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May 31 2013

6:55 PM

Mailbag: Wedges, shafts, hybrids

Tiger Woods tweeted a photo of his shoes, which has one metal spike surrounded by plastic prongs.

By Jonathan Wall, PGATOUR.COM Equipment Insider

In this week's driver edition of the Equipment Report Mailbag, PGATOUR.COM Equipment Insider Jonathan Wall discusses new wedges, Adams Golf hybrids, and metal spikes on the PGA TOUR. Have a question about the latest golf equipment or what the pros are playing? Send a tweet to @jonathanrwall.

Question: @jonathanrwall I am in the market for a quality set of wedges. Any suggestions? I've only been playing about 3 years w/ a 14 handicap

Answer: These days, finding a new set of wedges is a lot like going to Ferrari dealership and trying to pick your favorite model. What exactly does that mean? It means there are plenty of great wedge options out there at the moment. Instead of worrying about the name, I think it'd be in your best interest to concentrate on something else: bounce. Finding a wedge that fits your eye and looks good at address is incredibly important, but if you don't match the bounce on your wedge to your swing type and the course conditions you usually play, you could struggle to hit critical shots. For those out there that don't know what bounce is, it's the angle of the wedge's sole to the ground. The greater the bounce on your sole, the more the sole resists digging. However, if you have too much bounce on your wedge, it could make things difficult on a course that has firm conditions. Where you live and the course conditions you usually play could dictate the amount of bounce you need on your wedges. Something else that plays a role in wedge fitting? Your swing. If you have a tendency to pick the ball off the turf without taking a divot, you'd likely want a wedge with little bounce because you don't have a problem getting the club through the turf. Obviously, you'd want more bounce if you take large divots. Something else to consider is the wedge's sole width and grind. As far as the sole is concerned, a wider sole bring the leading edge higher off the ground at impact, which increases its bounce angle. Thin soles keep the leading edge lower, reducing the wedge's bounce angle. Modest sole grinds are typical in most wedges because it accommodates neutral swingers and common turf conditions. If you play a course with firm conditions (tight fairways), you might want to consider an aggressive sole grind that reduces the bounce angle. Hopefully I didn't confuse you too much. Instead of going into a store and buying a set of wedges off the rack, take some time out of your weekend and work with certified club fitter to get everything just right. You'll be glad you did.

Question: @jonathanrwall. I C the ads #1 Hybrid on tour - what would be the model most used by a tour pro - I don't C it - but must be true.

Answer: You're correct. Based on Darrell Survey results, Adams Golf has been the No. 1 hybrid on the PGA TOUR since 2008. The company even set a new PGA TOUR record for hybrids in play at an event with 59 at this year's HP Byron Nelson Championship. As far as the most-used model on the PGA TOUR, it varies depending on the player. Adams recently released a SUPER Idea DHy driving hybrid — Aaron Baddeley put an 18-degree DHy in the bag at Colonial — that has a hollow body and a channel in the bottom of the club that's designed to increase ball speed without making the club larger. There's also the Idea SUPER 9031 hybrid, that was unveiled earlier this year at the Shell Houston Open, along with with SUPER S and SUPER LS. Based on what I've seen in the bag this year, those are four of the most popular versions on TOUR at the moment.

Question: @jonathanrwall @pgatour how many guys on tour are wearing metal spikes?

Answer: It's less than 25 percent of players on the PGA TOUR. Golf Digest's Mike Johnson wrote an article last year that noted 24.9 percent of all round played on the PGA TOUR in 2011 were by players wearing metal spikes. I'd be willing to bet that number has gone down a bit since then. Not to single out the old guys, but you rarely see young players coming on TOUR sporting metal spikes. Why is that? For one, plastic cleats are on nearly every pair of new golf shoes on the market, which means twentysomethings on TOUR have known nothing but plastic growing up. The way plastic is trending, there's likely going to come a time in the future when the TOUR will be almost all plastic. With that in mind, some of the biggest names in golf still prefer to wear metal — or a hybrid version— over plastic, including Tiger Woods, Zach Johnson and Bubba Watson. Tiger actually tweeted out a photo recently that showed him sitting in a golf cart wearing Nike's new TW'14 golf shoe. If you look closely, you'll see he's wearing a hybrid spike created by Champ called the "ProStinger." It has a single metal spike surrounded by three plastic prongs.

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