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Show Stoppers: Day 3 at the PGA Merchandise Show

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Team GolfWRX is in Orlando to be your eyes and ears at the 2015 PGA Merchandise Show.

Enjoy our last edition of “Show Stoppers” — the newest, coolest products we found at Demo Day and inside the Orange County Convention Center.

Cleveland Wedge Analyzer Powered by Swingbyte

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In the realm of golf club fitting, wedges are far and away the most complicated. There’s so many variables to consider: loft, bounce, a golfer’s swing, the course conditions, etc.

Cleveland’s new Wedge Fitting App works in tandem with SwingByte to make the fitting process painfully simple.

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To get fit for a wedge, all golfers have to do is select their course conditions and make a swinging motion of their choice (chipping, pitching, a flop shot, etc.) with a club equipped with SwingByte.

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The free app uses an algorithm based on angle of attack and several other variables to recommend one of Cleveland’s three different wedge grinds, and can also recommend wedge lofts based on what set of irons a golfer plays.

Cool Clubs S3 Shaft Analyzer

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Scottsdale-based custom club fitter Cool Clubs hopes to make shaft fitting simpler with its new S3 Shaft Analyzer, which measures every important shaft parameter — straightness, consistency, deflection, stiffness profiles, frequency, torque and more — on a single machine in just 2.5 minutes.

The S3 was designed and built by Cool Clubs, and the company has published data of more than 1000 driver shafts on its mobile app.

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The app is free, but gearheads will want to pay $20 for a 1-year subscription that unlocks all of Cool Clubs’s shaft data.

The company plans to perform similar tests to each shaft category going forward.

Puma shoes, a block of ice and Blair O’Neal

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Puma’s new TitanTour shoes are designed to keep your feet cool, but we’re not sure the shoe – or even the ice sculpture shoe display – can cool down Cobra-Puma brand ambassador Blair O’Neal.

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The shoes are designed to regulate temperature by using Outlast Certified Space Technology — designed for NASA to manage temperature in spacesuits  — which explains the astronaut mannequin trying to photobomb our photo of Blair.

To learn more about the TitanTour shoes, click here.

Epson M-Tracer MT500GII

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Epson’s M-Tracer MT500GII is the latest in the fast-growing category of lightweight, affordable golf swing analyzers.

The M-Tracer weighs a featherlite 15 grams and a built-in inertial measurement unit, derived from Epson’s industrial sensors, providing golfers with detailed information about their club head speed, swing tempo, face angle, club path and more.

The device is part of Epson’s new Active product category, a line of sports and fitness devices that the Japanese electronics company has developed to give athletes accurate, easy-to-understand data on their performance.

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The M-Tracer measures the swing at 1,000 samples per second and uses bluetooth to wirelessly transmit swing data to iOS and Android devices. It works with Epson’s M-Tracer app to create a 3D “trace” of the club head, further in-depth analysis and allows golfers to store up to 3,000 swings of a golfer’s swings in the cloud, according to Epson representatives.

The device will be available March 15 at endorser David Leadbetter’s Academies and through Epson’s website for $299.

Mitsubishi Rayon KuroKage XT

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The prototype shaft Mitsubishi Rayon shaft used by Adam Scott and Rory McIlroy is coming to retail.

It’s called the Kuro Kage XT and is manufactured in the company’s Toyohashi facility in Japan with a higher grade carbon fiber material that gives the shaft less torque and a stiffer tip than Mitsubishi’s Kuro Kage Silver TiNi shaft.

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The KuroKage XT (bottom) has an ion-plated finish.

It will be available in April and will sell for $400.

Sam PuttLab 

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There’s a few scratch golfers on the GolfWRX team, but the putting analysis and training system made the SAM PuttLab exhibitor say “Yikes” to our strokes.

The new Sam PuttLab 5, which uses ultrasound technology and algorithms to track the movement of your putter head, now allows the golfer or fitter to watch a 3D replay (below) of the stroke. It’s like watching your stroke on TV – even though some of GolfWRX’s putting strokes were made for radio.

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SAM’s new PuttLab App also allows users use their smartphone as a remote control for the PC software and share their data results on social media.

Always wanted a PuttLab? The company has a PGA Show discount running through Feb. 15, which gives consumers a $500 discount and free shipping. Sam PuttLabs start at $6,495.

Full 2015 PGAM Coverage

Show Stoppers: Demo Day
Show Stoppers: Day 2
Show Stoppers: Day 3

Visit our 2015 PGAM forum to see all the photos and discussion.

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13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. Lee H.

    Jan 28, 2015 at 12:59 am

    That Cleveland wedge analyzer was right on point when I tried it at the show. It validated what I knew all along about my swing, which is that I sweep the ball. Therefore, it recommended their 1-dot wedges (something with less bounce), which also helps with the playing conditions I play in.

    Also, I would like to mention that the new version of the Srixon Z-Star that was given to me at the show has noticeably more spin on it than the 2013-2014 version. Those with swing speeds under 105, I’m 92, will appreciate the better feel of the ball and increased spin.

  2. Glen Coombe

    Jan 26, 2015 at 6:08 pm

    We’re happy to have made the news! SAM PuttLab & BalanceLab are constantly being improved. Our new 3D replay is very exciting. I combined both technologies with my Putting Perfection Platform to great reviews… By those who experienced it.

    Check the Putters forum for more info.

  3. Lane

    Jan 26, 2015 at 4:25 pm

    The name for this article came from someone that stumbled on the new show at the Wynn casino in Las Vegas. At least that’s the first thing that came to mind. Show Stoppers. It’s being advertised all over in Vegas

  4. Lane

    Jan 26, 2015 at 4:24 pm

    The name for this article came from someone that stumbled on the new show at Wynn

  5. Dolpglundgrenade

    Jan 26, 2015 at 2:23 pm

    Seriously? So nothing. There was nothing new or interesting to the average wrx reader? I guess you should skip putting this up and focus on other fun and interesting facts about the show because this is s###. C’ mon man.

  6. JEFF

    Jan 26, 2015 at 2:19 pm

    This is what’s boring golfers into doing something different. I’m a golfer and ready to take up bowling after reading about this crap!

  7. Jacko

    Jan 24, 2015 at 6:55 am

    Boring… Any chane of something useful, the “hype” of this golf show is such a disappointment, when will people realise the only way to improve at this sport is to actually have some ability, work hard on your game and understand what you are capable of mentally on the golf course! Shaft and wedge analysers ?? … ZZZZ

    • Rich

      Jan 26, 2015 at 8:06 am

      Please see my comment below. You need to look more closely at the pictures my friend.

  8. Philip Kim

    Jan 23, 2015 at 6:29 pm

    Kuro Kage XT? Sweeet

  9. Jay

    Jan 23, 2015 at 5:44 pm

    Wow. Four swing analyzers and a pair of shoes. That’s all you got? Snooze…..

  10. austin

    Jan 23, 2015 at 2:28 pm

    Big fan of what blair is doing

  11. bob

    Jan 23, 2015 at 12:58 pm

    well, that was boring.

    • Rich

      Jan 23, 2015 at 4:07 pm

      Are you kidding. Did you see Blair O’neil?

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Equipment

What GolfWRXers are saying about the best “5-woods under $125”

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@golfexchangeapp

In our forums, our members have been discussing 5-woods, with WRXer ‘gary3aces’ looking for a 5-wood for between $100 and $125. He’s looking to replace his current “M2 5 wood with something a little easier to hit”, and our members have been discussing the best options 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.

  • C6 Snowboarder: “Take a look at a used Callaway Heavenwood in the Epic Flash model = pretty Friggen sweet. It is Heaven!”
  • Golf64: “Bang for the buck, hard to beat Cobra, but find Ping one of the easiest to hit off the deck. Since you are limited in the funds dept., maybe an older model Ping 5W would do the trick?!”
  • tilasan1: “G400 7 wood turned down or just use it as is.”
  • jbandalo: “Fusion fairways. Highly underrated, cheap, easy to hit and go for miles.”
  • RyanBarathWRX: “PING G fairway would be hard to beat and easily in price range:
  • Nelson.br.1515: “Another vote for the Callaway Big Bertha Fusion. Great stick!”

Entire Thread: Best 5-woods under $125″

 

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What GolfWRXers are saying about “blending Ping i500 irons with Blueprints”

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In our forums, WRXer ‘ballywho27’ has asked for thoughts on combining his current Ping i500 irons with the brand’s Blueprint irons. ‘Ballywho27’ is considering going “i500 in 3-4 iron and blueprint 5-W” and has asked for fellow member’s thoughts on the idea – who have been sharing their takes 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.

  • jblough99: “I had a combo set for a minute, 3-5 I500 and 6-PW Blueprint. I could not get used to the transition, HUGE difference in looks at address. If I had it to do over I would just go 4-PW Blueprint and maybe a 3 I500 with graphite shaft as a driving, iron.”
  • animalgolfs: “iBlade{5i} – BP{6i-pw}. That’s my combo.”
  • Chunky: “I have i500 4-5 and Blueprints 6-PW. As mentioned above, there is a significantly different look at address. More importantly for me, the i500s are 1/2 to 1 club longer than the BPs (they fly much higher, too). Make sure you account for that added i500 distance when blending lofts or you’ll have a large gap.”
  • howeber: “I’ve done that exact set — 3 and 4 i500 and 5-PW Blueprint. It’s perfect for me since the 3 and 4 are more like a traditional 2 and 3.5. 4 is usually the longest iron I carry, so I like a little extra oomph out of it. At the end of the day though, when I finally tested them vs my MP4s, the Blueprints performed identically, while the i500 launched a little higher (same specs same shafts). Mizzys are still in the bag.”

Entire Thread: “Blending Ping i500 irons with Blueprints”

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GolfWRX Vault: Avoid these 5 club building disasters

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It’s never too late to go back to basics, especially when it comes to club building.

Even with modern new club release cycles the do’s and don’ts of building clubs haven’t changed much in the last few decades except for clubs with adapter sleeves and greater amounts of multi-materials incorporated into the design.

With that in mind its time to revisit an article from the GolfWRX Vault from June 2016.

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I’ve been fitting and building golf clubs for more than 15 years, and in that time I’ve seen a lot of really poor workmanship—stuff that would make most GolfWRXers cringe. But like anyone who ever did anything new, I didn’t start being naturally good at putting together clubs. It took a lot of time, ruined components, and trial and error to get where I am today.

I believe my attention to detail now stems from the fact that my dad was a machinist by trade, and anytime we ever worked on something together his attitude was to take your time and do it right the first time. My dad’s approach always had an impact on me, because I feel that if you do something right — even when it takes a bit longer — the job is not only more satisfying but also makes things work better and last longer.

The goal with this article is to help WRXers avoid the most common mistakes and assumptions in club building that lead to broken or ruined clubs, as well as real danger.

Over-prepping a graphite shaft

The shaft on the left has been prepped properly. The one of the right, which has noticeable taper, shows signs that layers of graphite have been removed.

This happens far more than it should, and can ruin an expensive new shaft purchase. To prepare a shaft properly for installation, you only need to remove enough of the paint to make sure that the epoxy adheres to the graphite. This is also true for the inside of the hosel.

Be careful to remove residual epoxy, dirt or rust (common with forged carbon steel club heads that have been sitting around for a while), or some type or solvent like the one used to put on grips, as it can cause of bond to break down very quickly. A proper reaming tool, a wire brush and some compressed air (either a small can or a large air compressor) can make cleaning simple, and prevent a golf club from falling apart.

UPDATE: Over prepping specifically applies to shafts that are designed to go into parallel heads and is especially important for 335 shafts with less material at the tip going into drivers and fairway woods. For information on how to properly taper a shaft to go into a tapered head, check out the video below:

Overheating a Shaft When Pulling it

This is what happens to a graphite shaft when overheated.

This is what happens to a graphite shaft when overheated, and the resin holding the graphite sheets together breaks down. It’s not always as noticeable, but if the shaft starts to fray it means the bonds have been compromised and it’s more likely to fail. 

Overheating a shaft when pulling it is another common mistake that can result in ruining a golf shaft. It also highly increases the chance of breakage. There are quite a few methods I’ve learned over the years to remove a shaft from a club head, from heat guns to large propane torches, but personally I find that using a small butane torch with a regulator for graphite offers the best results. It allows a club builder to easily control and focus the heat only where it’s needed. Bigger torches are fine for iron heads, as long as you don’t damage any plastic badges in the cavity or materials in slots around the head.

One of the best advances in club technology has been the invention and mass adoption of adjustable hosels. They not only help golfers adjust the loft, lie and face angle of club heads, but have also greatly decreased the need to pull shafts. So as long as a golfer is staying with the same metal wood manufacturer, they can usually test several different clubs heads with the same shaft, or vice versa — several different shafts with the same clubhead.

That being said, one of the most important tools that any hobbyist club builder should have or have access to is a high-quality shaft puller. It’s a necessary tool for anyone who wants to do repairs and helps prevent damage to a shaft while pulling it. The more linear pressure that can be applied to the clubhead, and the less heat used to break down the epoxy, the better. It makes sure both the shaft and the head are reusable in the future. For steel shafts, you can use a bit more heat, and twisting isn’t a problem. Again, with increased heat, be careful not to damage any of the badging, or permanently discolor an iron head.

Botching a Grip Installation

Using calipers and two-sided tape, you can replicate the taper of shafts to makes every grip feel exactly the same size in your set.

Using calipers and two-sided tape, you can replicate the taper of shafts to makes every grip feel exactly the same size in your set.

This one seems simple, but when really getting down to professional level detail, it is quite important. We ALL have a preference and different opinion of what feels good in a golf grip, as well as different sensitivities. For example, we all have the ability to figure out what apple is bigger, even if blindfolded because over time we all develop brain function to understand shapes and sizes. This also applies to grips. If you use the same grips on your 13 clubs, you could potentially have 4-5 different final sizes depending on how many different types of shafts you use, because many shafts have different butt diameters.

Some shafts have larger butt diameters, while others taper faster than others. That’s why it’s very important to own a quality set of vernier calipers, and know how to properly use them. It’s also the same for putters, since many putter shafts are smaller in diameter. I have lost count of how many times I’ve had people bring me, putters, where the bottom half of the grip is twisting and turning because the installer never paid attention to the interior diameter of the grip, the exterior diameter of the shaft, and how it changed from top to bottom.

Using epoxy that’s doomed to fail

An example of epoxy that although not completely set, is no longer safe for assembling clubs.

An example of epoxy that although not completely set, is no longer safe for assembling clubs.

I’m a bit of a physics nerd and garage engineer, so this is one of those topics that goes beyond just the physical aspects of club building and into the realm of chemistry.

Here comes my nerd-out moment: In the simplest of explanations for a 0.335-inch driver hosel with an insertion depth of 1.25 inches, the amount of calculated surface area the epoxy can bond between the shaft and the head using the internal dimensions of the head is 1.49 square inches. That’s not a whole lot of area when you consider the centrifugal force being applied to a driver head traveling at 100 mph, and then the forces of torque that also come into play when a shot is struck.

In a PERFECT world, almost zero torque is applied to a shaft when a shot is hit on the center of gravity (CG) of the club head, perfectly aligned with the center mass of the ball, while traveling in the intended direction. This is vectors 101 of physics. Unfortunately, almost every single shot is NOT hit like that, and this is where the epoxy bond is put under the most amount of stress. Lap shear strength of epoxy goes beyond me, but it proves that building a golf club is not just cut and glue after all.

Note: For those of you curious, the most popular epoxies are rated for 4500 psi. 

As far are actually working with epoxy, first things first. Always check to see if the epoxy has a best-before date (yep, just like milk). Also, never store epoxy in direct sunlight. If you are using epoxy from a tube in a dispensing gun, you are using what is an almost foolproof method. Plunge out the necessary amount, mix for about a minute (mix! don’t whip), and remember, the less air that gets into the epoxy the better. If air gets in and the epoxy cures with bubbles in it, then you end up with a club that will often “creak.”

For those using two parts in larger bottles, the best way to ensure proper ratios is to pay attention to the weight ratio rather than volume. This isn’t arts and crafts; it’s chemistry, so by using the weight to calculate the ratio you will get the right amount of each part every time, and help decrease the risk of failure down the road. If you have mixed a larger batch and plan on building quite a few clubs at a time, you really have to pay attention to the consistency and viscosity as time goes on. You don’t want to glue a club head with epoxy that has started to set.

Turning an Extension into a Shank

The difference between a good shaft extension (bottom) and a bad one.

The difference between a good shaft extension (bottom) and a bad one.

This is one of those subjects I don’t even like to talk about. I very much dislike using extensions when building clubs, especially clubs with graphite shafts. Going back to my “do-it-right-the-first-time” mentality, extensions are a Band-Aid fix to a problem that requires surgery. They also counter-balance the club, and by their very nature create a weak point because of the small wall thickness at the butt end of a shaft. The only clubs I don’t mind extending on a regular basis are putters since they are never put under the same level of stress as a club being swung at full speed. I also never extend a club more than 1 inch, because I have been witness to horror stories of clubs that have been overextended that not only break but rip through the grip and cut people’s hands very badly.

If you are going to extend a club, it’s important to make sure the fit is very snug and doesn’t cause the extension to lean in any direction. It’s also best to have the epoxied extension cure with the club on its side to avoid an excess epoxy from running down the shaft and breaking off and causing a rattle.

 

 

 

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