Invention: The Sand Wedge
July 18, 2012 Leave a comment
Gene Sarazen’s invention of the modern sand wedge is a series of well-worn tales that bears repeating.
1. While being taught by Howard Hughes how to fly a plane, Sarazen took note of how a plane’s tail adjusted downward during takeoff, spawning an idea.
2. The inspiration for the design itself came from Sarazen’s careful observation of ducks landing on water (naturally), particularly the way in which their bellies skimmed across the water.
Either way, and whatever tale you prefer, Sarazen reached out to his equipment company, Wilson, and had them send him half-a-dozen niblicks (the equivalent of a 9-iron).
Using solder, Sarazen experimented with different amounts of mass on the sole of the clubs until he found one he felt would easily extricate the ball from sand.
Sarazen took the club to the 1932 British Open, taking care to keep the club under wraps for fear it would be deemed illegal before play began. Sarazen then used the club during his win at Prince’s in 1932.