True Temper’s Area 61: R&D and Project PXi
By Zak Kozuchowski
GolfWRX Managing Editor
Golf equipment companies go to lengths to manufacture the most cutting edge golf equipment designs, and they work equally as hard at marketing their products and facilities under names that describe their efforts.
Throughout the years, some names have been better than others. We loved names like “Futura,” “Anser,” and “Big Bertha.” Others like “Kombi,” “Redwood” and “Diablo” didn’t quite hit the mark.
Golfers might roll their eyes when they hear that golf shaft manufacturer True Temper named its research and development center Area 61 (Hey, are we chasing aliens are birdies?). But at Area 61, the True Temper team has been working hard to create extraterrestrial-performing golf shafts with very foreign characteristics.
One of these shafts, the PXi iron shaft, goes against the grain of what golfers have used for decades. At around 102 grams after trimming, it’s a lightweight iron shaft that mimics the characteristics of one of the most legendary heavyweight iron shafts in golf’s history, the Project X.
The PXi was the offspring of a True Temper iron shaft design called the Monaco, which Darren Clarke used to win the 2011 British Open. Monaco shafts were engineered with specific geometry for each iron, meaning the 3-iron shaft was created differently than the 4-iron shaft, etc. Yet all the shafts retained a constant weight because of True Temper’s VWT (Variable Wall Thickness) technology.
Greg Cavill, who leads design for True Temper’s iron shafts, said the Monaco was never meant for retail. It was initially a research project, and because of its extremely high cost to manufacture, it is no longer offered by True Temper. But it’s influence lives on through PXi.
Cavill and his team learned from Monaco that special geometry is not just important for each different iron shaft, but for each individual flex as well. While the PXi does not have variable geometry in each iron shaft like the Monaco, it has VWT in each different shaft flex.
“Why should high-handicap players use the same geometry as the players on Tour,” Cavill said.
Even though the PXi 5.0 flex and 7.0 flex carry the same name, they have unique geometric construction that tailors to the different ways that golfers with different swing speeds load and unload the golf club.
The stiffer PXi shafts are designed with thicker walls in the tip section of the grip, which allows the butt end of the grip to take over during the downswing. This creates lower launch and lower spin results, while allowing the shaft to retain its lighter weight. The less stiff PXi shafts have a shorter and stubbier midsection and thinner walls in the tip section, which helps golfers with slower tempos and less abrupt transitions achieve their desired ball flight.
The PXi’s success has been proven by its place in the bags of two of golf’s best players, Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods. Another major champion, Y.E. Yang, and two-time PGA Tour winner Jason Dufner have also been spotted with the PXi.
The reason for PXi’s success, according to Cavill, is that the shaft has allowed the best players in the world to achieve more distance, and even go to a longer club length because of the PXi’s lighter weight. For some of these high-swing players, they have also found a smoother, more stable feel because of the fact that most of the shaft’s work is done in the butt section of the grip. Watch the video below for more information on the PXi shaft from Chad Hall, director of True Temper global tour operations.
Did you catch the portion at the end of the video where Hall talks about the aesthetic value of PXi? According to Cavill, the finish of a golf shaft is the company’s next step in shaft technology.
“I can’t talk about it very much right now, but we’re working on a shaft that uses the technology of a shaft’s finish to enhance performance,” Cavill said.
You’ve been warned.