September 12, 2014

Brian Lackey: Encourage Students to Get a Proper Wedge Fitting

brian-lackeyBrian Lackey, the 2010 and 2012 Tennessee Section Teacher of the Year, is the lead PGA instructor at the Gaylord Springs Golf Links in Nashville, Tennessee.

Brian Lackey on the importance of encouraging your students to get a proper wedge fitting:
For years I have watched students struggle with the “red zone” of our sport: shots from 75 yards and in. Knowing it’s a crucial scoring zone, manufacturers have worked hard to create different options in wedges to help improve performance in that area. Even with the big push on clubfitting over the last several years, I still think many people overlook the wedges. Over the last year, we have promoted wedge fittings and the importance of having the proper bounce and grind. We all know that there are different playing styles but do we truly take the time to look in the bag of our students to see if their wedges are right for them? Traditional methods of fitting by letting players hit off a lie board are good, but you really want to see the impact of the turf because players tend to adjust off a lie board in my experience. Consequently, spend time with your student around the greens hitting from uphill and downhill locations, fluffy lies and tight lies, all while watching their style. Most students alter the face or the swing according to the lie. This will help you decide what bounce and grinds will fit them best. Because the public golfer now has access to “tour” wedges with manufacturers offering different options, this has become even more crucial.

Brian Lackey on the business impact of encouraging your students to get a proper wedge fitting:
Understanding bounce and grinds has really improved our wedge sales this year as we have sold nearly 200 units, and I’ve also become more marketable as an instructor. This knowledge and our enhanced fittings have driven up our wedge fittings by 40 percent, and have boosted short game lessons by 55 percent. Along with wedge fittings increasing we have been able to use them as an introduction of other new equipment or suggestions on current product to drive more club sales and club repair. My players have improved their short game scoring by an average of 5.6 shots, which is huge for the lesson business. Your students will think more of you when you take the extra time to look at the most troubled area of our game. I know as an instructor I hate to feel like I am forcing a sale on a student, but it really can be the difference between just playing golf or helping them play their best golf.

If you would like to email the author of this Best Practice directly, please email blackey@pga.com