Adhering to expert advice is almost always a solid play. So when two of the
game’s more knowledgeable
people agree on something,
it’s probably worth a listen.
In this instance I’m thinking of the late instructor Jim
Flick and Titleist master
wedge craftsman Bob Vokey.
Flick once said that everyday
players had such a difficult
time with the half-shot that
they would only hit the green
one out of three tries from
40 to 70 yards. Vokey shares
Flick’s assessment of the half-shot’s degree of difficulty and
offers a solution.
“I can’t begin to tell you
how crucial gapping in wedges is,”
said Vokey. “Most everyday players
have little idea about the loft gaps
with their wedges. They just take a
pitching wedge and sand wedge and
go. In the old days that was OK
because most pitching wedges were
around 51 degrees. But now they’re
45 to 47 degrees while the sand wedge
has stayed at 56. That’s a two-plus
club difference because now the
pitching wedge is essentially the loft
of a 9-iron.”
To combat that, Vokey recommends
a loft gap between 4 and 6 degrees. So
if you have a 46-degree pitching wedge,
you would want to add wedges with
either 52 and 58 degrees of loft or 50, 54
and 58 degrees depending on whether
you wanted 4- or 6-degree spacing.
Gap wedges generally range in loft
from 50 to 54 degrees. In short, they
are a compromise between a pitching
wedge and a sand wedge. At last week’s
Arnold Palmer Invitational, only seven
players (Aaron Baddeley, Robert Garri-
gus, Brian Gay, Danny Lee, Davis Love
III, George McNeill and Rory Sabba-
tini) in the 120-player field did not have
a wedge between 50 and 54 degrees in
their bag, meaning 94 percent of the
field did. A decade ago that number
was about 60 percent.
Getting these clubs in players’ bags,
said Vokey, has not been a hard sell.
Players have learned to embrace the
importance of gap wedges.
“The last thing they want is that
kind of space between their scoring
TOUR STORIES MATT EVERY // A putter worth keeping
During his first few years on tour, Matt Every was like a lot of players struggling on the greens. He constantly
switched putters, looking to find a “magic wand.” That search included his using the memorable Orion Black Hawk
to contend at the 2012 Sony Open in Hawaii—a club with a mammoth rectangular-shaped head that weighed 440
grams (normal is between 340 and 365 grams) in an effort to increase stability through the stroke.
But like most putter changes, it was just a quick fix. Every ranked 87th in strokes gained/putting in 2012 and
dipped to 120th last year. That led him to work on mechanics and setup, specifically abolishing his open stance,
which often led to pushed putts, and adopting a more square setup. Doing so required him to find a putter he could
release more easily. That led him to Odyssey’s White Hot Pro #9—a semi-mallet that is 34 inches long with 2. 5
degrees loft—at the Honda Classic. The putter features a heavy toe hang that helps Every release the head through
the ball. Every now stands fifth on tour in strokes gained/putting and with a win at the Arnold Palmer Invitational,
his putter search may be over for a while.
An on-target suggestion
GAP WEDGES, VIRTUALLY A MUST FOR TOUR PROS, CAN GREATLY BENEFI T EVERYDAY PLAYERS
EQUIPMEN T // BY E. MICHAEL JOHNSON