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What The Heck Are You Playing?
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.

Last week I wrote about the theft of your pitching wedge, so I'm going to stay on the subject of equipment because of two things I witnessed this week. It's all about the tools we play, and how so many golfers really do not have any idea of what is in their bags. Let me explain.

CASE #1. EIDOLON Golf has hired a summer intern who will be playing on the women's golf team at University of Houston-Victoria this fall. Whitley is a Junior College Academic All-American out of McLennan Community College in Waco, Texas, and helped her team finish second in the National Championship, while she finished tenth overall. Quite a performance from a very golf-driven junior college (their men’s team won their national championship!). So, as Whitley is learning all about golf clubs, she brought her set of clubs in so that she could see just what they were. We put them through diagnosis - length, lie angles, swingweights and shaft frequencies. These are all "Regular" flex clubs, according to the shaft bands. All were stock products.

Now, this is a top level collegiate player, and her clubs were all over the place. Her driver was stronger than a men’s stiff flex, while her 3-wood was right at a Regular. Her two hybrids were way softer than ladies/seniors flex, and she confirmed my guess that she hit them all over the place as a result. Her irons were all in the senior flex range, but varied considerably from club-to-club. And her off-the-rack wedges were . . . of course . . . stronger than men’s stiff, and considerably heavier than anything else.

So, our next project is to get her equipment right before she goes to school in the fall. By taking apart her golf clubs and rebuilding them with shafts that are right for her, consistent from driver to wedges and with consistent grip sizes that fit her hands, we’ll make it much easier for her to continue to improve her performance.

CASE #2. One of local high school players is a dedicated young lady who really wants to play at a top level. She had as her role model, up until last year, another young local lady who now plays at Texas A&M, and Sarah Beth raised the bar for local golf with her achievements – 3 state championships and she won individual honors at her first collegiate event. Maddie has similar aspirations.

So, I took a look at her clubs and saw again that they were more “in the way” than helpful to her. We haven’t done a complete analysis yet, as she has a major junior event this next week, and I don’t want to shake her confidence. But at first glance, she’s playing highly offset irons, but fights a hook, so that iron design isn’t right for her. She’s also got long fingers but is playing ladies’ undersized grips, which further aggravates her hook tendencies. The fact that they were worn completely out is a whole other issue. There’s no telling what we’ll find when we really get into analysis of her set, but I’ll bet it won’t be pretty.

The moral of this story is that the weapons in your bag have a lot to do with your performance, and any golfer will benefit from club-to-club consistency. But most of us have put together our “set” in a relatively random fashion – a driver here, fairway woods there, toss in a couple of hybrids, and hope all matches our irons. And then a couple of off-the-rack wedges that are heavier and stiffer than all of them. That’s like putting a different tire on all four corners of your car!

I use that analogy because golf clubs are a lot like tires. They might look good sitting still in front of you, but at highway speeds, every little imbalance will become a glaring fault. And your car or truck will be fine with a number of different kinds . . . as long as they are all the same! A visit to an independent clubfitter for an analysis is a good investment of time and won’t cost that much money, and you just might find a quicker fix to some of your problems than working on your swing. Here are just a few things that you should know:
1. Worn out grips will cause you to clasp the club tighter and lose feel and suppleness that good golf requires.

2. Offset in an iron promotes a hook shot pattern – is that what you want your irons to do?

3. Aggressive cavity weighting in an iron head causes a higher ball flight – is that your goal? With the short irons, too?

4. Shafts that are too soft will cause you lots of control problems, while shafts that are too stiff will cost you distance in most cases. And in your set of clubs, I’ll bet dollars to donuts you have both.

5. Grips that are too large or too small will promote shots that hang right or snap left, respectively.
So, guys and girls, if you want to play better now, a good analysis of your tools should be in your immediate plans. I can assure you that it will be fun, enlightening and informative.


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


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.


[ comments ]
NEdomer says:
I will admit to being one of these people. I purchased my clubs off the rack and in one case, bought a stiff flex 3W because they didn't have any regular flex and I already had the driver and 5W so was comfortable with how they hit. I don't have a high swing speed so the reality is I should have just passed and been fit for a different 3W but the mental piece of consistency outweighed my better judgment.

I guess my rationalle has always been that I will get a brand new set and start from the ground up once I play often enough and my swing is more consistent.
6/11/10
 
wedgeit says:
your right most people do use off the rack clubs? im surprised that these to leading am girls were not using custom fitted clubs and worn grips?
i have been playing about 14 years now and have had custom fitted clubs since year five i play relativly good golf and my grips are changed twice a year but there was one thing i noticed you didnt mention regrading equipment. prob one of the most important things as well most people use a putter that is far to long for them most putters are 35 to 36 inches in length of the rack and me at 5ft 10 inches needed a 32 and a 1/2 inch putter? would you agree this is the case?
6/16/10
 
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Terry Koehler is "The Wedge Guy" and President of SCOR Golf- The Short Game Company.

Click here to learn more about Terry.
 
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