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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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What GolfWRXers have spent more money on – Drivers vs Putters

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In our forums, WRXer ‘2down’ has got our members talking about their purchase history and whether drivers or putters have taken more of their money. For ‘2down’ the answer is putters, who has a respectable seven flat-sticks sitting around his home, and our members divulge their history with drivers slightly edging it so far.

  • getitdaily: “Putters, but I change drivers more frequently…how does that make sense? When I change putters I will go through 7-10 of them until I find my bride. Then I stick with my bride for a while. I’ve had 2 brides…an old scotty newport beach studio stainless. Took about 10 putters to find it and then played it for like 12 years. Current bride is a spider tour plumbers neck. It’s been in the bag for 1.5 years now. Took about 8 putters to get to it, including a somewhat long term relationship with a 2ball fang. Since 1996 I think I’ve had 10 drivers total. 4 in the last 4 years.”
  • platgof: “I would say 24 drivers and 12 putters thereabouts. Took a long time to find what I wanted. I am still looking all the time though, it’s a disease, totally incurable. Now it is the wedges, and the SM7’s have my eye for now!”
  • CDLgolf: “Thats a really good question. At the moment I have 4 putters and 2 drivers. Over the last 25 years I’d have to say I’ve bought more drivers.”
  • Ray Jackson: “Definitely drivers as have used the same putter for at least the last 5 years. In that time frame I’ve probably had 4 drivers.”
  • dekez: “Drivers for sure. I go 6 – 7 years before even thinking about a putter switch.”

Entire Thread: “Your history – Drivers vs Putters”

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Whats in the Bag

WITB Time Machine: Phil Mickelson WITB, 2016 Waste Management Phoenix Open

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  • Equipment is accurate as of the Waste Management Phoenix Open (2016).

Driver: Callaway XR 16 Sub Zero (8.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Fubuki J 60 X (tipped 1 inch, 45.5 inches)

3-wood: Callaway X Hot 3 Deep (13 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Fubuki J 70 X (tipped 1.5 inches)

Hybrid: Callaway Apex (18 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana S Hybrid 100 TX

Utility iron: Callaway Apex UT (21 degrees)
Shaft: KBS Tour-V 125

Irons: Callaway Apex Pro ’16 (5-PW)
Shafts: KBS Tour-V 125

Wedges: Callaway Mack Daddy PM Grind Wedge (56-13, 60-10, 64-10)
Shafts: KBS Tour-V 125

Putter: Odyssey “Phil Mickelson” Blade
Grip: Odyssey by SuperStroke JP40

Ball: Callaway Chrome Soft (2016)

Grip: Golf Pride MCC Black/White

WITB Notes: Mickelson uses the rearward weight setting in his XR 16 Sub Zero driver.

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Greatest Adams hybrids of all time

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It’s almost impossible that, over the past decade, you or someone you played golf with didn’t own an Adams hybrid. The fact that they can still be found in the bags of players on the PGA Tour demonstrates the kind of cult-like dedication some players have to those clubs.

They were in everyone’s bags—from low handicaps to golfers just trying to break 100. Simply, Adams was hybrids in the early-to-mid 2000s. In an age when many would still call them “cheater” or “old man” clubs, Adams pushed the envelope of design and ushered in a new era of small, workable-yet-forgiving, anti-left clubs.

Adams was also one of the first companies to do exclusive combo sets off the rack for better players with the initial Idea Pros and then later with the Idea Pro Golds. It’s a common practice now, but at the time it was revolutionary.

Here is a list of some of Adams’ all-time great hybrid designs.

Original Idea Pro – 2008

This is the one that started it all. After going through a number of tour issue prototypes leading up to the retail release, the Idea Pro had a lot of buzz, and it delivered. It wasn’t that other companies weren’t producing hybrids at the time, but the sheer popularity of the Adams outweighed what others had in the market thanks to it working its way to become the number one hybrid on the PGA Tour. It also came stock with an 80g Aldila VS Proto Hybrid shaft that was directly aimed at better players, and considering the aftermarket price of the shaft on its own, it made the Idea Pro a no brainer for those looking to replace harder-to-hit longer irons.

XTD – 2014

This was the final hybrid ever made by Adams and was packed with technology: all-titanium construction, crown, and sole slots for greater face deflection and ball speed—along with an adjustable hosel. TaylorMade had taken over ownership at this point and engineers at Adams took advantage by using the proprietary TaylorMade adjustable sleeve—this allowed for more shaft options for many golfers that had used TaylorMade hybrids in the past.

The entire XTD line from Adams was premium by design and from the driver to the hybrid, offered real-deal shafts and tight quality control. This is still a hard club to beat.

Idea XTD Super Hybrid Ti – 2012

You could argue the 2012 Super Hybrid XTD was the original bomber hybrid. Thanks to the multi-material titanium construction, it produced a higher-than-expected launch, along with exceptionally low spin. For faster players, this was a perfect control club off the tee and easily replaced a 5-wood (in the 19 degree). Don’t believe it? Check out this historic review from the GolfWRX Archives: GolfWRX.com – Adams Super Hybrid Review (2012)

Super 9031 – 2013

The Super 9031 was released the year after the original Idea Pro Blacks and featured an updated white paint job along with a technology upgrade that included both sole and crown slots for faster ball speeds compared to the original (hence the “Super” designation). It has a high toe, flatter lie angle, and open appearance from address—something better players love! Although I should attempt to be unbiased, I will admit that not only did I love these hybrids, but I still hold a place in one of my travel bags.

It’s not just me that has a sweet spot for the Super 9031, you can still find these in the bag of PGA Tour player Brian Gay.

Boxer A3 Idea – 2007

You might be wondering that after all of the others on the list, how the A3 earned its spot. Well, it’s quite simple. Just before the launch of the Idea Pro, the A3 and A3OS (oversized) were massive sellers at the retail level. The sets offered classicly shaped irons alongside easy-to-hit hybrid clubs into the longer clubs. Although never marketed towards better players, it did have a bit of a cult following to the point that even Vijay Singh was using one during the 2008 season in replacement of a 5-wood. They came stock with Grafalloy ProLaunch Red hybrid shafts and in both right and left-handed to outfit almost any player.

GolfWRXers, did you have any of these clubs? Check out the Cult Classic Clubs Discussion in the GolfWRX.com forums.

 

 

 

 

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