New Grooves Mean Less Loft for Geoff Ogilvy
When the USGA's new groove rule changes were first announced, some people assumed that every PGA Tour player would immediately start carrying a 64° wedge. The thinking was that if players were not going to be able to spin the ball as much with the new grooves, they'd need more loft in order to stop the ball with trajectory. Right?
Wrong—at least in the mind of defending WGC-Accenture Match Play champion Geoff Ogilvy.
"I think the way that things were going, with grooves getting so sharp and company's getting so good at making them, a lot of guys were grabbing a 64° wedge," he told me Tuesday evening. "But when I was younger, the idea of a 64° wedge was laughable. I mean, you just wouldn't use it. But it became usable."
But the smaller, duller grooves that players must compete with today have made using a super-high lofted wedge tricky again. In fact, Ogilvy feels that he can't get enough spin out of his 60° any more, so he pulled the club out of his bag this week and is going with a 58° Vokey Spin Milled C-C wedge instead.
"If I think back to when I was a kid, I never liked hitting pitch shots with a lob wedge off short grass because the ball seemed to roll up the face and create a loopy flight," he said. "But hitting with my 56 sand wedge, or a stronger wedge, it would grab onto the face and spin."
This year, at the season's first event in Hawaii, the ball started rolling up the face of Ogilvy's lob wedge, just as it did when he was a junior player.
"I had probably not done enough practicing with it," he admitted. "But you can practice on the range but there is no substitute for being in a tournament. Then, in Abu Dhabi, I was just like, 'This is not right.' I was shying away from playing this club, and you don't want to have a club in the bag that you don't want to hit. And arguably, for a lot of guys out here, it's the most important club in the bag."
A loft difference of two is almost impossible to see, but the difference allows the top grooves on the club to grab more of the ball and impart more of the spin that he needs around the greens. And for Ogilvy, who defeated Alexander Noren 7 and 5 on Wednesday, it makes all the difference.
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