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More on Shafts - Wedges
By Terry Koehler, The Wedge Guy

Terry Koehler has been in the golf industry for over 30 years and currently spends his days as the President of EIDOLON Golf, a small premium wedge company in Victoria, Texas. He's been blogging for over 3 years and has written hundreds of articles ranging from golf tips to equipment issues. His blog will appear on ClubSG twice per week. You can reach Terry to have your golf questions answered at askme@thewedgeguy.com.

This series on golf clubs is generating lots of questions from you readers, so I'm going to stay on the subject a while longer. Last Friday I was talking about shafts, and that stimulated some questions specifically about wedge shafts. We deal with that subject with intensity at EIDOLON, as you might imagine, but let me share some things with you that you might not think about with regard to the shafts in your wedges.

In all fairness, you don't think about wedge shafts because the industry doesn’t ask you to. Every wedge in the display in the retail stores is fitted with the same old "wedge flex" heavy and stiff steel shaft, and so that's what you get. I’ve always been a proponent that the shafts in your scoring clubs should be given at least as much attention as those in your driver and irons. And I firmly believe that, no matter what brand of wedges you play, getting them re-shafted will improve their performance for 90% of all golfers out there. Hear me out.

First of all, the wedge shaft is asked to do things that no other club’s shaft is asked to do. First of all, it has to stabilize the heaviest heads in the set at full swing speed. But it also has to provide enough movement (i.e. flex) at very slow swing speeds to give you the feel you need around the greens to hit the shots you want to hit. The bioscience guys call it “motion feedback”. It’s the sensation of movement sent back to your hands during the backswing and downswing. Motion feedback is what tells you when to stop the backswing, how to manage the swing path and manipulate the face of the club to get the trajectory you are after, and the exact flight distance needed for that particular shot.

We enhance the motion feedback qualities of wedges by giving them heavier swingweights than our irons and other clubs, but the shaft is a huge part of this equation, too, if you allow it to be. I’ve long been a proponent of softer shafts in the wedges, and even the short irons for that matter. “Full swing” speed with these clubs is well under that of our middle irons, and we more often hit softer shots with the 8-iron on down than we do with our other irons. Having a slightly softer flex profile helps us optimize feel for these kinds of shots.

But if we make them softer through conventional means, it can result in a tip soft flex profile that can cause the ball to shoot upward, or “balloon” on full swings. That’s not desirable in wedge and short iron play. So, it takes some doing to get your wedge shafts right if you are retro-fitting some you already have. But it’s worth the effort and expense, I assure you. Here are my personal guides for getting the right shaft in your wedges:
1. Match material first. If you play graphite shafts in your irons, I think you’ll like the feel of graphite in your wedges. In fact, I think graphite in wedges is an awesome development, but only if it’s the “right” graphite. A good clubfitter can show you some options there.

2. Match weight second. Playing heavy steel shafts in your wedges when you have graphite or light steel in your irons can create what I call a severe “disconnect” between your set-match pitching wedge and your first true wedge. You can see this on a simple postal scale. We’re talking overall weight, not swingweight. There should only be a half ounce or s0 (10-15 grams) difference in weight between them.

3. Then match flex. If you play Regular or Senior flex irons, the stiff shaft that comes standard in off-the-rack wedges is just not a good fit for you. Heck, I don’t even think it is a good match for those of you playing Firm or Stiff flex irons. A good independent clubfitter can profile the flex pattern of your irons to see where you are there, then retrofit your wedges to blend nicely. I’m a proponent of the frequency graph flattening out at the 8- or 9-iron and continuing flat or even down-turning a bit for the wedges, but won’t get that technical here (you let me know if you want that next time). What I can tell you is that putting softer shafts in wedges has been a trick of the better tour players for a long time.
So, if you want to give your short game a shot in the arm, spend some dough and have your wedge shafts replaced with something that is more suited to short game precision. Heck, try it on one and see what you think. Experimentation is part of the fun of our equipment, right? And you just might be surprised.


* The Wedge Guy's views and opinions are his own do not necessarily reflect those of SkyGolf.


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The Wedge Guy is sponsored by SCOR Golf, where Terry Koehler is President/CEO. He encourages you to submit your questions or topics to be considered for his columns on Tuesdays and Fridays. Each submission automatically enters you to win a SCOR4161 wedge to be given away monthly. Click the button below to submit your question or topic today.


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Terry Koehler is "The Wedge Guy" and President of SCOR Golf- The Short Game Company.

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