Thursday, May 31, 2012

A Look Back At the Harrison ShotMaker Insert

Another follow up question I received after the ‘Thinking Man’s Guide To Finding Your WITB’ series was on the Harrison Shotmaker insert.

The ShotMaker Insert is a small, lightweight ‘rod’ that a golfer or clubmaker can insert into the golf shaft. The marketing behind the Insert is that it will help make the ball fly straighter and give up to 40% more accuracy.

The ShotMaker is meant mainly for wood shafts because their current models only fit in 0.335 tip shafts. That’s usually what drivers and fairway woods have for shaft tip diameters. Cleveland and Taylor Made have drivers that carry 0.350 shaft diameters. There would be a way to work around that if you put a 0.335 shaft tip in those 0.350 hosel diameter by adding a shim in order to ‘fill the gap’ between the 0.335 shaft tip and the 0.350 hosel diameter. You could then just insert the Harrison Shotmaker into that 0.335 shaft tip and go about your day.

Anyway, the question was in regards to why I got away from the Harrison ShotMaker insert?

First, I still believe that the Harrison ShotMaker insert can be a useful tool to many golfers. I know I saw my ball flight lower a tad with a little less spin. I felt I was more consistent with the ShotMaker insert as well. Also, there had been reputable customers and clubmakers online who had shown FlightScope and Trackman data showing lower spin and a little lower launch with the ShotMaker insert versus no ShotMaker insert in the same driver.

Here’s where understanding the Shaft Bend Profile comes into play.

Essentially, all the ShotMaker insert does is stiffen up the tip section of the shaft. Thus the ball launches a little lower and spins less. Sounds simple. However, I think it still has some value in the end.


A little while ago Tom Wishon stated that the high priced, popular shafts like the Diamana models, Matrix, Graphite Design Tour AD-DI tend to have a common shaft bend profile…fairly stiff in the butt section and stiff in the tip section. In fact, the Nunchuck shaft has a bit of an underground following and it has an extremely stiff butt and tip section.

This leads me to believe that the majority of golfers in the scratch to 15 handicap range tend to play with shafts with too soft of a tip section. This probably stems from golfers usually going with a ‘stock shaft’ that they get at the golf store or pro shop. I know many golfers and clubmakers will steadfastly claim that the stock shafts in most clubs are not quite the same as the after-market shafts that are the same model.

I also have to question using frequency matching to fit for the shaft because usually the frequency matching either measures the frequency of the shaft as a whole or just gets the butt section stiffness. With Shaft Bend Profiles, it measures the shaft at usually 4 or 5 different locations, from the butt end to the tip end. So, it’s possible to have 2 different shaft models that match up on the frequency machine, but react very differently for the golfer (even if they are the same weight and bend-point). One shaft model may be much stiffer in the tip section and that will cause a lower launch and lower spin, despite the frequencies being the same.

What I wind up seeing from clubfitters is that they usually go at least one flex stiff with graphite shafts. Instead, if they better understood the shaft bend profiles, they could get a more accurate fitting for the golfer.

Getting back to the ShotMaker Insert.

It can be a great tool for a golfer who likes the feel of their shaft from a stiffness perspective. This is usually where the stiffness of the butt-section matters. But, if they have problems controlling their shots, it could be likely due to the tip section being too soft. So by adding the ShotMaker insert, that will help them to some degree. For some golfers, it may help them tremendously. For others, the tip section of the shaft may still be way too soft for them.

Furthermore, the ShotMaker Insert is also light as a feather, so it really doesn't affect swingweight or static weight. From my experience, it will affect MOI by less than 10 kg/cm^2.

Of course, one may say ‘get a shaft with a stiffer tip section.’

While that sounds fine and dandy, you will need to have a clubfitter who knows the shaft bend profiles. Or you will need a fitter with either a Trackman or a later model FlightScope along with plenty of different shafts so you can look at the launch angles and spin rates. Then you could be wind up wanting a $300 shaft. Combine that with the charge for the fitting and then having the shaft installed, a $100 ShotMaker Insert may not be a bad alternative.


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Thinking Man's Guide to Your WITB: Follow-Up

The PGA Tour rundown will be up either on Thursday or Friday.  Here's my Memorial picks:

Jim Furyk: 25/1
Dustin Johnson: 40/1
KJ Choi: 80/1
Robert Garrigus: 100/1
Scott Piercy: 125/1

Value Pick: Kyle Stanley 150/1

I had some questions with regards to the series ‘The Thinking Man’s Guide to Finding Your WITB.’ I thought I would go over some of them.

How long do the leather grips last?

They are supposed to last ‘years.’ From my experience, the pricey high-end grips I’ve found to last a lot longer than your standard, $5 grip. The Iomics I have still feel good other than the spot where I place my left thumb wearing down. That does not affect my swing or feel at all. As far as being able to grip the club, the Iomics are still in great condition and I’ve had them for over a year. The reason for the GripMaster USA grips is playing in extremely hot weather conditions, I’m looking for the best I can find to deal with those conditions.

How come no Tour pros have their clubs MOI-matched?

Probably because none of them know about MOI-matching. The OEM’s have no interest in it because there’s no feasible way for them to implement that into their clubs. We are seeing more and more clubs using portable weights on their heads. Taylor Made does this with their irons now. However, the only way to accurately measure the MOI is to have the machine, which costs about $500.

That being said, we see Tour golfers and OEM’s trying to do things that are very similar to MOI matching all of the time.

For instance, when you MOI match a set of irons the swingweight for those irons will progress at about 0.6 to 0.8 swingweight points per club. There are plenty of pros who use progressive swingweight in their sets of irons in the same manner, with the long irons at a lighter swingweight. And why do Sand Wedges and Lob Wedges almost always have a much higher swingweight than the rest of the irons?

The answer is that swingweight matching winds up having the clubs feeling different. For those Tour pros who use progressive swingweight, they feel that if they kept the swingweight the same, the long irons would feel too heavy and the short irons too light. MOI fitting and matching does a more accurate job and eliminates the guesswork of what the Tour pros already feel.

Why can’t you do MOI-fitting and matching with non-Wishon clubs?

You CAN do MOI-fitting and matching with non-Wishon clubs. It’s just that Wishon clubs are easier to do MOI fitting and matching because their clubheads are lighter in weight. Thus, all a person has to do is add weight to the clubhead and they’ll be able to find their optimal MOI and then easily match the MOI of the rest of the set of irons.

Here’s a few things to be pointed out:

- When MOI matching irons, we want a tolerance of +/- 5 kg/cm^2
- I personally can feel a difference in 15 kg/cm^2
- 1-gram of weight added to an iron head will alter the MOI by about 10 kg/cm^2

So, if a set of iron heads weigh only 3 grams more than a Wishon set of iron heads, that may affect the MOI by about 30 kg/cm^2.

Where I find Wishon clubs to be very beneficial in the MOI process is with taller golfers who add some extra length to their shafts. That’s because the extra length of the shafts increases the weight of the club and the MOI of the club. But, the reason why golfers use extra length with their irons is to help with their posture at address and so they don’t have to reach for the ball.

Where everything comes into conflict is when a golfer needs that extra length for their posture and not having to reach for the ball at impact, but they cannot handle that extra weight and MOI that comes with the extra shaft length.

If you’re a golfer who doesn’t require any extra shaft length, then you will likely be able to get fitted and matched for MOI with OEM clubs (not a guarantee). But for a taller golfer, even adding just a ½-inch to your golf shafts is going to be problematic unless you have a lighter clubhead. From there, the best solution would be to find a lighter shaft, but the golfer may not like that shaft in question.


If you favor speed control in putting, why not focus on that with the putter instead of alignment?

I believe our brain has a good ability to sense speed on a putt. Geoff Mangum discusses this in his video ‘The Reality of Putting.’ I think once a golfer has a solid grasp of how to use their brain to have the right speed, the putter becomes less important in terms of what it can provide for speed control. I think if you’re struggling with speed control, you probably do not understand how to use your brain to sense the speed for the putts.

It’s not that you will always have good speed control if you know how to use your brain to sense the speed for a putt. It does take some practice if you are going to a green that has a different speed than you are accustomed to. Also, things like spike marks, pebbles on the green can affect the speed of a putt and there’s not much you can do about that. Lastly, a poorly struck putt affects speed as well. I still think you can miss the sweetspot quite frequently and managed to have pretty good speed control. I think mis-hits affect the line more than anything.

With putting, I often try to tell myself to not over-think the mechanics of the stroke. However, if my aim is off, then one has to make compensations in order to get the putterface pointing at the intended target. I think that is more difficult to overcome unless you have the right putter for you.

Wouldn’t hybrids stay on the green just as good as long irons since hybrids have a higher trajectory?

I don’t believe that’s really the case. The term hybrid comes from the fact that is supposed to be a mix between a fairway wood and an iron (usually a long iron). Furthermore, the hybrids were really born from the increasing popularity of the Callaway 7-wood (called the ‘Heaven Wood’) back in the mid to late 90’s. Many good golfers, including Tour pros, started to use the 7-wood in a similar fashion to the way we use hybrids now. Eventually other companies saw the market for the 7-wood and that spawned the hybrid with a different design.

With that, the hybrid was supposed to ‘mix the best of both worlds’ of long irons and fairway woods. Meaning hybrids were supposed to have the 7-wood qualities of being easy to get up in the air and easier to hit out of the rough and the long iron qualities of a higher trajectory and being able to stay on the green.

The hybrids do get up in the air higher, particularly more than a fairway wood. However, their spin rate is still lower than a 3-iron. And if you’re a better golfer who shouldn’t have much of an issue getting a 3-iron or 4-iron up in the air, the irons will stick to the green better than the higher launched hybrid due to the difference in spin rate. The difference today is that the hybrids are not entirely worse at holding greens like the fairway woods were of yesteryear. But if you are looking to optimize your Danger Zone play, you’ll want to start looking at less hybrids and more irons, provided you can hit those irons reasonably well.


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Thinking Man's Guide to Finding Your WITB: Part VIII

In this part I will discuss some of the accessories in the bag.



I feel that the importance of grips are different depending upon the amount the golfer practices and plays and the climate they practice and play in. If you’re playing in a cooler climate and you don’t practice or play more than 1-2 times a week, than any grip that you like should do the trick. I would only recommend that you clean the grips after use with dish soap and then dry them off with a towel. Grips will get slick because the oils and sweat in your hands will seep into the grip and if you leave them in a warm area, like the trunk of your car or in the garage during the summer, they’ll get super slick. Clean them with a scrub brush, dry them off with a towel and leave them in a room temperature area and they will last a lot longer.

For those who play and practice frequently in cooler climates and are looking for durability and help with the rain, I would probably prescribe cord grips. Generally, I find the Lamkin cord grips to be the most durable on the market. But, even the Golf Pride Decade Compound grips will last if you clean them frequently. The main question becomes if you like the feel of the grips.

Now, if you play in a hot climate, like Florida, the Gulf Coast region, South Texas, Arizona, etc, you will likely have to deal with a lot of perspiration. First, I recommend the following items to help with perspiration:

- Microfiber towel for drying your hands
- Regular cloth towel to soak in cold water to cool you off.
- A bunch of gloves (rotate them throughout the round or practice session)
- Gorilla Gold or ‘Dry Hands’ solution

I prefer the Gorilla Gold because I don’t have to wait for it to work like Dry Hands, which takes about 30 seconds. Also, Gorilla Gold lasts a little longer than Dry Hands and Dry Hands turns your hands into a white powdery substance.

As far as grips go, I believe that the Iomic Grips and the GripMaster USA leather grips are the best to deal with the sweat and humidity. I would rank the GripMaster USA leather grips #1. In fact, I’m experimenting with a Classic Wrap grip from GripMaster USA


The Iomic Grips have a good feel to them. And they do work like they claim in that the moisture, sweat and water will stay atop of the grip instead of seeping into the grip. One can simply take a microfiber towel and wipe the sweat or water right off the grip. However, if your hands are still sweaty, you can have difficulty gripping the club even though the grip is dry. Furthermore, the area where I rest my left thumb wears down on the Iomic Grips a decent amount.

I’ve tried one model of the GripMaster USA grips which have a stitchback design. My friends actually like the feel of the grip, although I could not quite get used to it. But, we all agreed that when the GripMaster grips get any moisture on them, they actually get tackier. That’s why I’m going to experiment with their Classic Wrap, to see if that feels any better.

As far as MOI and swingweight goes, I’ve found that grips have a greater effect on swingweight than MOI of the entire club. A 10 gram heavier grip may change the swingweight by 2 points. But the MOI may change about 20 kg/cm^2 or so. That’s still noticeable enough to throw people a little off. That’s why when you are fitting for MOI, you should do that next to last (last would be to put the final touches on the lie angles). You really need to make sure that you have the grip that you want because that can throw things off a little if you decide to play a different grip.

Lastly, I prefer to have grips that I can put on with an air compressor. The reason being is not only is it easy for me to do, but eventually there will be some grips that start to wear down quicker because I use those clubs more often. With the air compressor, I can simply take a grip off my 3-iron that I don’t use a lot and switch that with my more worn down 7-iron grip. It’s a nice little way to extend the life of your grips.



I believe golf shoes are important in the functionality and power in the swing. As I’ve said before, the ground forces you can use in your golf swing are very powerful. Imagine hitting a golf ball while standing on a sheet of ice or hitting a golf ball while standing on grass. It doesn’t take a great imagination which one you will generate more power from.

Thus, I like to go with a shoe that has a lot of spikes on it, to help keep my feet on the ground.

Also, the Asics spikes have a traditional screw-in tightening system. Not only do I prefer that when it comes to removing and installing the spikes, but the traditional metal spikes have that design. If you don’t have that design for the spikes, you can’t install metal spikes. My course has a ‘soft spikes preferred’ designation, meaning that they would prefer golfers to play with soft spikes, but it is not mandatory. Most courses do not have that.

However, many golfers on the PGA Tour still play with metal spikes because they feel like they are entirely better than soft spikes. The problem for me is that most courses and most events do not allow for metal spikes. However, if I get into a situation where I can use metal spikes, I am the first one to install them.

Of course, more spikes and metal spikes can potentially make the shoes harsh on the feet when you are walking a course. And if you have knee problems, particularly with your forward knee, any spike shoe, be it metal or soft spike, may put stress on that knee that you cannot handle. If you’re worried about performance on the course, I would recommend traction over comfort and looks. But, if you have knee issues, I would consider an alternative. The Asics Gel Tour Lyte’s go for about $75-$85 online.



I think the lower the handicap, the more important the ball is for the golfer. The golf balls suited for the higher handicapper tend to run in the same style, designed to max out distance and to avoid curving too much.

Plus, higher handicappers tend to have vastly different swings in a round of golf as well. One swing they’ll chop down on a driver, the next, they’ll maybe have an upward attack angle with the driver.

When it comes to the ball, you can figure the ball for you if you use a Trackman or a FlightScope (latest model) launch monitor. Here are some key numbers that can help with your decision.

Clubhead Speed
Launch Angle
Max Height
Spin Rate
Spin Loft

With better golfers, I think it’s best to really understand what type of trajectory and spin rate they produce with their swing. Are they:

- High launch, high spin player
- High launch, low spin player
- Low launch, low spin player
- Low launch, high spin player

Spin loft is a calculation that Trackman came up with which is the difference between the golfer’s attack angle number and their dynamic loft (the loft the club has at impact).

I would recommend looking at this with the driver.

First, we need to dispel the myth that the steeper the attack angle will automatically mean that you will generate more spin. You will generate more spin if the spin loft increases.

For example, let’s say your stock numbers with a driver are:

Attack angle: 0°
Dynamic Loft: 10°
Spin Loft: 10°

Now, you hit down more on the ball:

Attack angle: -2°
Dynamic Loft: 8°
Spin Loft: 10°

Because those Spin Loft numbers are the same and you’re using the same club and the same clubhead speed, the spin rate will not increase or not by any significant number.

However, if you produce these numbers:

Attack angle: -2°
Dynamic Loft: 10°
Spin Loft: 12°

You have kept the dynamic loft the same, but are hitting down more. This creates a higher spin loft and the spin rate will be higher as well.

Generally, the idea is that you want the lowest number you can possibly get with Spin Loft. I think there is some flaws in that thinking in certain circumstances. For instance, I would rather produce these numbers with a driver:

Attack angle: 0°
Dynamic Loft: 12°
Spin Loft: 12°

Than these numbers:

Attack angle: -4°
Dynamic Loft: 6°
Spin Loft: 10°

I think of spin loft like hitting a ping-pong ball with a ping-pong paddle. If I want to get backspin on the ball, I will increase the loft of the paddle and hit down on the ball with a chopping down motion. That would increase the ‘spin loft’ and thus increase the backspin. If I’m trying to hit the ball with top spin, I’ll ‘de-loft’ the paddle and swing up on the ball.

For me, I’m more of a mid-launch, high spin player. Occasionally, when I’m not quite swinging right, I become more of a low-launch, high spin player. Generally, I’m looking for a lower spin ball so I can keep the spin rate down and get a little more roll with the driver along with keeping the ball down into the wind.

I’ve found that the Srixon Z-Star and the Titleist Pro V1x work the best for me. The Z-Star is a little harder, so I prefer the Pro V1x around the green. IIRC, Titleist says that there is about a 400 rpm difference between the Pro V1x and their Pro V1 balls with the driver at 100 mph of clubhead speed. I know I generate about 3,200 rpms with the driver with a Pro V1 ball. Thus, at 110-113 mph of clubhead speed, I’m guessing I’m at the 2,600-2,800 range with the Pro V1x. And from my statistical research on Tour, that’s usually the rpm’s range of the better drivers of the ball on Tour. Yes, you can have too little spin with the driver.


Friday, May 25, 2012

Thinking Man's Guide to Finding Your WITB: Part VII

In this part, I’ll discuss the putter. Here’s a look at my putter and its specs

Edel Golf Columbia
3° Loft
72.5° Lie Angle
34” Long
Round Edel Putter Grip

Most golfers tend to do a very rudimentary experiment with a putter, be it on a practice green or an indoor practice area and if they like the looks of the putter and how it feels (and more importantly, if they make a few putts with it), they tend to buy the putter and bag it. The problem is that it becomes their only method of finding a putter and it usually winds up with them purchasing a new putter every year, every summer or even every month.

As I’ve written in other posts, when it comes to putting I have a few tenets.

1. I want to hit each putt with the optimal amount of speed.

2. I want to read the putt accurately as often as I possibly can.

3. I want to aim the putt at my intended target accurately

4. I want to roll the ball where I have aimed the putterface, hopefully at that intended target which is hopefully an accurate read of the putt.

That’s it. Nothing else.

I think the putter comes into play in #1, #3 and #4. For #2, I highly recommend taking a green reading clinic thru AimPoint Golf (

I want to hit each putt with the optimal amount of speed.

It’s important to note that there is a difference between ‘speed’ and ‘distance.’ Most golfers go by Dave Pelz’s belief that the ‘optimal speed’ is a putt that travels 17” past the cup. Well, that’s not a ‘speed’, that’s an ‘optimal distance.’

According to Geoff Mangum (, the optimal speed is about 2-3 ball revolutions per second as the ball goes into the cup. What does that look like? Well, the ball should travel at a rate that if it were to go in, it would land and hit the back plastic of the cup. If it hits the back dirt, that’s a speed a little faster than optimal. If it lands on the middle of the cup, that is a speed a little slower than optimal. Remember, speed is a rate an object travels over time. Distance is a length.

Here’s a great video from Errol Helling showing putts that have the same speed, but because they are aimed at different spots, the distance past the cup changes.

Are there other factors like stroke mechanics and green reading that can factor into optimal speed? Sure. But in this post we are talking about the putter.

Generally, the 2 features of a putter that affect speed are loft and weight. Here’s the general rule of thumb on those:

Faster Greens = More weight and less loft

Slower Greens = Less weight and more loft.

I think people understand the differences in loft depending upon green speed. I know Edel offers a putter called the Vari-Loft putter that allows the golfer to alter the loft of the putter face depending upon the green.


However, it can only alter the putter face by 1° from the loft you are fitted for. So, if you are fitted for a 3° loft, then the Vari-Loft model can give the golfer a 2°, 3° or 4° lofted putter.

IMO, you really need to worry more about the loft as to how it fits to your stroke rather than the greens you play on.

Edel Golf first fits for loft by seeing how the golfer aims the putter at address. They not only want the golfer to aim the laser at the cup, but it has to be a certain distance above the cup. Too low and they are de-lofting the putter at address. Too much and they are adding loft to the putter at address. This will require the golfer to make a compensation in their stroke to hit a good putt.

The other test Edel Golf does is that they do some distance control and consistency tests with the loft. Too much loft for the golfer and the ball will skid, like this video shows.

From my experience with a putter with too much loft, I just could not get the speed consistency I sought after. Sometimes I would have too much speed or too slow of a speed, even if the stroke was virtually the same. I’ve talked to others who feel that too much loft makes the ball go too far offline on mis-hits.

With the weight, the idea is that if we can properly adjust the weight, we will make it so we can have optimal speed without having to alter our putting stroke too much. The faster the greens, the less acceleration and putter head speed we will need to get the ball to the cup. So, if we add weight, we can take a similar length putting stroke and still have good speed because the putter will travel at a slower rate. With faster greens, we need the putter to travel at a faster rate, so we lighten the putter to allow that to happen.

Edel also offers a Vari-Weight putter model. The Vari-Loft putter model comes with the Vari-Weight component as well. When all is said and done, the Vari-Loft model (with the Vari-Weight component) probably allows a golfer to do the least amount of adjustment in their putting stroke from green to green.

However, if you’re looking for something else, then you would probably need to find 2 putters that are the same model and have one with a higher loft and lighter weight (slow greens) and one with a lower loft and more weight (fast greens).

Lastly, Edel Golf fits you for the putter shaft. The idea is:

Wristy Strokes = stiffer shafts

Pendulum-ish Strokes = softer shafts

This is again tied in with the acceleration profile of the putting stroke. I don’t know of any other company that has ever fit for a putter shaft like Edel does. Personally, I have had a pretty good touch before I owned an Edel, but the common thing I hear from readers who own an Edel is how much their speed control has improved with these putters. I think the combination of getting accurately fitted for the loft, weight and shaft has helped them tremendously.

I want to aim the putt at my intended target accurately

This is the other big component of putters, aiming ability.

There was a study done by some European scientists (Nilsson & Karlsen) that found that the High-MOI putters and those putters with all of those wacky alignment lines actually make golfers aim WORSE. But the real coup for putter makers is that the golfer actually *thinks* they aim them better. So what I think happens is that the customer eventually junks the putter and seeks another putter with the wacky alignment design thinking that they aim those putters better and he just needs to find the right kind of putter to fit him.

I’m generally a proponent of simple putter designs because I think golfers aim them better. In fact, according to David Orr’s study on putting (, 80% of golfers cannot aim straight from only 6-feet away. And 55% of the golfers aim left of the target (for righties).

I believe that it’s due to a few factors:

1. Most golfers eye dominance is the same as their arm dominance. So a right handed golfer is likely to be right eye dominant. Right handed golfers who are right eye dominant, tend to have a left aim bias.

2. Scotty Cameron model putters have a high amount of loft (5°), which tends to promote a left aim bias (for righties)

3. The putter heads today are shaped more to promote a left aim bias. Putters of yesteryear, like Wilson 8802 would promote more of a right aim bias. So a right handed golfer with a right eye dominance could use a Wilson 8802 and aim spot-on, time after time.

IMO, there are a lot more putter designs that will promote a right aim bias. The problem is that they often do not have the popular look to them and thus golfers continue to use putters that do not fit the way they aim.

Lastly, I usually get a lot of questions about the round putter grip. I can see to a point where the flat putter grip would be wanted so you don’t twist the face open or closed. But, I never liked having to wonder if the flat putter grip was perfectly aligned because if it wasn’t, it could throw me off before I even made my putter stroke.

I want to roll the ball where I have aimed the putterface, hopefully at that intended target which is hopefully an accurate read of the putt.

Again, there are other factors that come into play with this, but the putter is a factor, too. That’s why the lie angle is important. It helps the golfer hit the sweetspot more often. The idea behind the high MOI putters is that if you miss that sweetspot, the putter HEAD has such a high MOI that it will reduce the twisting on off-center hits. That’s why they also make putters ‘face balanced.’ My feeling is that you are really promoting a situation where you can hit a decent putt off a poor stroke instead of promoting a good stroke. The other problem is that many golfers have difficulty aiming face balanced putters. So it doesn’t do much good to be able to prevent twisting on off-center hits when you are aimed inaccurately to begin with.

I have not tried MOI-matching with the putter. I’ve been told it doesn’t work, but I’m willing to give it a try in the future.

Next Up, Accessories


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Thinking Man's Guide To Finding Your WITB: Part VI

Here’s a look at my wedges:


Edel Golf Driver Grinds

LOFT: 52°, 56° and 60°
SHAFT: KBS Tour C-Taper
LENGTH: 36”, 36”, 35-3/4”
Swingweight: D-8, D-8, D-9
MOI: 2,725 kg/cm^2

How important are wedges? At my level of play I believe they are more or less, moderately important. My statistical research shows that wedge play is vastly overrated on the PGA Tour. The idea that Tour golfers ‘get up an in every time they have a wedge into the green’ is patently false. In reality, the better Tour player may get up an in with a wedge in their hands (full swing) about 10-20% of the time. Also, Tour players do not get a lot of approach shots from the Birdie Zone (75-125 yards) in a round of golf. Some golfers, even the longer hitters, will not get an attempt from the Birdie Zone all tournament long. And one of the popular misconceptions is that long players are in the Birdie Zone more often. The Birdie Zone usually gets most of its attempts from the shorter players because they wind up in the Birdie Zone more often on par-5’s than the longer player, like a Bubba Watson, who goes for par-5’s in two shots about 75% of the time.

As I’ve said in my 2011 Pro Golf Synopsis, it’s not about labeling a part of the game as irrelevant. If you improve any part of your game, over time it will affect your scores. It’s about determining the level of importance and figuring out what you need to improve upon.

With wedges, I’m actually much more concerned with their performance around the green than on half swings, three quarter swings and full swings. That’s because statistically, the shots from 0-20 yards from the edge of the green mean more to your scores than a full swing wedge.

I believe that the best wedges will help you perform well on the basic shots around the green. Like the chip, pitch (all trajectories), flop, lob shot (vertical hinge type shot), bunker blasts, etc. Where one can really start to see an advantage is on the more difficult shots around the green, like thick rough lies, hardpan, tight muddy lies, long bunker shots, etc. Those are usually the shots that get golfers of my skill level and can absolutely kill a good round for a higher handicap golfer.



The biggest trend in equipment today is customization. Everything from the specs and components down to engraving,finishes and paint fills. I think the one part of the game that is still untapped is the wedge market and with companies seeing some of the success that Scratch Golf and Miura have had, if Edel Golf has success as well I believe other companies will start to follow suit and come up with their own customization and fitting for wedges.

Edel’s customization starts with finding the right head grind and bounce angle combination for the golfer. Edel utilizes a fitting cart with all sorts of wedge heads that have different grind and bounce angle combination. The idea is to find the right combination of grind and bounce so that the golfer can hit it ‘flush’ without taking a massive divot. The main idea came from Mike Adams’ research that golfers would ‘hang back’ on the downswing with wedge shots because if they didn’t, they would stick the clubhead into the ground. I believe one of the greatest advantages that this system has is that it allows for better distance control because my divot pattern and size of the divot is more consistent and very small. So I don’t have to worry about losing clubhead speed if I catch one heavy or worry about the launch angle due to the clubhead and turf interaction.

For those non-Edel wedge golfers, I will say that growing up playing golf, bounce was often overlooked and usually the adage was that better players needed less bounce. I think that if you want to become a better wedge player, you need to understand bounce better and not be afraid to experiment with higher bounce angle wedges. A lot of this depends on your swing and the turf you are playing off of.

When I came to Florida, I was usually told that a golfer needs less bounce to deal with the thick Bermuda grass. But in the end, I noticed that to the opposite case. Now, I can hit Edel wedges really well off of hardpan as this video shows.

If you’re hitting off of dry, hard ground more often, like you may see in Texas or Arizona, then you may want to seek a lower bounce angle because some of the higher bounce angle heads, may not have the grind design to help hit shots well from those type of lies.

LOFT (52°, 56° and 60°)

Each loft is designed to change how far the golfer can hit the ball. As I have mentioned in the previous parts, I typically like to carry:


Of course, that begs whether or not I ever use the 52° wedge. My feeling is that the 3-iron is more important to me than the 52° wedge because if I’m ever in a position where I don’t have a 3-iron and I need it, that will potentially be more hazardous to my score than needing a 52° wedge when I don’t have it.

It’s MUCH more difficult to get the distance right and still hit an accurate shot when I have to either step on the gas with a 4-iron or take something off my hybrid than it is to either choke up on a PW or step on the gas with a 56° wedge. Also, many times with wedges you’re better off on focusing more on leaving yourself with an uphill putt than you are trying to have the right distance into the flag. As I’ve shown with AimPoint, many times a 10 foot uphill putt can be easier to make than a 5 foot downhill putt.

With that, my philosophy is simple when it comes what to bag, the 3-iron or the 52° wedge. If I do not believe I will use my 3-iron in a typical round of golf at a certain curse, I’ll bad the 52° wedge. Secondly, I use the 52° wedge almost exclusively for full swings.

Many golfers will bag a 54° SW and a 58° SW. I think those golfers are more concerned with their full swing performance with those clubs than their shots around the green. I feel that is a bit backwards thinking because the shots around the green are statically more important to your score. It is usually easier to de-loft a wedge shot around the green than to hit it higher and still control the roll. What often happens is good golfers can add loft to the wedge around the green, but the ball will not roll as much and they have a difficult time calculating how much roll the ball will have. Thus, I find the 54° and 58° lofts to be a bit disadvantageous.

However, if you feel good about your shots around the green and like the yardages you hit them on full swing, you can have your cake and eat it, too.


I feel that this is mostly about personal preference. I will say that with Edel’s wedges, those short shots that you are likely to catch off the toe will come out better because the CoG is moved further away from the hosel and they extend the grooves out towards the toe, so you don’t have to worry about those knuckleball shots.

I know many golfers like all of their wedges the same length as their pitching wedge. I think that makes some sense from a full swing perspective, but it can mess up the MOI matching of the wedges. And I think some golfers may have a problem with the extra length on short shots around the green.



I have hit the KBS Tour C-Taper shaft before in a 6-iron and while I liked the feel and felt it brought the trajectory and spin down, I wound up hitting it too short. I think that’s because the static weight of the 6-iron was noticeably more and it made it a little more difficult to swing at a high speed for me.

With the wedges, there is no difference in distance. When you get into differences in distance, you usually see a greater difference in the longer clubs like a driver, 3-iron, etc.

I was fitted for the C-Taper shaft because it brought my trajectory down a touch

There’s a lot that goes into a wedge shaft. With the grooves rule changes, many golfers have gone to a higher spinning shaft. However, the counter to it is that it may spin too much and if you need to hit a lower shot, it may be very difficult to do.

SWINGWEIGHT & MOI (D-8 & D-9 & 2,725 KG/CM^2)

Some clubfitters believe that MOI matching is not necessary with wedges. I’m actually inclined to agree with them on some level. This is mainly because wedges are fairly easy to hit on full swings and the rest of it is just short shots around the green, where it’s difficult to discern the difference in the feel of the club swinging. However, my feeling is ‘what’s the worst that can happen?’

One of the beauties of MOI fitting and matching is that if you don’t like it, you can always remove the weight from the head and go back to whatever weight the clubs were before they were MOI matched.

Up Next, The Putter


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

3Jack Golf's PGA Tour Rundown - Week 20

Jason Dufner wins his 2nd tournament in his last 3 events.

Here’s how my picks did at the HP Byron Nelson:

Carl Pettersson: Missed Cut (28/1)
Ryan Palmer: t-9th (35/1)
Brian Davis: t-56th (40/1)
Pat Perez: t-9th (80/1)
Jonas Blixt: T-3rd (80/1)

Value Pick: Martin Flores- Missed Cut (200/1)

Here are my picks for the Colonial:

Bo Van Pelt: 28/1
Jim Furyk: 33/1
John Senden: 50/1
Pat Perez: 50/1
Bud Cauley: 66/1

Value Pick: Boo Weekley 125/1


1. Bubba Watson
2. Jason Dufner
3. Graeme McDowell
4. John Rollins
5. Boo Weekley
6. Tiger Woods
7. Rory McIlroy
8. Hunter Mahan
9. Tom Gillis
10. Keegan Bradley

179. Michael Bradley
180. Tommy Biershenk
181. Nick O'Hern
182. Tom Pernice Jr.
183. Joe Ogilvie
184. Matt Bettencourt
185. Billy Hurley III
186. Derek Lamely
187. Ryuji Imada
188. Stephen Gangluff

Biggest Improvement: Marc Leishman
Biggest Decline: Louis Oosthuizen


1. Ben Curtis
2. Bo Van Pelt
3. Bryce Molder
4. David Duval
5. Luke Donald
6. Aaron Baddeley
7. Michael Thompson
8. Brian Gay
9. Y.E. Yang
10. Phil Mickelson

180. Arjun Atwal
181. Ricky Barnes
182. Chris Kirk
183. Chad Campbell
184. Scott Brown
185. Nick O'Hern
186. Greg Owen
187. Heath Slocum
188. Boo Weekley
189. Scott Stallings

Biggest Improvement: Dicky Pride
Biggest Decline: Bill Lunde


1. Kevin Kisner
2. Steve Stricker
3. Ian Poulter
4. Sean O'Hair
5. Jerry Kelly
6. Mark Anderson
7. Bob Estes
8. Patrick Sheehan
9. Jason Dufner
10. Greg Owen

180. Chris Kirk
181. Steve Wheatcroft
182. Angel Cabrera
183. Michael Thompson
184. Robert Garrigus
185. William McGirt
186. Harris English
187. Cameron Beckman
188. Gary Woodland
189. Charlie Beljan

Biggest Improvement: Gavin Coles
Biggest Decline: Steve Wheatcroft


1. Steve Stricker
2. Sergio Garcia
3. Jeff Maggert
4. Padraig Harrington
5. Brendon de Jonge
6. Garth Mulroy
7. Nick O'Hern
8. Jason Bohn
9. Carl Pettersson
10. Brian Davis

180. Geoff Ogilvy
181. D.J. Trahan
182. Matt Jones
183. Stephen Gangluff
184. Jhonattan Vegas
185. Charlie Beljan
186. Scott Stallings
187. Jamie Lovemark
188. Billy Hurley III
189. Edward Loar

Biggest Improvement: Gary Woodland
Biggest Decline: Alexandre Rocha


1. Lee Westwood
2. Graeme McDowell
3. Angel Cabrera
4. Robert Allenby
5. Steve Wheatcroft
6. Bo Van Pelt
7. Ian Poulter
8. Jeff Maggert
9. Nick O'Hern
10. Steve Stricker

179. Shaun Micheel
180. Matt Jones
181. Derek Lamely
182. Andres Romero
183. Briny Baird
184. Jamie Lovemark
185. Mark Anderson
186. Billy Hurley III
187. Henrik Stenson
188. Troy Kelly

Biggest Improvement: Dicky Pride
Biggest Decline: Rod Pampling


1. Louis Oosthuizen
2. Bubba Watson
3. Chad Campbell
4. Bo Van Pelt
5. Kevin Stadler
6. Justin Rose
7. Boo Weekley
8. Steve Stricker
9. Gary Woodland
10. K.J. Choi

180. Joe Ogilvie
181. Henrik Stenson
182. Stephen Ames
183. Steve Wheatcroft
184. Lee Janzen
185. Derek Lamely
186. Nick O'Hern
187. Edward Loar
188. Richard H. Lee
189. Ryuji Imada

Biggest Improvement: Charlie Beljan
Biggest Decline: Carl Petterssen


Monday, May 21, 2012

Thinking Man's Guide to Finding Your WITB: Part V

Here’s a look at the rest of my ‘irons’, the 5-PW:


Wishon 555M (muscleback)
Lofts: 28° (5-iron), 32° (6-iron), 36° (7-iron), 40° (8-iron), 44° (9-iron), 48° (PW)
Lie Angle: 60° (5-iron), 60.5° (7-iron), 61° (7-iron), 62° (8-iron), 63° (9-iron), 64° (PW)
Length: 38.5” (5-iron), 38” (6-iron), 37.5” (7-iron), 37” (8-iron), 36.5” (9-iron), 36.25” (PW)
S-weight: D-4 (5-iron), D-6 (6-iron), D-6 (7-iron), D-7 (8-iron), D-8 (9-iron), D-8 (PW)
MOI: 2,725 kg/cm^2

One thing I have not discussed with the irons is the feel of the irons when the ball is struck. Years ago, PING did a study showing that almost all golfers could not distinguish the feel between a forged club and a cast club. IIRC, Jeff Maggert was the one player who could. From the sounds of it, it appears that Maggert was the only PGA Tour player that they tested. And from what I’ve read, PING used the same steel in the test, 304 stainless steel which is not exactly the softest steel used by golf clubs. Also remember that PING has always been a company that has made cast irons which saves them plenty of money in costs and that companies like Mizuno were making waves with their forged irons. So PING certainly had some stake in the test to see the results work in their favor.

From my research and experience (and no, the research was not ‘scientific’) there are a lot of things that go into the feel of an iron. The type of steel used is part of it. But, if the CoG and the MOI of the entire club does not fit your swing, you’ll think a softer steel like 1020 carbon steel will feel very harsh. I experienced that with my Bridgestone J33 blade irons, that have 1020 carbon steel and I didn’t like the feel of them at all. I also think that the bounce and grind of the irons plays a giant factor in it as well.

I think if everything is equal, then the softness of the steel starts to become a factor. The best feeling irons I’ve hit are usually the vintage Hogan’s (’67 Percussions with the 2.5” hosel), the Mizuno’s (almost every model), and the Scratch Golf models.

I would probably rank my Wishon’s up there as far as feel goes. I feel it’s just slightly noticeable for me, the experienced low handicap player. I think for the higher handicap players with less experience, they probably would not notice any difference.


In part IV, I discussed some differences in performance stemming from a cavity back iron versus a blade design. There are a couple of more differences I wanted to discuss here.

For starters, I will go with feel. But, I’m not talking about the ‘softness’ of the feel on a well struck shot or the ‘harshness’ of the feel on a mis-hit. What I’m talking about is the ability to use the feel on a strike to decipher how well the ball was struck.

Where I think blades provide a difference is I can really decipher those shots that where struck decently versus those struck very well versus those that were flat out flushed and those struck a little below average. With cavity backs, the feel gets a little ‘murky’ when you are in the decent, to pretty good to average to slightly below average range. Sure, you can judge on the ball flight, but I’ve always found that feel plays a bigger role in a golfers game than ball flight.

Now, if you’re a player like a Kenny Perry who can pretty much duplicate their swing every day, shot after shot, that difference in feel may be largely unimportant to you. But, I find that difference in feel to be a big help in getting me to learn over time. That’s why I recommend buying a few individual blade irons off of eBay. Get the specs to fit you (shaft, length, lie angle, MOI, etc) and then use them in practice. If you want to game cavity backs because you feel more comfortable with them on the course, go right ahead.

The other factor with blades is that I believe they are very good on front pin positions.


Ben Hogan once commented that on front pin positions he would hit more club and hit it very high. Then on back pin positions he would hit less club and hit it lower.

Now, I agree with the first part, but disagree with the second part. With irons, a lower or higher trajectory can often make you hit the ball shorter in total distance. That’s why hitting it higher and take 1-more club on front pin positions makes sense. You use the extra club and the added height on the ball will reduce the total distance. But, with the back pin positions, taking less club and hitting it lower may leave you woefully short of the flag.

So with blade irons, provided that a golfer can hit them high enough on their stock swing, I think they provide an advantage on those front pin positions because the ability to control the trajectory allows them to hit it high on command on those front pin positions.


We went over this in part IV as the lofts are more or less ‘standard’ and the lie angles alter a bit due to shaft droop. In the end, I wound up bending the 8-PW and the 3 & 4-irons.


I already discussed the shaft and their lengths. I plan on trying out the new Wishon Stepless steel shafts and using Wishon’s recommend 3/8” shaft increments instead of the standard ½” increments. The increments start off with the 6-iron. Here’s how the new and old club lengths would look:



SWINGWEIGHT & MOI (2,725 kg/cm^2)

When you MOI match your irons, the swingweight will get progressively heavier. I’ve found that the swingweight gets about 0.6 to 0.8 swingweight points heavier, per club.

I knew that MOI matching was good when I first measured the MOI on my set of irons. Before I measured it, I noticed that I hit my 4-iron the best, but I hit my 3-iron the worst. I also hit my 7-iron the 2nd best and the 9-iron the 2nd worst. I was really curious to see what the 3 and 4-iron MOI measurements were. The 7-iron is the club I practice the most with, so I figured that was why I hit it so well. Anyway, here were the initial measurements:

3-iron 555C: 2625
4-iron 555C: 2702
5-iron 555M: 2670
6-iron 555M: 2680
7-iron 555M: 2694
8-iron 555M: 2658
9-iron 555M: 2639
PW 555M: 2653

As you can see, the 3-iron and 9-iron had the lightest MOI’s of the bunch. The 4-iron and 7-iron have the heaviest MOI-weight of the set. Eventually I found that my optimally fitted MOI was at 2,725 and thus, the 4-iron and 7-iron were the closest to that MOI.

The beauty of MOI matching is not only does it noticeably increase performance, but I didn’t have to worry about my swing changing causing me to get entirely new clubs. With MOI-matching, if my optimally fitted MOI altered as my swing changed, I could simply add more weight to the head (hopefully the swing changes for the better and you are applying more force as you swing).

Up Next, The Wedges…


Saturday, May 19, 2012

Updated 3Jack Golf Certified D-Plane Instructor List.


Here's an updated 3Jack Golf Blog Certified D-Plane Instructor list.  I've recently added:

Benard Sheridan (Pennsylvania)
Jared Sheffer (Mississippi)
Stephan Kostelecky (moved from Oklahoma to Arkansas)
Tim Conaway (Florida)
Jay Reid (North Carolina)

I've listed the instructors by STATE. Teachers that instruct outside of the US will be listed by country. You can use the 'find' function as well by using Ctrl + F, then type in the instructor you are looking for.

If you are an instructor and would like to be certified, please e-mail me at


Mark Blackburn
Guntersville, AL



Denny Alberts
Tuscon, AZ

Steve Bishop
Scottsdale, AZ
contact info not available

Chuck Evans
Mesa, AZ

Jeff Ritter
Phoenix, AZ


Stephan Kostelecky
Little Rock, AR


Steve Khatib
Carlton, Sydney and Melbourne, Australia


Dana Dahlquist
Long Beach, CA

Paul Gorman
Fairfax, CA
Phone: 415-699-9117

Bob Grissett
Calabasas, CA

Chris Gustin
San Juan Capistrano, CA

Andrew Marr
San Diego, CA

Bill McKinney
Rancho Santa Margarita, CA
Phone: (949) 702-2022

Michael McLoughlin
San Diego, CA
Phone: (858) 602-8608

Mike McNary
Santa Ana, CA

Palm Springs, CA


Matt Diederichs
Victoria, BC

Chris Lutes
Coquitlam, BC

John Randle
Victoria, BC

Nick Starchuk
Toronto, ON

Matthew Wilson
Toronto, ON



Dave Bove
Trumbull, CT

Matt Noel
Norwalk, CT



Mario Bevilacqua
Destin, FL
Phone: (484) 995-1629

Justin Blazer
Orlando, FL

Robert Campbell
Miami, FL

Dan Carraher
Winter Garden, FL

Tim Conaway
Sarasota, FL

Sara Dickson
Naples, FL

Sean Foley
Orlando, FL

David Graham
Orlando, FL
(407) 238-7677

Keith Handler
Palm Beach Gardens, FL!

George Hunt
Orlando, FL

Steve Sieracki
West Palm Beach, FL

Grant Waite
Ocala, FL

TJ Yeaton
St. Augustine, FL


Jeff Evans
Macon, GA

Tom Losinger
Woodstock, GA
Phone: (770) 345-5557

Brian McGrew
Dalton, GA
Phone: (706) 299-0013




Nick Clearwater
Chicago, IL

Lloyd Higley
Chicago, IL

Ronnie Martin
Addison, IL


John Dal Corobbo
Carmel, IN




Greg Graham
Louisville, KY

Mike Finney
Anchorage, KY

Chris Hamburger
Simpsonville, KY
Phone: (502) 722-2227

Jon Hardesty
Anchorage, KY


James Leitz
Slidell, LA

Brian Manzella
New Orleans, LA

Rob Noel
Abita Springs, LA

Brad Pullin
Choudrant, LA



Damon Lucas
Upper Marlboro, MD

Phil Rosenbaum
Hunt Valley, MD
(410) 527-4653 ext. 115


Billy Bondaruk
South Dennis, MA




Jared Sheffer
Madison, MS





Meindert Jan Boekel
Rijswijk, Netherlands


Joseph Mayo
Las Vegas, NV

Tom Sheely
Las Vegas, NV

New Hampshire

New Jersey

New Mexico

New York

John Graham
Webster, NY

Mike Jacobs
Manor Hill, NY

Rick Nielsen
New York, NY

North Carolina

Bill DeVore
Charlotte, NC

Spencer Huggins
Buies Creek, NC

David Orr
Buies Creek, NC

Jay Reid
Hickory, NC

Jason Sutton
Charlotte, NC

North Dakota


Josh Boggs
Canal Westchester, OH
(614) 596-1057

Tony Trace
Columbus, OH
(614) 507-8963



Martin Chuck
Bend, OR


Erik Barzeski
Erie, PA

Mike Bennett

John Dunigan
Newton Square, PA

James Hirshfield
Erie, PA

Andy Plummer

Bernard Sheridan
Limerick, PA

Kevin Shields
Sewickley Heights, PA

Dave Wedzik
Erie, PA

Audrey Ziff
Warminster, PA
(215) 517-7452

Rhode Island

Dennis Sales
Providence, RI

South Carolina

Tim Cooke
Hilton Head, SC

Andrew Rice
Bluffton, SC

South Dakota


Jaacob Bowden
Zurich, Switzerland


John Dochety
Tullahoma, TN

Errol Helling
Franklin, TN

Rob McGill
Murfreesboro, TN


Chris Como
Dallas, TX

United Kingdom

Phillipe Bonfanti
Swanage, UK

Ian Clark
Surrey, UK

Sam Quirke
Surrey, UK

Simon Williams
Grantham, Lincolnshire, UK





West Virginia




Read more:

Friday, May 18, 2012

Thinking Man's Guide to Finding Your WITB: Part IV

In part IV, I will discuss my 3 & 4-irons along with differences in cavity back vs. muscleback irons and how that may apply to your game along with deciding whether or not to choose irons over hybrids. First, here’s a short video Tom Wishon did with regards to the clubhead models I use for my irons, the 555C and 555M.

Here’s my 3&4 iron specs:

Wishon 555C (cavity back)
21° and 24° loft
57.5° and 58.5° lie angle
KBS Tour Shaft (stiff)
39-1/4” and 39” long
D-3 swingweights
2,725 kg/cm2 MOI

One of the conundrums golfers get into is whether or not to carry an extra hybrid(s) or to use a long iron. I think what has happened is that more and more players are gleefully carrying more hybrids. While I think this is a smart move for many golfers, I think it also hurts some golfers who use this WITB strategy as well.

I believe that once a golfer starts to get to a 5 handicap or better, they should carry more irons and less hybrids. Conversely, as their handicap is higher, they need to carry more hybrids. The main reason for this line of thinking? Spin rate.

Hybrids do not get the ball to stop like a 3-iron or 4-iron can. Usually what you hope for with a hybrid that you are hitting into a green is that it will have a high enough trajectory to keep the ball from bouncing and rolling too far. But, if you land on a green with an iron, it will usually hold much better than a hybrid.

I think this is important for better players because spin is crucial for them in Danger Zone approach shots. A simple look on the PGA Tour shows 2 things:

1. Tour pros are far, far worse from the rough than they are from the fairway or tee box in the Danger Zone.

2. The best Danger Zone players typically game a 3 & 4-iron.

The first thing tells me that while the grass thickness plays a factor in the Danger Zone as far as the club twisting into impact, the lack of spin is also a big factor as well. So, if you’re a 5 handicap or better looking to improve your scores, better Danger Zone play is a great way to substantially make an improvement. You can probably hit reasonably good shots with a 3 and 4-iron if give the chance, you just need to practice with them more often to get better with them. Once you do, I think the results will be better than they would be with hybrids.

For higher handicappers, those Danger Zone shots are ‘trouble shots’ for them. Those golfers need to have a club that they can advance the ball the best with. Worrying about the ball spinning enough and holding the green is the least of their worries.



I often get asked about the differences in blades vs. cavity backs. My feeling on them is that the forgiveness aspect of the clubs is actually overblown and ill-conceived.


According to 2 or my sources who have worked in the golf equipment design industry, cavity backs generally hit the ball further than blades, particularly on mis-hits. But, blades have much better distance control, which is far more important when it comes to the irons.

I think the main gripe that blades received was that some vintage models required the utmost precision in order to hit them well. In fact, some vintage models like the MacGregor Tourney Custom 985 were difficult to miss even if you missed the sweetspot by a hair.


I actually have plenty of Hogan and other MacGregor blades that were no more difficult to hit than today’s modern blades. And I don’t find the modern blade more difficult to hit either.

But, the main reason for the cavity backs in the 3 & 4-irons is I can hit them with a higher trajectory. Blades are usually more difficult to hit higher because the CoG is usually higher up on the face, so the ball’s initial launch is lower.

And I agree with my sources, cavity backs are more difficult to have precise distance control with than muscle backs. I think the lower CoG on cavity backs is the main culprit as you can easily hit one too high and it goes much shorter than you expect and then hit one perfectly and hit it much longer than you expected.

The one thing about the 3 & 4-irons is that golf courses are typically designed with the typical yardage on the approach shot in mind.

Meaning, if I’m on a par-3 where I need to hit a 3 or a 4-iron, the designer will almost never have any trouble long of the green. Typically designers understand the difficulty of the shot, so if they put water up by the green, they’ll either put it on only 1-side of the green or put it short of the green. Thus, there is almost never any trouble long of the green on a par-3 that is this long (roughly 200-230 yards). And on long par-4’s, they usually avoid much trouble up by the green at all. Therefore, the odds of having a little more juice on a 3 or 4-iron shot and winding up in big trouble are incredibly slim. Sure, the water could be place in front of the green, but I think proper club selection and a decent strike of the ball should prevent me from finding the drink.

LOFT (21° and 24°)

The loft is pretty standard for today’s 3 & 4-irons. While the lofts have become stronger and stronger on irons these days as OEM’s are making the CoG of the club lower and lower and this helps golfers hit the irons further, 3&4-irons are typically at 21° and 24° loft.

LIE ANGLE (57.5° AND 58.5°)

I believe in fitting for the lie angle LAST in the fitting process. For potential customers, I will give them a demo 6-iron and get the lie angle with that 6-iron to where they want it. That’s just a starting point.

After we determine the shafts, lofts, lengths, etc…we can then fit for MOI, finally followed by tweaking the lie angles.

I do this because the MOI fitting makes the impact dispersion very, very small. However, the lie angle still has to be on point, otherwise the impact dispersion will all be towards the toe or the heel.

What I’ve found is that without the MOI fitting, it’s easy to get thrown off as far as lie angles go because the golfer will not be able to get the impact dispersion very small. Thus, their shots may be struck favoring the toe, but they could have some heel strikes that can throw off the clubfitter as to what they need to do with the lie angles.

I’ve also found that after the MOI fitting and then matching the MOI of the rest of the set, the impact dispersion can be on the money, but towards the toe on some clubs and towards the heel on others. My belief is that it has to do with shaft droop and some personal characteristics as to how certain golfers swing certain clubs.

For me, I started off with a 60° lie angle for my 5-iron and went in 0.5° increments. Thus, when I originally received my 3 & 4-irons, I started off with a 59° and 59.5° lie angle for these clubs.

After I fitted my clubs for MOI and matched the entire set, I found that I hit some clubs off the toe and some off the heel. I hit the 3 & 4-irons off the heel and found that the 3-iron had to be bent to 57.5° and the 4-iron to 58.5°. I’ve found this with several golfers I’ve worked with as well after we MOI-fit and matched the irons. Hopefully, this will take out some of the confusion as to why golfers hit some clubs off the toe and others off the heel even though they have been fit for lie angles.



Couple of interesting things I’ve found is that the shaft bend profile in the KBS Tour Stiff versus the KBS Tour X-Stiff is not that vastly different in the tip section. I believe I hit moderately stiff butt-section with very stiff tip section shafts the best. The KBS Tour stiff shafts I hit pretty well, but I spin too much and that causes the ball flight to get up a little too much, particularly into a wind.

Thus, I’m considering Wishon’s Stepless Steel shafts which are similar in bend profile, but stiffer in the tip section to help bring down the spin rate.

LENGTH (39-1/4” & 39”)

Almost all golf companies utilize a ½” increment with iron shaft lengths. As you will see with the PW, I actually make that about ¼” shorter than my 9-iron. That’s fairly common in the golf industry as a ½” difference between the 9-iron and PW often makes the PW feel too short. So my theory at the time was ‘why not do that with the 3-iron?’ Thus, the ¼” inch difference between the 3 and 4-irons.

As Tom Wishon has said, you don’t see any difference in distances between irons (provided everything is the same) until the shaft lengths are greater than ½” apart. I’ve hit the 3-iron at 39-1/2” and do not see any difference in distance.

Furthermore, if I do wind up going to the Wishon stepless shafts, I would likely used Wishon’s prescribed 3/8” shaft increments. This helps make MOI-matching easier and also makes it easier to have a similar posture at address throughout the set.

The way the 3/8” increments work is you find the 6-iron length you want and then use 3/8” increments from there.

I have a 3-iron with a Wishon stepless shaft that is at the 3/8” increments. That puts the length at 39-1/8” long and have found that I also hit this the same distance as the 39-1/2” 3-iron (KBS Tour) and the 39-1/4” 3-iron (KBS Tour)

SWINGWEIGHT & MOI (D-3 & 2,725 kg/cm2)

Here’s where I find the MOI matching the most helpful as 3 and 4-irons are not simple to hit. When I first learned about MOI matching, I knew that I struck the 4-iron quite well and the 3-iron poorly. My guess was that the 3-iron’s MOI was off. Typically, when matching the MOI we want it within 5 kg/cm2 of what we are fitted for.

When I first measured the MOI of both clubs, the 3-iron was at 2,625 kg/cm2. The 4-iron came in at 2,702 kg/cm2. So that was a difference of 77 kg/cm2!

A few months down the road I learned how to best fit for MOI and found that my fitted MOI was at 2,725 kg/cm2. So, the 4-iron was not too far off. But, the 3-iron was wayyyy off (100 kg/cm2). That’s when I knew that Wishon was onto something with this MOI matching.

Up Next: The rest of the irons (5-PW)


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Thinking Man's Guide to Finding Your WITB: Part III

In part I we discussed the driver and why we should seek to optimize distance first, then look for consistency and accuracy. In part II, we discussed the fairway woods and how we should seek consistency first, then distance and accuracy.

In part III, I'll discuss the hybrid. Here's my current hybrid specs:


Wishon 775HS
18° Loft
58° Lie Angle
Wishon Gold Tour Hybrid Shaft (Stiff flex)
40-3/4" long
D-4 swingweight
2,765 kg/cm2 MOI

Hybrid clubs are often referred to as 'rescue' clubs. I think that is a good term to describe the purpose of hybrids as I usually use the hybrid to advance the ball at least 220 yards from a difficult lie or a very tight and difficult tee-shot. There are times when I use it from the fairway into a par-4 or a par-5 and there are some tee shots on par-3's I will use it off once in a while, but the main purpose is usually to move it a good ways (220+ yards) from difficult shots.

With that, I believe the hybrid should be your 'best club' in the bag because you are hitting difficult shots with the hybrid that have to travel a good ways and have to be accurate and consistent.



The hybrids are much like the drivers these days, there's not much of a engineering advantage between hybrids, regardless of make and model. So a lot of it has to do with personal preference as far as the looks, CoG location (which is usually low on all hybrids) and feel.

Where Wishon Golf has some sort of advantage is with the high-COR head. However, Taylor Made's RBZ hybrid also has a high-COR head. All this really allows a golfer to do is to hit a club with the same specs and shafts a little further.

My main goal was to find a hybrid that I could hit in between my 3-wood (250 yards off the deck) and my 3-iron (215-220 yards).

So that's why I went with the 2-hybrid which I can hit about 230-245 yards.

The other part was the face thickness.


I prefer a hybrid that has a 'little meat on them bones' instead of those super shallow hybrids. Getting the hybrid up in the air is not an issue for me, but I believe that the super shallow hybrid heads are more difficult for me to hit out of the rough as I can go under the ball or the face is more likely to twist against the grass.

LOFT & LIE ANGLE (18° & 58°)

The loft is important because it plays a role in how far you can hit the club. I was probably hitting a 21° lofted Mizuno Fli-Hi CLK around 220-235 yards, which wasn't enough for my tastes, so the 18° loft in the Wishon 775HS better suited my needs.

The lie angle becomes more important because we are getting closer to the irons. Fortunately, the 775HS at 58° lie angle fit me well. But if it didn't, it has a soft steel hosel so the lie angle can be bent up to 4° upright or flat.


Wishon Golf no longer makes the Gold model shafts as they have been replaced by the Black model shafts.

One of the main points about this shaft is that it fits me, despite being a stiff flex and my driver and 3-wood shafts being X-Stiff. That's because the shaft bend profiles are more suited to my swing despite what the shaft label says.

Also, from what I've been told a hybrid shaft of the same model is typically softer in the tip section than a wood shaft of the same model. That's because the woods have lighter clubhead weights, so they counter that by makign the tip-section stiffer and heavier. The Wishon 949MC weighs in at 208 grams and the 775HS 2-hybrid weights in at 238 grams.

The shaft is also a 0.335 tip. That's because the 775HS head has a 0.335 hosel. According to Wishon, who has the capability to make 0.370 hosels and 0.370 shaft tips (he already has 0.370 iron head hosels and 0.370 shafts), the reason for the 0.335 shaft tip is that it gets the kick point lower which allows the trajectory to fly higher. I'm not sure how much merit or a difference that makes, but I did think it was interesting.

LENGTH (40-3/4")

Typically a 2-hybrid is about 40-1/2" long. I made mine 40-3/4" to help with my height (6'3" tall).

SWINGWEIGHT & MOI (D-4 & 2,765 KG/CM2)

One of the features I like about the 775HS is that it has a small weight port on the sole where the golfer or clubmaker can add a small weight and simply glue a medallion on. This makes it much easier for me to MOI match the club to my desired MOI. As we get into the hybrids, the optimal MOI more closely resembles my irons optimal MOI.

Here's what I have for fitted MOI's so far:

Driver: 2,825
3-wood: 2,805
Hybrid: 2,765

I generally find hybrids fairly easy to hit. However, MOI is crucial because I believe that the hybrid should be our 'best club in the bag.' So, I need every advantage I can possibly get to make sure it's the best club in the bag.

I know very few hybrids have the ability to change weights like the 775HS, so it's a feature I would look out for if you're looking for a hybrid.

Up Next, 3 & 4-irons


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

3Jack Golf's PGA Tour Rundown: Week 19

Matt Kuchar wins the Players Championship.

For those who are wondering, here’s a look at Tiger Woods’ rankings:

Advanced Total Driving: 7th

Putts Gained: 18th
Short Game Play: 114th

Birdie Zone: 74th
Safe Zone: 14th
Danger Zone: 21st


Woods actually drove the ball pretty well at Sawgrass and improved upon his Adv. Total Driving rank after the tournament. His putting was fairly stable, just slightly dipping. However, he had a dramatic fall off in his Short Game Play (shots from 0-20 yards off the green) as he wound up going from 23rd to 114th in that category in just 1-week. Essentially, he made it very difficult to get up and down anytime he missed a green.

While his wedge game has come under fire, it wasn’t a problem at Sawgrass as in one week he jumped from 156th in the Birdie Zone to 74th. His Safe Zone play was a hair worse than it has been, but he’s still ranking in the top-20 in Safe Zone play, which is excellent. He was more or less below average from the Danger Zone at Sawgrass, which saw his Danger Zone ranking go from 8th to 21st.

I still don’t think ballstriking is quite the issue for Tiger. And remember, it was roughly 5 weeks ago that he won at Bay Hill in dominating fashion with great ballstriking. I think the problem Tiger has had is that he can’t quite get everything to gel at the same time. At Sawgrass, a course he has never played all that well, his short game around the green really killed his scores. He may have been able to do more if his Danger Zone play was spot on, but it wasn’t and despite having a good tournament driving the ball and from the Birdie and Safe Zones, the combination of awful short game play and a poor tournament from the Danger Zone hurt him.

I will say that from what I notice, being laid off at the top of the swing appears to be a ‘death move’ for Tiger. He just cannot work his way around that move. He has hit it great when he’s either ‘neutral’ or ‘across the line’, but laid off is very bad for him. Lastly, I think he’s still ‘playing golf swing’ instead of ‘playing golf’ because he has struggled to get rid of those 1-2 very poor shots per round.

In all, I think he’s on the right track because his metrics have improved greatly. I honestly don’t think he’s too far away from another victory, soon.

Here’s how my picks for the Players did:

Steve Stricker: 33/1 – Missed Cut
Louis Oosthuizen: 40/1 – Missed Cut
Jim Furyk: 40/1 – t-25th
Graeme McDowell: 66/1 – Missed Cut
Chad Campbell: 150/1 – Missed Cut

Value Pick: Brendon De Jonge: 175/1 – t-15th

Here are my Byron Nelson picks:

Carl Pettersson: 28/1
Ryan Palmer: 35/1
Brian Davis: 40/1
Pat Perez: 80/1
Jonas Blixt: 80/1

Value Pick: Martin Flores (200/1)


1. Bubba Watson
2. Graeme McDowell
3. John Rollins
4. Jason Dufner
5. Boo Weekley
6. Roberto Castro
7. Tiger Woods
8. Rory McIlroy
9. Hunter Mahan
10. Tom Gillis

177. Nick O'Hern
178. Tom Pernice Jr.
179. Tommy Biershenk
180. Billy Hurley III
181. Matt Bettencourt
182. Joe Ogilvie
183. Derek Lamely
184. Stephen Gangluff
185. David Duval
186. Ryuji Imada


1. Ben Curtis
2. Bo Van Pelt
3. Bryce Molder
4. David Duval
5. Luke Donald
6. Aaron Baddeley
7. Y.E. Yang
8. Michael Thompson
9. Brian Gay
10. Martin Flores

177. Patrick Sheehan
178. Chris Kirk
179. Ricky Barnes
180. Boo Weekley
181. Nick O'Hern
182. Heath Slocum
183. Chad Campbell
184. Greg Owen
185. Scott Brown
186. Scott Stallings


1. Steve Stricker
2. Kevin Kisner
3. Ian Poulter
4. Sean O'Hair
5. Jerry Kelly
6. Greg Owen
7. Patrick Sheehan
8. Jason Dufner
9. Mark Anderson
10. Bob Estes

177. Shaun Micheel
178. Jeff Maggert
179. Angel Cabrera
180. Michael Thompson
181. Cameron Beckman
182. Harris English
183. Gavin Coles
184. Robert Garrigus
185. Charlie Beljan
186. Gary Woodland


1. Steve Stricker
2. Sergio Garcia
3. Padraig Harrington
4. Garth Mulroy
5. Jeff Maggert
6. Jason Bohn
7. Brendon de Jonge
8. Nick O'Hern
9. Carl Pettersson
10. Vaughn Taylor

177. Steve Wheatcroft
178. Matt Jones
179. Jonas Blixt
180. D.J. Trahan
181. Charlie Beljan
182. Jamie Lovemark
183. Stephen Gangluff
184. Jhonattan Vegas
185. Scott Stallings
186. Billy Hurley III


1. Lee Westwood
2. Graeme McDowell
3. Steve Wheatcroft
4. Angel Cabrera
5. Jeff Maggert
6. Robert Allenby
7. Bo Van Pelt
8. Ian Poulter
9. Boo Weekley
10. Will Claxton

177. J.B. Holmes
178. Mark Anderson
179. Matt Jones
180. Derek Lamely
181. Andres Romero
182. Troy Kelly
183. Jamie Lovemark
184. Briny Baird
185. Henrik Stenson
186. Billy Hurley III


1. Chad Campbell
2. Bubba Watson
3. Louis Oosthuizen
4. Gary Woodland
5. Bo Van Pelt
6. Kevin Stadler
7. Justin Rose
8. Steve Stricker
9. K.J. Choi
10. Nathan Green

177. Joe Ogilvie
178. Scott Stallings
179. Blake Adams
180. Henrik Stenson
181. Stephen Ames
182. Lee Janzen
183. Richard H. Lee
184. Steve Wheatcroft
185. Ryuji Imada
186. Nick O'Hern