5 Ways Modern Technology Has Hurt Your Scoring
Over the past three decades or so, modern golf club technology has changed the way we play the game. Drivers are bigger, more forgiving, and launch the ball prodigious distances. Metal woods are hotter and easier to hit than ever. Irons are getting stronger and more forgiving of mis-hits. And these things called 'hybrids' are so easy to hit they are scary.

But all this technology has done absolutely nothing for your short range performance. And your failure to significantly lower your handicap in the face of all this technology is proof.

Here are five ways that modern technology has prevented you from getting better inside 125-150 yards from the flag:
  1. Strengthening of lofts in irons has taken away scoring clubs. The lofts of your short irons – 9-iron and PW – have been strengthened by as much as 8-9 degrees from what was played 40 years ago. So, where Hogan, Nelson and Snead had 6-7 clubs for all the shots inside 150 yards, the modern golfer only has 3-4 of them, maybe less. So, wouldn't you have to be twice the ball striker Hogan was to make that work?

  2. Thin face iron designs don't deliver pinpoint distance control. In days past, golfers lived to get a "round club" in their hands. That 8-, 9 and PW looked different because they were different. We could get pinpoint distance control with them, and they really weren't that hard to hit. But as irons evolved to thin-face, cavity back designs, we lost the reliable distance control of the old blades. Every golf company knows it, but they don't want you to – thicker faces on higher-loft clubs deliver better trajectories, improved distance consistency and much more solid feel. A 9-iron that looks like a 6-iron is easy to sell, but it just isn't good science.

  3. "Wedges" haven't changed to keep up. The reality is that the 2012 wedge rack is filled with clubs that look just like they did 30-40 years ago. What other category could get away with that? When the "modern" sand wedge was designed over 50 years ago, it had all the weight low so that it could have a full sole design. It was also never used for full swing shots. That has changed, but the design hasn't. You hit your wedges too high, and they are made to aggravate that. You can do better.

  4. Wedge shafts haven't changed much in 30 years. Back then, almost all irons had a heavy and stiff steel shaft, and wedges did, too. But today, more and more golfers are playing regular shafts in their irons...or lightweight steel...or graphite. To have that same old heavy, stiff steel shaft in your money clubs will not optimize your feel and gives you a huge 'disconnect' right in the middle of prime scoring range.

  5. Your set make-up should be different these days. Technology has made the longer clubs easier to hit and go further than ever. It's done the same with your short clubs. But why do you need 4-5 clubs that go further than your 5-iron? You don't score "out there" – you score inside 9-iron range. Thirty or forty feet long or short with a 5-iron or more in your hands is a great shot, but it stinks to be that far away from 100 yards. You won't get short range precision if you have 20+ yard gaps between your full swing scoring clubs. What makes sense is to allow 20-yard gaps between your longer clubs and do what's necessary to get 12-14 yard gaps at the short end...or smaller. If that means rethinking your entire set make-up, then do it.
The wonderful thing about our sets of golf clubs is we can put them together any way we want. And I suggest you start with a club of 58-61 degrees and work backward from there, building reliable distance gaps that get increasingly wider as you go away from the flag. You've got nothing to lose but some strokes off your handicap.
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 ]
Gordon 1955 says:
I agree with the above but find it difficult to play anything but full shots. For instance today on par 5 I hit my drive down the middle some 230 yards, followed by a straight 3 wood of 200 yards to leave a 50 yard shot to the flag. I then fluffed this shot by hitting down too much. My partner told me that this was related to the bounce of the club and I was working against it??!! Would Scor Wedges held me to hit the green/get close to the flag? I would rather be 10 feet closer to the pin with my scoring clubs than 10 yards further with my long clubs but all too often I mishit my wedges. (I have 46 PW, 50 GW, 56 SW and 60 LW so should have the clubs to do the job!!). Why are there so many videos on hitting ther ball longer but so few on how to play the scoring clubs properly - especially delicate or half swing shots?
Gordon 1955 says:
Re the above. I also know that I should manage the hole better by laying up with my second shot to leave a full wedge to the green but what about Par 4 holes? For instance the green is within reach of my 5 iron but the shot leaks left or right and leaves a difficult shot of 30 yards over a bunker - or a simple bump and run shot 0f 30 yards. In both scenarios I would be glad to get down in 3 shots but my playing partners hope to wedge to within 10 feet and probably sink the putt! I have had lesson on my short game but so far too no avail. Doom and gloom!!!
ally1957 says:
I too have difficulty with half shots especially with the short irons so i came up with the simple solution of don't hit the second or third shot as far 30 feet from the green on most of the holes on my home course is a nightmare for me so I usually half the yardage if i can't reasonably hit the green does of course mean 1 putt for par but I'm getting there.
Karl Spakler says:
Gordon: the bounce of the wedge may have played a part. A high-bounce (12*+ on a SW) wedge will cause the club to skip off hard turf, creating a skulled ball. The club will stick in soft turf and you'll likely hit it fat. Bounce angle is one spec that the OEMs fluff through; they give you more of the "just play our wedges and you'll be fine" deal without really helping you think about yardage gaps, bounce angles and the consequences of avoiding both.

Distance sells. You grab someone's attention with "HIT IT 10 YARDS FARTHER!!" Dave Pelz has written some good articles about what you're looking for. One tip of his is to not quit on shots, which according to him is a big no-no that a lot of us do. He suggests a shorter backswing and a longer through swing, so we're really accellerating through impact. Try that; also check out and his own website for more thorough tips and drills.
Karl Spakler says:
Do you hit driver on every single hole? You shouldn't... do some quick math before you tee off on each hole. Here's an example: let's say you hit a 7i 150y pretty reliably. Well, subtract 150 from the hole's total yardage. For the sake of ease, let's say 300y. 300-150 is 150. You could theoretically tee off with a 7i, then have an easy 7i to the green. Fairway, green, two-putt and par (or one-putt and birdie!). It's hard to do... I tell you about it, but I don't always do it, either. Pro's do it- it's called "course management". When you see Tiger or Phil teeing off with a 2i or 5w, they're wanting their second shot to the green to be a full scoring club shot, since full shots are easier to pull off than partial shots.
BigLenny says:
I wish I could be more discipline I hit the ball farther than most and need to put my driver down and work the irons
BigLenny says:
I may start leaving my driver home
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Terry Koehler is "The Wedge Guy" and President of SCOR Golf- The Short Game Company.

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