes
 


 

Sole grinds ' A second grind is added at the trailing edge. Usually at a 30-45 degree angle. This assists in reducing the bounce when opening the face at address. Very good technology on wider soles = lob wedges. Triple grinds, I am not a big believer, especially for bunker shots = not enough dynamic bounce.
 


 

Face milling ' Titleist Vokey has become a major wedge player in the market with this technology. And yes, the USGA approved it. Technology = computer milled etchings cut diagonally from the scoring lines. Would you like to add more spin to your wedge shots, and spin it back like the pros? I highly recommend this technology, and I am sure more manufacturers will develop wedges with face milling in the future.
 


 

Box/Zip grooves ' Cleveland recently redesigned the classic box/square shaped grooves with the USGA approval. Clevelands answer to the wedge spin contest will revolve around their newly designed zip grooves. They claim the grooves are effectively 25% larger. What they did was square off the bottom side of the grooves.
 


 

Materials ' I would highly recommend a softer metal. Carbon steel allows for the player to feel the impact position better. This also helps the player have a better feel for distance control.
 


 

Finishes ' Non glaring finishes have also become very popular. Any type of glare reduction from the sun has to allow the golfer to focus better.
 
1.Oil Can
2.Black Pearl
3.Gunmetal
4.Raw / Rusty
 

 

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Monty grabs lead entering final round in season-opener

By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 4:00 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Colin Montgomerie shot a second straight 7-under 65 to take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

The 54-year-old Scot, a six-time winner on the over-50 tour, didn't miss a fairway on Friday and made five birdies on the back nine to reach 14 under at Hualalai.

Montgomerie has made 17 birdies through 36 holes and said he will have to continue cashing in on his opportunities.

''We know that I've got to score something similar to what I've done – 66, 67, something like that, at least,'' Montgomerie said. ''You know the competition out here is so strong that if you do play away from the pins, you'll get run over. It's tough, but hey, it's great.''


Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship


First-round co-leaders Gene Sauers and Jerry Kelly each shot 68 and were 12 under.

''I hit the ball really well. You know, all the putts that dropped yesterday didn't drop today,'' Kelly said. ''I was just short and burning edges. It was good putting again. They just didn't go in.''

David Toms was three shots back after a 66. Woody Austin, Mark Calcavecchia and Doug Garwood each shot 67 and were another shot behind.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was six shots back after a 67.

The limited-field tournament on Hawaii's Big Island includes last season's winners, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

''We've enjoyed ourselves thoroughly here,'' Montgomerie said. ''It's just a dramatic spot, isn't it? If you don't like this, well, I'm sorry, take a good look in the mirror, you know?''

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The missing link: Advice from successful tour pros

By Phil BlackmarJanuary 20, 2018, 1:24 am

Today’s topic is significant in that it underscores the direction golf is headed, a direction that has me a little concerned.

Now, more than ever, it has become the norm for PGA Tour players to put together a team to assist in all aspects of their career. These teams can typically include the player’s swing coach, mental coach, manager, workout specialist, dietician, physical therapist, short-game guru, doctor, accountant, nanny and wife. Though it often concerns me the player may be missing out when others are making decisions for them, that is not the topic.

I want to talk about what most players seem to be inexplicably leaving off their teams.

One of the things that separates great players from the rest of the pack – other than talent – is the great player’s ability to routinely stay comfortable and play with focus and clarity in all situations. Though innate to many, this skill is trainable and can be learned. Don’t get too excited, the details of such a plan are too long and more suited for a book than the short confines of this article.

So, if that aspect of the game is so important, where is the representative on the player’s team who has stood on the 18th tee with everything on the line? Where is the representative on the team who has experienced, over and over, what the player will be experiencing? In other words, where is the successful former tour player on the team?

You look to tennis and many players have such a person on their team. These teacher/mentors include the likes of Boris Becker, Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors and Brad Gilbert. Why is it not the norm in golf?

Sure, a few players have sought out the advice of Jack Nicklaus, but he’s not part of a team. The teaching ranks also include some former players like Butch Harmon and a few others. But how many teams include a player who has contended in a major, let alone won one or more?

I’m not here to argue the value and knowledge of all the other coaches who make up a player’s team. But how can the value of a successful tour professional be overlooked? If I’m going to ask someone what I should do in various situations on the course, I would prefer to include the experienced knowledge of players who have been there themselves.

This leads me to the second part of today’s message. Is there a need for the professional players to mix with professional teachers to deliver the best and most comprehensive teaching philosophy to average players? I feel there is.

Most lessons are concerned with changing the student’s swing. Often, this is done with little regard for how it feels to the student because the teacher believes the information is correct and more important than the “feels” of the student. “Stick with it until it’s comfortable” is often the message. This directive methodology was put on Twitter for public consumption a short time back:

On the other hand, the professional player is an expert at making a score and understands the intangible side of the game. The intangible side says: “Mechanics cannot stand alone in making a good player.” The intangible side understands “people feel things differently”; ask Jim Furyk to swing like Dustin Johnson, or vice versa. This means something that looks good to us may not feel right to someone else.

The intangible side lets us know that mechanics and feels must walk together in order for the player to succeed. From Ben Hogan’s book:

“What I have learned I have learned by laborious trial and error, watching a good player do something that looked right to me, stumbling across something that felt right to me, experimenting with that something to see if it helped or hindered, adopting it if it helped, refining it sometimes, discarding it if it didn’t help, sometimes discarding it later if it proved undependable in competition, experimenting continually with new ideas and old ideas and all manner of variations until I arrived at a set of fundamentals that appeared to me to be right because they accomplished a very definite purpose, a set of fundamentals which proved to me they were right because they stood up and produced under all kinds of pressure.”

Hogan beautifully described the learning process that could develop the swings of great players like DJ, Furyk, Lee Trevino, Jordan Spieth, Nicklaus, etc.

Bob Toski is still teaching. Steve Elkington is helping to bring us the insight of Jackie Burke. Hal Sutton has a beautiful teaching facility outside of Houston. And so on. Just like mechanics and feels, it’s not either-or – the best message comes from both teachers and players.

Lately, it seems the scale has swung more to one side; let us not forget the value of insights brought to us by the players who have best mastered the game.

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Woods, Rahm, Rickie, J-Day headline Torrey field

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 20, 2018, 12:47 am

Tiger Woods is set to make his 2018 debut.

Woods is still part of the final field list for next week’s Farmers Insurance Open, the headliner of a tournament that includes defending champion Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day.

In all, 12 of the top 26 players in the world are teeing it up at Torrey Pines.

Though Woods has won eight times at Torrey Pines, he hasn’t broken 71 in his past seven rounds there and hasn’t played all four rounds since 2013, when he won. Last year he missed the cut after rounds of 76-72, then lasted just one round in Dubai before he withdrew with back spasms.

After a fourth back surgery, Woods didn’t return to competition until last month’s Hero World Challenge, where he tied for ninth. 

Woods has committed to play both the Farmers Insurance Open and next month's Genesis Open at Riviera, which benefits his foundation. 

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Even on 'off' day, Rahm shoots 67 at CareerBuilder

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 20, 2018, 12:36 am

Jon Rahm didn’t strike the ball as purely Friday as he did during his opening round at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

He still managed a 5-under 67 that put him just one shot off the lead heading into the weekend.

“I expected myself to go to the range (this morning) and keep flushing everything like I did yesterday,” said Rahm, who shot a career-low 62 at La Quinta on Thursday. “Everything was just a little bit off. It was just one of those days.”


Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


After going bogey-free on Thursday, Rahm mixed four birdies and two bogeys over his opening six holes. He managed to settle down around the turn, then made two birdies on his final three holes to move within one shot of Andrew Landry (65).

Rahm has missed only five greens through two rounds and sits at 15-under 129. 

The 23-year-old Spaniard won in Dubai to end the year and opened 2018 with a runner-up finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. He needs a top-6 finish or better this week to supplant Jordan Spieth as the No. 2 player in the world.