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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

That one time Tiger switched driver shafts and NOBODY noticed

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It seems like pretty much everyone on the planet has an idea of what clubs Tiger has in play at any given moment. Especially now in the age of social media. However, his bag was still analyzed and tracked immensely from the beginning of his arrival on the golf scene. Point is, when the guy switches anything out, the world will know.

But did you know that, during the 2002 and into the 2003 season, he switched driver shafts? It was a pretty substantial switch too, but it fell completely under the radar. As a Tiger junkie myself, I noticed it, but in those days 1) The internet wasn’t what it is today and 2) I was bartending in Newport Beach and didn’t have access to info like I do today. So, it went in my Tiger vault…until now.

Always known to have a True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shaft in his driver, Tiger and the Nike team wanted something a bit lighter, all while maintaining the stiffness profile of his X100.

We now introduce you to the 118-gram DGSLX100 Tiger Proto (a stock Dynamic Gold X100 shaft is 130 grams).

UNITED STATES – OCTOBER 28: Tiger Woods (Photo by Stan Badz/PGA)

A complete one-off made specifically for Tiger Woods. If you look at the pictures you will see an unfamiliar step pattern that starts off a bit wide towards the handle but gets progressively closer down towards the tip section. Basically, the step pattern (diameters) dropped lower to keep stiffness across the board.

“That’s the shaft we used to get him out of Titleist 975D and into Nike Blue 275cc driver in 2002.” – Anonymous Nike source

In theory, this was Tiger accepting the fact that he was going to have to get used to the feeling of a lighter shaft to begin the inevitable transition into graphite, which ultimately happened for good in 2004.

With the mystery of his bag completely gone these days with minute-to-minute reporting, I thought it kind of nice to still have a couple of nuggets to discover.

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GolfWRX Spotlight: Precision Pro NX7 Pro Slope rangefinder

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If you are looking for a premium full-feature laser range finder at a price normally reserved for more entry-level units, the PrecissionPro NX7 Pro Slope is exactly what you are looking for. Clear optics, easy-to-use, pulse vibration targeting, and last but not least: Free batteries for life. You heard that right, for as long as you own the rangefinder, Precision Pro will make sure you never run out of juice on the course.

NX7 Pro Slope features

Generally, a product that fits into the affordable category has to compromise along the way to meet a certain price point. With the NX7 Pro Slope from Precision Pro, you don’t have to compromise to get everything you would want from a top-of-the-line rangefinder at a less-than-top-of-the-line price.

The NX7 has pulse vibration, which notifies the user the laser has locked onto the target. Having used a lot of other rangefinders in the past, I always thought of a “pulse” as being a bit of a redundant feature to someone with experience using a rangefinder. I was completely indifferent but was quickly proven wrong! To me, the pulse is just the extra reassurance to know that I am locked onto the flag instead of something behind. The NX7 Pro Slope does this with a priority target acquisition process to make sure you are getting the flag and not a tree behind the intended target.

As the name would lead you to believe, the NX7 Pro Slope comes with a slope feature that can be turned on and off for casual mapping of a course or competition—just be sure to check with any tournament committee for conformity during an event. It’s easy to see both the measured and calculated distances in the viewfinder without ever being cluttered.

The extras

Each rangefinder comes with a well-made protective case that allows you to store the unit either on the outside of your bag or tucked away for safekeeping during travel to and from the course. Although it seems like a small feature, details matter, and having the case latch with a mini elastic cord makes getting the rangefinder out just that much easier—no need to zip and unzip 40 times per round.

The rangefinder also comes with a cleaning cloth, pre-installed battery—and don’t forget those batteries for life. All you need to do is register your rangefinder and go through the form on the Precision Pro website.

For $289, it’s one of the best buys in the rangefinder market.

 

 

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Bettinardi collaborates with Scottie Pippen to create limited-edition authentic jersey putter covers

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Bettinardi has collaborated with six-time NBA Champion and Chicago Bulls Legend, Scottie Pippen to create limited Home, Road, and Alternate authentic jersey headcovers ahead of this weekend’s NBA All-Star game.

Pippen is the only NBA player to have won an NBA title and Olympic gold medal in the same year twice (1992, 1996), and just 33 of the covers have been made by Bettinardi – which are constructed from the NBA star’s own authentic jersey collection making each cover unique.

The covers feature the seven-time NBA All-Star’s iconic number 33, his signature stitched across the underbelly and also the Hex B logo.

The covers will be available to purchase in the Hive at Noon CST on Saturday. Bettinardi will also have a special USA “Dream Team” 1992 cover (only 8 made) due to release at the same time.

Also look out for a special “All-Star”  giveaway which will be unveiled on Bettinardi’s Instagram page on Sunday.

 

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