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Paderson Shafts: Entering the market ‘with a sledgehammer’

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Paderson Shafts has stepped out from “behind the beaded curtain,” in the words of CEO Jason Horodezky. The company has shifted its focus from OEM contract manufacturing to private label manufacturing.

Paderson was the company that developed shaft technology for Original ADAMS Golf Tight Lies and Orlimar Trimetal woods, as well as Rapport composites.

The company’s Kinetixx shafts feature breakthrough technology, according to the company, which compelled Paderson to hang a shingle and build a network of dealers, fitters and retail establishments to sells its wares.

Paderson specializes in carbon fiber and high and low modulus FRP Composites, resin matrix formulation and core process technologies.

The company presently offers four driver shafts: Kinetixx IMRT Green, Kinetixx IMRT Blue, Kinetixx VMT Vacuum Cured, Kinetiix IMRT Limited Edition. The Green and Blue shafts are available for woods and hybrids, as well as irons.

I spoke with CEO Jason Horodezky about company history, the shaft market, key technologies and Paderson’s product line.

g7od1l_padd011-min

Tell me about the decision to get into the crowded and competitive shaft space…

It’s a very convoluted and crowded marketplace. It looks a lot like it did in the 90s…between ‘96 and ‘99, except the volume-quantity turnover in the segment isn’t the same. There aren’t as many home builders as there were. We’ve been in the game the longest of almost anybody. We’ve been behind the beaded curtain. So we’re not new: we’re new to the consumer.

We’ve made a few significant breakthroughs, and we decided it was time to make our brand known, because we’ve been doing it for other people for so long.

We were the power behind two brands: a company called Rapport Composites, and they then spunoff into a company called Swing Science. So we’re coming into the market with a sledge hammer.

Why come out from behind the “beaded curtain” now?

The industry is stagnant in a lot of areas.

At the end of the day, honesty and integrity coupled with the transparent technology (the world’s only visible fiber technology)…was conducive to telling the world of golf…our story.

There’s a lot of people who have exploited us for their own gain, but not for ours, so to speak.

What is your take on the shaft market? It’s a convoluted space, as you indicated…

What we have is cutting edge. We have the only array of iron shafts in the world with true, concentric, spineless technology. We tailor it on three orders of measure; very high order of magnitude stuff. The science we use to model our products is extremely noble. Our methods and manufacturing enable us to do a lot of extraordinary things that other have tried and failed miserably and continuously with.

For instance, you hear people talk about xylon and liquid crystal polymers. It has a very high density and no modulus, therefore they don’t get the order of magnitude and the effect, and this becomes a very heavy weighted composite.

So from our perspective, we’re actually tailoring it to tension, damping, high-order resonance with impedance (and recovery in the shaft), and that’s on the merits of our wound platform, which is unlike any other in the world.

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Tell me more about Paderson’s key technologies.

We had in excess of 50 permutations when we started in our R&D room. We reduced the lineup to be tailored to the commercial exploit. So, we have three construction platforms, and those get reduced per category segment.

Unlike any other shaft company, we provide three different constructions, because there isn’t a one-size-fits-all golf shaft. One of our three shafts will fit everybody. In essence, how you make something will determine what materials you use. Construction is the confluence of craftsmanship and materials. That’s why we’ve put into practice a couple of different materials no one else has.

Our flagship is that we’ve patented processes for wound technology. We’re the foremost leader in tension fiber structures: structural architecture that you can see. Think of a tennis racket with a pre-tension net head. You can see and feel the tension in our shafts. We have a pre-loaded shaft. It’s pre-loaded to respond to a golfer’s swing, and it’s visible in two of our three shafts.

Fitted with our shafts, golfers will see ball speed increase. When they start searching for things that are spin related and launch, it gets to be a different golfer speak phenomenon. Our shafts are designed to [increase speed].

Wound technology is the baseline of what we do. It’s because of wound technology that we have our vacuum curing system, and that benefits our laminated, cable-rolled structures.

And we’re transparent. We’re not making claims and hiding things under paint. You can see everything that we’re made of: visible technology.

Tell me about Paderson’s shaft offerings.

Each of our constructions separates themselves based on who they’re for. Our wound series, the Kevlar Green, fits every golfer. Our green table rolled vacuum cured amorphous is very similar, but it’s more tailored to someone who is flat/positive attack angle and is looking for a lighter weight alternative.

Our Kevlar Blue is tailored around someone who is smooth in transition but has a negative to flat attack angle. We’ve tailored all of the product line around a golfer’s swing and particularly arc and speed. So the length of someone’s arc and where they’re fastest: that’s the fitting paradigm from which we tailored our product.

So again, our Kevlar Green is capable of fitting all golfers, but golfers who may be looking for a lighter weight alternative would benefit from our table rolled component.

The wound series is available through the bag. There’s nothing that outperforms it; that’s why we reduced our line. We have three constructions in driver, two in fairways, and the reason for that is performance.

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Going forward, are you more focused on relationships with OEMs? A tour presence? Appealing to clubmakers?

Our focus is on getting to the end user in the most efficient manner possible. And there are two forms of growth in the industry right now. You’ve got new retail, which is like the PGA Superstore. And then you’ve got the bespoken category.

We’re building that relationship with the dealer networks—they’re critical. But we really just want to get to the end consumer with the best technology and price relationship. Our paradigm there is incomparable. We have the world’s only polymer shaft, but we don’t charge $1000 for our shafts. Our shaft is the most expensive by way of materials and process of any golf shaft in the world. Yet because we are designing and making all organically, we don’t exploit consumer weakness or this “deep pocket opportunity.” That’s not our objective. We present unique, technical value propositions.

That all relates to where we go into the market. Some of the bespoken guys want the $500 shaft opportunity or a make-up program. There’s no real reason for a shaft to be $300 and installed at $500, but it helps them with their margins.

But consumers love our product. We have a 97 percent success rate in fitting golfers at arm’s length, and in the field it’s 100 percent. We’ll outperform anything that they have in our green grass demo events.

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14 Comments

14 Comments

  1. BOB

    Sep 11, 2015 at 7:39 pm

    I HAVE LOOKED AT THEIR WEBSITE AND HAVE READ ALL THEIR COMMENTS . I AM WILLING TO TRY ONE OF THEIR SHAFTS AND MAKE MY JUDGEMENT FROM HOW IT PERFORMS FOR ME AND MY CUSTOMERS. I AGREE THAT THERE IS TOO MUCH TECHNICAL JARGON IN THE ARTICLE BRING IT ALL DOWN TO WHERE THE LAYMAN CAN UNDERSTAND ABOUT THE SHAFTS.
    I WILL POST ANOTHER COMMENT AFTER I RECEIVE MY SHAFT AND HAVE TRIED ITS PERFORMANCE FOR MYSELF.

  2. myron miller

    Aug 26, 2015 at 6:04 pm

    From this article, I have no clue if these shafts would work for my game or not. I really didn’t understand the verbiage. Non-standard shaft terminology doesn’t help us end-users. Where’s the kick point? What are the flexes at head, butt, middle?

    According to the website, the torque is not what I’d call low torque by any means. 5.7 to 5.9 is not low torque when lots of shafts are available with 3.5 or even lower. Fujikura has them down to 2.8 and most are 3.5 or less. I thought advanced tech made torque lower not higher.

  3. Allen

    Aug 16, 2015 at 9:51 pm

    I would love to try these, but at almost $90 a shaft for the irons, I am not sure I can justify the money. I cant believe they will give me $90 worth of improvement, or very much improvement.

  4. other paul

    Aug 16, 2015 at 9:44 pm

    Sounds like the steel fiber shafts to me… Aerotech has been around for quite some time.

    • Mac n Cheese

      Aug 26, 2015 at 9:58 am

      If they actually found a way to create a shaft out of woven steel fibers, it could be a potential game changer considered steel fibers would have a stronger resistance to twisting upon impact. Especially if they drop the weight over traditional steel shafts.

  5. KK

    Aug 16, 2015 at 3:10 pm

    Some of the tech sounds great, some of the phrasing seems a bit too much like meaningless rhetoric; e.g. the virtues of showing the carbon structure underneath vs painting over it. It’s like saying your car is better because the hood is made of glass and you can see the engine vs other car companies who don’t have glass hoods.

    • Mac n Cheese

      Aug 26, 2015 at 10:04 am

      The theory is more in line with carbon fiber hoods vs. traditional hoods. Basically with carbon fiber you don’t have to paint over it, and some people like the look of just carbon fiber in general over painted. Also by having some carbon fiber visible it shows that the product is actual carbon fiber instead of taking their word for it. Really the paint scheme or lack there of is an aesthetic marketing campaign to make their shafts look cooler. Which they do. I want green shafts! lol

  6. Mo

    Aug 15, 2015 at 8:29 pm

    Some independent reviews would mean a lot.

  7. Tom Duckworth

    Aug 15, 2015 at 6:48 pm

    I must admit he doesn’t talk like a sales department guy. He’s deeply into the construction of his shafts. I found that refreshing.

  8. Tom Duckworth

    Aug 15, 2015 at 6:28 pm

    Very cool reminds me of Eminence Speaker Co. they made speakers for all kinds of guitar amps and PA systems for other people. One of the largest speaker makers in the world. Now they make them under their own name some of the best on the market. It can only be a good thing for Paderson to enter the marketplace. It will be interesting to see how they do.

  9. Matthew

    Aug 15, 2015 at 3:04 pm

    Gotta echo Mark. Less infomercial and more substance.

    • Mac n Cheese

      Aug 26, 2015 at 10:06 am

      Yes, but they found a new method of doing so, as the article pointed out.

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Equipment

Coming out of the haze: What to expect from the OEMs in the second half of 2020

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As we slowly come out of the lockdown haze, it’s going to be interesting to see which OEMs are primed to come out swinging. From where I sit, there are a few companies that either kept the foot on the pedal or found new ways to interact with the masses. I have been tracking the major companies for different reasons, and I am optimistic on most fronts. Now, it needs to be said that everyone has been keeping the respective momentum going in their own ways—this has been a challenge for everyone, so this analysis is simply a commentary on what may come in the second half of the year.

Many good folks were either furloughed or laid off during this lockdown—that’s where we all lost. It needs to be acknowledged that we are talking about golf here, but the underlying reality of this is still devastating. I so look forward to getting into the trenches with these folks again either back where they were or at new companies.

TaylorMade became educators…and kicked off live golf again

Big giant club company or big giant marketing machine…it doesn’t matter what you label them as. TaylorMade Golf, in my opinion, turned the heartbreak of stalling one of the biggest first quarters in company history into an opportunity to start talking…and teaching. With the help of the tour team and TM athletes, TaylorMade focused hard on talking to us all during the lockdown. With multiple initiatives through social media, the Driving Relief event, and the tour staff engaging way more than usual. I believe TM created a runway to start moving quickly once stores and pro shops open up again.

Let’s face it, with the social media presence, the most robust tour staff maybe ever, and the driver everyone seems to have reserved for the top big stick of 2020, what’s not to be confident about? On the flip side, a company that big could have really taken it on the chin hard, but how they handled the lockdown—from my chair—was fun to watch and will ultimately ensure a quick restart. There is something to be said about having guys like Trottie, Adrian, and Hause in the fold informing and keeping things fun.

Rumor has it new irons are dropping in the fall/winter, which could spell two awesome bookends to a bittersweet 2020.

PXG leaned in

Why online sales for all OEMs spiked is no mystery. Boredom, desire, and a credit card are keys to any great online buying experience, but PXG made certain that if you were not a buyer previously, you may be now.

The price tag has always been a key topic with Bob Parsons’ Scottsdale-based company. It’s no secret that the clubs aren’t cheap, but during this lockdown, they did multiple strategic initiatives to not only crank up direct-to-consumer buying but also expand the PXG conversation into different areas, namely fashion.

Price cuts across the board started early and, rumor has it, enabled PXG to achieve sales numbers unlike any other period in the company’s short history. Yes, cutting prices helps unit sales, but in the case of PXG, it brought in the club customer that ordinarily shied away from PXG for financial reasons and ultimately made them buyers. That’s where PXG seems to shine, once they finally get you in, they are very effective at keeping you in the family. Mercedes-Benz AMG is like that: once you have had a taste of the Kool-Aid, it’s hard to go back to Hawaiian Punch.

In addition to the aggressive price-cutting, PXG fashion, spearheaded by President Renee Parsons, launched a new collection that is designed and manufactured by PXG. Fashion in times like these is always a risk from a financial standpoint, but this launch has been on the calendar since the BOY and the current lockdown did not disrupt that. It speaks to the confidence that Bob and Renee have in what they are doing. Now, is it a guarantee that PXG garments will fly off the shelves? No. but that’s not the point, it’s the fact that this current climate didn’t scare them into pivoting or holding off.

Point to this pick is PXG looks healthy coming out of this and it was possible to believe that perhaps this would have taken a toll on the custom fit brand. There is even a commercial produced during lockdown to attract even more club builders to the fold. Not normal behavior in times like these, but is anything that PXG does normal? No, and that’s what makes them fun to talk about.

The company also released its Essential Facemask with 50 percent of proceeds going to Team Rubicon.

Ping was quiet…but don’t be fooled

Yes, they did some rare social media engagements with Kenton Oates and the tour staff, which were fantastic. But the real magic here was the quiet way in which Ping slipped into 2020 and the mystery they have in hand and what’s to come next.

There hasn’t been really any new Ping product in a good while, and I anticipate a big winter for the Solheim crew. Sometimes, silence is golden and from what I can gather, what Ping has coming in irons and woods will be yet again a launch that gets people talking.

Ping from a business standpoint is a company that gets one percent better every year. Never any dramatic shifts in strategy or product. It’s always good, it’s always high-performance, and it’s always in the “best of” category across the board.

Watch out for them over the next six to nine months…a storm is brewing. A good one.

Cobra introduced the “Rickie iron”

Cobra Rev 33 Irons

Compared to 2019 and the runaway success that was the F9 driver, Cobra Golf seemed to cruise along in the first quarter of 2020. The SpeedZone metal wood line was an improvement tech-wise from the F9 but seemed to get lost in the driver launch shuffle with an earlier release—and frankly everyone in the industry took a back seat to TaylorMade’s SIM.

It’s not placing one stick over the other actually, I have been very vocal about my affections for both, it’s just some years, the story around a club can generate excitement, and if the club is exceptional, boom. Cobra was that cool kid in 2019.

What Cobra decided to do in the downtime is slowly tease and taunt with a “Rickie Fowler” iron. Players blades aren’t typically the driving element of any business model, but what Cobra did was introduce to a beautiful yet completely authentic forging that will not only get the gear heads going nuts but also entice the better players to start looking at Cobra as a serious better players iron company. No small feat.

Point is, Cobra has generated buzz. It helped that Rickie’s performance at Seminole was just short of a precision clinic. Beyond the Rev 33, its rumored Cobra has a new players CB coming and some MIM wedges.

It should be an exciting last half for the Cobra crew.

The Titleist train chugged on

I mean, what else is there to say about Titleist? They are as American as apple pie, have a stranglehold on multiple tour and retail categories, and one of the best front offices in golf. The company is a well-oiled machine.

So what do I expect from them in the last half? Well pretty much what I would expect on any other year, solid player-driven equipment. A metal wood launch is coming, the SM8 was a huge hit in stores and on tour, and the ball portion is the biggest 800-pound gorilla in golf.

It was also nice to see a little more social media interaction beyond the traditional. Aaron Dill has been very active on the social media front and a good portion of the tour staff, namely Poulter, JT, and Homa were proactive in engagement. Might seem trivial to some, but specifically, Titleist and Ping are not super active in the organic interaction game, so it was nice to see both companies dive into the fold.

Cleveland/Srixon should have a lot to look forward to

Let’s be honest here, 2019 was a quiet year overall for Srixon. Shane Lowry won The Open, but in the golf mainstream it was a leap year for them in regards to any launches. The anticipation from me personally of what is to come is quite strong. I adore the irons. I have yet to meet one I didn’t love, and fitters across the country will speak to that in sales. The Srixon iron line has become a popular yet-sort-of-cult-classic among fitters and gearheads and rightly so. They are phenomenal.

The recently teased picture of the new driver on the USGA site more or less teased us of what is to come for the overall line. New Cleveland wedges are coming shortly and the golf ball has always been a solid component to the Huntington Beach company.

As much as anyone in the market, I believe Srixon could finish the year with some serious momentum going into 2021. The irons and ball have always been firestarters. My only wish for them, selfishly, is a more aggressive tour strategy in regards to landing one of the perennial top 10. It seems like a dumb thought, but I have always felt Cleveland/Srixon was always a serious hitter that at times seems to get lost in the conversation. Having a big gun on staff or a couple of them will remedy that quickly.

Callaway has an eye on big things for the golf ball

Callaway, a company that seems to do it all well, was actually a bit quiet since the lockdown started. After a solid release of the Mavrik line and some momentum in the golf ball area, I’m sure this lockdown probably felt like a kick to the shin.

However, this company is shifting in a good way. The idea that they were a golf club company that happened to make golf balls is slowly turning into a company with multiple major components that stand alone. TaylorMade is on a similar shift, and honestly it’s very interesting to watch. Do I think that anyone will ever catch Titleist in the ball category? No, I don’t. All of these mentioned golf balls are ridiculously good, but 75 years of trust and loyalty are hard to compete with. But that’s not the point, Callaway is a monster company that takes the golf ball conversation very seriously, and I believe this will serve them very well coming out of this craziness and help the momentum going into 2021.

 

 

 

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On Spec

On Spec: Is testing clubs bad for your game? Plus listener questions

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In this episode of On Spec, host Ryan talks about the Match Part 2 and then goes into a discussion about whether testing clubs is detrimental to your golf game or not.

After that, it’s time for the ever-popular listener questions to finish off the show.

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Opinion & Analysis

Is 2020 golf’s big chance?

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At the present moment, when discussing the game of golf, I use the word “opportunity” with great caution and understanding that golf is the least of many people’s worries in 2020. With that in mind, just like other industries around the world, there are millions of people both directly and indirectly who make their living working around golf, along with countless more that enjoy playing it for any number of reasons.

Outside of the four major championships, golf is generally a fringe sport that takes a viewership backseat to other team sports like basketball, football, and baseball. But as the only game in town, this past weekend golf brought in a lot of casual fans who don’t normally watch it. The TaylorMade Driving Relief charity skins game to benefit COVID-19 frontline workers featured some of the world’s top-ranked golfers, including World No. 1 Rory McIlroy, carrying their own clubs, getting their own yardages and playing in shorts—exactly how the majority of golfers enjoy the game.

It made the golf look and feel so much more approachable to the casual fans that normally tune in to see professionals debate over yardage with a caddy dressed in a white jumpsuit while patrons quietly murmur amongst themselves (in the case of the Masters).

If “watercooler” sports talk is the way we measure the success of a sporting event, then the skins game was a triumph.

The news sports landscape

Golf is in a unique position since it is one of the few sports that can currently be played with modified physical distancing measures in place. Golf is played outside, in small groups, and allows for players of all abilities to enjoy the game, and this is where the opportunity lies.

People want to be outside, get exercise, and spend time with their friends, and golf is the one game that offers all three of those—along with the ability to fill a competitive void left from the current absence of recreational team sports.

The proof that more people have already made this conclusion can be felt around the industry

  • Pushcart sales have been so unprecedented, many companies have been sold out for weeks.
  • As golf has been regulated to open within the United States, Canada, and the UK tee sheets have been loaded from dawn to dusk. Having spoken with operators of both private and public golf facilities, they have witnessed a huge influx of eager golfers including many who are much more infrequent players. In one case, a public course that I spoke to has seen membership triple from the previous year.

When you think about how many people enjoy sports as a way to be around friends and friendly competition, golf has the opportunity to provide a gateway for many who have never considered playing the game. Within the industry, there have been many well-thought-out-but-failed attempts to counteract declining participation numbers over the years, and one of the best ways to introduce anyone to a new hobby or activity is to do it with friends.

Here’s an example: a regular golfer has three friends they normally play a rec league sport with, with that league not operating, and those friends wanting to enjoy time outside in the company of one another, that one golfer becomes the catalyst to bring three new golfers into game. I realize it sounds simple, but it’s already happening, and this is golf’s opportunity to grow participation more organically than any 30-second commercial.

As a lover of golf and someone who has witnessed the declining participation over the last decade, this is our opportunity as a sport and as individuals to welcome people in with open arms, be supportive, and helpful. We have the chance to permanently change the perception of golf to the masses, and it all started last weekend with the top-ranked golfer in the world carrying his own bag.

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