August eTECHreport - Welcome!
You can utter all of the clichés you want – ‘better late than never’, ‘good things are worth waiting for’ – but since the introduction of TWGT’s newest forged carbon steel iron designs, clubmakers are telling us that those comments and more definitely do apply to the new TWGT 560MC forged irons! [continues below]
The Search for the Perfect Driver? It’s Just Around the Corner
Because the book, The Search for the Perfect Golf Club, has become a best seller and garnered Book of the Year honors from the International Network of Golf, Tom Wishon has been asked to write two follow up books to create a series of Search titles. [continues below]
Just How DOES A Variable Thickness Face Work?
If you’ve added Tom Wishon’s new fitting book to your clubmaking educational library, you know you made a great investment in your education as a good clubfitter. If you haven’t, you’re missing out on a huge amount of new information that can not only make you a better clubfitter, but can generate a lot more interest in your skills among the golfers you encounter [continues below]
Dare to Be Different? Sure Thing, When There’s a GRT Reason!
We’ve received a fair number of comments about an article in a recent issue of GOLF Magazine article about driver length and the conclusion that their test golfers did better with a longer driver (46.5”). Since we were mentioned in this article as having supplied the drivers for the testing conducted by GOLF, and since their conclusions run counter to our experiences and those of scores clubmakers when it comes to driver length, we want to address the problems with the test protocol that resulted in an unfortunate, erroneous conclusion [continues below]
A ‘User Friendly’ Look at TWGT Shaft Fitting
In the spotlight are the 321Li irons, Gi 335 shafts, 770CFE irons, 730Cl sets, 915CFE drivers and TW shafts. [continues below]
Tom's Blog - How the Golf Industry REALLY Works
In the spotlight are the 321Li irons, Gi 335 shafts, 770CFE irons, 730Cl sets, 915CFE drivers and TW shafts. [continues below]
You can utter all of the clichés you want – ‘better late than never’, ‘good things are worth waiting for’ – but since the introduction of TWGT’s newest forged carbon steel iron designs, clubmakers are telling us that those comments and more definitely do apply to the new TWGT 560MC forged irons!
TWGT has literally been flooded with emails, letters and phone calls from clubmakers and golfers who are raving about the looks and performance of our ground-breaking new forged carbon steel iron.
The internet’s full of pump jobs. Very few clubs, OEM or
component, have shown substantial staying power. Given my
brief experience with the 560’s, I think these will be around
for a long, long time. The sole design is a notable strength
imo. It’s not very thick front to back but the bevel is just
enough to prevent digging in lush Pac NW conditions. In attempts
out of terrible lies which require a hard descending blow,
the 560’s have excelled in a way I never saw with my thicker
soled M05’s. When you hit out of the rough as much as I have
been, that is a playability trait that makes a tremendous
difference. And when you get a good lie - it’s go time. No
Just got back from the range with the 560’s and I enjoy them
more every time out. Again, I can’t express how happy I am
with these sticks. They give me everything I want in an iron.
I’m not even in the market for other clubs, but now I’m perusing
the rest of the Wishon line to see what might be a good addition.
What is it that makes the 560MCs the most exciting new iron in the game?
The Search for the Perfect Driver? It’s Just Around the Corner
Because the book, The Search for the Perfect Golf Club, has become a best seller and garnered Book of the Year honors from the International Network of Golf, Tom Wishon has been asked to write two follow up books to create a series of Search titles.
The first of the follow-up books, The Search for the Perfect Driver, will debut in all major bookstores and on all major internet bookselling sites in October. The new Search Driver book will ensure that more golfers are able to read the same message delivered in the first Search book which is driving golfers to book fitting sessions with clubmakers. Actually, the chance to get the message across to golfers that “custom fitting is superior to buying standard made clubs off the rack” is much better than before because both Search books will be side by side on all the major bookstore shelves!
The Search for the Perfect Driver is devoted to the one club all golfers seem to place the most emphasis on being able to hit well. . . but which few can. As the promotional material for Search Driver states, “If you’ve ever stood on the tee with the driver in your hands wishing you were invisible, this book is for you!”
At 150 pages, Search Driver is about half the length of the first Search book. While part of this is because the book speaks only to the fitting needs of the driver, the shorter length of the new Search Driver book was planned to appeal to the ‘shorter attention span’ of people in today’s fast paced world of the internet. Thus golfers who may have been “attention challenged” by the length of the first Search book will be more attracted to pick up and read a copy of Search Driver.
Another feature of Search Driver that should attract more golfing readers is the fact the book is written in dialogue. It puts you right there with an average golfer and his club pro in a fitting shop with a skilled clubmaker who answers questions about how each player's driver should be fit and built. This allows Search Driver to be able to appeal to average and very skilled golfers alike in getting the points across that are critical for accurate driver fitting. As with the first Search book, Search Driver is also written in a ‘breezy’ and oft humorous prose which is intended to better capture the attention of golfers.
Best of all is the fact that because of the success of the first Search book, all of the major booksellers are now committed to a far more visible promotion campaign for Search Driver. An introduction in October means that Search Driver will be a major part of each bookstore’s Christmas holiday promotions, and will occupy an up-front position on the bookstores’ coveted front table displays.
Remember – both Search books, along with the 12 Myths That Could Wreck Your Golf Game booklets, are all about educating golfers that what YOU offer is what THEY NEED. TWGT is completely committed to promoting custom fitting to golfers through YOU. No other supplier you deal with is working this hard for your business and starting to generate demand for your services. But custom clubmaking needs your help to keep building the momentum we’ve started.
Even if you’re not actively into promoting your clubmaking business, we ask you to do your part for all of clubmaking and fitting – if you have not been using The Search for the Perfect Golf Club or the 12 Myths booklets to promote custom fitting to golfers and to see how it does erase the power of the OEMs multi-million dollar marketing programs, TWGT asks you to do it for the good of the whole custom clubmaking industry.
And when October comes, you’ll have three such vehicles to get the message across!
How DOES a Variable Thickness Face Work?
Currently, TWGT offers two driver models and one iron design with a variable thickness face design as a performance enhancement for off-center hits. The 949MC drivers, the 915CFE drivers and the 770CFE irons are all manufactured with their own specific versions of a variable face thickness design and do demonstrate an amazing performance when impact happens off center.
To bring you up to speed and enable you to “talk the talk” with the golfers who visit your shop, TWGT would like to explain how a variable thickness face works and offer some insights into how we approach the task of using a variable thickness face design to squeeze more distance from golfers’ less than perfect swings.
First of all, a little history on high performance face design is in order to set the background. While titanium drivers came on the market in 1993-94, it was not until 1996-7 that head designers became aware of how titanium’s strength to elasticity property could be utilized to increase the COR (coefficient of restitution) of the face, and from that, increase the ratio of the golfer’s swing speed to ball velocity.
Ever heard of the term “smash factor?” Right. That’s the ratio of the swing speed to ball speed. Here’s a little information about what the smash factor limits are for any level of COR of the face:
And by the way, smash factor will not change with swing speed. So whether the golfer has a 60mph or 120+mph swing speed, for these COR levels, this is the limit for the smash factor for all swing speeds. The distance increase per each COR level is a different matter. Most definitely the higher the golfer’s swing speed, the more carry distance increase will be realized for each increment of COR increase in the face of a driver.
Once designers realized that the early titanium drivers were well short of reaching their potential for increasing the smash factor for all golfers, the quest began to determine how to design the face to do that. In this area, TWGT has a lot of experience, having begun its ongoing R&D on face design in 1997. However, when the USGA stepped in and set the COR limit at 0.830 in 1998, face design shifted its emphasis from ever-increasing the COR and smash factor to ever-increasing the performance of a 0.830 face for off-center impacts.
In the era of persimmon and laminated maple woodheads, research then showed that a 1” off-center impact would result in at least a 7% loss in carry distance compared to an on-center hit. At a carry distance of 200 yards, that meant 14 yards of carry distance lost for hitting the ball an inch off the center of the face. From where this loss comes is a dramatic lowering of the ball velocity due to, 1) no face flexing from a solid body, wooden wood, 2) dramatic head vibrations and energy loss from a much lower MOI of the wooden woods due to their small size.
When stainless metal woods first hit the game in the early 1980s, the carry distance loss from a 1” off-center hit dropped to about 5%. This reduction came from the small, but hollow stainless woods’ higher MOI over a solid wooden head. While the face of the early stainless woods did flex a little, in no way could it approach the amount of face flexing that a titanium face was capable of offering.
As titanium drivers became larger in size in the early 00’s, so too did their face height and face area. To keep the COR at the 0.830 limit, designers had to increase the thickness of the face. This brought the possibility of off center hits losing a little more distance than desired, because the thicker the face, the less the face could flex, especially as impact moved off the face center.
On hollow body clubheads, the maximum amount of face deflection can only occur in the geometric center of the face. Any point of impact other than the center of the face cannot flex the face as much and will experience a loss in carry distance. To help increase the ability of the face to flex a little more off center, in the late 90s designers began to experiment with a change in which the face was a little thicker in the center area than around the perimeter of the face.
However, this departure to a variable face thickness brought with it a whole new list of variables that had to be understood to be able to know how the face would perform for different areas of impact. With the center area of the face increased in thickness, would this reduce the distance from on center hits? For impacts off center would the boundary between thicker and thinner sections of the face cause a negative effect on the shot?
The concept of the variable thickness face is based on making the outer areas of the face so thin that the face would cave in if the entire face were made this thin – but by making the center area of the face a little thicker than what would create a COR of 0.830, impact anywhere on the thicker area would cause the thinner outer area of the face to enter into the face flexing action. Thus if designed correctly for the thickness and size of the thicker center area as well as thin-ness and size of the outer area for each different driver face size, the variable thickness face should keep the COR at the 0.830 limit in the very center of the face, and keep the face flexing reduction for off center hits as small as possible.
Sounds easy, doesn’t it? Actually it’s not because when you factor in the difference in each driver’s face size, shape and area, the shape and curve of the edges of the top, sides and sole of the head which meet the edges of the face, the loft, bulge, roll and what titanium alloy is being used to make the face, it can all get pretty complicated. Take the concept into flat faced irons where the loft from longest to shortest iron will change by some 30+ degrees and bring in the aspect of scorelines all the way across each face, you have an even greater challenge to be able to engineer and design the right combination of thick to thin dimensions and areas to allow the face to perform as envisioned by the designer.
In the TWGT line, the variable thickness design of the 915CFE and 949MC drivers are different from each other in thick to thin dimensions and area because the two driver models have different face shapes and sizes. For the 770CFE irons, which became the industry’s first iron with a variable thickness face designwhen they were introduced in 2005, the individual thick to thin dimensions/area for each iron face were not enough on their own to ensure the best in off center and on center hit performance. To keep the faces of the 770 irons from losing their ability to flex inward as loft increased through the set, TWGT had to change the steel alloy used in the face to combine with the change in variable thickness face design.
We believe from over eight years of experience in high performance clubface design, we are creating the best face designs for both on and off center hits. In the end, “the proof is in the pudding.” Golfers who play with a TWGT 915CFE, 949MC or 770CFE know how much our face design experience has helped their on and off center shot performance. For the rest of you who still have yet to experience the difference TWGT’s design experience can make. . . what are you waiting for??!!
Dare to Be Different? Sure thing, When There is a GReaT Reason!
In the late 1880s, purely by experimentation, trial and error, clubmakers from Scotland discovered the improvement in shotmaking that would come from filing the face of their woodheads with a radius from toe to heel. Horizontal bulge, as this toe to heel face curvature was called, opened the door for toe and heel shots to take off a little more to the right or left so the “gear effect” would keep such off center shots more in play.
It’s interesting to note that while the origin of horizontal bulge is well documented, the inclusion of the vertical face radius called roll is not. For whatever reason, shortly after clubmakers began to include a horizontal face radius on their woodheads, they also began to file a vertical roll radius on the faces as well.
And that’s how it has remained for over 120 years in woodhead design. . . until a company named Tom Wishon Golf Technology had the innovation and courage to take its woodhead design in a totally different direction – a direction that many clubmakers and golfers now know to be a GReaT direction! With the introduction of the 515GRT drivers in 2004, and followed by every TWGT woodhead model designed since then, all of the faces on Wishon Golf woodhead designs feature a version of the company’s unique Graduated Roll Technology (GRT).
The reason TWGT became the first company in over 120 years to deviate from the golf industry’s typical vertical roll design was to allow golfers to enjoy a much more consistent launch angle when a swing mistake resulted in a low face impact. Ever since the inclusion of the bulge and roll radii on wood faces, loft has always been measured at the very center of the face. As driver sizes grew to 460cc, the face height also increased. With the increase in driver face height to as much as 60mm (2.36”), the same 10-12” vertical roll radius has allowed the loft to range by as much as 6 degrees from the top to the bottom of the face.Over the years since the debut of TWGT’s first GRT face design, experience and testing has brought about slight variations in the way GRT face design is used for different driver designs. In addition, with the introduction of the 515GRT fairway woods in the winter of 2004 and on all successive new fairway models since then, TWGT has completely eliminated the roll radius.
The entire goal of TWGT’s GRT face design is to eliminate the inconsistency of how the vertical roll radius will change the loft angle up and down the face. Loft is HUGELY important for consistent distance – every golfer has to understand that basic technical point about clubhead design. If you encounter ANY golfer who doubts that TWGT’s departure from over 100 yrs of vertical face radius design is worthwhile, simply pose this comment and question and wait for a response. . . . . “since you know that loft is THE number one thing that controls launch angle and distance, and since loft on a woodhead is only measured in the very center of the face, on all woodheads with conventional roll up and down the face, are you good enough to be able to hit the ball time after time in an area of the face the size of a thumbtack?”
Graduated Roll Technology – a TWGT innovation which definitely makes Wishon Golf driver, woodhead and hybrid designs much more consistent for golfers to hit.
A ‘User Friendly’ Look at TWGT Shaft Fitting
In case we haven’t gotten the point across in our technical information, shaft fitting is 100% all about matching the swing characteristics of the golfer to the overall flex, bend profile and weight of the shaft. Just as there are “horses for courses”, shaft fitting is all about knowing what shafts are right and what shafts are wrong for the combination of the golfer’s swing speed + backswing to downswing transition + downswing tempo/acceleration and position of wrist-cock release on the downswing. To ignore the movements of the golf swing and how they affect the way any shaft bends and FEELS under the influence of the swing is to open the door for a trial and error shaft fitting that has far more chance of failure than success.
When TWGT designs its proprietary shafts, AND, when we establish the trimming instructions for each shaft, we have one and only one goal – to create an assortment of shaft designs which will match to different combinations of swing moves and be “golfer specific” in their fitting. In the past we have offered tons of information to help golfers learn more about matching swing moves to shaft design characteristics. This month, we wanted to keep the information flowing that will help you choose the right shaft for each golfer by offering a shaft to golfer type analysis.
1. ZT Technology Graphite Wood and Iron Shafts
2. InterFlexx High and Mid-Low Graphite Wood and Iron Shafts
3. Series 5-SL Graphite LightWeight and TourWeight Graphite Wood Shafts
4. Series 7 SUL and FL Graphite Wood Shafts
5. Series 9-RT Graphite Wood Shafts
6. GI-335 LightWeight and TourWeight Graphite Hybrid and Iron Shafts
7. Series 5 LightWeight Steel Wood and Iron Shafts
In shaft fitting, you must always:
By using this golfer specific approach, your shaft fitting will be much more successful.
Tom’s Blog - How the Golf Industry REALLY Works – A Common Sense Primer for Talking to Your Customers About Custom Fitting vs. Standard Made Brand Name Clubs
Ever since I have worked in the custom clubmaking side of the golf equipment industry, I have heard countless clubmakers ask me just how they can convince golfers that the clubs they build are as good as the big brand name clubs sold in countless golf stores, pro shops and now, through internet golf sites. Now that I know the real answer to this dilemma of clubmakers, it has become quite clear to me that every clubmaker who asks this question is completely unaware of the fact that what they really have to offer is FAR BETTER than any brand name golf club on the planet.
Let me tell you what I mean. Not too long ago I was wandering around a sporting goods store. When I walked through the tennis department, it was quite apparent that every one of the “brand name” rackets were displayed with no strings. In addition, each brand and model of racket on display was stocked in a variety of grip diameters. Why? Because racket makers have known for decades that not all tennis players can play with the same type or tension of strings, or with the same grip size. In the brand name tennis racket business there has never been such a thing as a “standard racket” for all players to buy and use off the rack.
Then I walked through the baseball and softball department. Row after row of bats were on display, offering ballplayers a wide range of selection in the length, weight, grip/handle diameter, and barrel diameter. Why? For many decades, bat makers have also known that one bat length, one bat weight, one grip diameter and barrel diameter cannot work well for all the sports’ participants. Once more, in the brand name bat business there is no such thing as a “standard bat” that all players can buy and use right off the rack.
I wandered a little farther into the store and noticed the sales staff starting to unpack the snow skis and get them ready for display during the fall and winter seasons. Out they came, skis in a variety of different lengths, none with a binding attached to hold the skier’s boots. Then came the ski poles, again, all made to different lengths by their manufacturer. Why? Because skiers cannot possibly ski well if they all use the same length of skis and poles. Due to the different weights and sizes of skiers, they also cannot use the same bindings to hold their boots secure to the skis. Again, in the brand name ski business there is no such thing as one size of skis, poles and bindings that fits all skiers.
So why the heck has the golf business evolved into offering all their clubs the same length, the same weights, the same face angle on the woods, the same lie angle, the same grip size with the only options being a narrow range in driver loft and one flex of shaft for women and three flexes for men – but all within in the same shaft weight model. Unlike just about any other sport, golf clubs have ALWAYS been made in standard, mass produced form. But, just like the people who play tennis, baseball, softball and ski, golfers also come in a wide variety of height, weight, strength, athletic ability, and of course, totally different swing characteristics. So why have golf clubs always been made as “one size fits all”?
Unfortunately, most golfers are totally oblivious to the difference between the golf equipment and other sports equipment industries. Golfers are blinded by multi-million dollar marketing programs which brainwash them to believe the best golf clubs for them are the brands and models they repeatedly see in magazine ads, television commercials and in the PGA pros’ bags. This brand name brainwashing has somehow made golfers totally oblivious to the fact that in every other “bat and ball” sport, custom fitting or rather, custom selection for the equipment’s performance specifications has been the mode of equipment selection for several decades.
The next time you encounter a golfer who is “brand name brainwashed” and casts a condescending eye toward the clubs you fit and build, tell him about this situation about the equipment offered to participants in the other sports and simply ask, “why are golf clubs immune to the same manner of custom selection and fitting that tennis, baseball, softball and skiing have always pursued in their equipment,” and wait for a response.
Who Else Works This Hard for Clubmakers?
Here’s the tip:
Here’s what has happened in my shop from July 1st
through August 7th.
Dave Kuiper, Custom Built Golf, Inc.
All eTECHreport (ISSN 1551-1103) articles
written by Tom Wishon unless otherwise noted. Please refrain
from unauthorized reproduction of text, photos, and/or graphics.