Little Parts of the Game That Perform Big

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What kind of club do you have the most of in your garage?
 
Some of you will say drivers, others putters. With me, its wedges.
 
I have bought so many over the years, and continue to switch them in and out of my bag so often, that I forget what my original set looked like. Yet the high-lofters continue to fascinate me.
 
What we learned in producing Whats In The Bag? No. 5, on wedges and grips, is that we should all be wedge-obsessed. No club in the game is more versatile. The things that even mediocre pros can do with wedges seem to surpass magic. And we high handicappers have heard more times than we want to admit that a better short game is the short road to golf nirvana. And most of us have treated that fact like an admonition to avoid too many donuts.
 
The wedge-happy, however, know better. They have discovered much of what we reveal on this WITB, but for the rest of us, I will dissemble:
 
OUT ON THE EDGE
 
Leading edges have more to do with short-game success than we realize, mostly because wedges are called upon to go through so many types of grass and sand. A more rounded leading edge will help the club slide under the ball more easily, so the loft can do its work.
 
Conversely, a straighter leading edge makes the club dig more. This is fine if the turf and sand you usually play require that kind of performance going through. Best to get another set of eyes into the process: Have a pro look at your swing, and discuss the local turf and sand conditions. Youll leave the lesson heading in the right direction.
 
FOLLOW THE BOUNCING BALL
 
Bounce, the amount by which the trailing edge of a wide wedge sole hangs below the leading edge, was essentially Gene Sarazens invention to push sand and grass out of the way at contact. A literal demonstration awaits anyone who hits a high-bounce wedge on a tight lie. The head literally bounces upward, causing you to belly the ball.
 
But in sugary sand, that same construction will shove sand aside and enable you to get the head forcefully through the sand, propelling the sand ' and the ball ' onto the green.
 
Where youll really love bounce, though, is in thick grass. Much of the grass that would try to rip the club out of your hand will be pushed out of the way, resulting in cleaner contact and more predictable results.
 
Again, check with a pro. We here in Florida, for example, often encounter grainier, clumpier sand that those in the North. We need less bounce; Yankees may need more. And yes, you may want to have some travel wedges for changing conditions.
 
This is just a sampling of what we learned about wedges. We also checked into grips.
 
REPLACE 'EM
 
By the time you know you need to do it, you have already lost too many strokes to old, underperforming grips. Its not that expensive, especially if you learn to do it yourself. Every 10 to 15 rounds is adequate.
 
D.I.Y.
 
Yes, you can do it yourself. It takes little in the way of tools. Just be careful with the solvent; no smoking while regripping. And it feels good to be involved with your equipment, kind of like the high people who like working on cars talk about.
 
CHOICES ABOUND
 
Once you get the fit right ' your fingertips should just touch the meaty part of your hand when wrapped around ' the type of grip is up to you. Leather-like wraps are comfy, but cords are wonderful when its damp. And there are perfectly Rules-legal putter grips that help you keep your palms opposed nicely over a putt. Shop around, try a few, and have a ball.
 
See you next show. Thanks for watching and reading.
 
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