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Latest patent filings: Sound-tuning, sound-analysis and adjustable irons

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It’s been a few months since we took a peek at the technologies major OEMs are working on. In an ever-increasingly competitive space amid an industry in contraction, OEMs seem to be digging deeper and going bolder to attract consumers (Callaway’s driver with a spoiler from the July edition of this series comes to mind here).

In a survey of what’s recently been made available for public consumption, that trend continues.

Let’s take a look at how our friends in Fairhaven, Carlsbad, Fort Worth and Phoenix are pushing the envelope.

TaylorMade: Multi-layer face insert

Golf club head - TMAG

TaylorMade is working on a driver with a multi-layer face insert that includes the prepreg plies technology we discussed in a previous installment in this series. The filing also makes mention of an “undercut fill structure,” which “can include at least three ribs equidistantly spaced from each other.”

TaylorMade: Contrast-enhanced club heads

Contrast-enhanced golf club heads - TMAG

TMag is also looking at “contrast enhanced” crowns. As the company’s filing states, “new approaches that permit more accurate and repeatable alignment are needed.” The filing also makes clear that the both black and white crowns are being developed.

Callaway: Adjustable iron-type golf club head

Adjustable iron-type golf club head

Callaway is exploring a highly adjustable iron head. As you can see from the image above, multiple sections can be adjusted. The filing refers to “features that allow for the adjustment of the principal moment of inertia angle and/or turf interaction, including an adjustable weight cartridge or an adjustable sole plate and a lightweight face.”

Callaway: Multi-material putter

Multiple material putter-CALLY

The Carlsbad-based company is also working on a “multiple material putter having a high moment of inertia and a low center of gravity,” according to another filing.

The filing further states: “Most putters are constructed in such a way that the head is made from a single type of parent material, such as steel. There is a need for putters that have increased moments of inertia and low centers of gravity.”

Titleist: A workable and forgiving iron

Set of golf clubs-Titleist

Moving on to Titleist’s R&D efforts: The company is continuing to work on cavity-backed players irons that offer more forgiveness and more workability at the same time. A lengthy paragraph from the filing lays this out in detail.

Previous game improvement club heads have relatively higher MOI-Y, at the expense of a higher MOI-SA because they are relatively large. Generally, better players have a tendency to prefer golf clubs having a lower MOI-SA so that they can control the orientation of the club head throughout the swing with greater ease….There remains a need in the art for an improved iron-type golf club. In particular, there is a need for an iron-type golf club that provides a lower MOI-SA in combination with a higher MOI-Y.

Titleist: Optimizing club heads for sound

Golf club head optimized for sound-Titleist

Titleist is also working on a driver that’s sound is “is aesthetically pleasing when the golf club head impacts the golf ball.” The filing indicates that today’s large, flat driver typically produce lower frequency sounds, which golfers, according to Titleist, don’t like.

Ping: Tuneable everything

Club head sets with varying characteristics and related methods-PING

The denizens of Phoenix are toying with irons with multiple adjustable weights, as a recent filing makes mention of. The filing further suggests that loft can be tinkered with.

Nike: Actually analyzing impact through soundImpact and sound analysis for golf equipment-NIKE

If you remember the “microwavable golf ball” Nike applied for a patent that we mentioned a few months ago, then this might not surprise you: Nike is working on technology to analyze impact sound to “determine one or more characteristics of the impact, and generating an output based on the determined impact characteristic.”

What does that mean? A few paragraphs in the filing sheds a little light on what Nike’s up to:

“The amplitudes and frequencies of the audio signal may be analyzed to determine various characteristics such as a magnitude of compression of the golf ball, an impact location on the surface and/or a speed with which the surface impacts the golf ball.

“The determined characteristics may be used, in some arrangements, to determine a golf ball impact location on the surface of the golf club head. Alternatively or additionally, the characteristics may be used to identify a type of golf ball best suited for a particular user (and/or, e.g., golf club head speed). In yet other arrangements, the determined characteristics, such as golf ball compression, may be used to insure the quality of a golf ball.

“According to other aspects, a mobile communication device may be configured to detect golf ball impact sounds and to determine the various impact characteristics. In one example, a mobile communication device may record the sound of a golf ball impact and to visually indicate the golf ball impact location against a golf club head.”

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15 Comments

15 Comments

  1. Joe Golfer

    Oct 16, 2014 at 1:13 am

    Ralph Maltby of Golfworks has been selling irons for quite some time that have adjustable weights in the heel and toe.
    I think their latest is the Maltby KE4 iron head, which can be seen at the Golfworks site.
    I’m not advocating it, as I don’t know anyone who has ever tried one.
    I’m just saying that adjustable irons in this weighting respect have existed already for many years now.

  2. Archie Bunker

    Oct 14, 2014 at 4:26 pm

    These patents are technically worthless, and only provide marketing direction to sell more product. I can only imagine the absurd claims that will be made for these “breakthroughs” in the future.

  3. nikkyd

    Oct 12, 2014 at 8:39 pm

    I like the adjustable bounce on the callys. I was just thinking that the other day. Why couldnt a guy weld a flange on the sole of an old set of blades ? Callaway has done it. Bravo.

  4. BigBoy

    Oct 12, 2014 at 6:31 pm

    the sheer stupidity of manufacturers today, it knows no bounds to that stupidity.

  5. Tom

    Oct 12, 2014 at 11:50 am

    From the looks of the design concepts, it would appear that there is more on the clubs that can break or fall off.

  6. Jay

    Oct 12, 2014 at 10:47 am

    Adjustable irons are ridiculous. Get fit for length,loft and lie and call it good. More does not equal better.

  7. moses

    Oct 11, 2014 at 8:18 pm

    Hmmm. If only the USGA would let us have COR .860 it would save the golf equipment industry for the next 10 years.

    • No

      Oct 12, 2014 at 2:50 am

      No, it wouldn’t. It would make it worse.

      • Joe Golfer

        Oct 16, 2014 at 1:08 am

        @No
        the comment by @Moses was meant to be sarcastic.

  8. Shelton Cooper

    Oct 11, 2014 at 7:38 pm

    So Nike will just be using the Mizuno harmonic impact technology then. Does Mizuno not have a patent on that already?

    • Josh

      Oct 11, 2014 at 7:52 pm

      That is different. Mizuno’s tech is about making the feel and sound good to the player. Nike’s idea is about actually determining where the ball hit on the club face or how much compression a player got from the ball. From what it reads it sounds like it will be an app based on sound. So instead of using impact tape or a high speed camera to determine where the ball hit on the face, the app will determine it based on the impact sound.

      • RAT

        Oct 11, 2014 at 9:23 pm

        I can do this myself. I can tell by sound and feel that it was a good strike or not.

    • MHendon

      Oct 11, 2014 at 9:49 pm

      Patents have become a joke and are virtually worthless.

      • 1badbadger

        Oct 18, 2014 at 4:18 am

        I think some of these IDEAS are a joke, but patents can be very valuable. Golf equipment companies will aggressively protect their intellectual property, and if a competitor infringes on another manufacturer’s patents the settlements can be in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

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Equipment

GolfWRX Spotted: 2021 Mizuno ST-Z and ST-X drivers on USGA Conforming List

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When it comes to drivers, Mizuno isn’t usually the company that comes to the top of mind for many golfers, but starting with the ST-190, and then the ST-200 series in 2020, they have quickly changed the perception of their metal woods thanks to wins on tour and more players choosing to put them in play—most recently Brandt Snedeker as a non-contracted player.

This morning, with the update of the USGA and R&A conforming equipment lists, we are getting a sneak peek at what Mizuno will have in store for 2021 with the release of the ST-Z and ST-X drivers.

What we know

Based on the information provided in the USGA submission by Mizuno, the ST-X will only be available in right-handed (10.5 and 12-degree lofts), while the ST-Z will be available in both right (9.5  and 10.5 degrees) and left-handed (9.5 degrees only).

ST-Z

Based on the images from the USGA list and our experience with the Mizuno product line, it appears that the ST-Z is the next step in the evolution of the standard ST200 with no adjustable CG but with a customizable weight in the back of the head.

We haven’t seen any images of a moveable weight driver in this new ST series, so it could be that the G-woods are getting phased out in favor of more internally biased weighting, but since those types of drivers often take a bit more time to get just right, it could be a matter of time before a “G” type driver hits the list.

As for technology, it has Mizuno’s standard wave to create flexibility behind the face, an adjustable hosel, and based on the images, more carbon fiber used around the head compared to previous generations, especially on the sole. I would also expect to hear a new face material or design story to complete the package and to boost MOI and ball speed.

ST-X

Based on the image from the USGA list and our experience, it appears that the ST-X is the next step in the evolution of the ST200-X driver, which is the lighter weight, more upright, and draw-biased driver from Mizuno. Don’t think draw bias always means it’s for higher handicaps either, because Mizuno staff player Chris Kirk got along very nicely with his out on the Korn Ferry and PGA Tours in 2020, including a win.

The tell-tale sign is the more heel biased weight in the back of the driver and what looks to be some sort of textured area to create “visible technology” towards the heel of the clubhead.

Beyond being draw-biased, when it comes to technology, it shares a lot of similarities to the ST-Z with Mizuno’s standing wave to create flexibility behind the face, an adjustable hosel, and more carbon fiber used around the head compared to previous generations, especially on the sole, and in the case of the ST-X, on the sole.

We don’t have any information on the release of these new drivers, but considering Mizuno didn’t adjust product release schedules in 2020, I would imagine it will be doing the same in 2021, and we can expect to hear more about these ST drivers either late 2020 or early into 2021.

To see what other golfers are saying about the newly spotted Mizuno ST-Z and ST-X drivers, check out the GolfWRX forums and join the discussion: GolfWRX – New Mizuno drivers spotted on USGA Conforming List

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Equipment

5 hybrid vs 5 iron – GolfWRXers discuss

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In our forums, our members have been discussing the logic behind removing their 5 iron from their bag. WRXer ‘rwl’ asks whether any fellow members have experiences doing so, and WRXers have been sharing their thoughts and experiences in our forum.

Here are a few posts from the thread, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.

  • RobertL.: “I replaced my 5 iron with a 5 hybrid. I find it far easier to hit than my 5 iron. I also took my 6 iron out of the bag, so now my longest iron is a 7. I now carry a 3, 4, and 5 hybrid since they’re so much easier to hit than long irons. Makes a big difference for this senior golfer.”
  • JohnKHawk: “For last 2 seasons I’ve played with a Cobra F9 5 hybrid. It’s 24 degrees & gaps perfectly between Cobra OS 3-4 hybrid at 20.5 degrees & Apex19 6 iron which is 26.5 degrees. The 5 iron was just getting to be to undependable. Misses with the 5 hybrid were more playable than the 5 iron. Use what works best for your game.”
  • Abe21599: “Never a bad idea to have both a 5i and 5h options in the trunk, just gotta watch lofts.”
  • nitram: “I know it sounds so “old man” but if you want to make a change in your 5-iron slot and can’t seem to get along with a hybrid, give the 9-wood a try. You may be pleasantly surprised.”

Entire Thread: “5 hybrid vs 5 iron”

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Whats in the Bag

Jason Kokrak’s winning WITB: 2020 CJ Cup

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Driver: TaylorMade SIM (9 degrees @8.5)
Shaft: Accra TZ5 85 M5 Proto 

3-wood: TaylorMade M5 (15 degrees @14.5)
Shaft: Project X HZRDUS Smoke 80

Irons: PXG 0311T Gen2 (3-PW)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100

Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM8 (52-12F, 56-14F, 60-08M)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400

Putter: Bettinardi Studio Stock 38

  • F.I.T. Face
  • 303 Stainless Steel
  • 358 grams

Grip: SuperStroke Pistol GTR 1.0

(Image c/o Bettinardi)

Grips: Golf Pride MCC Black/White

Ball: Titleist Pro V1

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WITB

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