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|Score Golf 4161 wedges are all custom-made by hand and come in lofts from 41-degrees to 61-degrees. (Courtesy of Scor Golf)|
Golf is a game of transitions: backswing to downswing, fairway to rough, woods to irons. Managing these transitions can be the difference between a good round and a bad round.
Another transition that can cause fits is the one from short irons to wedges. Top-of-the-line iron sets are all engineered to move seamlessly down through the set, controlling swing weights and kickpoints, not to mention lofts.
But then, right when you hit the true scoring clubs, you often jump from one set -- your irons -- to another -- usually a totally different set, your wedges. Depending on how your set is assembled, the transition from PW to gap or sand wedge can be jarring and not just because of odd gaps in yardages.
Enter Scor Golf, the newest player in the boutique, custom-made wedge market. Scor Golf is a branch of Eidolon Golf, whose V-Sole wedges gained a cult following in the early 2000s and are still widely popular.
The new Scor Golf 4161 wedges also feature the V-Sole design, which resists digging in. More importantly, though, the Scor Golf 4161 wedges come in 21 lofts, from 41 degrees to 61 degrees (hence the name). This range essentially equates to a 9 iron through a lob+ wedge.
In addition, the Scor Golf Web site allows shoppers to order customized wedges and sets with varying shaft lengths, grip widths and lie angles (from 2-degrees upright to 2-degrees flat).
The Scor Golf philosophy is that short irons should play and feel more like wedges than irons. To produce this feel, Scor Golf wedges are cast of soft and malleable 8620 carbon steel.
But in a process the likes of which I've never heard of before, each head is then super-heated to more than 1,000 degrees and compressed with an 800-ton forging hammer. According to the Scor Golf Web site, this process "re-aligns the metal molecules" to create remarkable feel.
Again, according to the company Web site, "The end product is much more similar to a true forged head in feel and malleability than to any casting on the market."
I tested a five-wedge set of Scor Golf 4161 ($639; four wedges $519; three wedges $399; one wedge $149): specifically 43-, 47-, 51-, 55- and 59-degrees. After several rounds and shots from all sorts of weird lies and yardages (typical for my game), the performance of the Scor Golf wedges has been impressive.
At first, the heads of these wedges looked a bit small, certainly smaller than my usual wedges. This was a bit disconcerting at first, given that I've been struggling with hitting the sweetspot with all my clubs so far this season.
But after a couple rounds, I've zeroed in on that sweet spot and have found that the unique casting/forging process results in a buttery soft feel that is indistinguishable from the true forged irons that are my current favorites.
Well struck shots fly extremely high and land softly. Set-up is intuitive, and the somewhat more-compact heads make it easier to adjust lofting or de-lofting the clubs, as the situation demands.
The Scor Golf 4161 grooves meet USGA specifications, and the combinations of lead bounce (about the first 1/4 inch of the V-Sole) and the main bounce provide extreme versatility on full shots, out of the sand, in the rough and around the green.
Once again, I'm chipping balls into "gimme" range.
I was once told by a caddie in Ireland that it had been his experience that the more wedges a golfer carried, the less skill he usually had with any of them. In other words, you don't necessarily need a lot of wedges to play a lot of shots.
However, that old caddie likely had not yet encountered the wide range and customizability of today's boutique wedge companies. Although I'm not sure that the transition from my 9i and PW is dramatic enough to replace them with Scor wedges, I do know that I would not lose any distance or feel by doing so.
On the other hand, replacing the three mismatched wedges I used to carry (52-, 56- and 58-degrees) with a consistent, quality set of Scor Golf 4161s has greatly increased my own consistency, in terms of both distance and accuracy. And just like my forged irons, the Scor wedges provide tremendous feedback and effortless power when struck cleanly.
One issue, though, is the embarrassment of riches that is 21 different lofts -- it may be hard to convince potential customers that having so many options doesn't belie needless excess or even frivolity.
The same goes for the headcover that comes with each wedge. I had to remove these immediately from my set, as there is nothing more embarrassing than a golfer of my caliber with headcovers on his irons or -- ha ha! -- wedges. Scor 4161 wedges are probably better than I am, but I don't have to advertise it.
Maybe I'll put the headcovers back on after I negotiate that final transition from double-digit to single-digit handicap.
For more information, visit www.scorgolf.com.
August 1, 2011
Kiel Christianson has lived, worked, traveled and golfed extensively on three continents. As senior writer and equipment editor for WorldGolf.com, he has reviewed courses, resorts, and golf academies from California to Ireland, including his home course, Lake of the Woods G.C. in Mahomet, Illinois. Read his golf blog here.
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