John Renslow: Keep your progression consistent
It’s important to be progressive. It’s important to be conservative.
Sounds like both sides of a political fence. But no, this is all about your golf game.
We need to stay with the things we’re comfortable with, our swing and our style. Yet, we also need progression. To be more precise, set progression.
If you want to lower your scores, we need to make sure a set of golf clubs has a consistent progression, without gaps.
For today’s lesson, we’re going to break down your set into five parts. Your putter and driver are each one part, but are not part of today’s topic.
The other three parts are wedges, irons, and fairway woods (including hybrids).
For this conversation, we assume that your irons are consistent. Meaning that by design, each iron is built to have a length (shaft) and loft (club head) that start with the least and consistently become greater.
With similar golf swings, the 8-iron will send a ball X amount farther than the 9-iron. This X amount (using 10 yards for our examples) is consistent from the 7-iron to the 8-iron and so on.
This is where the consistent progression often ends.
The set we bought starts with a 4-iron and includes a Pitching Wedge (PW).
The Pitching Wedge goes (how far the ball will travel in the air) 100 yards.
However, that Sand Wedge (SW) we bought goes 60 yards.
So, what do we do when the approach shot is 80 yards? We have to fabricate a swing with the PW or swing out of our shoes with the SW.
This a poor progression and the likely cause is the difference in loft between the PW and SW.
Generally, the Wedges will have 4 degrees of loft from one to the next.
So, if the PW has 48 degrees of loft and the SW has 56 degrees, this 8-degree difference is too much. Poor set progression.
This scenario has a relatively simple fix. Enter the so-called Gap Wedge (GW).
A 52-degree Gap Wedge fits perfectly.
In a test tube, PW (48), GW (52), and SW (56). It may benefit your swing/style or course to also add a 60-degree LW.
Yet, the fix is not always this tidy. Some manufacturers will produce their PW with a different loft. Let’s say 47 degrees.
Then, we run out and buy a 53-degree GW. Oops. Six degrees of separation (yeah, I know) and this is a problem.
We need a smooth, consistent transition, progression from the 9-iron through the Wedges.
This will allow you to make more comfortable full swings. Without it, we are required to fabricate motions to compensate.
Having a consistent progression in your wedges will ease mind, require less from your body, and lower your scores.
Soon, we will talk about fairway woods and hybrids.
As always, if you need some assistance with identifying what you have and what you need, talk to your local PGA professional.
John Renslow is a PGA professional, VP of Yugi Golf Management, and provides golf instruction at local courses
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