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Should You Consider a "Tour Grind" Wedge?
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.

A conversation with a customer this week got me thinking about the segment of the wedge offering from major companies that falls under the category “Tour Grind”, “Personal Grind” or other such names. What it refers to is the supposed availability to purchase wedges from Titleist, Cleveland and other major companies that are ground to the personal specs of their PGA Tour professionals.

I’ll be really blunt on this. Don’t Do It.

In my nearly 30 years in the industry, I’ve had the opportunity to work closely with a number of tour professionals, and trust me, these guys have golf games you and I cannot remotely relate to. Their skills with a golf club . . . and what they can feel a golf club doing throughout their swings, through the turf, and in contact with the ball . . . is nothing short of amazing. I can assure you that the very best short game at your club would not be even close to the very worst one on the PGA tour.

As an example, Ben Hogan once said that to hit the ball low into the wind, he tried to hit the ball “on the second groove”! Can you imagine? And once Ben Crenshaw told me he didn’t want his wedge to spin the ball – he wanted to control the spin himself. And then he proceeded to hit four different shots with a sand wedge to a flag about 80 yards away. He hit one behind the hole and backed it up about 5 feet. The next was hit to the front of the green and released to the hole, running about 20 feet. Then one that hit about ten feet short of the hole, made one big hop and stopped in its tracks. And finally, he hit a bump-and-run that hit well short of the green and rolled at least 50 feet to stop within a one-putt range! And all these were hit with the same sand wedge!

Professional golfers spend hours and hours with their wedges, hitting all kinds of shots from all kinds of lies...every day! And they’ve done that since they were teenagers. Their skills are honed to a level you can’t even imagine. These golfers also play the very finest courses, in the very finest conditions week in and week out. Their fairways are cropped to 3/16” and their bunkers are watered to be of consistent texture (firm and tight). Their wedges are ground to very exact specifications to accommodate their exquisite sense of touch and the conditions they enjoy. In other words, their wedges are designed NOT to get in their way.

In contrast, even if you are a low single-digit player, you need wedges that offer you a measure of game improvement. You want all the spin you can get. You want and need wedges that won’t stick in the turf in a tight lie, but will offer you lots of help/bounce when you are in the bunkers. Your fairways are likely to be much fluffier than a tour course, but with very tight areas where cart and foot traffic are heavier. And your bunkers are softer and completely inconsistent from course to course, and probably from hole to hole!

So, here’s my acid test for whether you should consider a “Tour Grind” type wedge:
  1. Do you spend at least two hours a day practicing wedge shots of all kinds?

  2. Does your course superintendent moisten your bunkers each morning so that they will be firm and the ball won’t plug?

  3. Do you know exactly what trajectory each and every wedge shot you hit will take? And finally . . .

  4. Would you challenge Tiger or Phil to a $100 a shot up-and-down contest if you had the chance?
The key is to buy wedges that are tailored to your game, and blend to the irons you play. And better yet, that are custom-fitted to you. That’s the way to achieve the optimum assistance from the wedges that earn their way into your bag.


photo source

* 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 ]
Icarus says:
HI, I have known for a while that I have a gap between how far I hit my pitching wedge (75 yards) and my 9 iron (115 yards). I am a 26 handicapper and have a deliberately slower swing to keep control over where the ball goes (in theory). I have been struggling chipping onto the green with my sw or pw, often running past or even not following through and dying short. Can you advise what sort of wedge I should go for, and what shaft (I have regular graphite on all my clubs). The objujective is to be able to drop the ball into the green with more accuracy. Thanks
9/3/10
 
Doc420 says:
Now I would be against a guy going out and buying a wedge that is the exact grind that a tour pro would play. But I am all for somebody getting a wedge that has a grind that is made for you swing and how you interact with turf conditions.

I think that you should get every club in your bag fit, and I think that the wedges that Scratch are putting out appear to do a better job than most other oem's. Would I spend more for a wedges grind from scratch that fits me or a titleist or cleveland off the rack wedge. well yes I spend the extra cash. I can get more use out of a wedge than I can from the newest driver of the week that really doesn't improve anything.
9/4/10
 
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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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