Wedge Selection and Bounce

It is important to have the correct wedges to fit both your swing and the other clubs in your bag. With 14 clubs allowed in your bag, many people opt to drop a second wood/ high iron and have three (not including PW) dedicated wedges in their bag.

It is important to have the right gaps between your clubs. I suggest you look at your pitching wedge loft and go from there. You want to keep your gap between your clubs consistent and not exceed more than 6 degrees. An example would be… if your PW is 45*, a popular choice would be GW at 50*, SW at 56* and LB at 60*. Alternatively if could go Sand Wedge at 54* and Lob Wedge at 58*.

An important aspect of the wedge is the bounce. All top manufacturers offer their wedges in a bunch of different options. For example Titleist Vokey’s offer their SM4 wedges in 23 different loft and bounces for each club finish. Bounce can be a confusing term. It is not necessarily the amount the ball will bounce, but the angle at which the club head will slide along the ground and impact the ball.

When you hit a wedge shot;

  • If you have little or no divot, you are a slider/ sweeper. You should look for a club with low bounce.
  • If you take a regular sized divot, you are a driver/ slider. A medium sized bounce will work for you.
  • If you take a large divot, then you are a digger/ driver. A high bounce wedge will work in this scenario.

The correct bounce will help you hit more consistently. If you have a low bounce swing, but have a high bouce club, it may cause you to “top” the ball.

With bounce course conditions also come into account. If you play in the Arizona desert (where the ground is generally firm) you would most probably need a low bounce wedge. However if you play in Pacific North West (where it rains a lot), the ground may be soft and soggy. In that case you should look at a higher bounce to compensate for it.

When selecting your wedges you may want to go for a combination of bounces. I am a slider/sweeper, but I like to have a sand iron with a high bounce to use from fluffy sand or long grass (rough). But a low bounce lob wedge for work around the green on short grass and firm ground conditions.

There are traditionally three different finishes to wedges. Traditional chrome, black nickel and raw finish. Some golfers prefer the black nickel and raw finishes because there is no glare from the sun. The raw finishes (also known as oil can, rustique, rusty) have unfinished faces. These are designed to rust and have patina. The club faces are softer to play; which some people prefer the feel. It has been proven that raw wedges having more spin than others, is nothing more than a myth and just an old-wives tale. They all spin the same.

Confused?? It is a very complex subject and wedges can be the toughest clubs in the bag to pick out. As with all clubs look for something which feels good to swing and easy on the eye at set-up.

Here is a good video from Mark Crossfield which explains wedge bounce…

Scholl Canyon Golf & Tennis Club – Executive (Glendale)

3800 E. Glenoaks Blvd.
Glendale, CA  91206
(818) 243-4100

18 holes (par 55)
Yardage: 3,039 yards
Hours: 6am-10pm
Green fees: weekdays $17, weekends $23 (cart $7-$12)

Scholl Canyon is nestled up in the mountains behind Glendale. From the 2 Freeway exit Holly and then head along Glenoaks all the way up until the end of the road. The golf course is clearly sign posted from the freeway. You will travel about 2 miles on a private road up until the top of the mountain. The road is recently surfaced and in great condition. Once you get to the golf course there is a large parking lot. There is a driving range, putting green, tennis courts and starter office. The starter office contains a small pro shop and a small snack bar.

I have nicknamed this course “Machu Picchu”. If you see an overhead picture you will see why. It is a canyon course and weaves around the mountain top with steep elevation changes. It is a short 18 hole course – just 3,039 from the back tees, 2,400 from the ladies tees. There are 6 short par 4’s. The longest hole being 324 yards. All the par 4’s could be reached with my 3 wood – with the exception of hole 13, which you have to lay up. There was a nice breeze that went through the course due to the elevation. Also I noted that it was 6 degrees cooler up there, than at the base of the mountain in Glendale.

There are lots of price variations in the green fees. If you play after 3pm it gets really cheap. You can also find great prices on I booked through them to play a weekday afternoon. It cost me just $20 including the cart. Talking of which, you must rent a cart. You can not walk this course as there are a couple of holes where you have a long cart ride to get to the next. Also there are some steep inclines. 

The pace was good – probably because everyone was using carts. It took me just under 3 hours to play the 18 holes. The front 9 were quick and then there were some hold ups on the back 9. I joined two other groups to play the last five holes and we sailed through them really quickly. Now remember this was a mid-week early afternoon. I would imagine that this course can get busy at weekends. So it may well be a 4+ hour round. But I would be interested to hear from others who have played Scholl Canyon at the weekend.

The course design was excellent. The designer did a superb job working the holes around the mountain. Great use of space! It is a true canyon course. Lots of elevation change. The first 9 holes are relatively flat. However after hole 10 you drive up a long steep road to play the rest of the holes. These holes are a good 200 feet higher than the rest of the course. I found the last 9 more challenging holes than the first. There are 30+ bunkers spread throughout the course. Also some holes hug the mountain, so you have to be straight otherwise the ball will fall hundreds of feet down. The standout hole for me was hole 13 (par 4, 289 yards). It was a dog-leg right. You have to lay up with an iron and then hit a wedge over a ravine into the green. Hole 15 was a lot of fun too. This is a par 4, 252 yard hole. But the green is a lot lower than the tee box. I used a 4 iron and almost made the green in one shot. In fact there were so many fun holes to play on this course.

The condition of the course was very good (above average). The greens were nice and the grass on the course was good. Although a little dry. The bunkers were nicely raked and in good shape, with the sand being of very firm texture. You hit off regular grass. No mats here!

Scholl Canyon was a treat to play. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I think it was one of the best, if not the best short course I have played in Southern California. The people working there and other golfers were friendly and there was a nice vibe.

It is a great transition to playing par 72 golf. My recommended strategy for beginners who want to play “full-sized” golf would be to start with the small and cheap municipal 9 hole, par 3’s. Then once you are comfortable with those play an executive course like Scholl Canyon or Van Nuys. Then from there you can step it up to the 6,000 yard par 72’s. Scholl Canyon is also great for females who can not hit 260 yard rockets. It is short, but not too short where you can enjoy playing your game and a multitude of different shots in one round.

Richie says…“One of the best, if not the best short courses in the LA area. Great layout and very fun to play. Amazing views of the whole LA basin and valley.  It is a nice escape from the busy city – up in the mountains with no traffic or noise. A must play if you are visiting the Los Angeles area.”

Hole by Hole

Hole 1 – 259 yards (par 4)
Hole 1 – 2nd shot (50 yards out)

Hole 2 – 103 yards

Hole 3 – 324 yards (par 4)
Hole 3 – 2nd shot (50 yards out)
Hole 4 – 122 yards
Hole 5 – 167 yards
Hole 6- 127 yards
Hole 7 – 83 yards

Hole 7 – green
Hole 8 – 140 yards
Hole 9 – 262 yards (par 4)
Hole 9 – 2nd shot (75 yards out)
Hole 10 – 253 yards (par 4)
Hole 10 – looking back from behind the green
Hole 11 – 89 yards
Hole 12 – 145 yards
Hole 12 – green
Hole 13 – 289 yards ( par 4)
Hole 13 – 2nd shot (100 yards out)
Hole 14 – 108 yards
Hole 15 – 252 yards (par 4)
Hole 16 – 87 yards
Hole 17 – 125 yards
Hole 18 – 104 yards

Giveaway – Swing Whistle

This time around we are giving away a free Swing Whistle golf swing training aid. More information about the product can be found here –

To enter please submit the form below. Please be assured that your info will not be shared and you will receive no junk mail.

The competition closes at noon PST on Sunday July 14, 2013. Winner will be drawn at random and announced later that day. One entry per person please.

Note – this is for USA residents only, I can not ship internationally.


We did the random draw earlier today and the winner was Michelle from Woodland Hills

Congratulations and your glove is on its way to you. Thank you for all of those who entered. Check back soon for our next giveaway.

Practice Center Review #6 – Monterey Park

3600 W Ramona Blvd
Monterey Park, CA 91754
(323) 266-4632

Hours: M-F 6.30am-11pm (closes at 10pm on Sunday’s and Holiday’s

Small bucket (45 balls): $4
Medium bucket (85 balls): $6
Large bucket (120 balls): $8

The Monterey Park driving range is located off the 10 freeway, where the 10 meets the 710. The range is adjacent to the 9 hole executive golf course. There is adequate parking, however note on Friday and Saturday evenings parking can be tough as it is next to the Luminaris restaurant.

The range is of good size about 250 yards to the back fence and pretty wide. There are yardage markers spread throughout. There are 37 stalls and whenever I have been there has been at least half vacant and available to use. You hit off mats and the mats seem to be in good shape. Note that no plastic tees are provided. You have to buy one or bring your own. The facility itself is overall in very good condition. There is one swing analyzing machine where you can pay and record your swing. Similar to what is at the Harding driving range at Griffith Park.

Putting green

The rates here are very reasonable and the balls are decent quality. They seem to collect the balls from the hitting area regularly also. In addition to the driving range there is a small putting green. There is no chipping area however. From my travels this range seems to be one of the better in the Los Angeles area.

NOTE: As published earlier this week in the Pasadena Star News, the course has new ownership. They are renovating the practice facility areas and club shop later this year. I will return and do a new review once the renovations are complete.

Office Golf

If you work in an office environment and need a golf fix this might be something for you!

We are in the Local News!

Having played 25+ golf courses on a regular basis in the Los Angeles area I consider myself somewhat of a subject matter expert. I was approached by a reporter from the Pasadena Star News earlier today regarding my experiences at Monterey Park Golf Course.

Below is a link to the article. It will also be in tomorrow’s print version (Wednesday July, 10). Shame they did not mention the website directly.

Here is a copy of the print version of the article.It must be a slow news day in Pasadena, as this is on page 1!

Pico Rivera Municpal Golf Course – Executive

3260 Fairway Drive
Pico Rivera, CA 90660
(562) 692-9933

9 holes (par 29)
Yardage: 1,500 yards
Hours: 6am-10pm 
Green fees: M-F $10.50 (residents $8); Weekends $13 (residents $10)

Pico Rivera is south east of downtown Los Angeles and located just off the 605 Freeway – Beverly Blvd. Exit. It is a 9 hole executive golf course with two short par 4 holes. The course was opened in 1965, but went through a renovation in January 2012. In the golfing complex is also a putting green and driving range. There is also a small club house with a bar at the golf course. The course has lights throughout the 9 holes, thus enabling play until 10pm each day. The last tee time is 8pm.

This is another of those small golf courses in Los Angeles County which is not widely publicized. If you live outside the Pico Rivera area you probably will not know about it’s existence. It is advisable to call in advance and book a tee time. We played on a Saturday morning and it was extremely busy. We had to wait about 10 minutes past tee time to get started. After which there was very slow play and delays at almost every hole. It took 3 full hours to play 9 holes! Not good.

The course is well laid out and has a nice flow to it. You have to tee off from mats and no plastic tee’s are provided. The par 3 holes were pretty long for a 9 hole executive course – each being around the 150 yard mark. This is not a course to play if you are a complete novice, but a good progression before you hit the full 18 hole, par 72’s. The standout holes were 6 and 8 and 9. Hole 6 is a 161 yard hole where you have to hit over a ravine. In the background is some kind of reservoir gate which has interesting architecture. Then hole 8 is a dog-leg right short par 4. You tee off, then your next shot is 90 degrees right over a small lake. If playing there for the first time it is a little tricky to know where to go, as hole 9 green looks like it is in play also. There is no signage or direction. Water comes into play on holes 8 and 9 and there are a few bunkers spread out throughout the course. Hole 9 is a straight par 3, but with two small ponds (with fish in) in front of it. So if you hit short you are going to be in trouble.

Each hole has a nice ball cleaner and a bench by the tee box. Also several tee boxes have water dispensers and paper cups. After the 4th hole, there is a little drinks/ snack cart. Where they also sell bottles of beer.

The course condition was above average, but not excellent. The greens were large and again above-average. As with some of the other courses which we have recently played the grass is very dry and the ground is hard. Also there are power lines running straight down the middle of the course, so on some holes you hit the crackling/ buzzing of the power lines above your head. The starter is friendly and there is a little pro shop on site. Although the course was above-average, it is marked down overall due to the amount of people and slow play.

Richie says… “Nice course, but too busy. 3 hours to play 9 holes of par 29 is way too long.”

Chris says… “Course was generic, played courses like this before. Big greens, big crowds. 3 hours to play 9 holes – I don’t think so!”

Albino says… “I don’t like the vibe here. Plus you can not get in the rhythm with your shots and stay loose as you have to wait to play each hole.”

Hole by Hole

Hole 1 – 107 yards
Hole 2 – 163 yards
Hole 3 – 149 yards
Hole 4 – 142 yards
Hole  5 – 276 yards (par 4)
Hole 5 – 2nd shot (100 yards out)
Hole 6 – 161 yards
Hole 6 – green

Hole 7 – 131 yards

Hole 8 – 262 yards (par 4, dog-leg right)
Hole 8 – 2nd shot (80 yards out)
Hole 9 – 109 yards

Golf Digest Top 10: Most Beautiful Courses in USA

10. Wade Hampton G.C. (Cashiers, NC)

9. National Golf Links of America (Southampton, NY)

8. Pacific Dunes (Bandon,OR)

7. Shinnecock Hills (Southampton, NY)

6. The Alotian Club (Roland, AR)

5. Pine Valley (Pine Valley, NJ)

4. Fishers Island (Fishers Island, NY)

3. Pebble Beach Golf Links (Pebble Beach, CA)

2. Augusta National (Augusta, GA)

1. Cypress Point Club (Pebble Beach, CA)

Practice Center Review #5 – Western Golf College & Driving Range (Koreatown)

537 N Western Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90004
(323) 466-1131

Hours: M-F 7am-9pm, weekends 10am-6pm

$15 for day pass
$60-90 for monthly passes


Outside of range

I have driven past this place many times and finally stopped by to check it out. The Western Golf College and Driving Range is located on Western Ave, between Beverly and Melrose. The parking situation is tough. They have a tiny lot (may be 6 parking spaces) and there is limited street parking. If you plan on visiting here be sure to avoid rush-hour traffic times as this part of the city gets crazy.

This is a tiny (in terms on length) practice facility. There are about 15 stalls and the range is about 20 yards long. The inside reminded me of indoor batting cages. I am personally a visual person and like to see the flight of my ball and where it ends up. If you are not concerned with that and can determine the quality of your hit by touch then this driving range will work for you. The range seemed to be in nice condition inside and the balls seemed to be of good condition. There is no putting green located at this facility or anything other than the driving range itself.

I was greeted by the local pro (Wilson Kang), who gave me his business card. He is a South America Tour Player. He was very friendly and spoke in detail about the pricing. Basically you don’t buy a bucket of balls, you buy a day pass. This is $15. Then they have three monthly pass programs. The first is $60 and with this you have to select an hour block of time – i.e. 7am-8am. You are then only allowed to use the facility between those times each day. The second option is $90. This gives you a set 5 hour window in which you can practice each day. Giving you slightly more flexibility than the first option. For $140 a month you can practice at anytime with no restrictions.

If you plan on practicing frequently, this range costs a lot less than Aroma down the street. I think that Western Golf could be a good neighborhood spot to practice your golf if you live in the local Korean community. If you like the traditional style range and watching your balls fly, the nearest outdoor 250+ yard ranges in the area would be Monterey Park or may be Rancho Park.

Claremont Golf Course – Executive

1550 North Indian Hill Blvd.
Claremont, CA 91711
(909) 624-2748

9 holes (par 31)
Yardage: 1,900 yards
Hours: 5.30am-sunset (8pm latest)
Green fees: weekdays $14, weekends $16

Claremont golf course is a 9 hole executive golf course off the 210 freeway at the start of the Inland Empire. It is about 20 minutes drive east of Pasadena (depending on traffic). We exited Towne St and once at the course there is a large free parking lot.

The course itself has five par 3’s and four par 4 holes making a 9 hole par 31. The first three holes are very hilly and you have to walk up some steep inclines between the holes which can be a challenge if you have a pull/ push cart. There is no water on the course and only a few green-side bunkers spread thinly throughout the course. There are a lot of large trees on the course which come into play. The holes on the course are generally narrow and you have to be accurate in your drives in order to post a decent score.

There are a couple of standout holes. Hole 6 is a long 426 yard sharp dog leg left. You have to hit a good tee shot to be in position to hit your 2nd shot to the green. Hole 9 is a short 99 yard par 3. You hit from the top off a hill and the green is about 50-70 yards below you (similar to hole 3 at Monterey Park). We were surprised at hole 3 as if you hit off the men’s tee you hit blindly onto the green. The green is a lot higher and out of sight. It is kind of dangerous as you can not tell if the group ahead of you is finished on the green or not. 

The course condition was bad. The grass is way to long on the fairways and the tee box. The tee boxes resemble hitting out of the thick rough. Also there are large patches of grass which needs re-seeding or worked on. It is unusal to see in the spring as normally the courses in the area are all prepped and ready for the busy summer months. The greens were in decent to average condition. They ran quite slow. The greens were very undulated and there were not many flat putts, which made it challenging.

When we arrived we asked for a cart. We were told we could not have one as we were under 60 years old. The starter was also unfriendly. My golfing partner mentioned that he had a bad leg, but he was still denied. We noticed further around the course that both groups behind us had carts. One guy was about 40 and the other group comprised of three guys in their 20’s messing around. There is a driving range and putting green at this location also. The driving range didn’t look that good. The balls looked old and the hitting surface was sandy like John Wells in North Hollywood. If you do decide to play here check out the Southland Golf magazine or the course’s website. They often have promos going on, like 2 for 1 green fees.

Richie says… “This is not somewhere I would play again. The staff were not friendly and the course condition is bad for what the green fees are. Also as it is located in the IE, it gets hot! We played at the start of June and it was 98 in the shade.”

Chris says… “I know that the course can not help the weather – it was hot! It can however help the condition of the fairways and tee boxes; overgrown and patchy grass throughout. Overall a challenging course, but I wouldn’t play here again.”

Hole by Hole

Hole 1 – 102 yards
Hole 2 – 165 yards
Hole 3 – 149 yards

Hole 4 – 298 yards (par 4)
Hole 4 – 2nd shot (150 yards out)
Hole 5 – 263 yards (par 4)
Hole 5 – 2nd shot (100 yards out)

Hole 6 – 426 yards (par 4 – dog leg left)

Hole 6 – 2nd shot (150 yards out)
Hole 7 – 274 yards (par 4)
Hole 7 – 2nd shot (100 yards out)
Hole 8 – 124 yards
Hole 8 – green
Hole 9 – 99 yards
Hole 9 – view from behind the green