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do drivers have a break-in period?


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#1 chiromikey

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Posted 25 April 2012 - 06:56 PM

coming from the baseball/softball side, i know just about every bat required some break-in before it became "hot" (many claim 500-1000 hits). there are even companies that will break-in ("roll") bats for you so you don't have to wait for your new bat to perform to it's potential. is there any evidence that this is also the case for drivers?


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#2 imaplus3wannaplay

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Posted 25 April 2012 - 10:11 PM

I've never heard of this.  In fact, I played baseball at a fairly high level and never heard of a bat that requires break in either.  Of course, I stopped using metal bats after college so maybe something came out after my time with metal bats.  I could be wrong, but I don't see how and why either would require a break in period.

#3 WV-Hick

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Posted 25 April 2012 - 10:15 PM

View Postimaplus3wannaplay, on 25 April 2012 - 10:11 PM, said:

I've never heard of this.  In fact, I played baseball at a fairly high level and never heard of a bat that requires break in either.  Of course, I stopped using metal bats after college so maybe something came out after my time with metal bats.  I could be wrong, but I don't see how and why either would require a break in period.

I played baseball my whole life and two years ago, played my last year of college baseball. The break-in is, or at least used to be, true with slow-pitch softball bats such as those made by Miken. It's never been true with standard high school/college baseball bats.

#4 J_D

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Posted 25 April 2012 - 10:15 PM

The heads don't, but I find that shafts do.. Maybe it's just me but a brand new shaft feels stiffer than the same shaft a month later.

#5 tdk8180

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Posted 25 April 2012 - 10:20 PM

Correct, a graphite shaft has a life.  A high end shaft is about 10.000 to 15,000 swings if no prior damage is done to the shaft.  A cheap shaft, like a grafalloy has a life of 7,000 swings.


#6 Socrates

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Posted 25 April 2012 - 10:20 PM

You guys should check out the flat-earth society.  They are always looking for more people to sign up.Posted Image
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#7 imaplus3wannaplay

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Posted 25 April 2012 - 10:23 PM

View PostNewGeneration, on 25 April 2012 - 10:15 PM, said:

The heads don't, but I find that shafts do.. Maybe it's just me but a brand new shaft feels stiffer than the same shaft a month later.

This is definitely not true!  I CPM test every shaft I install and check it regularly after use.  It doesn't change unless the shaft is damaged.

#8 imaplus3wannaplay

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Posted 25 April 2012 - 10:25 PM

View PostWV-Hick, on 25 April 2012 - 10:15 PM, said:

View Postimaplus3wannaplay, on 25 April 2012 - 10:11 PM, said:

I've never heard of this.  In fact, I played baseball at a fairly high level and never heard of a bat that requires break in either.  Of course, I stopped using metal bats after college so maybe something came out after my time with metal bats.  I could be wrong, but I don't see how and why either would require a break in period.

I played baseball my whole life and two years ago, played my last year of college baseball. The break-in is, or at least used to be, true with slow-pitch softball bats such as those made by Miken. It's never been true with standard high school/college baseball bats.

This must be the case, but I guess I wouldn't know because I've never once even hit a softball.  It still sounds crazy to me, but softball guys usually are a little crazy.  Just kidding softball fans... or am I?   :man_in_love:

Edited by imaplus3wannaplay, 25 April 2012 - 10:25 PM.


#9 chiromikey

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 12:02 AM

View Postimaplus3wannaplay, on 25 April 2012 - 10:25 PM, said:

View PostWV-Hick, on 25 April 2012 - 10:15 PM, said:

View Postimaplus3wannaplay, on 25 April 2012 - 10:11 PM, said:

I've never heard of this.  In fact, I played baseball at a fairly high level and never heard of a bat that requires break in either.  Of course, I stopped using metal bats after college so maybe something came out after my time with metal bats.  I could be wrong, but I don't see how and why either would require a break in period.

I played baseball my whole life and two years ago, played my last year of college baseball. The break-in is, or at least used to be, true with slow-pitch softball bats such as those made by Miken. It's never been true with standard high school/college baseball bats.

This must be the case, but I guess I wouldn't know because I've never once even hit a softball.  It still sounds crazy to me, but softball guys usually are a little crazy.  Just kidding softball fans... or am I?   :man_in_love:
softball guys are crazy...they're obsessed with their equipment in an almost identical way that golfers are about theirs. another similarity between the two groups is that their equipment (drivers, most softball and some baseball bats) is limited by a governing body as to their measured "trampoline effect". anyways, knowing a broken in bat does perform differently than a new one, i thought i'd ask if the same might be true for drivers.

#10 ryan.s

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 12:11 AM

Not sure if it's really break in but I read somewhere a lot of the remax long drive guys say the driver head is the hottest right before it fails. Maybe the driver face gets hotter as it gets used more? Who knows......


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#11 Hacker#5252

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 12:12 AM

All I know is the R11 became obsolete the second the R11S became available. Engineers and managers alike worked day and night to plan release dates and design a driver that would last exactly the amount of time it would take for them to release the next model. Einstein himself couldn't have done it.

So I don't know about the break-in period, but there is definitely a "best before" date...

#12 QWKDTSN

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 12:21 AM

Long drivers say that their heads produce the longest drives right before they fail.

I used to work at a go-kart track as a mechanic, and a kart that started going faster and faster on the back straight invariably blew the engine soon after.

#13 chiromikey

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 03:45 AM

View Postryan.s, on 26 April 2012 - 12:11 AM, said:

Not sure if it's really break in but I read somewhere a lot of the remax long drive guys say the driver head is the hottest right before it fails. Maybe the driver face gets hotter as it gets used more? Who knows......
interesting...as this also seems to be the case for softball bats.

#14 Jc0

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 08:23 AM

They are hottest right before they fail because the face is flexing more and providing more ball speed. The face then fails because the face flexes to much and it can't keep its self together.

#15 OrlandoSean

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 08:32 AM

According to the folks at PING, their drivers do break in and become better after use. Lee Westwood feels the same way, thats why he hit the G10 for such a long time. He had aprrox 10-12 heads and used them all up.



#16 brentk14

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 08:44 AM

View PostJc0, on 26 April 2012 - 08:23 AM, said:

They are hottest right before they fail because the face is flexing more and providing more ball speed. The face then fails because the face flexes to much and it can't keep its self together.

This seems to be true. I played baseball through college, and the bats that were used to that point had a lot of pop, and soon cracked.
I have also heard some of the new composite baseball bats are only legal for a couple years, because composite gradually becomes more flexible after hitting a ton of balls, and they end up having a lot more pop. One of the last years I was coaching, we had a situation with a composite bat like that, and the umpires wouldn't let the team use it.

#17 SHIVAN

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 09:27 AM

The key element you guys are missing in talking about bats, and it might apply to drivers, is that the sanctioning bodies who approve bats for usage in their league, and championship play, test them tirelessly.  Baseball and softball bats are a little "rigid", off the shelf, and break-in over a period of time, as the materials "fatigue" some.  The trampoline effect is HUGE in current baseball and softball bats, especially the composite varieties.

I'm sure drivers are the same way, but in all reality, the margin is probably far less apparent, because a difference from .830 COR to .860, or whatever, is only a few yards gain -- which might account for one club less, maybe.  Whereas a rolled composite softball bat will go from hitting 290-300ft long outs, or doubles/triples off the fence, to easily hitting 350ft+ HR's, after it's been rolled/broken-inl.  Fact is, the rolling is illegal.  A normal break-in, accomplished through a batting cage session, or regular batting practice, will achieve the same result.  The rolled, or broken-in baseball are the same.  They go from hard liners to hard liners that fly out of the park.

Many leagues, including many junior baseball leagues, have a field tester that gives a "go" - "no-go" on the compression of the bat.  It's a cylinder that is calibrated to not close on a bat that is "in-spec", but if placed around a bat that has been rolled, or played too long, the cylinder will close all the way, and the bat will be deemed non-conforming, and thrown out of the game.  It's a witch hunt, because there are bats that will pass the field test, even though they have been banned, by name, by the organizations.

The reason the organizations mention for having a bat spec is because they fear for the safety of pitchers, and infielders, even though studies have shown that the number one thing that will keep pitchers and infielders safe is their awareness, and their reactions, no matter the ball speed coming at them.  The scientific studies show that even a change of a few MPH in ball speed downward, will not allow you sufficient time to react if you are not ready, or able to react, due to inexperience, laziness, etc.  Fact is, it's a dangerous game if you are playing above your head.

As was mentioned, I bet a driver performs it's very best for ball speed and distance, right before it fails -- but I'm betting it's just a few yards gain for most people with mortal swingspeeds and ballspeeds.

#18 WV-Hick

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 09:49 AM

View PostSHIVAN, on 26 April 2012 - 09:27 AM, said:

The key element you guys are missing in talking about bats, and it might apply to drivers, is that the sanctioning bodies who approve bats for usage in their league, and championship play, test them tirelessly.  Baseball and softball bats are a little "rigid", off the shelf, and break-in over a period of time, as the materials "fatigue" some.  The trampoline effect is HUGE in current baseball and softball bats, especially the composite varieties.

I'm sure drivers are the same way, but in all reality, the margin is probably far less apparent, because a difference from .830 COR to .860, or whatever, is only a few yards gain -- which might account for one club less, maybe.  Whereas a rolled composite softball bat will go from hitting 290-300ft long outs, or doubles/triples off the fence, to easily hitting 350ft+ HR's, after it's been rolled/broken-inl.  Fact is, the rolling is illegal.  A normal break-in, accomplished through a batting cage session, or regular batting practice, will achieve the same result.  The rolled, or broken-in baseball are the same.  They go from hard liners to hard liners that fly out of the park.

Many leagues, including many junior baseball leagues, have a field tester that gives a "go" - "no-go" on the compression of the bat.  It's a cylinder that is calibrated to not close on a bat that is "in-spec", but if placed around a bat that has been rolled, or played too long, the cylinder will close all the way, and the bat will be deemed non-conforming, and thrown out of the game.  It's a witch hunt, because there are bats that will pass the field test, even though they have been banned, by name, by the organizations.

The reason the organizations mention for having a bat spec is because they fear for the safety of pitchers, and infielders, even though studies have shown that the number one thing that will keep pitchers and infielders safe is their awareness, and their reactions, no matter the ball speed coming at them.  The scientific studies show that even a change of a few MPH in ball speed downward, will not allow you sufficient time to react if you are not ready, or able to react, due to inexperience, laziness, etc.  Fact is, it's a dangerous game if you are playing above your head.

As was mentioned, I bet a driver performs it's very best for ball speed and distance, right before it fails -- but I'm betting it's just a few yards gain for most people with mortal swingspeeds and ballspeeds.

The composite bats could be different. I was out the year before they switched to those. All aluminum here lol. I know I noticed no difference ever in aluminum bats and I had cracked or dented several throughout my career. Everyone did with those. Very undurable.

#19 SHIVAN

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 09:52 AM

View PostWV-Hick, on 26 April 2012 - 09:49 AM, said:

The composite bats could be different. I was out the year before they switched to those. All aluminum here lol. I know I noticed no difference ever in aluminum bats and I had cracked or dented several throughout my career. Everyone did with those. Very undurable.

Current aluminum bats are same-same.  They are rolled and shaved to expedite the break-in.  The current aluminum bats are really robust, but many do not behave well in temps below 60*.

#20 WV-Hick

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 09:54 AM

View PostSHIVAN, on 26 April 2012 - 09:52 AM, said:

View PostWV-Hick, on 26 April 2012 - 09:49 AM, said:

The composite bats could be different. I was out the year before they switched to those. All aluminum here lol. I know I noticed no difference ever in aluminum bats and I had cracked or dented several throughout my career. Everyone did with those. Very undurable.

Current aluminum bats are same-same.  They are rolled and shaved to expedite the break-in.  The current aluminum bats are really robust, but many do not behave well in temps below 60*.

Perhaps this is why my opinions differ then lol. The majority of our season was played before temps reach this high. And in the summer, I played in a wooden bat league.


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#21 TomWishon

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 09:57 AM

View Postchiromikey, on 25 April 2012 - 06:56 PM, said:

coming from the baseball/softball side, i know just about every bat required some break-in before it became "hot" (many claim 500-1000 hits). there are even companies that will break-in ("roll") bats for you so you don't have to wait for your new bat to perform to it's potential. is there any evidence that this is also the case for drivers?

Having designed and managed production on more clubhead models in my career than I sometimes care to think of ( !! ) I can assure you that there is no break in period for either a titanium driver head or a shaft.  nada.  

I am aware of this within softball and baseball bats because a few years ago I was involved in a design project with Miken Sports, a company I am sure you are aware of as a high end manufacturer in bat making.  What I found from working with them is that this "break in" situation is an interesting phenomenon that happens with graphite composite bats, not with aluminum bats.  Miken's people told me that most of the high end graphite bats are designed so the wall thickness of the bats for the strength and modulus of the composite material they use is made so the when the bats come off the production line, their equivalent COR can be increased by actually weakening the composite material.   That can't be done with a metal  - so it can't be done with an aluminum bat nor with a titanium driver face.  

By bashing the bats against a tree or some other means will actually begin to break down the material so it flexes more upon impact with a ball.  THis is a characteristic of the composite fiber and resin material.  Downside to this of course is that this severely decreases the life expectancy of the bat.  I throught it was great when Miken's engineers told me they encouraged ball players to do this with their bats because it helped them sell more bats when the bashing reduced the life of the bat !!!  

Of course I told them if we could do this in golf, the USGA would have a heart attack at the thought of a driver evolving into being non conforming after put into play.  And golfers too would get pissed at having to buy another driver so soon!  

You can't do this with either a titanium driver head because titanium's material properties are completely different from a composite.  In addition, TI driver heads come off the production line with strength and modulus characteristics that are farther above their potential failure points than are the composite bats.  With titanium, its material and mechanical specs are such that if you were somehow able to bash the faces to a point of weakening, they would permanently deform - which would render them useless.  

For graphite shafts, to get the shafts to their proper stiffness for each golfer swing speed and swing force combination, the shafts are made so they are WAY higher in strength than the stress in the swing that is matched well to hit them.  Also, the performance characteristics/requirements of a graphite bat and graphite shaft are very different from each other so bashing a graphite shaft to weaken it would then mean the shaft could not bend/flex in the manner designed or in a manner that would be a proper fit for performance for the golfer using it.  

TOM

#22 Gbyeball

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 10:05 AM

My mistake I thought this was the "Clubmaking Shop" forum. Didn't realize I had fallen through some worm hole into the baseball bat forum. Interesting stuff though. Love the gearheads in all the different sports. Years past I was into competitive benchrest shooting, that was the perfect sport for those with OCD. Use to measure and weigh everything down to .0005 :russian_roulette:


Great stuff Tom, I was typing while you were posting. Looks like you have had interesting exposure to different areas and activities. Variety is the spice of life as they say, and material engineering and design crosses over to many different fields.

Good stuff as always. Thanks

Edited by Gbyeball, 26 April 2012 - 10:17 AM.

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#23 SHIVAN

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 11:54 AM

View PostTomWishon, on 26 April 2012 - 09:57 AM, said:

What I found from working with them is that this "break in" situation is an interesting phenomenon that happens with graphite composite bats, not with aluminum bats.  Miken's people told me that most of the high end graphite bats are designed so the wall thickness of the bats for the strength and modulus of the composite material they use is made so the when the bats come off the production line, their equivalent COR can be increased by actually weakening the composite material.   That can't be done with a metal  - so it can't be done with an aluminum bat nor with a titanium driver face.  

Tom:

Having seen aluminum bats shaved and rolled, and their performance before and after, I would have to say the guys at Miken may have been a little myopic on aluminum bat performance characteristics.  I don't do it, because I like the durability of an unmodified bat.  All that you've recounted on the properties of composite bats is accurate.

I play Miken bats, and love their stuff, but have been playing long  enough now to know, aluminum baseball and softball bats can benefit from  rolling and shaving.  I've also seen aluminum bats fail the field "compression" test on many more than one occasion.  The exemplary performance of the bat prior to test failure meshed with what was then found in a cursory test.

I am completely out of my lane with golf clubs, so I will always defer to you there, but I can not discount my 15 years of firsthand experiences in the on-field performance of unmodified, as well as modified, bats.

Regards,
Ed

#24 DrCRHop

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 12:01 PM

The composite baseball bats do, in fact, need a "break-in" period before performing at their best.  The composite bats were becoming way too hot and thus the NCAA went to a more standard way of measuring bat effectiveness (BBCOR).  This was instituted prior to the 2011 season and there was a dramatic loss of "power" in the college game.

#25 TomWishon

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 01:45 PM

[quote name='SHIVAN' timestamp='1335459288' post='4794322']

Having seen aluminum bats shaved and rolled, and their performance before and after, I would have to say the guys at Miken may have been a little myopic on aluminum bat performance characteristics.  I don't do it, because I like the durability of an unmodified bat.  All that you've recounted on the properties of composite bats is accurate.


ED:

I was not referring to the SHAVING aspect of aluminum bat treatments.  I was only referring to bashing and not thinking about actually removing material from an alum bat to reduce its wall thickness.  Most definitely if you reduce wall thickness on either an alum bat or a ti face by actually shaving/milling off material, you will increase its spring face capability.  I didn't read that part about actually taking aluminum material off the bat so I did not intend to mean that it could not be done in this manner.  I was only talking about bashing the bats as a means to increase their flex factor for higher ball speed.

TOM


#26 schmatt

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Posted 27 April 2012 - 07:52 PM

On the other side of this.  Do drivers ever wear out?  Does the metal fatigue and result in more loss of energy within the clubface?

#27 BlakeBstone

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Posted 27 April 2012 - 08:32 PM

Softballfans.com will answer all your questions :)
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#28 redefined

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Posted 27 April 2012 - 08:55 PM

First news of this to me. Makes sense, but it doesn't make sense. Haha. I wouldn't think any of it would change enough for your typical golfer to notice. Shoot most normal golfers can't really make consistent enough contact to feel the difference between different brand clubs what what I've seen.

#29 oldcarl

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Posted 27 April 2012 - 11:58 PM

Absolutely!  The break in period of a new Driver, is exactly the amount of time, after selection of the club, the trying out and testing phase, where it will invariably preform wonderfully, and the moment at which you pay for the club, after which time it will perform

no better, or even worse than your previous driver.:russian_roulette:

#30 bellview17

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Posted 28 April 2012 - 05:07 PM

All materials break down in time and use. But, no one on the forum would use a club that long
to cause the metal to break down. Over time though, the metal should lose its spring and will
fail over time.  Shafts will break down when the epox. starts to break down and should cause the
shaft to flex more. But once again, that would take many swings over the stress point of the shaft.


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