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Grand Theft – Golf

They've Stolen Your Pitching Wedge!

By Terry Koehler

 

About the Author

 

Terry Koehler is a 30-year veteran of the golf equipment industry and is founder & President of EIDOLON Golf, a Texas company that specializes in custom-fit, custom-built wedges. He is passionate about the short game and also authors a popular blog at www.TheWedgeGuy.com. You can learn more about Terry, wedges and the EIDOLON product line at www.BestWedge.com.

 

 

At EIDOLON Golf, we talk with golfers every day who are looking to optimize their short game and scoring, and every year we have more and more discussions with those who have recently bought new irons and are now experiencing full swing distance gaps between their new “pitching wedge” and their gap or sand wedge. The problem is that most set sets of irons sold these days don't even have a pitching wedge in them. Hear me out.

 

For this discussion, I'm going to declare that the “modern era” of golf club design began about 1970. That's when golf really took off as a sport for the masses and the industry expanded beyond the traditional brands – Spalding, Wilson, MacGregor, Hogan, etc. – to include newcomers like Ping, Lynx and others. Investment casting of heads began to challenge forging as the preferred manufacturing method, and that opened the door to a broader range of “creativity” in design concepts.

 

Up until then, a set of irons generally was a 3-Pitching Wedge (“PW” or “P”), with better players often carrying a #2 and/or even #1 iron. And the pitching wedge was your “go to” scoring club of 49-51* loft, with a little different sole design to make it versatile. Your sand wedge was typically used mostly for bunker shots and escapes from the rough.

 

But along the way, the industry became obsessed with distance, and discovered these new cavity back irons launched the ball way too high, especially in the short irons. So they began cranking down the lofts to “one up” the next brand. Now, I'll grant you that giving golfers more height with their long- and middle-iron shots was a wonderful thing, but average players I meet can't keep their short irons out of the clouds with this technology, and their short range shotmaking suffers because of it.

 

By the mid-to-late 1980s, most sets of irons included a club with a “P” or “PW” on the bottom that had as little as 47-48 degrees of loft on it, and the sand wedge became a more widely-used scoring tool . . . which created a market for “gap wedges” of 51-53 degrees of loft. And that club, along with the sand wedge, became golfer's “go to” scoring clubs, because they worked better than these de-lofted “pitching wedges”. Following the lead of the new metal wood marketing messages, by the 1990s, irons also began to be sold under the “longer, further” mantra.

 

I'm sad to say that this trend has accelerated to the point where very few sets of irons sold today can even remotely be considered to have a true “pitching wedge” in them. And golfer's short games have suffered mightily as a result. A survey of the most highly promoted brands of irons on the market for 2010 reveals that the “typical” loft on the “P-club” (which I refuse to any longer call a “pitching wedge”) is 45-46 degrees, with some as strong as 43! Even the “players' blades” have a “P-club” of 47 degrees; I only found a few models that had a “P” club of 48 degrees. The truth is that putting a Cadillac hood ornament on a Yugo doesn't make it a Cadillac. You can put a “P” or “PW” on it, but an iron with less than 48-49* of loft is just not a pitching wedge. . . because it just doesn't have enough loft to allow you to pitch the ball around the greens. Sure, with a full swing it goes as far as you used to hit your 8-iron . . . because it IS an 8-iron . . . with a “P” on the bottom!!! And your gap wedge is now so far from your “P-club” that you have re-created that full swing distance gap that you bought it for in the first place. So, what is a golfer to do?

 

My suggestion is that you set aside your notions of “pitching”, “gap”, “sand” and “lob” wedges and focus on the true lofts and performance of your scoring clubs. Start by doing some online investigation to find out the true loft of the “P-club” in your bag. From there, most golfers will benefit by building a set of 3 to 4 “true wedges” that start at 3-5* weaker than the “P-club”, and maintain that increment to the highest loft wedge you want to include in your set. For example, if you have one of these modern sets with a 44-45* “P-club”, you would probably be best served by a set of wedges at 48-49, 53-54 and 57-60 at the very least. A longer hitter could benefit from adding another scoring tool and decreasing those loft increments to 3*.

 

The key to building an effective set of golf clubs is to ensure you have the tools you need to score the golf course . . . any golf course. And if you are packing around a set of irons without a true pitching wedge, you are handicapping yourself when you are in scoring range. Do some research, and test some true pitching wedges . . . you'll quickly see what a valuable scoring tool you've had stolen from you.

 

MyGolfSpy/Eidolon Wedge Special Offer: CLICK HERE

#TruthDigest
 

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Very nice, and I am looking up my specs right now. I see club makers have made all the clubs 1 club down, your 4 is a 3 really..etc.

 

Ok, Looking up my clubs, here is what I have according to Taylor Made:

 

#3 19° 60.25°

#4 21° 61°

#5 24° 61.75°

#6 27° 62.5°

#7 31° 63°

#8 35° 63.5°

#9 40° 64°

PW 45° 64.5°

AW 50° 64.5°

 

To build an effective set, what would you recommend, a 48* 52* 56*??

John Barry

Bring the Funk, Back to Golf

The Golfer's Trip

 

chevy_chase22.jpg

 

 

 

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To top it off a lot of manufacturers don't even offer an "A-Wedge" or gap wedge as part of a set, even at extra cost. Used to be you would see those fairly often but not anymore. So your choices are either a lower lofted "wedge style" 50-52* club or trying to find one from another set. Hacks me off on a regular basis!

Ping I20 8.5* - Aldila NV 65g S
Adams XTD Super Hybrid 15* - Stock Fubuki S
Adams DHY 21* - Stock Matrix Ozik White Tie S
Mizuno MP58 4-8 Irons - Fujikura MCI 100 S
SCOR 42,46,50,54,58* - SCOR/KBS Genius S
STX Robert Ingman Envision TR 35", Iomic grip

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It happens. Sometimes a club has to be sacrificed for the greater good!

 

I carry a 52* bent to a 50*, which is a bad idea and it is my most hated club, even though it is my 100 yard club. I'll never deloft a club again, it makes the leading edge to sharp. If they had a Cleveland CG Red A-Wedge I'd buy it. I've looked several times at the Ping 50* (i-wedge I think?) it has a good feel to it. I also carry a 56 and a 58 opened to 59 but I'm thinking of losing the 59 and bagging another hybrid, for a while anyhow.

Ping I20 8.5* - Aldila NV 65g S
Adams XTD Super Hybrid 15* - Stock Fubuki S
Adams DHY 21* - Stock Matrix Ozik White Tie S
Mizuno MP58 4-8 Irons - Fujikura MCI 100 S
SCOR 42,46,50,54,58* - SCOR/KBS Genius S
STX Robert Ingman Envision TR 35", Iomic grip

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This is something that should be posted on the front door of golf stores everywhere. The average golfer has no concept that my "PW" could be different in loft (and length!) than their "PW." Ultimately, you can't blame the manufacturers - they're giving the consumer what they want: the ability to say to their friend, "You got 6? I'm hitting 7."

 

I solved this problem for myself by buying a MX-300 gap wedge (50*) to add to my 55* and 60* Scratch wedges and my 46* MX-23 PW.

Follow me on Twitter: @MattSaternus

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I think 56* would be max for me, I sure as heck don't want a 60* wedge, I think I threw my one and only one into a lake finially one day.

 

JB - I'll offer up one word if you are going to own a 60° wedge - Scratch.

 

I was lucky enough to have MGS award me a Scratch wedge some time ago and in speaking with the folks at Scratch they were gracious to let me pick this as oppossed to the SW they were awarding through the site.

I had previously had some 60's that found the same demise as yours.

This one is so damn easy to hit even I am amazed. Steep bunkers, 20/39 yards out it lays it up high and drop - great,great club.

 

If you ever to dip your toes into the lake again winkey.gif - this would be my suggestion.

 

rob

I Can't Help It If I'm Lucky...

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Great write up. This has bugged me for years. A few years ago I played a set of Titleist Tour Models from the mid 80's. I loved these clubs as they had a 50 degree PW. It was great to have no gaps going down to my 54 and 58 degree SW/LW. Now I have a 47/48 degree PW and still carry the 54 and 58. I know how far I hit those so just can't go away from those lofts. Now I'm thinking of ditching the PW from my set and getting a 49/50 degree wedge. This would still create a small gap but would give me another club for around the green. My PW just isn't good for around the green.

 

And for those of you still not carrying hybrids, think about this. Your 4 iron is really a 2/3 iron from the 80's and your 5 iron is really a 3/4 iron from that time frame. Now, the newer clubs fly higher and are easier to hit but you are still hitting with a longer shaft (the longer the shaft the less the loft the harder it is to hit)... Go to a hybrid or fairway wood if you haven't already.

 

Overall, this approach to delofting clubs has created the need for hybrid, fairway woods (5,7,9 wood anyone) and AW, GW.... Sounds like a good way to sell more clubs and clubs that are generally more expensive then the irons within the set.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have a set of x forged 07 models the P club here is a 47 degrees, i use a 52 56 and 60 degree wedge to make up the difference, i hit my pw 125-130 my 52 is my 100-110 club, Being left handed i have googled and looked for a 48 degree wedge few and far between or to much !!!!!!!!!

Andrew Bush da lefty of the forum.

 

Cleveland DST Tour 9.5 with Diamana Whiteboard.

Nike Sasquatch 4 wood with diamana blue.

Nike Sasquatch 3 hybrid with diamana hybrid shaft

Callaway x forged 4-pw with prject x flighted 6.0

Callaway x forged 52 and 56 chrome

Callaway x forged 60 vintage

Odyssey white hot tour number 5.

 

Nike one platinum soon to be nike tour running out of the platinums!!!!!!!

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I'm finding the my GW is consistently more useful around the green than my SW. And that I use my 9 & 8 iron more than my PW for the long pitch or bump & run.

David Couvillon

Colonel, U.S. Marine Corps, Retired.;

Former Governor of Wasit Province, Iraq;

Righter of Wrongs; Wrong most of the time;

Distinguished Expert, TV remote control;

Chef de Hot Dog Excellance; Collector of Hot Sauce;

Avoider of Yard Work

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Rocking the Ping i5 pitching wedge @ 46*... Ping i5 gap wedge @ 50*... Ping Tour-W 54*... Ping Tour-W 58*.... 4* gap = no wedge problems. :lol:

"Hey Ace... You got any more of that gum?" "That's none of your damn business and I'll thank you for staying out of my personal affairs." - Ace Ventura Pet Detective

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Great post!

 

 

Thanks for the education!

It's not enough just to swing at the ball.

You've got to loosen your girdle and let 'er fly.

Babe Zaharias

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I really like the Eidelon scoring book. It gives some great tips/suggestions for playing the short game and short irons/wedges.

I'm playing the Nike VR Full Cavity irons, 4-AW and yep... the gaps after 7 are all screwed up. From 7 its 33, 37, 41, 45, 50! The AW is actually the same as the old pitching wedge. Then my next wedge is the Eidelon 56* SW. I am going to pay a lot more attention in the future to lofts before buying.

•Never argue with an idiot. First, he will drag you down to his level. Then he will beat you with experience!•

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This is something that should be posted on the front door of golf stores everywhere. The average golfer has no concept that my "PW" could be different in loft (and length!) than their "PW." Ultimately, you can't blame the manufacturers - they're giving the consumer what they want: the ability to say to their friend, "You got 6? I'm hitting 7."

 

I solved this problem for myself by buying a MX-300 gap wedge (50*) to add to my 55* and 60* Scratch wedges and my 46* MX-23 PW.

 

Speaking of Scratch, am I the only one who finds it odd that they don't offer a gap wedge loft in anything other than their custom line? :D

Callaway FT-9 Driver 10.5* Grafalloy Prolaunch Axis Blue

Callaway FT-9 Driver 9.0* Grafalloy Prolaunch Platinum

Cobra Baffler Rail F Fairway 15.5* Fujikura Motore

Wilson FYbrid 19* UST Proforce AXIV Core

Cobra Baffler Rail H Hybrid 22* Fujikura Motore

Ping I15 Irons 5-UW AWT

Ping Tour-W 56*,60* DG Spinner

Ping Redwood ZB Putter, WRX Starshot, 35"

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Terry is obviously a bit biased, but the article is still spot on. You can get away with having gaps if you have the shot making skills to vary trajectories and spin, but why complicate things?

 

I've always carried four wedges - a pitching wedge, gap, sand, and lob. I make sure the wedge lofts fit with whatever iron set I'm gaming. Since the pitching wedge lofts have gotten so aggressive, I find myself using the gap wedge more than any other club in my bag other than my putter. So, I take great care in making sure that I'm comfortable with that club and have confidence in it. Otherwise, my game really suffers.

Callaway FT-9 Driver 10.5* Grafalloy Prolaunch Axis Blue

Callaway FT-9 Driver 9.0* Grafalloy Prolaunch Platinum

Cobra Baffler Rail F Fairway 15.5* Fujikura Motore

Wilson FYbrid 19* UST Proforce AXIV Core

Cobra Baffler Rail H Hybrid 22* Fujikura Motore

Ping I15 Irons 5-UW AWT

Ping Tour-W 56*,60* DG Spinner

Ping Redwood ZB Putter, WRX Starshot, 35"

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Here are my clubs as my bag sits now...

 

Ping Driver

9°

 

Titleist 3 wood

15.5°

 

Ping S59s

 

2 39.25" 18.5° 58.67°

3 38.75" 21.0° 59.32°

4 38.25" 23.8° 60.02°

5 37.75" 27.0° 60.75°

6 37.25" 30.5° 61.50°

7 36.75" 34.3° 62.28°

8 36.25" 38.3° 63.10°

9 35.75" 42.5° 63.95°

PW 35.50" 47.0° 64.38°

 

Scratch Wedges

 

53°

58°

PING: Rapture V1 9° Aldila VS Proto 'By You' (65 Stiff)

TITLEIST: 906F4 15.5° Aldila VS Proto 'By You' (80 Stiff)

COBRA: 5w Speed LD F/ST Tour AD YS Designed by Graphite Design made for Cobra Stiff

PING: S59 Rifle 6.5 Soft stepped

PING: Tour 48°, 52°, 58°

Byron SS Custom 006

Titelist Pro V 1

Ping hoofer Vantage

"Everyday you miss practicing, it will take you one day longer to get good." -Ben Hogan

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