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We're in that special hell of rules controversies with the implementation of the new Rules of Golf. There have been some growing pains with the new rules, and that has allowed the golf media to tee off on its favorite target, the USGA. Which, to be fair, can make itself an easy target: https://www.golfdigest.com/story/despite-harsh-words-from-some-tour-pros-usga-pleased-with-roll-out-of-new-rules-of-golf. That aside, I wanted to talk about the "controversy" about the knee-height drop that the Rules now require. Rickie Fowler got a one stroke penalty for dropping from shoulder height this past weekend. Cue the complaining from him: https://golfweek.com/2019/02/22/rickie-fowler-hit-with-one-shot-penalty-for-illegal-drop-at-wgc-mexico-championship/ I can forgive him - he just had a brain fart, probably didn't gain an advantage in this situation, it cost him money. I'm always annoyed when I get a penalty, personally, and it's absolutely never my fault, okay? But cue the pearl clutching from the media: https://www.golf.com/news/2019/02/25/backstopping-pro-tours-under-policed/ I'm here to tell you that this is wrong, and knee-height drops actually make a ton of sense. One of the best things the new Rules do is simplify dropping. Now, all you have to do when dropping is land the ball in the relief area (without touching you or your equipment before hitting the ground) and ensure the ball comes to rest in the relief area. If you don't do this, you have to redrop. Pretty simple. Yes, you have to figure out what your relief area is, but that's pretty simple, too. (For a fuller explanation of this, see Rule 14 and the definitions in the Rules of Golf.) The old rules were much more complex. Specifically, if your ball rolled to one of 9 areas after you dropped it, you had to redrop. For example, if your ball rolled more than 2 club lengths away from where your ball hit the ground, you had to redrop. You had to know all of these 9 areas to know if you needed to redrop or not. So, the new way is simpler, right? Instead of learning 9 different triggers for a redrop, you only have to learn 1. Great! Why am I talking about when you have to redrop? This is why we're dropping from knee height. Generally, under the new Rules, your ball cannot go as far after hitting the ground as it used to without triggering a redrop. Dropping from knee height reduces the chance that a redrop will be necessary. It also means that a ball has less of a chance of embedding in sand when you drop it. It makes a ton of sense, really. Now, you might say, that's all fine, but why not allow dropping a ball from anywhere above knee height? I think you could easily game the rules to be able to place the ball when you really want to by simply dropping from shoulder height instead of knee height. Think about dropping on a side slope, for example. You're much more likely to have to redrop and place if you drop the ball from a higher point. Sure, this is rare, but why take the chance? We're all on the same page, right? Knee-height drops make a lot of sense. (If you want to know more about the changes to dropping, this is an excellent article that talks about this in a bit more detail: https://rulesgeeks.com/2018/12/30-days-of-2019-rules-changes-day-16-procedure-for-dropping-a-ball-in-playing-it-from-a-relief-area/) Now to the point of all of this: golf media, please take 5 minutes to understand the rule before issuing a HAWT TAKE about the rule. The USGA has a one page sheet that explains the rule: http://www.usga.org/content/usga/home-page/rules-hub/rules-modernization/major-changes/new-procedure-for-dropping-a-ball.html. You don't come off very well when you fail to read that. I know it's fun and easy to just mindlessly bash the USGA, but they do get things right. This is one of them. (Oh and by the way, the Rules are actually really good, as a whole. Maybe I'll talk about that in another post later.)
There are roughly three basic motions or shots you can hit with a wedge. They are: Full swing (includes any "normal" swing down to as little as a 1/4 swing). Chip (short to medium length shot, good shaft lean, uses the leading edge) Pitch (short to medium length shot, minimal shaft lean, uses the bounce; includes bunker blasts) In each, bounce is important: Full swing (gets the clubhead out of the ground, prevents taking big divots, enhancing feel) Chip (same as a full swing, but you don't want so much bounce you need to have your hands excessively forward) Pitch (bounce allows the clubhead to glide along the ground and not dig in, giving you a wide margin of error for shots hit slightly behind the golf ball). Around the greens, 95% of the shots I play tend to be pitches of some variety or another. Though there's a continuum of shots ranging from "extreme pitch" to "extreme chip," on virtually every short game shot I'm actively using and engaging the bounce more than I'm trying to use the leading edge. It's a simpler, easier way to play, and the game rarely presents opportunities where the precision required to let the leading edge engage with the ground is a good thing. I even play a "pitch" shot off hardpan, and though this shot is the closest I'll typically play to a chip shot, using even a few degrees of bounce gives you a slight margin for error that doesn't exist when you use the leading edge. Anyway… Edel has long made what I consider the best putters and the best fitting system in the game. We carry them not because we make much money doing so, but because we truly believe that it offers the best for golfers, and can dramatically increase their enjoyment of the game. We think the Edel putter fitting system is, far and away and bar none, the best in the game. It's changed the way we putt for the better and every one of the students we've fit into an Edel loves it. The same holds true for the wedge fitting system. We've always taught the short game by teaching people to use the bounce on the club, but the problem is some people have wedges with 6, 4, or even less bounce! They have a hard time using the bounce when they have so little. A proper pitch shot still has forward lean, and with 18° bounce (to throw out a number), even 6° forward shaft lean provides ample bounce. Instead of providing proper bounce, wedge manufacturers have, by and large, gone with small amounts of bounce but increasingly wider soles. This does help to decrease the club's tendency to dig, but I would argue that it goes about it the wrong way. What's the problem here? It's simple. Players who play wedges with less bounce will tend to "teach" themselves to play wedge shots poorly. On full swing shots, they'll flip at the ball a little more than they should because they want the club to get out of the ground. Too little bounce and you take big divots that don't feel good at all. On short game shots, they'll either flip more or they'll use the leading edge more, figuring "if the club's going to dig I may as well try to use it." The wedges perform pretty well from the bunker, which is where the wider sole can do some good, but a better grind can still improve even bunker performance (plus most people are just bad out of the bunker, period). The Edel wedge fitting system has eight different grinds and bounce options (in order from least bounce to most): sweeper, picker, nipper wide, nipper narrow, pincher, trapper, driver, digger. A typical wedge fitting system takes about 15 minutes. Players are given a 60 degree sweeper wedge and hit a few 3/4 shots (1/2 to 3/4 shots let the fitter assess ground interaction of the bounce for the player that holds true across a variety of shot types). Then they're handed a picker wedge. And then a nipper wide, a nipper narrow, and on down the line. The divots will start out heavy and thick feeling, and at some point - unique to each student - they'll find a wedge that sounds and feels different by a surprisingly wide margin. It's pretty nifty when it happens - the impact sounds clean, the divot exists but is more like a "bacon strip than a pork chop" (to steal from Moe Norman), and the feel is just different. It's tough to describe, but you know it instantly when you hit it. Once the proper grind/sole/bounce is found, the player hits off a lie board to help determine lie angle and length, and then the player is given a 52 or 56° head in approximately the grind of their preference and asked to hit a variety of shots. The fitter changes out 20+ shafts until the proper spin and launch angle are found for the student, and they've built wedge! The student can then order wedges in whatever lofts they want from 44 to 64°. They can paint fill and stamp them however they'd like (we've had people use the names of their kids as the lofts, for example - I chose "1" "2" and "3" for my wedges with "IACAS" on the toe), etc. There are some other unique things about the Edel wedges that bear mentioning. First, their grooves produce a good amount of spin. They have more grooves that produce higher and more predictable spin rates from the junk. You'll give up nothing from any other manufacturer using these wedges. Second, the position of the grooves is shifted towards the toe. The grooves line up with the center of gravity (the sweetspot) of the club, which unlike most other wedges, is in the center of the head. Most wedges shift the grooves and the sweetspot towards the heel slightly. Just a week or so ago we took our wedge fitting bag up to the course and had a few players go through a fitting. We were just training ourselves and had no intention of selling any clubs. We're skeptics, and we'd have sent the bag back if we didn't think the system worked or provided a benefit to golfers. And yet every golfer who helped us train ourselves bought a set of wedges. The difference was that remarkable to them. And to us - the sound, ball flight, and feel is remarkable. I encourage everyone to consider going for an Edel wedge fitting. Again, we don't do this for the money - and I certainly don't post this kind of stuff here for the money because very very few of you will ever take a lesson or go through a wedge fitting with me - we do it because we want to share information that makes people enjoy the game of golf more. So go through a fitting. If you don't instantly "get" the same sensation or "wow moment" that everyone we've tested gets, don't buy them. I'd wager that, whether you know it or not, your wedges aren't really fit for you, and you've adapted the way you swing them to avoid the feeling their bounce and shafts would give you if you swung them properly. In other words, you probably either flip your wedges a bit more than you should, or you take some big divots. Learn what a proper divot feels like without having to flip at the suckers! Here are some photos of my set of wedges. I had two sets made: one's forged and blacked, and the second is a cast set that's going to be my practice set (because I don't want the blackening to wear out too quickly). Oh, and guess what? They feel identical . I only got the forged set because I really, really like the black finish and it's not available on the cast clubs. :) And despite what some people who gobble marketing materials like it's candy will tell you, nobody can tell the difference between the same club that's cast or forged. Many have assumed the clubs they hit in the test are forged. They're not. Back of the wedge, with some of the unique pattern from the "blackening" visible here. Like a fingerprint, they're unique. "3" stands for my lob wedge, 60°. I have a 2 wedge (54°) and a 1 wedge (48°) as well. The three wedges at (roughly) address. The three wedges. The faces of the three wedges. The grips. The circles let you consistently grip down on the club. I replaced these grips with PURE grips. I don't need the circles. :) The sole grind of my 3 Wedge. The backs of the wedges. The bounce and grinds. My lob wedge has 22° bounce, my sand wedge has 17°, and my pitching wedge has 14°. http://edelgolf.com/index.php?option=com_content&view;=article&id;=31&j;=wedges&Itemid;=31