The stat that predicts success at the RBC Heritage, year after year
The RBC Heritage might be considered a respite for many players after the pressure of Masters Week, but to win the event there can be no let up when it comes to hitting shots around the greens. Harbour Town’s notoriously small greens mean that players will hit fewer greens in regulation than at most events, placing a premium on the ability to get the ball up and down. In the past six years, the winner has been no worse than T-13 in scrambling for the week and three of the champions—Wesley Bryan in 2017; Jim Furyk in 2015 and Graeme McDowell in 2013—have led the field in that stat. Who is most likely to excel at scrambling and play well at famed Harbour Town? We look at the five players in the RBC Heritage field with the best scrambling numbers so far this year and the highest-lofted wedge they use.
Wedge: Titleist Vokey SM5, 60 degrees
Scrambling: 70.45 percent
After some lean years, Lucas Glover has found a successful formula that was led him to a successful season, as he's ranked 29th this season in PGA Tour earnings. That recipe is to hit greens (he ranks 10th in greens in regulation on the season) and then get up and down when he misses. The tour’s leader in scrambling uses a 60-degree Titleist Vokey SM5. The club boasts a raw finish—a favorite of many tour pros as it reduces glare—and has an M grind with 8 degrees of bounce. The M grind is one of Vokey’s favorites and is designed for players that like to rotate the club face open and closed to manufacture shots around the green.
Sean M. Haffey
Wedge: Titleist Vokey SM6, 60 degrees
Scrambling: 69.64 percent
Like Glover, Jonathan Byrd uses an older Vokey model, this one a 60-degree SM6. Byrd’s scrambling numbers stand out in two areas. He’s money from 10 to 20 yards, ranking third on tour from that distance, converting 33 of 42 tries, and also from the rough, where he ranks on ninth on tour. His SM6 features loft-specific grooves to optimize spin for the type of shot being played.
Wedge: Titleist Vokey Spin Milled, 60 degrees
Scrambling: 69.02 percent
If Aaron Baddeley is within 20 yards of the hole, odds are he’s making par—or even birdie. On his chipping-from-the-fringe stat, Badds is two under par for the season, quite the accomplishment and first on tour. He also ranks second in scrambling from 10 to 20 yards. Baddeley’s Titleist Vokey Spin Milled 60-degree wedge has a raw finish and 12 degrees bounce. It also has two holes where material has been removed in the back heel and toe areas to help raise the center of gravity for a more controlled flight.
Wedge: Callaway Mack Daddy 4, 60 degrees
Scrambling: 67.70 percent
One of the tour’s shortest hitters off the tee, Jim Furyk more than makes up for it with his short game. Originally a tour-only option, the X grind on Furyk’s 60-degree Callaway Mack Daddy 4 wedge is not part of the company’s consumer lineup as well. The X grind is designed for players with moderate-to-steep attack angles and medium-to-soft course conditions.
Wedge: Titleist Vokey SM7, 60 degrees
Scrambling: 65.22 percent
Marc Leishman’s prowess around the greens should serve him well on the sporty Harbour Town Golf Links layout. The Aussie’s 60-degree Titleist Vokey SM7 has a scant 4 degrees of bounce, which should work well if conditions are firm. Although it’s easy to know what the “Leish” stamped on the back is for, it’s less known to many what the "AD" stamped near the toe is in regards to. That stands for Vokey’s right-hand man, Aaron Dill, who creates many of the wedges the tour pros use.