By Kiel Christianson,
The key to consistent short-game play is versatility. You need the right wedge or wedges for the myriad lies that you encounter around the golf course. Nicklaus Dual Slot wedges encompass a versatile combination of lofts and bounce angles, offering great versatility at a sound value.
Jack Nicklaus may have been the greatest player ever, but he wasn't perfect. The Golden Bear admits that his short game - in particular his sand game - might have cost him even more wins, maybe even more majors.
Back in Nicklaus' time, though, short game tools, i.e., wedges, were far less sophisticated than they are today, especially for amateurs who did not dare fiddle with lie, loft, and bounce angles.
Nicklaus' own company, Nicklaus Golf, has introduced the Dual Slot wedge line. Designed specifically to offer a wide combination of loft and bounce angles, Dual Slot wedges allow even weekend players to customize their short-game arsenal in order to save a few precious shots around the green.
Dual Slot wedges (MSRP $80) feature two namesake cut-away slots on the heel of the clubhead. Although this design quirk smacks a bit of gimmickry, it does in fact come in handy in long rough, where it seems to cut down on drag and subsequent twisting through impact.
More importantly, though, is the nice assortment of loft and bounce angle combinations available in the Dual Slot line. The "classic" Dual Slot sand wedge has 56 degrees of loft with 12 degrees of bounce. The other wedges in the line are a 52-degree loft with 8 degrees bounce ("gap" wedge), a 58-degree loft with an 11 degrees bounce, and a 60 degree loft with 10 degrees of bounce.
I tested the 58-degree wedge specifically as an alternative to carrying both a standard sand wedge and a 60-degree "lob" wedge.
The bounce of the Nicklaus wedge is just one degree less than standard sand wedges, so it works very well in the beach. More importantly, despite three degrees more bounce than standard lob wedges, I found the Dual Slot to perform as well as a lob wedge in all but the very tightest lies around the green.
Then again, even Nicklaus never tried flop shots from fairway lies.
Equally impressive is the distance control of the Dual Slot. The 58-degree Dual Slot gains 10 yards over traditional 60-degree lob wedges on full shots, but slightly opening the face dials down the distance effectively even without shortening your swing.
I found the Dual Slot to be an all-around solid performer at a very reasonable price.
More importantly, the 58-degree wedge is extremely versatile - so much so that it replaced both the traditional sand and lob wedges in my bag, freeing up space for another club. And the switch hasn't yet cost me even one stroke.
Come to think of it, I bet Nicklaus could have used a few of these wedges himself, back in the day.
November 12, 2007
Any opinions expressed above are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of the management.