Kirkland Signature Wedges

 

Costco, under the brand name Kirkland is edging its way deeper into the golf market.  First, in 2016 there was the Kirkland Signature golf ball, then the KS1 putter that featured a milled face and adjustable weights.

Both the Kirkland golf ball and putter quickly sold out quickly when the arrived at Costco warehouses.

With their success with golf balls and putters it was only a matter of time until Costco delved further into the golf market.

Just recently Kirkland Signature wedges were added to the USGA conforming clubs list, a sure indicator that Kirkland wedges are on the way.

The wedges will be cast, constructed from 8620 (soft) carbon steel. The set of wedges will feature tradition lofts 60 degree (L), 56 degree (S) and 52 degree (G).  They will be 35 inches in length and feature True Temper wedge shafts.  They will not be available in graphite and will only be available in right handed models.  The wedges will feature milled face technology.

It is not known at this time when the wedges will be avaialble but they should be ready for the 2021 golf season.

It is expected that the price will be in the range of $160.00 (USD) for the set.  At $53.00 (USD) each that represents a real discount when compared to wedges produced by major equipment manufactures.

Introducing the “Windcard”

Let me start out by asking a question:  do you ever hit the ball over the back of the green when you are hitting into a strong wind?  Me neither.  There is a reason for that.  Most golfers underestimate the loss of yardage a headwind causes and overestimate the assistance a tailwind provides.

Many studies have been conducted (some more scientific than others) into the effect of wind on the flight of the golf ball.  Some have concluded that for every mile per hour of wind you will gain (or lose) one yard.   Some suggest you should add one club to what you would normally hit for every 10 mph of wind.  Others argue that you should concentrate on changing your swing and hitting knock down shots into the wind to lessen the negative effect.  These suggestions all have some merit.

The problem is that when you are out on the course competing either against your buddies, yourself, or the course, the last thing you want to do is a bunch of calculations.  You’ve got enough on your mind.

After extensive research and hands on testing I have devised an aid for golfers who play in windy conditions.  I’m calling it the ‘Windcard”.   The Windcard provides an estimate of how far a well hit ball will travel both when hitting into a headwind or when assisted by a tailwind.

The first column on the card (in 10 yard increments) represents  the club you would normally hit a specific distance in calm conditions.  So the “100” represents the club you normally hit if you were 100 yards from the pin.   The second column estimates how far the ball will travel if you hit that club into a 10 mph/16 kph headwind; column three a 20 mph/32 kph wind; and column four estimates how far the ball will travel if you hit that club into a 30 mph/48 kph headwind.

The reverse side of the card does the same for shots hit with a tailwind.

The card is printed on heavy plastic stock and has the size and consistency of a normal credit card.  You can carry it in your wallet or pocket while playing or clip it on the card holder on your golf cart.  The costs is only $3.00 including shipping and handling.  

Update: Use of the Windcard does not violate the Rule of Golf and is legal for tournament play.

 

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Increase your smash factor for longer drives

Most golfers when they reach a certain age notice that their swing speed starts to diminish and as that starts to happen the ball does not travel as far.

If this is of concern to you there are different approaches you can take to try and improve your distance.

The first and most obvious is that you can try to increase your swing speed to bring it back up to where it once was.  Some golfers try to achieve this using strength building exercises and an increase in flexibility, two things we tend to lose as we get older.

The problem faced by many, however, is that due to a lifetime of accumulated injuries and ailments increasing one’s strength and flexibility many no longer be a viable option.

The good news is that there are other things you can do to increase the distance you hit the ball without swinging faster.  You can increase the efficiency of your swing in terms of energy transfer to the ball and increasing the ball speed as it leaves the club face.

Smash factor is a measurement of the efficiency of club to ball contact.

The speed of your golf swing is an important factor in terms of distance but how far the ball travels is determined by how fast the ball is moving when it leaves the club face.  Ball speed is not determined solely by the speed of your swing.

As a general rule the closer you hit the ball to the center of the face the more efficient the energy transfer will be.  As well, modern driver faces flex on contact with the ball and in order to take full advantage of the ‘trampoline effect’, contact with the center of the club face is crucial.  Off center hits can reduce ball speed and distance by as much as 20 percent.

If you do not have access to a launch monitor to measure your swing speed, ball speed, and smash factor,  here are some simple steps you can take to determine how solid your club to ball contact is.

  1. Spray some foot powder on your club face (Dr. Scholl’s works well) and hit a shot. This will provide instant feedback.  If your contact is towards the heel or toe or low or high off the face of the club, you can make an adjustment to bring contact closer to the middle of the face.  You may simply be able to mover a little closer to or further away from the ball or tee it a little higher or lower to improve the point of contact.
  1. Modern 460cc titanium drivers work best when you launch the ball high with low spin. If you tee the ball low and swing down on the ball like you would with an iron you will achieve high launch but you will also impart a lot of backspin on the ball which will result in a high balloon shot that climbs quickly but lacks distance.   Tee the ball a little higher which facilitates an upward or ascending blow.  This will help you to achieve the desired high launch but with much lower spin and will increase distance.
  2. If your tendency is to hit down on the ball with your driver, widen your stance a bit. A wider stance moves a little weight back in your stance and promotes an ascending clubhead at impact.