No one could have known that flying lessons would lead to one of the great innovations in the game of golf. But that’s exactly what happened in 1931 when Gene Sarazen went flying with billionaire Howard Hughes.
One day as they were getting ready to take off Sarazen noticed how Huge changed the flaps on the wings to help add lift to get the plane off the ground. When Sarazen got home, he couldn’t get the idea out of his head as he was trying to improve his bunker game. In that era of golf, hitting your ball into a greenside bunker was an almost certain lost shot.
Then, Sarazen had an idea. He was sponsored by the Wilson Sporting goods company, so he called and asked if they could send him a dozen pitching wedges. He took the wedges and melted solder on the back half of the sole on the bottom of the wedge, raising the back edge higher than the front (leading) edge. In effect, this created a rudder for the bottom of the wedge, plus it added additional weight. Having the back sole of the club higher than the leading edge created bounce on Sarazen’s wedge.
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