Have You Noticed What They Are Doing?
We just got back from the 2014 PGA Merchandise Show, and so now all the advertising noise will be about the next "greatest thing since sliced bread." What is most interesting to me is that the "noise" is somewhat shifting from who makes the longest driver to who makes the longest irons.

My response to that is — and yours should be — who the heck cares?

All the clubs between the driver and putter are for dissecting the golf course into manageable pieces, after you hit your tee shot and before you are on the green. What every golfer needs is a selection of approach clubs that allows you to hit the ball as close to the hole as possible from any place on the golf course that is within striking distance. And it just makes sense that the closer to the green you are, the more precision you would want, right?

Every golfer has a maximum distance from which they can reasonably expect to hit the shot at hand onto the putting surface, with a reasonable chance of stopping the ball somewhere close to where it landed. That distance and club define the upper end of your "approach range," whether it is an 18° hybrid from 235, or a five-wood from 160. That's your physical upper limit of your approach range, and no equipment company can move that more than a few yards, if at all.

The perfect set of approach clubs would give you increasingly smaller distance gaps as the club gets shorter and you are closer to the hole. After all, 30 feet long or short with a 5-iron in your hand is darn good, but it stinks if you were swinging a "P-club."

But the big irons companies are trying to make you believe that if your new 6-iron goes as far as your old 5-iron, that somehow you will be better. Well let me let you in on a little secret.

That new 6-iron IS your old 5-iron!!!

I talk with golfers all the time who have no idea what the lofts of their irons are, and just take it on trust that the number on the bottom defines the club. Nothing can be further from the truth. And the big manufacturers are taking advantage of this trust.

This new crop of "long" irons has moved the lofts down so far that the numbers on the bottom of the club have become completely meaningless. That "6-iron" has migrated from 36° of loft and 36.5-inch length in the 1970s, to 26° of loft and 37¾-inch length in these new irons. Of course that new 6-iron goes further . . . because it is longer and stronger than your old 4-iron!!!

This relentless pursuit to make our 6-iron go further than the other guys' 6-irons is compressing the lofts to the long end of the set. And they are taking away your scoring range clubs to achieve that. In most of the new sets, they are reducing the loft differentials at the long end of the set to as little as 2.5° and increasing the loft differentials at the short end to five degrees. So what you get are 2-3 clubs at the long end with very little distance gapping, then huge distance gaps at the short end of the set, which costs you distance precision when you need it most.

In other words, you don't have a chance to score the course as well as you used to, because you don’t have as many short range scoring clubs.

In the words of the radio pundit, Earl Pitts... Wake Up, America!!!
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 ]
diamond_jim says:
I know I am a year behind Terry's article, but what he says makes so much sense. The big problem is that NONE of the golfing press have the Cojones to call to them to book. They are so worried about their advertising they forget the are supposed to be serving us.
Further the continual 'new or latest idea/concept" that is brought out every 6 months by these manufacturers (and we all know who they are) are as much to blame for the ever increasing cost of the game, with the ever decreasing numbers of club membership. They are threatening to kill the goose that lays the golden egg with their testosterone drive for length as the Wedge Man so eloquently explains it. What a bunch of suckers we are !!
Torleif Sorenson says:
Terry's article, among others, has made me much more skeptical about club advertising and marketing. The degree-spacing between short irons and wedges becomes even more important with the stronger lofts on most iron sets.
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Terry Koehler is "The Wedge Guy" and President of SCOR Golf- The Short Game Company.

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