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7 times the auto industry influenced new golf equipment

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Golf clubs and cars. Not much in common except you use a car’s trunk to transport golf clubs to the course, right? Not so fast…

Ignoring the obvious size and price differences, the two things do have similarities, and more than they can both technically “drive.” Cars and golf clubs are designed to be aerodynamic, and for that reason we see similarities in their styling. After all, engineers have similar tasks with high-performance cars and clubs, notably, making them faster and more efficient. That’s why we hear many of the same trigger words in both worlds, including MOI (moment of inertia), a measure of twisting and turning, and CG (center of gravity), a measure of weight distribution in relation to the center of mass.

It’s only right, therefore, that car companies and golf club companies align themselves in the marketplace, even if it’s just for one-off products. Below, I take a look at golf clubs that were inspired by or made in collaboration with the auto industry.

Bentley gets into golf clubs

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Bentley Golf stopped us in our tracks at the 2016 PGA Merchandise Show in January, where myself and others took the time to drool over the Bentley on the show floor, and look at this… Bentley-inspired clubs!

While you can get a set for around $2,000, the full custom fitting experience, which includes custom shafts made just for you, will run you about $100,000. That’s a lot of zeroes. Would you rather own the car or the clubs? If you’re thinking about your budget, then neither are for you. See more Bentley Golf photos here.

Ferrari and Cobra

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Before Callaway’s drivers were made with input from Boeing, these limited-edition Cobra drivers were made with input from Ferrari’s aerodynamic experts. And as you’d expect, the influence of the Italian supercar brand drove the price of a driver to $2,000, roughly five times as much as the average Cobra driver at the time.

The Ferrari driver was designed using the Cobra ZL driver platform, and came equipped with a Ti 6-4 face with carbon fiber on the crown and sole, according to Golf.com. It was said to produce 1-3 mph more ball speed than the ZL, but never made its way to the PGA Tour, although Ferrari fanatic Ian Poulter tested it extensively.

Cobra’s Ferrari driver was released along with a collection of putters, hats, jackets, shirts and other overpriced items.

Mercedes AMG golf clubs

MercedesBenzGolfClubsAMGBefore Bentley Golf drove onto the floor at the 2016 PGAM Show, Mercedes Benz rolled out a line of golf equipment at the show in 2012.

WSH Inc. acquired permissions to use the Mercedes Benz logo in its production of the line, which included drivers, woods, irons, wedges and putters. The drivers ($399) and woods were made in conjunction with aerodynamics specialists at the company, and employed “Venturi Channels” used to “to manipulate airflow whereby a funnel is created as air flows through the vehicle, and is constricted, and as it flows out…a jet effect is created,” according to an article from Golf Digest.

Click here to see more photos of the Mercedes AMG.

Callaway and Lamborghini 

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Lamborghini and Callaway combined forces in 2010 and developed a high-strength, lightweight material called “Forged Composite” that was used in both Lamborghini’s cars and Callaway’s drivers. The collaboration yielded the Callaway RAZR Hawk and Diablo Octane drivers, which boasted a lower CG thanks to the lighter material.

Callaway continues to use its Forged Composite construction to this day, although its new XR 16 Sub Zero driver debuted a new composite construction called “Carbon Triax” that the company says is lighter.

Kinsler races into putters

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Kinsler Fuel Injection is a company that makes engine parts for race cars. James Kinsler, son of the company founder, used his mechanical engineering expertise and love of golf to start a golf company called Kinsler putters.

Its first run of putters feature a strong visual influence from the automotive industry, as you’d expect, with its curves and anodized finish. The alignment slot has an uncanny resemblance to a hot wheels track, as well. Read more about Kinsler’s putters here.

A Grand Theft Auto golf club?

GrandTheftAutoIron

I know, this isn’t inspired by an actual automobile. But this 5-iron designed after the Grand Theft Auto V video game — which featured a fictional “Los Santos Golf Club” — is pretty cool. The club can currently be found on eBay for around $250.

Willie Nelson’s Rolls Royce Golf Cart 

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OK, it’s technically not a golf club, but I wanted it on the list. Country music star Willie Nelson once had his 1981 Rolls Royce replica Golf Cart seized by the IRS, and it was auctioned in 2012 for about $4,200. The cart had a mini bar, radio, head lights, turn signals and of course, the iconic look of a Rolls Royce. It now sits in the Kingman Museum on Route 66 in Arizona.

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He played on the Hawaii Pacific University Men's Golf team and earned a Masters degree in Communications. He also played college golf at Rutgers University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism.

13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. Jeff

    Jun 26, 2016 at 1:05 am

    How about the Porsche Design JC Grind Irons truly item of beauty and distinction http://i.ebayimg.com/00/s/MTYwMFgxMjAw/z/ySEAAOSwpDdVetb7/$_3.JPG

  2. Frank

    Jun 24, 2016 at 9:05 pm

    I stopped reading at “myself and others took the time…”, written by someone with a degree in journalism.

    • Steve S

      Jun 24, 2016 at 10:10 pm

      Frank, ya beat me too it. This is a product of our great colleges….

      • Steve S

        Jun 24, 2016 at 10:13 pm

        Then I use the wrong “to”. Of course I have an excuse “I r an injeneer”.

  3. Tex

    Jun 24, 2016 at 8:23 pm

    What about the Porsche Driver from the early 2000s? That thing was awesome!

  4. Forsbrand

    Jun 24, 2016 at 5:06 pm

    Pininfarina of Ferrari fame influenced a set of mizuno woods and irons around 1992

  5. Shallowface

    Jun 24, 2016 at 3:43 pm

    When I saw a club called Mercedes AMG, it occurred to me that many of today’s golf clubs look like they could have been designed by AMC (of Pacer and Gremlin infamy).

  6. M Sizzle III

    Jun 24, 2016 at 9:08 am

    I think the title of the article is misleading. Physics influenced the car industry, and the golf industry, but I don’t see a lot of cross-pollination between the two industries. I haven’t seen gull-wing doors on golf bags, chrome drivers, spoilers on 3 woods, etc… Perhaps, re-title the article to be “7 times the Auto Industry Tried to Relate to the Golf Industry”

  7. Michael_Germany

    Jun 24, 2016 at 8:45 am

    Hi Andrew,

    prior to the Mercedes AMG venture, there was a Williams Sports golf project. Not sure, if it’s still alive, but they had a following in the Asian market IIRC. They released the product two or three years prior to the AMG golf clubs.

    Regards
    Michael

  8. Milo

    Jun 24, 2016 at 8:36 am

    I want the Kinsler putter

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Equipment

Is the R&A coming for drivers?

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R&A chief Martin Slumbers has issued a stark message which could bring an end to the likes of Bryson DeChambeau’s recent dismantling of golf courses – and it could also spell big changes for manufacturers.

Speaking to the Daily Mail, Slumbers unveiled the areas which the game’s two governing bodies are focusing on to help prevent golf courses being overpowered by today’s professionals, and hinted that significant changes could be on the way for modern driver technology.

“It is too simple just to say change the ball. Way too simple. You can do things with the ball. But it’s the relationship between ball and club which is most important, to me.

 The fundamental change in the golf ball since 1999-2000, with the introduction of ProV1 technology, is the ball spins less. And drivers have been designed so it spins even less, which makes it go further.”

Bryson DeChambeau’s unprecedented length off the tee has been a hot topic of discussion since golf’s restart. While Slumbers hailed the 26-year-old’s “extraordinary” ability to combine that power with accuracy, the R&A chief declared that he would be coming back to the issue to address the current lack of balance between skill and power in the sport.

“Bryson, I’m fascinated by. I’m not sure I can remember another sportsman, in any sport, so fundamentally changing their physical shape. But what is extraordinary is that Bryson isn’t the first one to put on muscle in golf. How he’s able to control the ball, with that extra power, is extraordinary. All credit to him, he’s a true athlete.

But I still come back to the belief that golf is a game of skill. And we believe we need to get this balance of skill and technology right. Once we feel that the industry is stable again, which isn’t going to be tomorrow, because we don’t know what’s going to happen over autumn and winter, we will be coming back to that issue in great seriousness.”

Part one of the R&A and USGA’s Distance Report concluded that the increased gains from the bombers off the tee in the game was “detrimental to the sport”. Per his interview with the Mail, Slumbers reiterated that the desire for a balance between skill and technology would head stage two of the report.

“My view is very much that golf is a game of skill. It’s important to have a balance of skill and technology. We did intend to publish the next stage in March, sending out to manufacturers our specific areas of interest. Specific topics we wanted to evaluate before considering what equipment changes we would – or would not – put in place.

It’s all been put on hold because the world has a lot more to worry about. And we were conscious of the golf industry having the time to recover. But we will bring that topic back – because it does need to be discussed.”

 

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What GolfWRXers are saying about the optimal equipment strategy for a beginner

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In our forums, our members have been discussing the best equipment-strategies for beginners taking up the sport. WRXer ‘Used2PlayAlot’ asks members what their nuggets of advice would be, and WRXers have been sharing their top tips for beginners in our forums.

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.

  • MattGolfs: “Id try to find a used set locally with bag and everything included. As a beginner, you just need to get out and start playing to figure out what you like and dislike equipment-wise IMO.”
  • rkillian: “My brother in law more recently got into the game. I found him a used set on craigslist for $150. My dad is getting back into it as well. He has slowed down and needed some irons that are a little lighter and a newer more forgiving driver. Also found stuff for him on craigslist—$ 120 for irons and a driver. My wife and daughter wanted to have their own clubs when they come play a par 3 with me. Found my wife a used box set on craigslist for $50 and my daughter a little junior set for $20 on the Facebook market place. You should be able to find what someone new to the game needs on craigslist or Facebook.”
  • tomg1969: “I just did this for a friend. I went to eBay and found a nice set of Ping G5 irons for $100. I also picked up two nice, older Adams a12 hybrids for $50, and a Ping driver for $60. I gave him one of my older putters, and old stand bag and a sand wedge. For $210 (Plus the things that I gave him from my “junk pile”) he has a pretty nice and forgiving set up for a beginner.”
  • kmay_: “Yep look on local classifieds, Facebook marketplace etc. A buddy of mine at work wanted to get into playing, so I sold him an old set of irons I had, a stand bag, and an old 3 wood. Found him a driver on Kijiji, he picked up a 60* and a putter and now he’s playing more often than me the bugger. Has an exec course across the street from his house, so he bought a membership there and has been playing a ton. Cheap full set would be the way I would go, get the guy into it and then if he wants to continue playing, he can start putting together a better set with your guidance.”

Entire Thread: “Optimal equipment strategy for a beginner?”

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Equipment

What GolfWRXers are saying about cult classic irons

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In our forums, our members have been discussing cult classic irons. WRXer ‘pingnewbie’ kicks off the thread with his two choices of Mizuno’s MP-33 irons and Nike’s VR Pro irons, and asks fellow members for their picks.

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.

  • ScottsTots: “MP-32’s for me! I think at some point the JPX 900 Tour might hit that status if Koepka runs off a few more majors over his career!”
  • cgasucks: “Obviously the Ping Eye 2s and the 845s.”
  • celebros: “Cleveland TA3 Form Forged.”
  • gwelfgulfer: “Nike original blades, 32’s and 33’s (prefer 33’s), ’05 TP CB’s (Jpn version if you can find), RAC Lt, 300 Forged, R9 TP B’s, Eye’s, I5’s, ’07 X Forged, Adams MB2’s plus many more.”
  • jplroper: “Titleist 962 and Tommy Armour 845’s.”

Entire Thread: “Cult classic irons”

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