After 15 years of full-time professional golf, Parker McLachlin was exhausted. The results weren’t what he expected and he was starting to lose some of the feel of what he was doing with his golf swing.
It was time for the former PGA Tour winner to find his next calling.
While pondering what’s next, a caddy friend suggested McLachlin create an Instagram account and share some of his short game secrets with the world. With a little help, the “shortgame chef” was born on Instagram.
“I’ve always been a solid short-game player,” McLachlin told GOLF.com. “I thought I’d serve up receipts for shots around the green on social media and see what happened.”
Two days after the account was created, Tour winner Kevin Streelman contacted McLachlin to see if the two could meet for a lesson. The lesson turned into full-time short game instruction, which eventually saw Streelman drop from 93rd in the Official World Golf Rankings to 45th during their time working together. Defending Women’s British Open champion Anna Nordqvist asked for instructions soon after, further validating McLachlin’s path in the instruction space.
As he began to expand his student roster to include amateurs, McLachlin began to notice some significant differences between the pro and the average joe when it came to corner setup position, particularly where the hands and the handle were located.
“For the short game disciplines – bunker, flop shooting, pitching and chipping – the pros and amateurs were on completely different planets in terms of setup,” McLachlin said. “It made me think that if I could find a way to help amateurs set their hands properly, maybe I’d have something.”
The biggest problem McLachlin saw was too much forward lean for the average amateur, which led to inconsistent contact on a myriad of shots. On a trip home from Las Vegas with the UCLA men’s golf team — McLachlin was hired as a volunteer assistant coach in 2019 — he began to wonder if he could give fans visual cues to help them settle in as a Tour player.
“I started thinking about the SeeMore putter with the bridle at the back,” McLachlin said. “They had found a way to tilt the shaft for putting. I wanted to do the same for my fanciers, but knew I couldn’t add a flange to the corner.
When McLachlin returned home, he asked his wife to sit on the ground as he moved into a corner setup position for a pitch, chip, bunker/flop shot. From there, he had his wife mark a line up to his nose on the corner pipe for each of the three positions.
In the address position, the leftmost line (0 degree forward lean) is meant to go “straight to the nose” to help get the clubface, hands and shaft into position to execute a bunker or flop shot. As the midline (1.5 degrees) rises to the nose, it promotes a more neutral hand and shaft position for an overhead shot setup. The rightmost line (4.5 degrees) advances the shaft slightly for a bump-and-run.
With the flight lines in place, McLachlin then took the wedge to True Spec Golf and had them milled into place, to make the prototype more official. After showing the corner, McLachlin discussed the concept with Bob Vokey. Vokey initially thought it was a training aid, but as he learned more about the lines, he began to realize that the hand positions (and rod tilt) that McLachlin was suggesting for every shot were in tune with what he had been preaching for years.
After long back and forths over the next 18 months, McLachlin and Vokey has reached an agreement that will see the former Tour pro’s three build lines added to WedgeWorks’ custom offerings for SM9.
“It was a wild ride,” McLachlin said. “I feel like I’ve been quiet about this stuff for 18 months. I think it’s a game-changing type of thing that will help people around the world.
While McLachlin’s corner setup provided the impetus for the three lines on the hosel, Vokey Tour rep Aaron Dill also snapped shots of the hand position at address for the flop, pitch , the bunker and bump and run shots for 30 of the best players, including Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler. High-tech software then aggregated shaft lean and clubface position to determine the three optimal setup locations on the Vokey SM9 wedge.
McLachlin is quick to point out that the lines are designed for recreational golfers, but that doesn’t mean the pros can’t benefit from the visual cues, too. Kyle Stanley staked a 60-degree Vokey SM9 D Grind at the WM Phoenix Open after tasting the wedge earlier in the week. Brooks Koepka, a friend of McLachlin’s, also gave his stamp of approval on the design.
“I remember Brooks saying, ‘Park, this must be illegal,’ he said. “Once he touched a few more, he turned around and said it was” basically a cheat code “.”
McLachlin hopes visual aids will make it easier for golfers to get into the right position when setting up to eliminate many of the bad habits that start before the club is even in motion.
“I think anyone can throw it, pop it and run a bunker shot like a tour player – and I think I can get fans to do it,” McLachlin said. “But it ultimately starts with the setup.”
The Flight Lines visual aid will be available February 17 as an add-on for golfers creating a wedge through Vokey’s WedgeWorks program.
Want to redo your bag for 2022? Find a suitable location near you in GOLF Affiliate True specification golf. For more on the latest gear news and information, check out our latest fully geared podcast below..