If you ever watch the Golf Channel, no doubt by now you’ve seen the infomercial for the xE1 Sand Wedge. It’s the one where former PGA Tour player Arron Oberholser (beware of an Aaron who spells his name with two R’s) who touts the genius of the wedge for “practically eliminating” fat pitches or chips. Here it is:
Says Oberholser, “The xE1’s technologically-advanced design with it’s auto-glide sole and extreme heel-toe weighting makes it easy to get out of the sand, rough, and even tight lies without opening the blade.” Whatever you say Arron.
Enter Todd Sones. Todd is a Golf Digest Top 50 and Golf Magazine Top 100 Instructor. He also serves on the Golf Academy of America’s National Advisory Board, and in a recent email subject-lined “Don’t Be Conned!”, Todd blasts the wedge:
“I was watching the Golf Channel a few days ago,” says Todd, “And I couldn’t help chuckling at the latest miracle wedge for sale called the xE1, which is just like the Alien Wedge, which sold about 20 years ago. As I’m starting to see some of those wedges show up in player’s bags, I thought I would give you my observation.”
Todd continues, “The xE1 Wedge is a wedge designed with a wide flange, a lot of bounce, and 65 degrees of loft. This basically means no need to open the face. That’s all well and good, but don’t be fooled: the bottom line is that the fundamental of having the club accelerate and descend through impact is what causes solid shots around the green. No one will ever design a club that will do that for you. There is no miracle wedge that will replace good fundamentals.”
Todd, I couldn’t agree more. The best part of the infomercial is how Oberholser, a former Tour winner, demonstrates how easy it is to use this glorified lob wedge while completely ignoring the hours of practice he had to put in just to get to the winner’s circle. He was ingraining the fundamentals, not chasing the latest technological gimmick to come out on the market.
There’s a reason why you don’t see pros playing the xE1 Wedge. Like just about every other “too-good-to-be-true” product in the golfing world, it simply can’t and won’t replace solid fundamentals. The sport is full of carnival barkers trying to hook golfers looking for shortcuts instead of instruction.
It’s the xE1 Wedge today, it was the Alien Wedge yesterday, and it’ll be something else tomorrow.