Saturday, November 22, 2008

A Look at Scratch Golf Equipment

I took up the game in 1987 at the age of eleven. Sometimes I'll talk to some juniors and they have never even SEEN a persimmon wood live and in person, much less hit one. Over the next eight years or so, club technology changed dramatically. Drivers went from persimmon to metal to oversized metal to titanium. Golf ball technology changed with seamless technolgoy and graphite they say in Donnie Brasco "fuhget about it."

As I took my break from the game, the technology has plateaued or at least in comparison to the late 80's and most of the 90's. The irons have changed with the blade irons being almost as forgiving as the cavity backs now, with more weight moved to the back and center of the club to get the COG more towards the sweetspot instead of the heel. They used to say that a shank was "almost a perfect shot." That's because a lot of irons back in the day, particularly blades, had the sweetspot located more towards the heel. And we've also seen the invention and use of the hybrid. In fact, when I check bags of PGA Tour players, almost all of them have some sort of hybrid and seeing the Gap Wedge in a bag is pretty rare. I believe that's because on the PGA Tour, these guys are going to need something like a hybrid on a long par 4 or a long par 3 and while they may only use it for 1 or 2 shots a round, they cannot afford to hit those shots with anything but the proper club (in this case, a hybrid). And because they have so much talent, they can get buy with just a sand wedge and a lob wedge.

I believe the next big thing in technology will be along the lines of what Scratch Golf is doing...customization. But not just getting fit for lie angles and grips, but extreme customization. By going to the Scratch Golf Web site, one can choose a wedge and then select from 18 different grinds and 7 different finishes. Furthermore, they can customize the color of the ferruls, paintfill, stampings, and other swing specs.

The big issue that I think Scratch Golf will face is that the big OEM's have the money to get tour endorsements and will just customize clubs for the tour pros while mass producing their clubs on the market. The regular golfer doesn't get the same thing that the tour pros get (which has been going on for quite some time), but because the OEM's have the endorsement of the big names on tour they will get a lot of business just because of that.

Anyway, keep an eye out for Scratch Golf (wedges are not cheap, $199) and check out their Web site at


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