Continuing with the theme of fitting, we are building upon golf ball and putter fitting with today’s topic: wedge fitting. Odds are you need to improve your short game and a sure way to save some strokes is wedge fitting. The grip, shaft, and clubhead are the key components that you’ll need to be educated on and how you can then utilize them to improve your performance. We’ll look at each of these components in-depth.
The three biggest golf grip manufacturers (Golf Pride, Lamkin, and Winn) have produced a variety of grips over the past few years. Most of these grips are manufactured of good, old fashioned rubber. However, new man-made materials are being used to increase the feel and comfort. Choosing a grip is based stricktly upon feel for the golfer, although it’s important to know that knowing your grip size is key element often over looked. Before you get too obsessed with what color of grip you’re choosing, make sure it fits your hand. Accomplished fitters and PGA Professionals can measure your hand and recommend the correct size. Proper grip sizing is important because it regulates the amount of pressure you have on the golf club. To properly execute a golf swing, you need to be applying minimal pressure, hence proper grip sizing. Most grip and club manufacturers have charts that can steer you in the right direction of a proper grip size.
There are two materials from which shafts are made, steel and graphite. Steel shafts are the predominant shaft material, found in most wedges. A steel shaft is heavier, more consistent, and gives feedback. Graphite shafts are typically lighter and produce less pain on the hands and body by absorbing the shock produced from off-center hits. Believe it or not, your golf swing with a wedge is usually slower, compared to any other golf club in your bag. Therefore, most wedges come with a steel shaft that is called “wedge flex” while others have fancy names like “Spinner” and “Hi-Rev”. In most cases, these wedge flexes are softer to allow for a higher launch and more spin. Receiving a static shaft fitting (relating to your anatomical features height, arm length, shoulder width, etc.) is a good starting point. It is important to remember that a dynamic fit, found while swinging the golf club at impact, is crucial. Golf shots can be measured using impact tape to view results. When looking at these marks, golf shots off the toe could indicate the golf club is too short, whereas golf shots off the heel could mean the golf club is too long. Likewise, golf shots off the bottom or top of the club may indicate a length issue.
Wedges are typically forged or cast from softer materials and designed with little to no offset due to the fact that they already have plenty of loft. Some of the of a wedge clubhead you’ll want to pay attention to are: grooves, finish, bounce angle, grind, sole width, camber, lie angle, and loft. Grooves, bounce angle and loft are ones you’ll want to focus on the most.
- Grooves have been a hot topic the last few years. If you haven’t heard as of January 1, 2014, all USGA and R&A championships will use the newer grooves. The USGA won’t evaluate the rules for another six years, but on January 1, 2024, all golfers will have to use the “new” grooves for handicapping purposes. So be careful careful if you’re playing in a sanctioned event this year.
- Bounce describes the ability of the golf club to come out of the ground after the interaction with the turf and golf ball. If you have the tendency to take large divots, you’ll want more bounce. It will keep the club from digging too deep into the ground. Bounce can be affected by the grind, sole width, and camber of the golf club. All of these characteristics create effective bounce which is critical for playing various shots. Determining the bounce is the hardest component to configure because golfers use wedges in a variety of situations.
- Pay close attention to the lofts of the wedges you have for gapping purposes. Gapping is a new way of describing how far each club goes. Determining your yardages with all of your wedges will expose where you have “gaps”. This will give you a better idea of the distances they travel and what type of shots you can use each wedge for.
Hopefully these great tips will improve your scores and enjoyment. Should you come to realize you need new wedges customized to your individual swing take a look at the custom wedge options we offer. And remember, when it comes to fitting, using the trained eye of a PGA Professional or professional fitter never hurts.