|Scor Golf - Wedges Review|
The golf industry has seen revolutionary changes over the past 5 years or so, whether it’s the introduction of the hybrid clubs, adjustable drivers or belly-putters, but the wedge has gone relatively unchanged since it’s inception. But that’s changing with the introduction of the SCOR 4161 wedges. Never heard of SCOR? Well, neither had I until I read about their Silver Award in the 2012 Golf Digest© Hot List. Perhaps they’re just another “johnny come lately” golf company, eh? Not so fast….The SCOR Golf Company evolved from the Eidolon Golf Company and they’ve been making wedges since 2003, led by short-game guru Terry Koehler, who has a 30+ year history in the golf industry. When the USGA changed the groove rules, Koehler found when they applied the new groove standards to their clubs, the ball was sliding up the club face and causing a much higher launch condition than desired. So, SCOR scrapped the current design and went back to the drawing board…from scratch.
An interesting quote from Mr. Koehler really resonated with me, to paraphrase he said that a 5-iron shot that comes within 30 feet of your target is considered to be a very good shot, but with your scoring clubs, if you miss your target by 30 feet – that’s pretty significant. So they set out to build a better wedge! SCOR realized that all wedges should not be created equal and went to painstaking detail to develop seven different head designs, based upon what each club flight pattern should be. Add to that, club loft options between 41 and 61 degrees, in single degree increments and a head design with progressive weighting that changes every 3 degrees. SCOR also offers three different shaft weights and the truly customizable specs begins to shine through. To heighten the feel, they take the way this club is built and reengineered how clubs can be made, focusing on feel and performance. Despite the stamping “forged”, well to be exact they say “Tru-Form-Forged” on the wedge, they are actually cast first, using carbon steel, to produce an exact specification, they then reheat the casting to 1000+ degrees and compress the details in using a 800 ton forging tool. Pretty cool, huh? It gets better. Ever look at you’re the grooves and face on your putter? Some of the most renowned putter manufacturers use a process called Computer Numerical Control (CNC) to score the face and produce a perfectly flat surface and finely tune how the ball comes off the club. SCOR has taken that infinite level of detail to their clubs. Using a CNC-mill, they score the grooves, with strict adherence to USGA guidelines and guarantee a perfectly flat surface. This process is not cheap, definitely more expensive than conventional club making, but what they manage to produce is a denser club head with spectacular feel and pin-point accuracy.
The SCOR Golf Company has a pretty simple philosophy - your scoring clubs are your wedges! Whether it’s a pitching, gap, sand or lob wedge, this is where the money game begins. Have a club you can believe in and it’ll get you in tight or help you recover when you miss the green.
The first thing you’ll notice about the SCOR 4161 wedge is that it’s a beautiful club. It’s a polished carbon steel club, made to your specifications. The topline is significantly thinner than I’m used to and I like it. I’ve added a comparison picture with my TaylorMade R7/CGB’s.
The grip is a UST Mamiya® partially corded black/red, designed specifically for SCOR’s short game control. I noticed that the upper, corded portion has a firmer feel to it, which I liked as it gave me a feeling of control. The lower portion is slightly softer, which helps remind you not to over grip it and let your lower hand take over during the swing. Finally, some thought definitely went into the pattern of the grip. You’ll notice there are “guides” where you can place your lower hand to help you dial in those distance. This, coupled with the “SCOR Method” Bag Tag gives you the tools you need to get exact distances for a given hand placement, face position and swing type.
However, the single biggest feature of the 4161 club is the patented “V-Sole” technology. This design puts a low bounce and a high bounce in the bottom of each club. This is where the clubs versatility shines through, handling hard, tight hard pan lies, plush fairways, thick rough or sand traps with the same performance. It boasts SGC3 – Short Game Control, the “3” refers to the three types of control they deliver: Distance, Trajectory and Spin control. As I mentioned previously, these wedges feature progressive weighting, which means each club will have a slightly different weighting as the clubs are designed for a specific loft.
I have to admit, I was a bit skeptical about all the hype of these clubs, I didn’t really think anything would replace my current clubs. But after playing 5 rounds and 4 sessions at the driving range with them, they truly perform. In my most recent round, I was in the first cut of rough and was not only able to stop the ball on a dime, but spin it back about 15 feet. Remember, that’s its early March in Colorado, the greens aren’t really in a receptive condition yet – I’m impressed. I’ve also had the opportunity to try it out of thick rough, sand traps, straight forward chip shots and certainly tight lies. Once again, clubs handled everything really well, a truly versatile club. I’ve been a TaylorMade guy for the last 17 years and haven’t deviated away from that brand for irons or drivers…until now. One of the problems I’ve typically had with my TaylorMade RAC Tour Preferred wedges (Lob & SW) has been the bounce. The bounce on my current sand wedge is perfect for, well…sand and the Lob wedge is amazing flop shots, but tight lies….forget it. I typically switch back to my pitching wedge for those, even though it may not be the right loft, but the bounce is closer to what I really needed. Now, with the V-Sole, all I have to do is adjust the club face to get more/less bounce. You want the ball to bump and run…done. Slap shots out of the bunker with a nice thump…done, hard pan lies that check and stop…again, done.
I did side-by-side comparisons with my TaylorMade’s and the SCOR 4161’s. My older wedges use the square grooves and I had them sharpened last year, so they’re definitely up for the challenge. On the practice range, I used 4-piece urethane balls as that’s what I typically play with. I found absolutely no degradation between the two, except to say – the SCOR’s are much more versatile. I typically let the lie dictate which club I used, but with the SCOR 4161’s, I’ve let the situation decide. This is new for me and I like it….a lot! The feel on these clubs are exceptional. Hit a bad shot, you’ll know it immediately. As a forged type club, you’ll feel it resonate through the club, but I didn’t think it was exceptionally penalizing on a loss of distance. What I did like was the pure, effortless feeling it gives you when you hit the sweet spot. It’s absolute butter and makes a great “click” sound. Finally, what I really liked about this club is the smaller head size. At first, I thought it would be a little intimidating, especially after playing game improvement irons. But, somehow it actually gives you much more confidence. When I look down at my club, it appears as if it fits the ball better. Oddly enough, with large club faces, perhaps there is too much club for you to concentrate on?!? I found that chip shots, in particular were definitely easier to align direction and control the distance on.
So, what’s not to like in these clubs? For starters, if you’re a “name brand” guy – not many people are familiar with the SCOR name. Even when I mention Eidolon Wedges, a few more know, but again…not many. I’m not certain if any big name pro’s are using them yet that would certainly help with the name recognition. In the 2012 Golf Digest© “Hot List”, these wedges earned a “Silver” Rating. Why so low if they’re all that?!? It comes down to overall scoring. Scoring, from 1-5 stars, have categories that include Performance, Innovation, Look/Sound/Feel and Demand. In Performance, they received 4-1/2 stars, Innovation earned 4 stars, Look/Sound/Feel hit 4-1/2 stars. But here’s it took a dip, only receiving one star. I took the time to figure out if you remove the Demand category, how did SCOR wedges fair? Quite well, as you can see. Oddly enough, the TaylorMade® ATV uses a very similar technology to the V-Sole, yet they are essentially copying the SCOR wedges (in my opinion), and yet they received 4.5 stars for the same innovation?!? Perhaps there’s some advertising dollars impacting their rating system?
Another thing that may distract some buyers is that these clubs are not for the everyday hacker. For one, they may not realize the true benefit of a variable bounce club. Also, better players will definitely benefit from the custom fitting, as lesser players may not have enough information about their own game to truly benefit from the customizable options with SCOR 4161’s. They may also find they don’t like the “feel” that these clubs provide, especially if they miss much more than they find the sweet spot. Don’t get me wrong, I’m definitely not ready for the pro’s, but as a 10-ish handicap, these clubs fit. If I were to speculate, I’d say anyone with an 18 or less GHIN will appreciate this club and find it helps their game. Higher handicaps…stay with the super game improvement clubs.
The only other thing worth noting about detractions is strictly cosmetic. After a short time of playing with these clubs, I have noticed that balls leave marks on the club face. I’m guessing this is due, in part, to the CNC-milling I discussed previously. On the plus side, you can definitely see where you’re making contact on the club face. It doesn’t seem to affect the spin and my on course cleaning didn’t remove those marks. Will it make a difference long term? That remains to be seen.
There are a few “extras” worth mentioning about this club and company. The customer service is exceptional. I had an extended conversation with one of their reps, Beau, about my game, swing type, what I expected from my clubs and which clubs I wanted to replace. The golf knowledge he provided along with our discussion, helped me figure out the customized specs I needed for my game. In a word, IMPRESSIVE. Along with the clubs you receive a SCOR Method Bag Tag, I mentioned this previously and it’s invaluable. This simple tool helped me figure out exact yardages for each club. I changed its use slightly for me and used it for hand placement, but again having this information is key for precise distance control. Another bonus added is the ball marker repair tool. With these clubs, you definitely expect to be hitting more greens and what better to remind you what’s helping you do that than the SCOR tool! To top things off, there are two on-line documents made available to you when your receive your clubs. There’s a SCOR 4161 Owner’s Manual. This is a testament to how serious SCOR is about their clubs, how many other clubs come with an owner’s manual?!? There’s also “SCOR Method - A Simple Way To Achieve Precision In Your Shotmaking” which spells out how to dial in those distances, explains the SCOR Method Bag Tag use and some drills to help you hone those skills. I’ve read both documents and there is some very good advice and information in there, definitely worth your time if you’re serious about your game. The final goody in the box was head covers. Most of my friends hate iron club covers, but personally – I’m a fan of them. I hate the sounds of irons clacking around on the course, plus most golfers protect their driver and putter from dings associated with clubs moving around, why not your irons? Especially when you’ve got CNC-milled faces on them. I for one, don’t want that damage accidentally, so I kept my covers on…to each their own.
Some final thoughts on these clubs….it’s simple, the SCOR 4161 wedges are replacing my PW, Gap, Sand and Lob wedges, something I really didn’t think could ever happen. At best, I thought that MAYBE they could replace my Sand and Lob Wedge, as their 5-6 years old, but alas – all 4 wedges are welcomed additions to my bag. Congratulations SCOR, on an exceptional club and innovative design. You’ve sold me and that’s no easy task.
( 81 Votes )