Why do Wedges Have Grooves?

Every golfer knows to keep their wedge grooves clean. Worn grooves make the wedge worse. That is common knowledge, but understanding how the grooves work exactly is less universal. This article should fill in any gaps in understanding wedges

Grooves on Cleveland RTX 4 Black Satin Wedge

Origin of Grooves:

it is widely believed that the origins of grooves on golf clubs come from the need to reduce debris between the club and the ball. A helpful analogy is that a club without grooves would perform like racing slick tires. These tires perform exceptionally well on clean dry tracks. However, in wet or dirty conditions particulates prohibit the tires from making adequate traction with the road. This is the same problem faced by golfers. Golf is played outdoors and in an environment where sand, dirt, grass, and water are all common. Therefore, club manufacturers have carved grooves into the surface of wedges to give the debris a channel to escape. This is comparable to the patterns on normal road tires. All of the grooves on the face of a wedge, make them excellent for sifting through debris and making solid contact with the face of a club. This explains why wedges are used for sand, rough, and other difficult shots.

Spin Rates:

The other main benefit of grooves is that they increase the spin-off of a wedge. This effect is less obvious. In the simplest terms, grooves create friction when the surface of the ball encounters the sharp edges of a groove. This contact creates friction and the ball generates spin. The sharper the edges of the grooves the more friction is generated. The USGA actually regulates the sharpness of the grooves in order to limit the friction a wedge can create. Spin is important for golfers because it results in lower flight and farther distance. Additionally and most importantly, a high spin rate means a wedge shot will roll less on a golf green. This results in a lot more control and accuracy.

Wedge Decay:

Titleist Poster Warning of the Dangers of Wedge Decay

Because the spin of a wedge depends on the sharp edges of the grooves, it means it will “decay”. Over time, the edges of the grooves are rounded smooth. There is no longer any sharp edges to grip onto the cover of a golf ball. As the grooves on a golf wedge decline, you will experience lower spin, higher flight, and less distance. All of these culminate to less control.

Solutions:

What can you do to limit the decay of a wedge? It’s important to keep your grooves clean. the buildup of dirt inside of them may prohibit their ability to disperse debris and grip the face of a golf ball. Likewise, denting or scraping the face will result in faster deterioration. Ultimately, there is no way to forever prevent wedge decay. The nature of wedges makes them have an “expiration date” after so many golf rounds. Titleist found that after 125 rounds a wedge has over twice the rollout of a fresh wedge.

4 Steps to Better Iron Shots

Let’s talk about the full golf swing and 4 things you need to keep in mind to improve your scores.

We want to give you the fundamentals that we find to be the most helpful for players when they are looking to better their game, so let’s dive right in!

1.) Come Into The Ball From Inside The Target Line

Number one is the swing path. Most players with higher handicaps are swinging from outside the target line, which is going to give them a big slice and not very much distance.

Instead, we want the club coming into the ball from inside the target line.

If you have the clubface square and you’re coming from inside the target line you’re going to get a bit of a drop, giving you more distance as well as help you keep the face of your club lined up.

2.) Slight Descending Blow

The second thing that we want is the club coming down and to bottom the club out around two to four inches beyond the golf ball so that we’re hitting the ball with a slightly descending blow.

When you hit a shot, you want to brush the ground for about three or four inches after impact.

What a lot of players are doing is they’re trying to get the club under the ball and lift it and they’re hitting way behind the ball and instead we want to hit the ball with a downward blow to make good contact.

Tour players call this forward shaft lean where the shaft is leaning towards the target at impact which helps you keep your shot on target and is caused as a result of hitting that ball with a descending blow.

3.) Square Clubface

Next thing is we want is to get the clubface squared up when we make contact with the ball so that it goes straight in the direction we want it to go.

The clubface won’t be square to the target during your entire swing, however, as you bring it around it needs to become square at the point of impact, similar to the way a tennis swing works.

If you have an open face the ball will curve the direction of your dominant hand and if it’s closed it will go the opposite direction which is what we don’t want. We want that clubface square so that the ball will go the direction that you want it.

4.) Completely Balanced Finish

Lastly, the fourth thing is getting to a completely balanced finish. Too many times we see golfers finishing with the weight on the back foot. What you want to do is have all of your weight on your front foot when you have completed your swing.

A good way to test this is to try and lift up your back leg after you sing and you should be able to balance on your front foot without having to shift your weight.

If we put all of that together, swinging on the correct path, hitting the ball with a downward blow, getting the clubface squared up, and a complete balanced finish we can hit some good shots!

How to Prevent Soreness After Golf

Its a terrible feeling waking up the day after a round of golf with aches and pains. Muscle soreness and stiffness can be incredibly uncomfortable and painful. While we are not doctors, we have compiled a list of ways to hopefully mitigate your muscle pain.

Drink Water

This tip is first and foremost. Firstly, preparation for this one begins a couple of days before you play. It’s good to drink lots of water all of the time. However, it is especially important to be well hydrated the days leading up to a golf round. It is not enough to drink water the morning of. This is especially true if its hot out. Staying well hydrated will assist in muscle recovery and stiffness.

Stretch Your Body Beforehand

Before you even touch a golf club it can beneficial to do some dynamic and static stretches. Stretching can prevent injury while playing golf, but also helps reduce the recovery time after you play. Arrive before your tee time a little earlier. Head to the driving range and get some basic stretches. Make sure to stretch your legs, arms, and chest.

Warm Up With Some Practice Shots

Like stretching, warming up limits your risk of injury and your recovery time. After stretching, head to the range and hit some balls. This is also a good time to dial in your swing for the day. This way, you’re not teeing off the first tee box with cold muscles.

Take a Cold Bath or Shower Once You Get Home

A cold bath or shower is an excellent method to stave off those aches. There’s a reason it is so popular with professional athletes. Be sure to give a try after your next golf round

Massage Those Troublesome Areas

Think of it like stretching, but after you play. Often it can be good to massage muscles before they become stiff. You can use your own hands, a professional, or one of the many massaging tools that exist today.

Apply Something Hot

Heat also can be extremely beneficial for preventing muscle soreness. Heat pads can be used to hinder muscle tightening. You can utilize this method before or after you start to feel tight.

Do a Recovery Workout

Recovery workouts are not as hard as they sound. There are plenty of resources available online to make this easy. Doing some light exercises afterward or some yoga can greatly reduce muscle pain and soreness.

These are just some quick recommendations to aid in your post-game recovery. If you have any ideas of your own be sure to comment down below. Let us know what you’ve tried and what works for you.

How to Creatively Use a Tee to Hit the Ball Straighter!

One of the most common issues that golfers have is creating a hook or slice as a result of an open or closed clubface, so in this video, we teach you a simple drill that you can do with a tee to train yourself to keep that clubface square.

For this drill, all you need is a golf club, a glove, and a tee.

What you do is put your golf glove on, stick the tee right in the little spot where the velcro meets at the top, and it should hold the tee in place face straight out away from your hand.

Now when you set up with the clubface nice and square this tee should be pointed right at your target.

The biggest misses happen when you are swinging and this club comes through and it’s open or closed, however, having the tee like this will actually show you if you are closing or opening the face by facing away from your target.

If the tee goes toward you (right if you are left-handed, left if you are right-handed) then you are closing the clubface and if it goes the opposite direction then you are opening the clubface.

To make this drill even more effective, try laying down some alignment sticks like railroad tracks, nice and square to the target line, that way you have a visual of lining up your clubface as well.

Now, when I make a swing I can really visually see that tee has a direct connection to my clubface so if you can get the tee back to the target at impact you will have a square clubface.

That is the tee in the glove drill that will help keep that clubface square at impact. All you need is your glove, a tee, and then just start swinging that golf club and really trying to get that tee back to square at impact.

We hope this helps from you keeping it open! If you would like to schedule a lesson with Calvin, just call the golf concierge at 916-808-2531!

How to Get Started Playing Golf?

Golf can be a daunting sport to enter. It is often said to have one of the highest barriers to entry of any sport. After equipment, lessons, and green fee costs, it can be an expensive sport to enter. Likewise, starting golf can require an immense amount of training and practicing time. If you or someone you know is looking to get into the game, then here are some easy ways to get started.

Equipment

Golf equipment can be exceptionally expensive. We recommend beginners who are looking to save money start with a box set of clubs. Morton Golf Sales and the Haggin Oaks Super Shop have complete sets starting at $199.99. These sets come with every club needed to begin. They also include a golf bag for that price. This can be an excellent option for a beginner. Additionally, used equipment can provide a good bargain. At Haggin Oaks there are used club sales periodically throughout the summer. This can be an excellent opportunity for anyone to get some lightly used equipment at great prices.

Lessons

Purchasing your equipment is only part of starting to golf. The hardest part is getting proficient at playing. Luckily, Haggin Oaks offers a wide range of lesson packages. There are solo lessons and group lessons as well. Luckily, there are a ton of varying price ranges for these lessons. There are some truly affordable options that aim to get even the most inexperienced players out on the course.

Green Fees

Green fees scare off a lot of potential golfers. However, there are some strategies to save money when it comes to purchasing a tee time. Make sure to subscribe to email newsletters to get the latest sales and promotions. Also make sure to book your times online. Most places offer cheaper times if you broke online. Lastly, golf at non-peak times. Most courses utilize dynamic pricing. That means peak times are more expensive, but non-peak times are very cheap.

This one tip will improve your golf game.

The “Hockey” practice drill is a must-try during your next practice session at the Driving Range.

Recently, we spent some time with our Apprentice Professional Hank Vereschzagin to create a video that explains how to incorporate this drill into your game. This is what he had to say.

“There are many ways we can practice, but some of them can be detrimental to improvement. When we go to a session, whether it is the range or practice green, we should have at least two goals. These factors we have decided are most important to us are the highlight of the session. Ben Hogan discussed writing them down before leaving to practice and then grading how well you stayed true to that goal upon returning.”

Let’s say we want to improve contact. When you arrive at the range do you remember your goal or did it become a show of strength or speed (I hit 100 balls in 25 minutes)? If something goes a little awry, did we become frustrated and give up or did we step back and do a couple of drills to regain our form? Are we trying to feel what our bodies are doing during the swing and tapping into whether it is working or not? Are you hesitant to go to the range to practice because of fear of what others may see or that it might not be that great of a session (trust me, I have times on the range I would rather forget, but they were great learning tools.”

Another great way to become a better golfer is to invest in an Orange Whip Trainer.

Whether you are a Tour Player or a beginning golfer, using the Orange Whip Trainer allows you to feel if your swing is actually in rhythm and balance. Providing a low impact workout, the Orange Whip Trainer will increase your flexibility and strengthen your golf muscles. Ask any Tour Player or Golf Instructor and they will tell you it’s the perfect warm-up tool because it properly stretches your golf muscles while perfecting tempo and balance.

Three key components that make up the patented design of the Orange Whip Trainer; a weighted orange ball, a counterweight, and a very flexible shaft. The orange ball replaces the clubhead and allows you to focus on swinging naturally without worrying about the position of the clubface. It’s weighted to promote a fluid swinging motion rather than a jerky hitting motion. 

The counterweight balances the Orange Whip, stabilizing your swing from the start through the finish. It’s essential in providing critical feedback on whether you are loading and unloading the golf club properly. 

Our proprietary shaft naturally promotes the need to swing in rhythm creating synchronization between your arms, upper body, and lower body. The result is a perfect tempo and balanced swing creating more consistent and powerful shot-making on the course. Feedback from the Orange Whip Trainer is instant and any wobble in the swing indicates a need to improve tempo and balance. Swinging it, you will naturally find the tour like motion needed to be a better golfer.

Whether you are a Tour Player or a beginning golfer, using the Orange Whip Trainer allows you to feel if your swing is actually in rhythm and balance. Providing a low impact workout, the Orange Whip Trainer will increase your flexibility and strengthen your golf muscles. Ask any Tour Player or Golf Instructor and they will tell you it’s the perfect warm-up tool because it properly stretches your golf muscles while perfecting tempo and balance. 

Three key components that make up the patented design of the Orange Whip Trainer; a weighted orange ball, a counterweight, and a very flexible shaft. The orange ball replaces the clubhead and allows you to focus on swinging naturally without worrying about the position of the clubface. It’s weighted to promote a fluid swinging motion rather than a jerky hitting motion. 

The counterweight balances the Orange Whip, stabilizing your swing from the start through the finish. It’s essential in providing critical feedback on whether you are loading and unloading the golf club properly. 

Our proprietary shaft naturally promotes the need to swing in rhythm creating synchronization between your arms, upper body, and lower body. The result is a perfect tempo and balanced swing creating more consistent and powerful shot-making on the course. Feedback from the Orange Whip Trainer is instant and any wobble in the swing indicates a need to improve tempo and balance. Swinging it, you will naturally find the tour like motion needed to be a better golfer.

The Key to Better Chipping: Always Use The Same Stroke!

When you’re just off the edge of the green there’s a couple of different shots that you can play.

The first is called a chip shot which is a shot that’s going to fly real low, no more than a foot off the ground and is going to land somewhere between three to four feet from the edge of the green then roll up and drop in the hole. The other one is called a pitch shot which flies considerably higher, approximately two-thirds of the way to the hole and then rolls the additional 1/3 of the way.

The critical thing with any chip shot is choosing the correct club for the distance you are from the hole.

The farther the flag is from where you are, the less lofted you want the club you choose to be so that you can reduce the amount of time it’s in the air and have it roll to the hole.

Most people tend to use a wedge regardless of the distance to the pin, which is not the right mindset to have. Instead, you want to judge which club to use from the perspective of it landing only a few feet away each time and rolling the rest of the distance to the hole. Whatever club you choose should land the ball three or four feet onto the green and let the distance you need to the hole. The farther you have to go, the less lofted the club should be.

For example, for a pin that is only a couple of yards from where you are, you may want to use the usual wedge, however, if you have a pin that is about 15-20 yards away you may want to use a 7 iron instead. Regardless of the club you choose, its all about keeping the same short stroke and having the ball land only a few feet away and then roll to the hole rather than spending too much time in the air.

Some additional things you should take into account when selecting your club are:

  • Is the green level?
  • Is it uphill or downhill?
  • Are you close enough to putt it in?
  • How thick is the grass around the ball?

So, while you’re out on the course, make sure you keep this in mind and practice using different clubs for you chip shots! If you do, you’re going to find that your consistency will significantly improve when you’re using this one club, single stroke strategy rather using a different stroke each time.

Need any new clubs? Check out all of the top quality clubs and sets we have available for the best possible price here!

3 Quick Tips to Get Out of the Bunker Every Single Time!

When it comes to trying to get out of the bunker, there are a few key points you need to keep in mind.

1.) Your Stance

When you’re in the bunker you want to get your feet nice and wide apart. You want to get into an athletic stance, almost like if you’re playing defense in basketball.

Bend your knees and put your hips back a bit to be able to have a stable foundation for your swing.

2. Put Weight on Your Front Leg

Net, you need to lean your weight on your front leg. This will be your right leg if you’re left-handed and you left leg if you are right-handed.

You do this to get extra leverage on the ball and to change your attack angle so that you can get even more of a nice ark on your shot and really get out of the bunker.

One of the biggest reasons that people don’t get out of the bunker is because they don’t get far enough under the ball and don’t hit it high enough to get over the lip.

Putting your weight forward like this allow you to make sure you get under the ball and pop it out the bunker.

3.) Big Swing

Lastly, you want to take a big swing to make sure that you really get under that ball.

You to focus on a nice high finish and hit that sand right behind the golf ball with a big finish toward our hole.

You want to hit the sand right behind the ball so that you don’t top it and make great contact with it.

Recap

So, in short, the three things you need to keep in mind to get the shots out of the bunker are:

  1. Athletic Stance
  2. Weight on that left side
  3. Big Swing and Hit the Sand Right Behind the Ball

Apply those 3 things and you will definitely see and improvement in your ability to get the ball out of the sand pit next time you hit it in.

Perfect Your Putting With This Simple Drill

One of the biggest problems that plague golfers is inconsistency with their putting and they often don’t realize the thing that is most likely causing them issues, the alignment of their putts.

Many golfers are missing putts because the face of their putter actually isn’t square which causing them to miss-hit and that is exactly what this drill is made to correct.

This drill, using two golf balls and your putter, is designed to help you know when your putts aren’t lined up and be able to work on understanding the look and feel of a putter that is lined up correctly.

What you do is put the two golf balls side by side and our goal here is to see if we can make the golf balls roll simultaneously together

We want them to roll the same pace and distance and what that’s going to show us is if our putter face is square at impact. It’s really important that it’s not turned one way to the right or to the left and that it’s perfectly square when we strike these golf balls

When we put this we’re going to work on our impact and our centeredness of contact so we’ll set up to the golf ball just like normal and we’ll make our putting stroke to see if we can make the golf balls roll together

Go ahead give that a try and if you commit to practicing this every time you are out practicing your putting, I know that you will start seeing more consistent and reliable putts.

Why Are Golf Clubs So Expensive?

Some of us have experienced sticker shock when buying clubs before. It feels like clubs have been getting more and more expensive lately. Why are golf clubs so expensive? Are golf club companies charging so much simply because they can get away with it? To answer these questions we will analyze the financial statements of Callaway and Acushnet (Parent company of Titleist, FootJoy, and Pinnacle) between the years 2015 and 2017. The best way to understand something is to follow the money.

Firstly, we can start with the retailer markup on golf clubs. These markups average between 30-35% of the total cost of the club. This percentage sounds high at first, but that number represents the entire gross income of a retailer. That is where every expense is paid for the retailer. This includes the cost of salespeople, sales facilities, merchandising, rent, cashiers, etc. The golf club manufacturer typically decides the retail markup percentage. Interestingly, the golf industry is well below the common keystone pricing markup of 50%. After all expenses, the best golf retailers rarely profit more than 2-3% of the total cost of a club. However, as a whole, we can say that around 33.33% of the cost of a golf club is the markup from the retailer.  

The financial statements used to calculate the next percentages are publicly available because both Callaway and Acushnet are publicly traded companies. The reports analyzed include all items sold by either company and are not limited to the sale of golf clubs alone. However, the breakdown of company expenses will give a good indicator as to why golf clubs are priced the way they are.

We will start with total sales to gain a sense of scale between these two companies. Between 2015 and 2017, Acushnet recorded an average annual sales figure of $1,545,164,000. Meanwhile, Callaway averaged an annual sales figure of $922,000,000 between the same years. Now those are massive numbers, but it’s important to remember that again those figures are sales numbers and not profit. For example, Acushnet’s net profit in 2015 was less than $4,200,000.

If Acushnet’s net profit in 2015 was less than 0.28% of their total sales, then where did all that money go? Pro V1’s, Scotty Camerons, and Titleist clubs aren’t cheap. How did Acushnet barely break even in 2015? Well, Acushnet’s “cost of goods sold”, a term used to describe the material and direct labor costs of producing a product, was $727,120,000 in 2015. This number represents 48.38% of their total sales. Callaway’s numbers tell a similar story. The same year in 2015, Callaway’s cost of goods sold was $487,950,000. This represented 57.82% of their total sales that year. Overall, we can deduce that roughly 33.33% the price of a club is material and manufacturing cost.

If it only costs golf manufacturers half the price of a club to make it, then where are they spending the other money? Well, obviously golf clubs have to be researched and designed. Acushnet claims to employ, “Over 80 chemists, physicists, mathematicians, computer scientists, engineers and technicians” in their golf ball department alone.  Between 2015 and 2017 Acushnet spent an average annually of $47,643,000 on research and development. This equates to approximately 3.1% compared to their total sales. Callaway averaged $34,370,000 annually on research and development during the same time span. For Callaway, this as equal to 3.7% of their gross sales. Many will be surprised by this relatively low percent spent on research and development. It means that approximately 2.33% the cost of golf clubs is spent on research and development.

How can 53.5% of the cost of a golf club be used for the material, manufacturing, research, and development, yet golf companies are still making such a slim profit? What else are companies spending money on? This is where “selling, general, and administrative” (SG&E) costs come into play. This term refers to all corporate, sales, and marketing costs. Acushnet averaged an SG&E (not including research and develop) cost annually of $594,886,000 between 2015 and 2017. This was approximately 38.5% of their total sales. Meanwhile, Callaway in the same three years averaged annually an SG&E cost of $319,597,000 (not including research and development), which calculated out to 34.7% of their gross sales. We can estimate around 24.33% of the cost of a golf club is spent on corporate, sales, and marketing expenses.

This leaves 10% of the money from gross manufacturer sales still unaccounted for. Well, an approximated 3.3% (or 2.22% when compared against the total cost of the club) of that is accounted for by the manufacturer’s income tax and then that leaves just an estimated 6.6% for net profit. Acushnet averaged an annual net income of $50,097,000 after taxes between 2015 and 2017, or 3.2% of gross sales. Over the same three-year time span, Callaway averaged $81,760,000 in net profit after taxes or 8.9% of gross sales. These percentages are consistent with our estimated averages. This means golf manufacturers are approximately only profiting 4.46% off of the cost of a golf club.