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Seriously considering dropping a wood......thoughts?


Shank Aaron
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So, here's the gist. Just like the title says, I'm on the fence about dropping one of the woods and adding a wedge for 2022 as my gamer set up for the tournament season to avoid some situations that would've made a real difference when it really counted. Through lessons, a couple of performance fittings, and enough practice to shame Tiger I've dropped my index to 11.3 to end this season and I'm pretty proud of that with this being the end of my fourth full season playing. 

 

And here's the stats through the 47 rounds I played this year including tournaments via Arccos-

 

Woods

Epic Max LS OB Seeker- 498 total shots, 298 yards smart distance, 52% FIR

Sim2 Max 3w- 19 total shots, 253 yards smart distance, 71% FIR off the tee (9 shots), 19% GIR (10 shots)

Epic Max 5w- 18 total shots, 231 yards smart distance, 67% FIR off the tee (5 shots), 49% GIR (13 shots)

Apex 21/Epic Speed Super 4h- 46 total shots, 234 yards smart distance, 87% FIR (17 shots), 55% GIR (29 shots)

Apex 21 5i- 21 total shots, 211 yards smart range, 81% FIR (12 shots), 69% GIR (9 shots)

 

Wedges

Apex 21 PW (43*)- 97 total shots, 130 yards smart distance, 58% GIR

Apex 21 AW (48*)- 111 total shots, 108 yards smart distance, 59% GIR

Vokey SM8 54*- 223 total shots (including pitch/chips), 93 yards smart distance, 67% GIR

Ping Forged 56*- 128 total shots (almost all chips/pitches inside 50 yards), 86 yards smart distance, 91% GIR (probably skewed by all of the chips/pitches)

 

My initial thoughts are pulling me towards putting the 5w on the bench and adding another wedge to fill the gap between the PW/AW, or even adding a 58/60 to give me more options around the green. I had quite a few short game shots where the 56 was either too much, or not enough. I'm not very good at all at opening the face up to get the added height out of the greenside rough/pot bunker, and it usually ends in disaster when I try it on course. Then again, I've had quite a few shots this year where the approach was on the in-between side of the PW/AW. I've had bad luck with trying to swing lighter/slower and/or harder/faster with the wedges, nothing that got me in trouble on course, but not consistent enough to do it comfortably. So, the corners I've painted myself into is which wood to drop and which wedge to add. I will be doing some serious testing over the winter and moving forward, but I wanted to get everyone's take on their experiences with making this type of move for some insight. Appreciate it in advance.

 

P.S.- Yes, I've already been fitted this season.......twice.....

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1 minute ago, Shank Aaron said:

So, here's the gist. Just like the title says, I'm on the fence about dropping one of the woods and adding a wedge for 2022 as my gamer set up for the tournament season to avoid some situations that would've made a real difference when it really counted. Through lessons, a couple of performance fittings, and enough practice to shame Tiger I've dropped my index to 11.3 to end this season and I'm pretty proud of that with this being the end of my fourth full season playing. 

 

And here's the stats through the 47 rounds I played this year including tournaments via Arccos-

 

Woods

Epic Max LS OB Seeker- 498 total shots, 298 yards smart distance, 52% FIR

Sim2 Max 3w- 19 total shots, 253 yards smart distance, 71% FIR off the tee (9 shots), 19% GIR (10 shots)

Epic Max 5w- 18 total shots, 231 yards smart distance, 67% FIR off the tee (5 shots), 49% GIR (13 shots)

Apex 21/Epic Speed Super 4h- 46 total shots, 234 yards smart distance, 87% FIR (17 shots), 55% GIR (29 shots)

Apex 21 5i- 21 total shots, 211 yards smart range, 81% FIR (12 shots), 69% GIR (9 shots)

 

Wedges

Apex 21 PW (43*)- 97 total shots, 130 yards smart distance, 58% GIR

Apex 21 AW (48*)- 111 total shots, 108 yards smart distance, 59% GIR

Vokey SM8 54*- 223 total shots (including pitch/chips), 93 yards smart distance, 67% GIR

Ping Forged 56*- 128 total shots (almost all chips/pitches inside 50 yards), 86 yards smart distance, 91% GIR (probably skewed by all of the chips/pitches)

 

My initial thoughts are pulling me towards putting the 5w on the bench and adding another wedge to fill the gap between the PW/AW, or even adding a 58/60 to give me more options around the green. I had quite a few short game shots where the 56 was either too much, or not enough. I'm not very good at all at opening the face up to get the added height out of the greenside rough/pot bunker, and it usually ends in disaster when I try it on course. Then again, I've had quite a few shots this year where the approach was on the in-between side of the PW/AW. I've had bad luck with trying to swing lighter/slower and/or harder/faster with the wedges, nothing that got me in trouble on course, but not consistent enough to do it comfortably. So, the corners I've painted myself into is which wood to drop and which wedge to add. I will be doing some serious testing over the winter and moving forward, but I wanted to get everyone's take on their experiences with making this type of move for some insight. Appreciate it in advance.

 

P.S.- Yes, I've already been fitted this season.......twice.....

The best way to solve that problem is with a fifteen-slot cart bag.

 

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1 minute ago, BostonSal said:

The best way to solve that problem is with a fifteen-slot cart bag.

 

MY MAN! I like the way you think!

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32 minutes ago, Shank Aaron said:

I've had quite a few shots this year where the approach was on the in-between side of the PW/AW. I've had bad luck with trying to swing lighter/slower and/or harder/faster with the wedges, nothing that got me in trouble on course, but not consistent enough to do it comfortably. 

I think you answered your question in terms of your bag. Of course another way is to take a lesson is figure out what's going on with your wedge play. 

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I think based on distances and consistency, you definitely drop the 5 wood and just mail it to me. 

As for the wedge, that depends on what you're more comfortable learning and what you expect to happen more next year. Do you think you can learn to be comfortable opening up your club face on the handful of occasions where you'll need a short flop and stop? Or do you think it would be more valuable for you to have a 120 yard club. Then again, since you have 20 yard gaps between your wedges, do you focus on reducing the overall gapping. E.g., bending the 43 degree to 44, bending the 48 to 47, swapping the 54 with a 52, and leaving the 56 (or swapping it with a 58 and filling the gaps below 100 with partial shots.

Tldr: agree that 5 wood is out. As for the replacement, up to you. 

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2 minutes ago, tony@CIC said:

I think you answered your question in terms of your bag. Of course another way is to take a lesson is figure out what's going on with your wedge play. 

Someone said lesson. Drink!

....but actually, a wedge lesson would probably be really good. 

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You should carry whatever you think is best for your game at courses you play. What anyone else chooses for their 14 clubs may/not relate to you. My choices are in the sig line, but no one else I play with has exactly the same makeup (all have more woods/hybrids than me), and that's fine and dandy. I don't like hybrids, but I force myself to carry and use one, maybe someday I'll warm up to them.

I almost never use my 56º or my 60º full swing, I use my 50º GW from 95 yards and in - and in prior threads I've read that many other players also don't use their highest loft wedges full swing. FWIW

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18 minutes ago, MNUte said:

I think based on distances and consistency, you definitely drop the 5 wood and just mail it to me. 

As for the wedge, that depends on what you're more comfortable learning and what you expect to happen more next year. Do you think you can learn to be comfortable opening up your club face on the handful of occasions where you'll need a short flop and stop? Or do you think it would be more valuable for you to have a 120 yard club. Then again, since you have 20 yard gaps between your wedges, do you focus on reducing the overall gapping. E.g., bending the 43 degree to 44, bending the 48 to 47, swapping the 54 with a 52, and leaving the 56 (or swapping it with a 58 and filling the gaps below 100 with partial shots.

Tldr: agree that 5 wood is out. As for the replacement, up to you. 

One part of my game I have zero holes in is generating wedge spin regardless of swing length, and I'm pretty happy and comfortable with the lower gapping, but it would be nice to have that 120 yard club to take any swing decisions out of the mix. Like I said, I will be doing some major testing over the winter on a couple of courses that give me those in-between shots and seeing what does/doesn't work. Bottom line- I'll definitely have a stock of different clubs to switch out based on the individual course I'm playing that day. 

 

Funny that a wedge lesson was brought up.......I have one this afternoon, and every Wednesday through the end of the year. 

13 minutes ago, Middler said:

You should carry whatever you think is best for your game at courses you play. What anyone else chooses for their 14 clubs may/not relate to you. My choices are in the sig line, but no one else I play with has the same makeup, and that's fine and dandy. I almost never use my 56º or my 60º full swing, I use my 50º GW from 95 yards and in - and in prior threads I've read that many other players also don't use their highest loft wedges full swing. FWIW

Thanks for your insight. Exactly the response I was looking for. 

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7 minutes ago, Shank Aaron said:

it would be nice to have that 120 yard club to take any swing decisions out of the mix. . 

I think you answered your own question and are just looking for us to give you confirmation.  Reading what you said is you want more help with the wedge gap and aren’t 100% sold on varying the swing.  The top end of the bag is more about distance and you seem to have most distances covered.  The club to pull would be 3w, 5w, or hybrid all depending on how much you use them.  My lean would be 5w based on the numbers you posted and add the wedge.  

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7 minutes ago, cnosil said:

I think you answered your own question and are just looking for us to give you confirmation.  Reading what you said is you want more help with the wedge gap and aren’t 100% sold on varying the swing.  The top end of the bag is more about distance and you seem to have most distances covered.  The club to pull would be 3w, 5w, or hybrid all depending on how much you use them.  My lean would be 5w based on the numbers you posted and add the wedge.  

What I said in the next to last line of the post was I hoped for experiences and insights from others who've made a change like this, which is exactly what you gave me. Appreciate it. 

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Drop the club you hit least consistent between your hybrid and 5w. Alternatively , you could get a HL 3w sim2 max and drop the 3 and 5 woods. Then still add another wedge. If you don’t struggle with 3w though no need to reinvent the wheel. 

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1 hour ago, Middler said:

You should carry whatever you think is best for your game at courses you play. What anyone else chooses for their 14 clubs may/not relate to you. My choices are in the sig line, but no one else I play with has the same makeup, and that's fine and dandy. I don't like hybrids, but I force myself to carry and use one, maybe someday I'll warm up to them.

I almost never use my 56º or my 60º full swing, I use my 50º GW from 95 yards and in - and in prior threads I've read that many other players also don't use their highest loft wedges full swing. FWIW

The first line says it all period.  See my signature and I do not get along with hybrids period. The only reason I added the 52* was with my swing revamp I do not swing and hit the ball as far and my set now has a 47* PW. With my old set up with a 49* PW I could cover the gap fine between it and the 56*.  between loft creep and me not swinging as hard I needed the 52*.  still only carry 12 clubs which works fine for me. 

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Your 5W and 4h are redundant distance, choose the one you hit best. You don't really have any loft gaps to require another wedge. You should get rid of the 56 and replace with a 58 or 60. 

To hit a 120 yard shot, take a full swing with your 130 club and grip down about an inch or mid-grip instead of top end. I do the same thing with my 45 deg PW as the gap down from that is to 105 yards with my 50 deg GW. 

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Or replace 54 with a 52 deg wedge. Bend the AW 1-2 deg stronger if you don't want to go below 56. 

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I'll dive in an take the other end, that while there are no obvious gaps after the 3 Wood, but I will say if you are averaging close to 300 with the driver you should get more than 250 out of your 3 wood, I would imagine you should be getting closer to 270, and then would want to tinker with a 5W or other loft depending on the resulting 3W loft to fill back in that 250 gap. As others have mentioned the bottom is likely not as spread as you think with just a little wedge matrix work and a couple tweaks like @BMart519 mentioned. That would give you many more options at the top end of the bag. You could also just try to get a bit more out of 3W to 265, 5W at 245 and Hybrid more at 230 or 225 option. This hopefully gives you more overlapping so you can play a soft 5W or full-out hybrid to get to 235 say. All of course are valid options as long as it works for your game.

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Drop the 3wd and the 5wd and pick up a 4wd.

That's one "problem" solved.

WITB:

Nothing presently.  I'm doing a full rebuild soon after my golfer's elbow heals and I get a full fitting.

 

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I would work from the wedges backwards.  set your wedges to cover the gaps you want by either bending some, adding some or replacing some.  20 yard gap between wedges is pretty large IMHO.  I would prefer to see 10-15 yards at most between your scoring clubs.  You are trying to get that proximity to the hole in Feet, where as a 7 iron or 5W into a green is measure in yards proximity.  So build from the the Top (58 wedge/60 Wedge) and move down.  If you are uncomfortable with a high lofted (lob) type wedge then 56 is your top end.  But I promise you, if you work on your wedge play some, you will hit a lot more shots with a 58/60 than you would with a 2hy or 5W.  Then I would have a mix of longer clubs based upon the course you play.  If you have a lot of holes where it makes more sense to pull 3W than driver than keep that in.  If you have a bunch where there are easy par 5s in two, might need to keep the 5W or 2Hy in the bag.  But I agree with your thinking that you need less lower clubs than wedges.  

Scoring is a pretty simple equation.  How do you turn 3 shots into 2 shots?  Meaning: be able to chip, pitch, or wedge play close enough to one putt.  Almost everyone is less than 10% make percentage outside of 12 feet (especially when you only get one chance, not on a putting green with 10 balls on the same putt).  That means you need to be more precise with your approach/short game shots.  Which to me means, more options is better.  I only do one thing with a 5W....Hit it 190-210 yards.  Thats it. (okay, occasionally I putt with it over a rough fringe, but you see what I am saying). I use various wedges for Lob shots, bump and run, pitches, distance wedges, full shots, bunker play, pitch outs, hacking out of the rough.  Having a 60 wedge in the bag allows me a full shot at 70 yards, instead of trying to take something off a 56 (85 yard full shot).  

You are headed in the right direction.

Cheers

Tigger

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Looking at the stats you gave the toss up for what to lose is between the 4H or the 5W.  Distance is within 3 yards.  The other stats can be misleading as the 4H has 4x the data of the 5W so are they really that much different?  If it were me I'd keep the wood and ditch the hybrid.  The wood has more scenarios where it can be used, especially when off the fairway or from a tee.

But replacing with another wedge?  I'd say maybe not.  You describe a lot of drawbacks to your wedge play - tried different speeds, can't open it enough so will another wedge fill a gap in ability?  Or create another problem without solving the ones you already mention?  Changing a club to solve a singular problem won't help your handicap.  No single club magic replaces knowing and learning what your clubs can do and practice to make them do more things.  I just read an article where Tiger practices a "nine window" drill with his wedges.  Draws, fades, and straight shots through low, medium, and high "window" targets.  Learning what you have can do far outweighs replacing practice with another club.

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I’ve  been a 5 wedge guy for 2 years, next season I’m going down to 4. That has more to do with my new irons being weaker lofts than a change in my scoring philosophy. 
 

Based on your bag setup, I would:

1) drop the 5w and add a wedge 

2) drop your 3w and 5w for a 4w as @puttnfoolsuggested

 

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I should have included this before.  If you are adamant about adding a wedge look at where your current set up falls short.  All of the posts suggest different lofts and gapping but have you looked at bounce on your current wedges as part of your restrictions?  A 56* with 12* bounce will work well in sand or fluffy grass if sitting up but not off a tight lie on the fairway.  You can open it up to almost flat for the trap or grass but try to lay it open on that tight lie and it's probably skulling across the green or into the next county.  

I had four wedges but found the 52*/10* gap 56*/12* sand were wasted clubs in my bag.  I might be one or two shots per round from each.  I ended up replacing both with a 54*/10* that works out of sand and a tight fairway and can be laid open for both shots with a high track landing like on a mattress.  Totally changed the game for an 80 yard shot over sand to a tight pin that is out of range for my 60*/8* lob wedge. Yes there are 6* different in lofts but it fits my game and ranges and makes decisions on club selection lot easier.  All I have to do if picture the shot I need and execute.

If you don't consider bounce you'll go through a wallet of cash trying to figure it out by loft.

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