Edel SMS wedge uses movable weight to match swing to club
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: The new Edel SMS wedge uses three adjustable weight ports in the back of the wedge not so much to adjust the wedge’s center of gravity (moving the heavy weight among the three ports only moves CG slightly), but to adjust the way the wedge feels and matches your swing type. Hence the name SMS for “Swing Match System.” Company founder and chief designer David Edel believes one of the three settings will produce significantly better and more consistent distance, dispersion and spin compared to the other settings. Edel calls this effect on the swing the “steering forces,” and aligning that with how you play your wedge shots will produce greater efficiency.
Price: $200 (includes four stock sole grinds and 12 heads at 50, 54 and 58 degrees, with a total of 28 loft options from 48 to 60 degrees). Available for pre-order Friday.
THE DEEP DIVE: David Edel, whose innovation in golf clubs, whether it be through round putter grips, hollowed-out putters designed to reduce torque, or even in the development of single-length irons, has long been focused on enhancing the golfer’s ability to bring the club to the ball in the most effective way possible. In short, while much of golf innovation has been digging deep into what happens when club meets ball, Edel thinks it’s at least as important (and maybe more so) that golf clubs be designed to help players get to impact most efficiently in the first place.
The new Edel SMS wedge, with three circular adjustable weight ports in back, aims to make the case that most golfers have a wedge that doesn’t match their natural swing. What they’ve likely done instead is adapted to it or compromised their natural swing in various ways. Edel says if the wedge’s weighting lines up properly for the individual player and the individual swing, wedge shots will be more on target with better spin.
Interestingly, compared to other discussions about movable weights in other clubs, he doesn’t think the effect of the adjustable weights in the Edel SMS wedge has much to do with any change in the center of gravity, which of course makes sense on one level because the head of a wedge is much heavier than a driver so relatively small weights can’t move the location of the CG dramatically.
“We all have different body types, so we all have different biomechanical signatures,” Edel said. “What’s happening with this wedge does zero to the CG hardly. It moves it like a millimeter. What it’s affecting is leverage. What we call it is a steering force. It’s not about the collision at impact. So if you’re taking the club back, if you have weight in the toe, the steering force creates a layback force with the face, makes the handle move up, changes the path. But if you put it in the heel, it causes a closing force.
“How every person swings is based on their own biomechanics. What we’ve created is a wedge that matches people’s own biomechanical signatures.”
All of that biomechanics research has been supported with testing done by Penn State golf researcher Michael Duffey. Edel said Duffey’s test of 20 golfers saw better performance with the weight in the center setting (more like the weighting on a traditional wedge) in only four players. The other 80 percent in the test had better distance and accuracy with the weight in the toe or heel port.
“The distance tolerances and lateral tolerances became way tighter,” Edel said, saying the wrong weighting for a player will produce a kind of gag reflex in the downswing. “When it’s in the wrong setting and you try to correct the left and right misses, you see that kind of left-right army golf going on. But one setting allows you to stay in the middle and allows you to be more efficient."
For example, a wedge shot that ends up as little as three yards closer to the target can be the difference between a 10-foot putt and a 20-foot putt. In PGA Tour terms, players make three times as many putts from 10 feet as they do from 20 feet.
The adjustable weights may be the central design element in targeting improved individual performance, but even Edel concedes predicting the right setting isn't automatic yet. The best way to find the right setting is simply to try all three options.
“The wrong setting doesn’t make them terrible," he said. "It’s just that there’s so much room for improvement, especially in a part of the game that’s so underutilized and is so important to your scoring.”
Of course, the Edel SMS wedge line is more than just the adjustable weighting. He has thought about the ball-club collision, too. The heads are forged from Japanese S25C carbon steel and features a groove pattern that extends across much of the face area for better friction. A laser etching pattern between the grooves aims to increase grab, as well.
There are four sole grinds:
The C-Grind’s lower bounce and wider sole width features more camber aimed at players with a more shallow swing.
The T-Grind uses three distinct patterns on the sole, starting with a high bounce angle at the leading edge, a crescent-shaped lower bounce angle behind and extra relief in the heel for better performance on open-face shots from tight lies.
The V-Grind uses medium-high overall bounce angle with high bounce at the leading edge to work better for players with steep, driving angles of attack.
The D-Grind features a sole channel that divides the high bounce angle in the front of the sole with an even higher bounce angle on the trailing edge, a combination designed to prevent digging for players who tend to take large divots.
The Edel SMS wedge is offered in 50-, 54- and 58-degree lofts in each of the four sole grinds. Each loft can be bent to a player’s preferred loft by two degrees so the range extends to 28 basic loft-grind combinations from 48 to 60 degrees.
In addition to fitting parameters that utilize specific measurements to get at an individual recommendation (wing span vs. height, ratio of upper arm length to lower arm length, hand position in your grip, and how flared open your stance is or isn't), Edel suggests that even the type of shot you might typically play with a certain wedge (like “I always hit flop shots with my 60-degree”) could mean a different weight setting in your lob wedge than your gap wedge. Hitting multiple shots with each setting is the only way Edel thinks you can know for sure.
“I really think it just depends on these biomechanical features that we all have,” he said. “This applies regardless of how good a player you are. The golfer’s biomechanics are set, but their equipment can be better suited to their biomechanics. If you can neutralize that effect, it becomes so much easier to release the golf club.”
The Edel SMS wedge starts at $200 and will be available at select retailers in late April.
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