Terry Koehler, who co-founded Eidolon Golf with partner, Ralph Thompson, was also one of the founders of Reid Lockhart Golf. At Reid Lockhart, Terry established a reputation for creating beautiful clubs that were traditional in their nature, yet modern in their playability. He is now starting over with a new venture called Eidolon Golf. For the time being, Eidolon is a very small company that produces just one line of wedges. They are marketed through the Eidolon website and through partnered pro shops.
Three things distinguish the Eidolon wedges from most other wedges. They are slightly shorter than the majority of contemporary wedges, they have grooves that are wider and sharper than those found on most wedges, and they have a dual-bounce sole that possesses a subdued “V” shape reminiscent of those found on Reid Lockhart’s fine wedges.
Eidolon wedges are attractive clubs. They look good in the bag and at address. Their classic, teardrop shapes and understated graphics are apt to offend few players. These wedges have a modern look, but one that should still appeal readily to most purists. The moderately compact heads set up nicely behind the ball and provide for easy alignment. Eidolon wedges also feel good in the hands – relatively light and well balanced. At impact, the feel is not particularly sweet, but it is solidly pleasant. Those accustomed to raw or forged wedges may find the feel to be a touch harsh, but those accustomed to cast wedges should find it quite rewarding.
High Spin – Sharp Grooves
It did not take our hitters long to notice that the Eidolon wedges generate considerably more spin than do average wedges, and that they chewed off more cover material from soft-skinned golf balls. By running their fingernails over the faces of these wedges, all testers could tell that the grooves of the Eidolons are wider and sharper than those of all of the wedges we used in comparison.
Added to the spin producing grooves is the shaft selection. The Rifle Spinner shafts from Royal Precision are designed to optimize backspin off of wedges. There is only a limited amount of spin that a steel shaft can to add to a ball’s flight and not everyone can notice the resulting increases. Operating under the “every little bit helps” philosophy, some of the experts with whom we consult swear by the Spinners, however. Whatever the case, the amount of spin that is added by the sharp grooves and the Spinner shafts will vary depending upon how a player comes through the ball at impact. For some of our testers, a great deal of spin was added, so much so that they ruled out the Eidolon wedges for their own use from the get-go. Their balls flew too high and too short due to the increased spin rates. Others, however, were very appreciative of the higher spin rates. One of our testers, a low-ball hitter, was greatly impressed by the enormous stopping power the added spin gave to him. So much so, that he added them to his bag.
One of the benefits that can occur from using a high-spin wedge is that a player may be given the option of selecting a lower spinning, longer hitting ball while still being able to maintain ample movement on the ball for his short, approach shots. High-spin wedges are particularly appealing for those who play a bump and run game with their irons, but strive for drop and flop shots off of their wedges. Such players often state that they wish it were legal to hit a hard, distance ball off of the tee, and then switch to a soft ball at greenside. These individuals should, when using the Eidolons, see their shots check up more abruptly on the green even when they use harder distance balls. Conversely, players who strive to land all of their shots softly and who prefer softer, high-spin balls may find that the Eidolon wedges create too much spin for their needs. These players may balloon the ball too often and find that some of their shots reel back excessively. They may also find that their chip shots tend to check up a tad more than they desire. Additionally, some player may not like the idea of wedges that tend to shred their expensive, performance balls.
Shaft Length – Shot Length
Another easily recognizable difference in the Eidolon wedges is that they are a quarter to a half inch shorter than the majority of contemporary, steel-shafted wedges, and up to full inch shorter than some graphite-shafted wedges. Most players will find that this slight reduction in length – or more appropriately, this return to the original, standard wedge length – will mean that they will be more comfortable over the ball, especially on short, greenside shots. Overall length of full-swing shots may be reduced by a couple of yards, but control and stance position will be improved. Less choking down on the grip will be required on partial shots and fewer fat shots will occur from the sand.
Most contemporary wedges have slightly longer shaft lengths than those of the Eidolon wedges for the same reason that all contemporary clubs have longer shafts than what was once considered to be standard: Longer shots happen. The average male golfer will mortgage his house and sell off his children just to gain a few more yards with any club. He thinks this way although he knows that his scores might actually increase from the subsequent loss of control. Such is the nature of being male. This desire to outhit the other guy may yield some statistical advantage in the longer irons and woods, but with wedges, it can be especially foolish. Control and precision should be the overwhelmingly essential standards for judging wedges, and in the case of the Eidolon wedges, the reduced shaft length has translated directly into first-rate accuracy and consistency for our testers.
In spite of the slightly shorter shafts, the Eidolons provide solidly good distances for those who are suited to the wedges. Players who tend to hit their wedges too high and short to begin with may find that they hit overly short with the Eidolons, however. One of our regular testers cuts all of his wedge shots. They fly high and soft. With the Eidolons, he had a tendency to come up well short. His already short SW distances became even shorter – more like LW distances. In his case, the addition of the Eidolon wedges to his bag would have necessitated the acquisition of a fourth wedge to fill the new gap that would have existed between his Eidolon “gap” wedge and his standard pitching wedge.
Dual Bounce Soles
The “dual bounce” angles of the soles on the Eidolon wedges allow players to close down the face with less fear of stubbing the ball. The bevel of the front facet makes for a less abrupt leading edge. Players who like to put the ball well back in their stance and use their wedges for lofted chips should like this aspect quite a bit. Conversely, those accustomed to a sharper, traditional leading edge may be a little put off by the duality of the sole. When cutting under the ball on little, finesse shots, they may find that it can create some shots that are a little thinner than preferred. This fact, combined with the sharp grooves may mean that some appreciate the greenside behavior of the Eidolon wedges less than others. A little practice time may be required to acclimate to the subtle differences found in these wedges. This is particularly true with the sand wedge. It has the most pronounced differential between the front and rear bounce angles. The gap and lob wedges have grinds to their soles that more understated.
Eidolon Golf makes a telling point in their promotional literature as concerns what most consider to be “tour preferred” sole grinds, leading edges and bounce angles. That point is: You are not a pro. Touring pros have exceptional hand-eye coordination. They have been practicing relentlessly for many years and have developed remarkable consistency when it comes to the depth control of their swings – you haven’t. Where the touring pro is highly unlikely to stub a shot, you are quite prone to doing it. Pros can close down their wedge faces and change the position of the ball in their stances with relative impunity. You need some help. Hence, the beveled, front facet.
Now, there is great validity to Eidolon’s observations. Most players are erratic with their wedges and should benefit from this friendly approach to sole design in numerous situations. However, the basic truth to Eidolon’s observations does not mean that all mid- to higher handicapped players will benefit from these sole configurations,. If a player is especially aware of the head and leading edge of his wedges through impact and if he can easily accommodate changes in lie quality and stance angle; then he just might find that the lack of a pronounced leading edge does him more harm than good, particularly if he likes to pick balls clean off of tight lies.
In soft to moderately firm sand, the Eidolon sand wedge worked very well for our testers during comparison sessions. The sharp grooves are a non-factor on full shots from soft sand, but they can come into play on partial shots and on those from thinner lies. In sessions against other wedges, including our standard, test wedges from Titleist and Feel, the Eidolons checked up at a higher rate. There was noticeably less run and trickle on the greens. Those players who tend to attack the pin from the sand should appreciate these tendencies. From sand, or rough, players can easily “stick some pins” with these aggressive wedges.
The pronounced V-shape of the Eidolon sand wedge worked well in thicker sand. Uniformity of divot depth was very good. Off of hard-packed sand, however, it was more difficult to get the blade sufficiently deep under the ball. The gap and lob wedges, with their less pronounced bounce combinations, were easier off of firm sand. They were, however, less consistent from the fluffy stuff. Depth penetration was more difficult to predict.
The Eidolon wedges are very attractive. Design, fit and finish are all quite good. They look good in the bag and set up nicely to the ball. Feel is fine for a cast wedge. The sharp grooves and Rifle Spinner shafts combine to make these very high spinning wedges – great for some, too much for others. The shafts are slightly shorter than most contemporary wedges. As a result, control is quite good. Some noticeable yardage losses will occur for those who tend to hit too high or short to begin with. Eidolon wedges have a dual-bounce sole that will allow some players more workability options. The faces may be closed down with less fear of stubbing the ball. These are nice wedges that should appeal greatly to those looking to add some extra spin and control to their short games.
Eidolon Golf offers an interesting guarantee: Buy and try an Eidolon wedge. If it doesn’t work as desired, the company will replace it with the wedge of your choice, be it a Titleist, Cleveland, Feel or whatever. Eidolon is a very new and very small company. It is, however, headed by individuals with an established reputation in the industry.
For more information, go to www.eidolongolf.com.