A Matter of Offset
By Terry Koehler, The Wedge Guy
Terry Koehler has been in the golf industry for over 30 years and currently spends his days as the President of EIDOLON Golf, a small premium wedge company in Victoria, Texas. He's been blogging for over 3 years and has written hundreds of articles ranging from golf tips to equipment issues. His blog will appear on ClubSG twice per week. You can reach Terry to have your golf questions answered at firstname.lastname@example.org.
One of the things that I always notice first about a golf club is the amount of offset it has – the distance out in front of the leading edge that the hosel is positioned. If you peruse the iron rack in any golf store, you can see irons with various amounts of offset, and I’m sure that many golfers are confused by this design feature and why it exists. At least that’s the impression I get from the golfers I visit with each week.
The topic comes up today thanks to an email from Anton B., who asks:
"How does the offset in a wedge affect its characteristics on various shots? I understand that normally the offset does two things in irons: 1) helps to close the clubface; 2) gives higher trajectory with CG being pushed further back. For wedges neither makes much sense really, and yet there are wedges out there with various amounts of offset, sometimes quite pronounced. Why is it there exactly and what it does from a club designer perspective?"Well, Anton, first of all, congratulations for submitting today’s topic – you win a new EIDOLON V-SOLE wedge, and the first of our Vari-Loft™ Concept to be given away by The Wedge Guy. Now let’s get on to your question.
First of all, your understanding of the purpose of offset in irons is almost dead on. By adding offset to an iron, it does help the clubface to close through impact, which can help a great number of players, particularly with the long- and mid-irons. The reason this happens is that the offset puts the center of gravity of the club in a slightly different relationship to the centerline of the shaft. If you simply lay an offset and non-offset iron on a table with the heads hanging off the side, you’ll see that the face of the offset iron will point slightly upward, while the face of the non-offset iron will be nearly vertical. This is a simple re-arrangement of the balance point, so that in the downswing, the offset iron is already “seeking” a more square position through impact.
Obviously, because the offset iron tends to close through impact, such an alignment is exactly the wrong thing for any player with a tendency to pull or draw the ball. It’s a slicer/pushers fix only.
Now, onto your second point – that offset produces higher trajectories. Actually, I’ve always believed the reverse to be true. Having a slight offset produces a lower trajectory than if the same club head design were made without any offset. Though to a very slight degree, the hosel offset allows the golfer to get his or her hands through impact just ahead of the clubface itself, and “leading hands” are what helps keep trajectories down. This is even more important for golfers playing cavity back irons with a lower center of gravity. That distribution of weight produces much higher trajectories than a more muscle-back design, so the addition of offset to most such clubs help keeps shots out of the clouds. The problem arises when that offset is applied to the shorter irons, which are easier to pull anyway, so you’ve aggravated that tendency.
What gets me the most about offset in irons is the number of players I see, particularly better players who have a tendency to draw or pull shots, and yet they are playing an iron with an offset. I’ve shown dozens of them that simply going to an iron with less or no offset is much easier than trying to develop a “block move” through impact in an attempt to overcome what the club was designed to do in the first place. I fought my brother for years to ditch his Tommy Armour 845s for a more traditional set up for that very reason. And when he finally did, his draw/pull tendency disappeared overnight.
I hope that answered your question, Anton, and I hope you enjoy your new EIDOLON V-SOLE Vari-Loft Concept wedge. And for all you other readers, if you have a question you’d like to see me address, just click the link below and send it to me.
* The Wedge Guy's views and opinions are his own do not necessarily reflect those of SkyGolf.
The Wedge Guy is sponsored by SCOR Golf, where Terry Koehler is President/CEO. He encourages you to submit your questions or topics to be considered for his columns on Tuesdays and Fridays. Each submission automatically enters you to win a SCOR4161 wedge to be given away monthly. Click the button below to submit your question or topic today.
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Very good explanation Terry. I had no idea what offset was really for.
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