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Saw this in a newsletter from On Core; TK "keeping it real" on what most am players should (or not) be looking for in their wedges....... http://www.golfwrx.com/552364/the-wedge-guy-a-discussion-of-bounce/?utm_source=Front&utm_medium=Featured_Trending&utm_campaign=GolfWRX_OnSite&utm_content=unused
Wedge Fitting? Really? Wedge fitting has always been one of those things I kinda sorta knew was important, but never actually did. Oh, I've been through driver fittings and irons fittings, but wedges? Nahhh, I can make doâ€¦ My wedge history is checkered, arbitrary and exclusively â€œoff the rack.â€ I've gamed Vokeys and Clevelands and Cobras (oh my!), as well as off-center brands such as Carnahan (thx RookieBlue7!), Pinemeadow and Hippo (best $18 forged wedge in history!). But fit? Nope. This past weekend, 2nd Swing of Minneapolis, along with the Minnesota Golf Academy, kicked off a winter-long free fitting program. Every Saturday one of 2nd Swing's master fitters will be at the Academy offering free fittings for the selected product category of the day. They started with wedges and they had me at â€œfree.â€ I met with Master Fitter Thomas Elsberry Saturday morning, and we got right down to work. The Current Set: Thomas first asked me about my current wedge makeup â€“ the PW from the Nike Pro Combo set, a 52* Carnahan and either a 56* Nike Vr X3X (with the toe-sweep grind) or a 56* Vokey SM5 S grind. He also asked me about my typical wedge miss â€“ which is a pull left. Then he got down to work â€“ first tackling the issues of bounce and lie angle. â€œWhen it comes to bounce, you have to consider where you play and what type of courses you play, and what's your typical wedge shot inside of 40 yards. â€œBeing in Minnesota, we typically have softer conditions here. In, say, Arizona, the ground's definitely a lot harder, but here we want some with more bounce with a little wider sole because it's going to perform better on most courses here.â€ Thomas then pulled out a lie board and attached bounce and lie stickers on the bottom of a couple of 56* Cleveland wedges and, after a quick warm up, had me hit a few Â¾ swings with each. Bounce Is Your Friend, Lie Is Your Ally: â€œNormally, with an iron you're looking left to right from a bending standpoint as to where we want the lie angle,â€ said Thomas. â€œWith wedges we add another piece to it â€“ we want to see where you're hitting this thing from front to back of the sole. That'll tell us what kind of bounce we need. So depending on where we bottom out this club I'll start moving the bounce around to find out where the bottom of your swing is.â€ Here's what we found... Thomas immediately jumped into analytical mode. â€œSee how both of these are hitting on the toe slightly? (I had told him I have a tendency to hit wedges off the toe and I don't, I usually pull them left). That tells me the standard lie angle may be too upright for you. Also, compare where the strike marks are with the 2-Dot wedge and the 3-Dot wedge.â€ â€œIf you look at the 3-Dot wedge from Cleveland, you're almost dead center on the sole for full sole width. That means the bounce is bottoming out very, very nicely for you. That's 14* of bounce. So I do like that wider sole for you, especially in Minnesota. With our conditions here it's almost always better to have a wider sole. â€œEvery once in a while I'll see a guy who needs a low bounce, narrow wedge. Those guys tend to be â€˜pickers,' so a low bounce is better for them. Actually, I'll usually go with a cavity back design because they usually need some forgiveness there, as well.â€ As stated earlier, the impact tape showed the club bottoming out toward the toe, indicating the standard lie might be too upright for me. Thomas recommended getting wedges bent to as much a 3* flat. â€œWith a 6 iron if you're bending lie angle 1* - which isn't much â€“ it results in about 7 yards of lateral movement. So with a wedge, every foot matters,â€ he said. â€œIt really helps to dial it in. â€œImagine you could hit a good wedge shot that goes 10 feet left. But if you were 1* more flat, now you're 4 feet right. That's the difference between a 10-foot putt and a 4-foot putt.â€ My last round my wedge shots tended to be left, around 20 feet or so. Thomas jumped on it. â€œIf you take that same wedge, bend it 2* flat, now maybe you're 5 feet left,â€ he said. â€œGranted, there are some golf-swing things going on as well, but the difference between a 20-foot putt and a 5-foot putt is huge. We make 5-footers. 20 footers? We don't make many. â€œJust imagine if you have a wedge that helped your miss versus one that enhanced it.â€ Lie & Length: Next was some impact tape on the face to check out the combination of shaft length and lie angle. From the looks of things, Thomas did okayâ€¦ Thomas also suggested to make sure wedge shafts are consistent with the rest of the set. â€œSay you go buy your three Vokeys off the rack. They come with S200 shafts, and there's nothing wrong with that. But if you're playing C-Tapers in the rest of your irons it may not match up well. â€œSince you're plaing KBS tours in your irons, you might want to look at a KBS Hi-Rev shaft for your wedges. It'll have a similar feel and load to it, so we'll stay in that family, but we'll add the spinny version of it,â€ said Thomas. â€œIt might give you another 500 RPM of spin with your wedges, which we'll take, and it'll help you stop the ball a little faster.â€ Now that we have bounce, lie angle and length figured out, Thomas suggested trying out all of the manufacturers and seeing which one feels the best. â€œIf you like the feel of forged, then look at forged wedges (My $18 Hippo is, believe it or not, forged and felt great!). If not, try the Titleist, try the Nike, Cleveland or Ping and see what you like.â€ And that's the end of the wedge fitting process? No wayâ€¦ â€œLet's get the wedges and go out and play them for about two months and then come back in. We'll bend them again until we get them to where you like it. We'll go to the range and dial in the ball flight you want.â€ Wedge Fitting With The Pros Thomas was fortunate enough to do a wedge fitting with Lee Westwood, and says Westwood's fitting had nothing to do with numbers. â€œWe just kept giving him wedges and he'd hit them. If it went through the â€˜window' he wanted, it was good,â€ said Thomas. â€œIt had nothing to do with anything else. He hit them until he found the â€˜window' for his ball flight. â€œWhat was amazing was that his new wedge had at least a 10 foot lower peak height. The fresh grooves were just grabbing better and gave him a more penetrating ball flight. The old wedge was ballooning just a little bit, and for those guys playing for millions of dollars that little bit is huge.â€ So after the fitting process, Thomas fit me up for a 52* and a 58* wedge set with KBS Hi-Rev shafts to go along with the PW from the Nike ProCombos. The 58* will be a high bounce wedge, which will help in the sand and from the rough â€“ two of my favorite landing spots â€“ while the 52* will be medium bounce for more versatility. Both wedges will have about a 3* flat lie angle. What About Grinds & Grips? â€œThe more grinds the better, in my opinion,â€ said Thomas. â€œIf you have your heal ground out it allows you to open up the wedge without the bounce taking effect. You can open up that 58* and mike it a 64* and still play that shot. â€œAnd if you're worried about the tight lie with a high bounce wedge, make sure you have a pre-worn leading edge. Vokey is really big on that, and Scor's grind is the same idea.â€ The last item on the agenda was grips. Not sure if it's clear, but Thomas is a VERY thorough fitter. â€œThe only rule with grips is that whatever grip you play, it should be on all 13 clubs,â€ he said. â€œWith wedges, though, you can have a little fun. â€œI have a lot of players who will do more wraps of tape at the bottom of the grip â€“ that way when you choke down on the club you don't feel like you're grabbing a toothpick. You're basically making it a non-tapered grip, and it's very popular with your better players. â€œIf you're choking down to hit the ball a little shorter, well, the grip will still feel the same as if you're hitting a full shot. It's amazing how different the feel is. Bubba uses a mid-size grip with 8 wraps of tape at the top and 12 wraps of tape at the bottom, so it's basically a baseball bat. But it's all about feel to him.â€ The entire wedge fitting process probably took 45 minutes, and Thomas was easy to work with an answered all of my questions, the dumb and the not so dumb. I left the session feeling confident about my path forward for 100 yards and in. Key Takeaways: 1. Bounce is your friend, and from 100 yards on in, you need all the friends you can get. 2. Next to bounce, lie angle is your next best friend. 5 feet left is WAY better than 20 feet left. 3. Consistency in shafts is important â€“ you want a consistency with the rest of the set, although shaft stiffness will probably be a little softer, since you're not taking full swings all the time. 4. Not mentioned earlier, but an important point â€“ Thomas says the fall is the best time to be fit for any club. You've had a full season and your swing is as consistent as it's going to be. Spring is the most common time, but may be the worst time since you're rusty after a winter off. Next step with Thomas will be a full-bag fitting at 2nd Swing's new Tour Van Center, which provides a tour level fitting experience.