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True Temper’s Area 61: R&D and Project PXi

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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.

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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.

[youtube id=”LFgquIp3sqU” width=”600″ height=”350″]

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.

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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 its 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.

[quote_box_center]“Why should high-handicap players use the same geometry as the players on Tour,” Cavill said.[/quote_box_center]

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.

pxi_px

True Temper’s Project X shaft (below) and PXi shaft.

 

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.

[youtube id=”RiIvd0Wgz3w” width=”600″ height=”350″]

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.

[quote_box_center]“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.[/quote_box_center]

You’ve been warned.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ALL PHOTOS AND COMMENT IN THE FORUMS

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Zak is the Editor-in-Chief of GolfWRX.com. He's been a part of the company since 2011, when he was hired to lead GolfWRX's Editorial Department. Zak developed GolfWRX's Featured Writer Program, which supports aspiring writers and golf industry professionals. He played college golf at the University of Richmond (Go Spiders!) and still likes to compete in tournaments. You can follow Zak on Twitter @ZakKoz, where he's happy to discuss his game and all the cool stuff that's part of his job.

5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. tony_stark

    Aug 21, 2012 at 5:30 pm

    i would like to get some PXI shafts in my mizuno irons

  2. Rodney

    Aug 13, 2012 at 5:12 pm

    How do I get the t-shirt?

  3. Jim A

    Aug 10, 2012 at 9:41 pm

    Zak, Do you know whether there is any material difference between this year’s PXi shaft and the pre-PXi graphite iron shaft from last year?

  4. Scott Hill

    Aug 8, 2012 at 3:47 pm

    Great article Zak, been a Precision then KBS guy myself but this has me interested in trying the PXI

  5. Pingback: True Temper’s Area 61: R&D and Project PXi | GolfRumors.com

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pga tour

K.J. Choi WITB 2018

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Equipment is accurate as of the 2018 Valero Texas Open (4/18/2018).

Driver: Ping G400 Max (9 degrees)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD DI-6x

Driver: Ping G400 Max (9 degrees)
Shaft: Ozik Matrix MFS M5 60X

3 Wood: Ping G400 (14.5 degrees)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD DI-7x

5 Wood: Ping G400 (17.5 degrees)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD DI-8x

Hybrid: Ping G400 (22 degrees)
Shaft: Atlus Tour H8

Irons: Ping G400 (4-PW)
Shaft: Nippon N.S. Pro Modus 3 Tour 120X

Wedges: Ping Glide 2.0 (50-12SS, 54-12SS, 58-10)
Shaft: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400

Putter: Ping Sigma G Wolverine T
Grip: Ping Pistol

Putter: Ping PLF ZB3
Grip: Super Stroke KJ

Putter: Ping Sigma Vault Anser 2
Grip: Ping Pistol

WITB Notes: We spotted Choi testing a number of clubs at the Valero Texas Open. We will update this post when we have his 14-club setup confirmed. 

Related:

Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about Choi’s clubs. 

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Accessory Reviews

I tried the great Golfboarding experiment… here’s how it went

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Corica Park Golf Course is not exactly the first place you’d expect to find one of the most experimental sports movements sweeping the nation. Sitting on a pristine swath of land along the southern rim of Alameda Island, deep in the heart of the San Francisco Bay, the course’s municipal roots and no-frills clubhouse give it an unpretentious air that seems to fit better with Sam Snead’s style of play than, say, Rickie Fowler’s.

Yet here I am, one perfectly sunny morning on a recent Saturday in December planning to try something that is about as unconventional as it gets for a 90-year-old golf course.

It’s called Golfboarding, and it’s pretty much exactly what it sounds like: an amalgam of golf and skateboarding, or maybe surfing. The brainchild of surfing legend Laird Hamilton — who can be assumed to have mastered, and has clearly grown bored of, all normal sports — Golfboarding is catching on at courses throughout the country, from local municipal courses like Corica Park to luxury country clubs like Cog Hill and TPC Las Colinas. Since winning Innovation Of the Year at the PGA Merchandising Show in 2014, Golfboards can now be found at 250 courses and have powered nearly a million rounds of golf already. Corica Park currently owns eight of them.

The man in pro shop gets a twinkle in his eyes when our foursome tells him we’d like to take them out. “Have you ridden them before?” he asks. When we admit that we are uninitiated, he grins and tells us we’re in for a treat.

But first, we need to sign a waiver and watch a seven-minute instructional video. A slow, lawyerly voice reads off pedantic warnings like “Stepping on the golfboard should be done slowly and carefully” and “Always hold onto the handlebars when the board is in motion.” When it cautions us to “operate the board a safe distance from all…other golfboarders,” we exchange glances, knowing that one of us will more than likely break this rule later on.

Then we venture outside, where one of the clubhouse attendants shows us the ropes. The controls are pretty simple. One switch sends it forward or in reverse, another toggles between low and high gear. To make it go, there’s a throttle on the thumb of the handle. The attendant explains that the only thing we have to worry about is our clubs banging against our knuckles.

“Don’t be afraid to really lean into the turns,” he offers. “You pretty much can’t roll it over.”

“That sounds like a challenge,” I joke. No one laughs.

On a test spin through the parking lot, the Golfboard feels strong and sturdy, even when I shift around on it. It starts and stops smoothly with only the slightest of jerks. In low gear its top speed is about 5 mph, so even at full throttle it never feels out of control.

The only challenge, as far as I can tell, is getting it to turn. For some reason, I’d expected the handlebar to offer at least some degree of steering, but it is purely for balance. The thing has the Ackerman angle of a Mack Truck, and you really do have to lean into the turns to get it to respond. For someone who is not particularly adept at either surfing or skateboarding, this comes a little unnaturally. I have to do a number of three-point turns in order to get back to where I started and make my way over to the first tee box.

We tee off and climb on. The fairway is flat and wide, and we shift into high gear as we speed off toward our balls. The engine had produced just the faintest of whirrs as it accelerated, but it is practically soundless as the board rolls along at full speed. The motor nevertheless feels surprisingly powerful under my feet (the drivetrain is literally located directly underneath the deck) as the board maintains a smooth, steady pace of 10 mph — about the same as a golf cart. I try making a couple of S curves like I’d seen in the video and realize that high-speed turning will take a little practice for me to get right, but that it doesn’t seem overly difficult.

Indeed, within a few holes I might as well be Laird himself, “surfing the earth” from shot to shot. I am able to hold the handlebar and lean way out, getting the board to turn, if not quite sharply, then at least closer to that of a large moving van than a full-sized semi. I take the hills aggressively (although the automatic speed control on the drivetrain enables it to keep a steady pace both up and down any hills, so this isn’t exactly dangerous), and I speed throughout the course like Mario Andretti on the freeway (the company claims increased pace-of-play as one of the Golfboard’s primary benefits, but on a Saturday in the Bay Area, it is impossible avoid a five-hour round anyway.)

Gliding along, my feet a few inches above the grass, the wind in my face as the fairways unfurl below my feet, it is easy to see Golfboards as the next evolution in mankind’s mastery of wheels; the same instincts to overcome inertia that brought us bicycles, rollerblades, scooters, skateboards, and more recent inventions such as Segways, Hoverboards and Onewheels are clearly manifest in Golfboards as well. They might not offer quite the same thrill as storming down a snowy mountainside or catching a giant wave, but they are definitely more fun than your standard golf cart.

Yet, there are obvious downsides as well. The attendant’s warning notwithstanding, my knuckles are in fact battered and sore by the time we make the turn, and even though I rearrange all my clubs into the front slots of my bag, they still rap my knuckles every time I hit a bump. Speaking of which, the board’s shock absorber system leaves something to be desired, as the ride is so bumpy that near the end I start to feel as if I’ve had my insides rattled. Then there is the unforgivable fact of its missing a cup holder for my beer.

But these are mere design flaws that might easily be fixed in the next generation of Golfboards. (A knuckle shield is a must!) My larger problem with Golfboards is what they do to the game itself. When walking or riding a traditional cart, the moments in between shots are a time to plan your next shot, or to chat about your last shot, or to simply find your zen out there among the trees and the birds and the spaciousness of the course. Instead, my focus is on staying upright.

Down the stretch, I start to fade. The muscles in my core have endured a pretty serious workout, and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to muster the strength for my golf swing. It is no coincidence that my game starts to unravel, and I am on the way to one of my worst rounds in recent memory.

Walking off the 18th green, our foursome agrees that the Golfboards were fun — definitely worth trying — but that we probably wouldn’t ride them again. Call me a purist, but as someone lacking Laird Hamilton’s physical gifts, I’m happy to stick to just one sport at a time.

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Equipment

Titleist AVX golf balls passed the test, are now available across the United States

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Titleist’s AVX golf balls first came to retail as an experiment in three markets — Arizona, California and Florida — from October 2017 to January 2018. AVX (which stands for “Alternative to the V and X”) are three-piece golf balls made with urethane covers, and they’re made with a softer feel for more distance than the Pro V1 and Pro V1x golf balls.

After proving their worth to consumers, Titleist’s AVX golf balls are now available across the U.S. as of April 23, and they will sell for 47.99 per dozen (the same as Pro V1 and Pro V1x golf balls) in both white and optic yellow.

According to Michael Mahoney, the Vice President of Golf Ball Marketing for Titleist, the AVX is a member of the Pro V1 family. Here’s a basic understanding of the lineup:

  • AVX: Softest, lowest trajectory, lowest spinning, less greenside spin and longest
  • Pro V1x: Firmer than the Pro V1, highest spinning and highest trajectory
  • Pro V1: Sits between the V1x and the AVX in terms of feel, spin and trajectory, and will appeal to most golfers

Different from the Pro V1 or Pro V1x, the AVX golf balls have a new GRN41 thermoset cast urethane cover to help the golf balls achieve the softer feel. Also, they have high speed, low compression cores, a new high-flex casing layer, and a new dimple design/pattern.

For in-depth tech info on the new AVX golf balls, how they performed in the test markets, and who should play the AVX golf balls, listen to our podcast below with Michael Mahoney, or click here to listen on iTunes.

See what GolfWRX Members are saying about the AVX golf balls

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