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Is shaping the ball overrated


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Originally Posted by logman

I originally posted that the biggest ego boosters/ waste of times in amateur golf were low loft/ long drivers and 60+ degree wedges. You guys have reminded me of another. Trying to spin the ball back to the pin. That's a pro shot or a circus trick or a great way to add some more shots to your score



It's hard to help it if you hit a shot hard with a short club, especially with a urethane ball and a high swing speed. Many pros just generate so much spin from their attack angle that they actually have a hard time not spinning the ball back. There are certain lies that can change how the ball plays, wind can change how it reacts on landing as does the green condition, and an upslope can cause even a borderline shot to spin back. There are pin locations where it's a legitimate way to play it, but I agree many people try to do it on purpose, where the pros do it on purpose sometimes but generally prefer a drop and stop or slight release.

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the only time I want to hit a ball left to right is when I'm in a tree line. I pulled that shot off on Monday...a nice 5-10 yard fade that went back inside the tree line and actually hit the green...I

Learning to shape the shot isn't as important as knowing what your natural shot shape is IMO. For myself I used to hit a draw  all the time. I've been working on trying to get to a natural cut so I ca

I tried chippers when they first came out. I was just as consistent chipping with irons and a chipper was useless from trouble lies. The fact they're seen as hacker gear really didn't enter the pictur



Originally Posted by bplewis24

How do you "try" to spin a ball back to the pin?  Do you hit the full wedge shot differently than your normal full wedge shot?



Well, a full wedge shot, hit solidly, from a fairway lie, with clean grooves, is going to generate a lot of spin.  On a normal green (not too hard or too shaggy, or landing downhill, etc.), this shot will invariably spin back.

More often than not, I'm "trying" to not spin the ball back in these conditions, usually by taking a little more club and hitting a softer shot.

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i will never understand how someone could say that a 60 degree wedge is not a club for amateurs.  Its no different than any other wedge!  If you can hit a 56 degree wedge..the 4 degrees of loft added isn't gonna suddenly make you unable to hit the ball properly.

P.S. I never spin balls back very far at all with my 60(granted its 2 years old now) but I do hit and stop within 2 ft of the divot on anything but a downhill slope.

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Originally Posted by Paradox

i will never understand how someone could say that a 60 degree wedge is not a club for amateurs.  Its no different than any other wedge!  If you can hit a 56 degree wedge..the 4 degrees of loft added isn't gonna suddenly make you unable to hit the ball properly.

I agree with you that the loft isn't of significant difference.

The problem is in the bounce, IMO.  The more loft you add, the more the bounce becomes important.  A 60* wedge with 14* bounce is going to have the leading edge of the club sticking up a bit, increasing the probability of a thin shot.  But with less bounce, there's a better chance that you're going to dig and hit the shot fat.  Both of these effects seem to be increased as loft increases, and I can personally perceive a major difference between my 52* and my 58*.

Most of the 60* wedges seem to be around 8* bounce, which is great for people who have good, consistent ballstriking with their wedges (and hit off of tighter lies).  But it's going to increase fat shots for players who don't have that consistent contact.

Obviously if it works for you, then no worries.  But I think as a general observation, most higher handicappers hit more chunks and skulls with a 60* than with a 56*, and more with a 56* than with a 52*.  I think at lofts of 52* and below the sole is usually narrower and the bounce has less of an impact.

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My 60* has 8* of bounce I believe, but I use it mostly for chipping and some occasionally bunker shots.  I don't think I've ever used it for a full shot or even a 3-quarter shot.

Brandon

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Originally Posted by k-troop

Well, a full wedge shot, hit solidly, from a fairway lie, with clean grooves, is going to generate a lot of spin.  On a normal green (not too hard or too shaggy, or landing downhill, etc.), this shot will invariably spin back.



Sure, if you are a 2 handicap with a high swing speed who makes crisp contact on a consistent basis.  For the typical amateur, the ball simply doesn't spin that much.  I play with a lot of players who play in the 10-15 handicap range, and it is exceedingly rare to see a ball spin back.  They may stick where they land, or just take a short hop and stop, but it just isn't that common once you get out of the single digit range.  I play a Srixon Z Star and my shots simply don't back up any more except on a rare shot, usually when it lands on a slope that takes some of the forward momentum off of the ball.

Originally Posted by Paradox

i will never understand how someone could say that a 60 degree wedge is not a club for amateurs.  Its no different than any other wedge!  If you can hit a 56 degree wedge..the 4 degrees of loft added isn't gonna suddenly make you unable to hit the ball properly.

P.S. I never spin balls back very far at all with my 60(granted its 2 years old now) but I do hit and stop within 2 ft of the divot on anything but a downhill slope.


It definitely is harder to make consistent contact with a high lofted wedge.  It requires a more consistent swing to make good contact.  There is less room for error, meaning that a small mistake in returning the club to the ball will result in a worse chunk or a skull, since the increased loft requires you to swing harder to hit the same distance.  Because of that, a skull is going to result in a worse result than the same miss would with a PW.  The same is true of a fat shot, although the lie has more of an effect there too - a fat shot on a tight lie is going to suck pretty bad no matter what club is used, but on a fluffy lie the flatter club will do better than a LW.

Why do you think that a good instructor will always tell his students to use the flattest club that will get the job done, even to the point of sometimes accepting that you won't get as close to the hole as you would like?

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but my point still remains...it isn't the club thats the problem..its the practice routine!  If someone is swinging a club during a round that they don't practice with..then its bad course management, not a "voodoo club".

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It also has alot to do with the greens your on, and the fairways you play from. The spin exceedinly decreases as the grass gets taller. So if your not playing from prestine fairways and really good greens the odds are your not going to get much spin back. Honestly i rather have one hop stop. Then i know, if i land it here then it will take this hop and stop, rather than saying, it might roll back 5 feet, it might roll back none, hwo far should i play this ball past the hole..

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Originally Posted by Paradox

but my point still remains...it isn't the club thats the problem..its the practice routine!  If someone is swinging a club during a round that they don't practice with..then its bad course management, not a "voodoo club".

I practiced a lot with a 58 and a 60, and I don't carry either any more.  They never added anything to my game, and were more often a detriment, even though my handicap has been as low as yours at one time.  I first started experimenting with a LW 20 years ago, before Phil and Tiger made them popular, so I'm not just blowing smoke.  I'm pretty good with a 56°, and better with a GW, PW, or 8I.

Just believe me when I say that no matter how good you might be with it, a 60° LW doesn't belong in the bag of most mid to high handicappers.   There is a reason that they have a higher handicap, and it isn't because they are pure ball strikers.  It takes a pure ball striker to be consistent with such a club.

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Agree with you on shaping. It would be great and speed up play if everyone learned the value of hitting a straight shot. A slight draw or fade for shaping can be done by setting the feet differently. That's good enough for most of us.

A slight fade or draw can help out in certain occasions, such as staying away from right or left-side danger.  You just have to practice it once in awhile. Also, draws and fades can be helpful for recovery shots coming out of the treeline.

Originally Posted by granitegolf

The problem with a straight shot is its very hard to hit. It may go straight or just a bit left of just a bit right. ...

Part of this depends on your ball. Some of the distance balls are designed to primarily go straight, if you make halfway decent contact on the shot.

And, what levels of average are you addressing? Several teaching pros I have talked to advise players to "take away half the course" if you want to break 90 regularly. A draw or fade as a regular shot can really help with course management. Still, you probably want to be able to curve it "the other way" with a club or two. Only being able to hit draws cost Rocco Mediate the U.S. Open playoff on a dogleg-right par 4.

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Originally Posted by WUTiger

Quote:

And, what levels of average are you addressing? Several teaching pros I have talked to advise players to "take away half the course" if you want to break 90 regularly. A draw or fade as a regular shot can really help with course management. Still, you probably want to be able to curve it "the other way" with a club or two. Only being able to hit draws cost Rocco Mediate the U.S. Open playoff on a dogleg-right par 4.



I'd pay a crap load of money only to be able to hit Rocco Mediate's draw.  :-)

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"Just believe me when I say that no matter how good you might be with it, a 60° LW doesn't belong in the bag of most mid to high handicappers. There is a reason that they have a higher handicap, and it isn't because they are pure ball strikers. It takes a pure ball striker to be consistent with such a club."

So very true, fourputt!

I too only carry the 56 degree ...if I get in a jam where I've shortsided myself and need to clear a bunker I just open up the 56 and pray...not in that order.    :)

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Originally Posted by stogiesnbogies

"Just believe me when I say that no matter how good you might be with it, a 60° LW doesn't belong in the bag of most mid to high handicappers. There is a reason that they have a higher handicap, and it isn't because they are pure ball strikers. It takes a pure ball striker to be consistent with such a club."

So very true, fourputt!

I too only carry the 56 degree ...if I get in a jam where I've shortsided myself and need to clear a bunker I just open up the 56 and pray...not in that order.    :)



Lob wedges, Drivers, and long irons wouldn't be in the bags of the world's best players if they weren't worth learning how to hit. Granted you don't need the clubs to play very good golf, but there isn't a replacement for any of them that's quite the same. Maybe they're not the right priority for high handicaps, since polishing your short game and specialty shots will shave off a few strokes at best while the long game is a bigger priority. A lot of players are shameless posers who carry the LW to act like Phil, admittedly. But there are players with a handicap of 9 or above that could benefit from a lofted wedge, including those with a great short game, those who struggle with long pitch shots and want a shorter club on a full swing, those who want extra spin and height on approaches, Those who use a high lofted wedge from bunkers, and those who want an extra option with less bounce for various lies.

FWIW, if you are good with a 60* wedge it should go in the bag. No matter how good you are with it, it should be used based on handicap? Try the exact opposite of that statement. And it takes a pure ball striker to be consistent with ANY club. A crappy player will fare worse with an open sand wedge due to the extra bounce, open face, and the speed with which you need to hit the shot; there's little margin for error. Lob wedges are usually designed to be opened and hit from a variety of lies, while most SWs are chunky and designed to displace sand and rough. It's like saying we don't need a 7 iron because you could choke up on that 6 or hit the 8 hard and cover 90% of the difference. A LW isn't a necessary club if bag space is an issue, and it doesn't have a lot of versatility, but it is a huge asset if you need that type of shot often and especially on fast greens.

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Originally Posted by LuciusWooding

FWIW, if you are good with a 60* wedge it should go in the bag. No matter how good you are with it, it should be used based on handicap? Try the exact opposite of that statement. And it takes a pure ball striker to be consistent with ANY club. A crappy player will fare worse with an open sand wedge due to the extra bounce, open face, and the speed with which you need to hit the shot; there's little margin for error. Lob wedges are usually designed to be opened and hit from a variety of lies, while most SWs are chunky and designed to displace sand and rough. It's like saying we don't need a 7 iron because you could choke up on that 6 or hit the 8 hard and cover 90% of the difference. A LW isn't a necessary club if bag space is an issue, and it doesn't have a lot of versatility, but it is a huge asset if you need that type of shot often and especially on fast greens.


But your mistakes are far less glaring and more forgiving with a PW as opposed to a 60° LW.  That too is a simple fact.  A LW has the same margin for error as an open faced SW in all cases except for a very tight lie.  The chances of fluffing it from rough, or chunking it from normal FW, or skulling it from most any lie is about the same.  YOu state this as if you think I'm bloewing smoke.  I've played for 45 years, I have a 60 and two 58s in my garage which I have used (or more likely abused) over the years.  They are of far more value to my game if they stay right where they are.

Just because the pros use them is a silly reason for a 30 handicapper to carry one.  25 years ago you couldn't find one in the bag of virtually any PGA Pro.  There are still some who don't carry one.  Tom Watson has never carried more than a 56° wedge, and his short game has always been ranked among the best who ever played.  To think that it's a vital piece of gear is simply a false belief.

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Originally Posted by Fourputt

But your mistakes are far less glaring and more forgiving with a PW as opposed to a 60° LW.

Just because the pros use them is a silly reason for a 30 handicapper to carry one.


-I disagree, there's no reason for the PW to fare any better on a skull, and both are used in totally different situations so it's a moot point. A PW is great for a bump and run while the lob wedge is normally used for shots that don't release much. A short pitch over a bunker to a short sided pin will either end up in the bunker on a thin shot with either club, but on a good shot the LW will be close while the PW couldn't stay within 10 feet most likely. Mistakes can be made with either club and there's no reason one would fare better than the other. Maybe you think the only shot a LW is useful for is a flop shot with a full swing, but they are more useful for full shots and pitches than for that shot. Obviously chipping it through 2 inches of rough with a PW is a safer play than a full bore flop shot but it's not the club's fault if you're stupid enough to do that on a routine basis.

-I agree. However I never said amateurs should use them because pros use them. I said that they should use them if they hit them well, and that the pros use them for a good reason. I carry one because it's a useful club; that's the same reason the pros carry them. There's a distinction between using a club for the same reasons as a pro and using a club blindly because a pro uses one.

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Originally Posted by LuciusWooding

-I disagree, there's no reason for the PW to fare any better on a skull, and both are used in totally different situations so it's a moot point. A PW is great for a bump and run while the lob wedge is normally used for shots that don't release much. A short pitch over a bunker to a short sided pin will either end up in the bunker on a thin shot with either club, but on a good shot the LW will be close while the PW couldn't stay within 10 feet most likely. Mistakes can be made with either club and there's no reason one would fare better than the other. Maybe you think the only shot a LW is useful for is a flop shot with a full swing, but they are more useful for full shots and pitches than for that shot. Obviously chipping it through 2 inches of rough with a PW is a safer play than a full bore flop shot but it's not the club's fault if you're stupid enough to do that on a routine basis.

-I agree. However I never said amateurs should use them because pros use them. I said that they should use them if they hit them well, and that the pros use them for a good reason. I carry one because it's a useful club; that's the same reason the pros carry them. There's a distinction between using a club for the same reasons as a pro and using a club blindly because a pro uses one.

Think about it.  You simply won't be swinging as hard with the PW as you would with the LW to hit the ball the same distance.  Therefore a miss hit is going to be a magnitude worse with the LW.  Where a thin hit with the PW might go 10 or 15 feet past the hole, the same thin hit with a LW would probably go clear over the far side of the green.

I personally don't even use my 56° SW for full shots.  I'm quite good with my 51° GW for judging those in between shots.  I use it almost exclusively from about 100 yards in until I'm in a pitching/chipping situation.  At the same time, I do my best to never leave those shots.  If I'm in a layup situation, I try to layup to 90-100 yards so I still have a full swing with my GW.

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Nobody should use a club they're uncomfortable with. Whether or not someone else is comfortable using a LW is really none of my business until it starts slowing my group down.

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Note: This thread is 3274 days old. We appreciate that you found this thread instead of starting a new one, but if you plan to post here please make sure it's still relevant. If not, please start a new topic. Thank you!

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