Eidolon: Funny name,
fine wedges

By Kiel Christianson,
Senior Writer

AMHERST, Mass. (July 14, 2004) – A dewy, hazy summer morning, and one of your regular playing partners looks into your golf bag and asks, “Are those new wedges? What are they called?” You mumble, “Eider down? Edelweiss? Idle don? Heck, I don’t know.”

Chuckles, mild derision follow…until you stiff your next bunker shot, or hole out a lob wedge from the fringe. Suddenly, you can put so much spin on the ball it looks like a trained bullfrog, hopping and stopping.

That playing partner, and the rest of your foursome, give those clubs with the funny name another look. All of the sudden, they want to know where you got those Eidolon V-SOLE wedges.

Eidolon (pronounced eye-doh’-ln) is a recent entrant into the golf equipment shark tank. But both the president, Terry Koehler, and the wedges themselves have plenty of teeth to survive. Koehler was director of marketing for Ben Hogan until 1995, when he left to start his own company, Reid Lockhart, which eventually purchased Ray Cook. Koehler left Lockhart in 2002.

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After 18 months off golfing, fishing, and thinking about what he’d like to see in golf equipment, Koehler came up with the V-SOLE concept, and the company name, which has two senses: “ideal,” or “phantom-like image.” It is the former that was intended by Koehler, but the latter is also apropos, because the spin these wedges put on the ball makes it seem like an unseen hand is pulling them back.

The Technology

Eidolon’s technological hook is the V-SOLE design. Put simply, all three wedges in the flagship line have two bounces angles, one on the leading edge (which is about one-quarter inch wide), and another on the following edge. The result is a v-shaped sole.

Thus the 52-degree gap wedge has a leading edge bounce of 18-degrees, and a rear bounce of 3 degrees. The 56-degree mid wedge has a 30-degree leading edge bounce, and a 7-degree rear bounce. And the 60-degree lob wedge is 25 and 6 degrees. The suggested retail price on all is $120 ($110 if buying two or more.)

In addition to the sole shape, the wedges also feature the widest, deepest groves allowed by the USGA; each groove is CNC-milled into the face rather than being pressed in during the forging/casting process, as with most wedges. The CNC milling machine is also used to mill the face absolutely flat, and in doing so, adds texture to the face for extra grip.

How it plays

When you watch the pros play, you immediately notice how crisply they hit their wedges, and the spin they impart. These guys (and ladies) are so precise with their hand-eye coordination that they can power their hands through the ball even on touch shots, because they know they’re not going to hit it thin and send it into the parking lot.

You and I don’t have this sort of confidence or clubhead speed. As such, I (and I’m guessing many of you) do not normally stop your wedge shots on a dime or pull them back like the pros. Well—and I’m frankly as surprised as anyone about this—I do now. The Eidolon wedges put an amazing amount of spin on the ball, even on delicate greenside pitches.

The one thing you don’t see when the pros play, unless you happen to be inside the ropes and closely watching their caddies, is how many balls they go through. These guys (and ladies) shred balls when they’re hitting those rip-cord wedges. Look at one of the balls when a player gives it to a kid in the gallery – and you’ll see one or more spots that are shaved flat.

The single drawback to the Eidolon wedges is that, all of the sudden, I’m chewing up the covers of balls without hitting cart paths to do so…and feeling rather like a pro doing it, I might add.

When asked about this side-effect of his clubs, Koehler says that he’s not had the problem himself, even though he plays softer-covered balls. But, he adds, “We've had a number of owners report to us that they've since moved to a harder distance ball, because these wedges still spin them fine around the greens. Imagine that. Longer drives by changing wedges.”

The Verdict

We played several rounds with the Eidolon wedges and also took them to the Amherst Golf Club to get some other opinions. Everyone we showed them to, from the pro to the guys on the practice green, liked the set-up and feel, with several better players noticing the Rifle Spinner shafts, which are standard.

Carrick Williams, an 18-handicapper with a fear of lob-wedges that borders on the pathological, plunked a rock-hard Pinnacle Gold down on a thin lie on the fringe of the green and, resisting his impulse to run and hide under a golf cart, pitched with the Eidolon 60-degree.

Lo and behold, the ball hopped once and dropped into the cup, just as he was about to complain about hitting it too hard. Then he came close to doing the same with a Top-Flite XL.

Despite Koehler’s obvious personal biases, his comment above would seem to ring true: If you use a putter with a soft insert, such as the STX Envision, you really could use a harder ball, and the Eidolon wedges would still allow a reasonable degree of control.

The fact that I am still nipping bits off of my Callaways and Pro V1s, even on five-yard pitches, doesn’t really bother me, as I’ll gladly sacrifice a few balls a round if it means dropping a few strokes in return.

Contact Information

Eidolon Golf
PO Box 751
Port O'Connor, Texas 77982
Web: eidolongolf.com
(361) 983-4691

Any opinions expressed above are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of the management. The information in this story was accurate at the time of publication. All contact information, directions and prices should be confirmed directly with the golf course or resort before making reservations and/or travel plans.