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The looming “Fiscal Cliff” of golf clubs

golf club sales custom fitting

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#1 zakkozuchowski

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 11:43 AM


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The looming “Fiscal Cliff” of golf clubs


By Brad Hintz (stage1350)


GolfWRX Contributor


I had this article about 90 percent completed when Tom Wishon posted his article: The way golf clubs are being sold has hurt golf. Since his post and mine are both discussing the retail business, I felt it appropriate to add his link for another viewpoint. While we are looking at different parts of the industry, there are some parallels.


The recent announcement on “anchoring” has made me reflect on some of the bonehead equipment decisions made by golf’s ruling bodies in the last 30 years, going back to the Ping Eye 2 fiasco. Each time, a “wait and see” attitude has eventually resulted in a massive reversal or rollback in the equipment section. The USGA’s decision on grooves allowed engineers to maximize widths through CNC milling and tight tolerances until the ruling bodies chose to make 30 years of clubs obsolete with “Conditions of Competition.”


In 2003, the COR ruling was announced with a ruling to be made in 2007. While the manufacturers pushed face technology to produce a reliable 0.860 COR driver, the ruling bodies did an about-face and capped COR at 0.830. Unlike wedges, the OEMs had to suck it up and offer conforming replacement drivers for those golfers that had purchased equipment in good faith that it was within the tolerance of the current rules. The quest of the ruling bodies to reduce driver distance also resulted in a club length maximum of 48 inches. Sure, Wedgy Winchester had learned how to accurately swing a 60-inch driver on the long drive circuit. But how many other golfers could keep a driver that long in the fairway? Finally, clubhead size was capped at 460cc to minimize the ability to create a forgiving driver through size.


Essentially, you cannot build a longer driver than anything that has been made in the last 10 years that met the COR/CT max. A center strike “on the screws” cannot travel farther.  The only variable to the golfer now is to optimize launch and spin through a fitting on a launch monitor.  This has led the OEMs to try and maximize distance in fairways, hybrids and even irons by creating hot-faced clubs. Despite the fact that these clubs should fly precise distances for scoring, the selling point of distance trumps all.


Suppose that you have already gotten the hottest-faced clubs, conforming grooves, fitted lengths/lofts/lies/grips and your launch conditions are proper. What will now make you buy a new club?  This is the nightmare that has to be keeping sales managers up at night. Sure, you have the GolfWRX crowd that always wants the latest and greatest. But how do you convince a recreational golfer or serious player to buy a new club when it isn't much longer or more accurate, and offers little or no performance advantage over their current clubs?


This is the “fiscal cliff” that looms in the golf world. By 2014, it is expected that an overwhelming majority of golfers will have converted to conforming grooves. That sales hike in irons and wedges will recede back to normal levels. With no ability to create better launch conditions, what will be the selling point on the next generation of drivers? Right now, it’s graphics and all the colors of the rainbow. Why buy the newest equipment when top quality clubs with premium shafts are available for a song in the used market?


So what’s left?


Posted Image


Ironically, service, which has been driven to near extinction by the big box stores, will be the key ingredient to their survival. Similar to the tailor in a fine suit store, the need for fitting of clubs will be the last variable that the manufacturers will be able to offer for improving scores. The need to adjust length, loft, lie and grips gives each golfer the fit and comfort of a well tailored suit.


The advent of launch monitors, high speed cameras and elaborate shaft software have made it easy to get the player “in the ballpark” of a club that fits their swing. But it always comes to the assessment and final tweaks of the clubfitter to make sure everything is optimized. Are the yardage gaps between clubs consistent? Is the golfer increasing their center-face contact?  Will the launch and spin give the golfer the best chance of hitting and holding the green? Do the clubs allow the golfer to execute the shot that is visualized in the mind?


More and more clubs are being purchased off the rack. Even Ping, whose green grass model for years forced you to order your clubs, has 6 to 8 sets on the wall of my local big box, ready for sale.  The “right now” mentality of our society wants to take their clubs immediately to the range or the first tee instead of ordering to spec or having them fitted after the sale. Would it make sense to put a cushion in the price of a set of irons to allow the retailer to fit and set the lofts/lies of the clubs for the customer?


Perhaps partnering with teaching professionals to have them observe their student’s patterns on the lie board after they purchase new clubs would be an option. The teacher can recommend the dynamic adjustments and the golfer can now bring his clubs back for the correct loft/lie settings as part of the initial purchase. The same can be done with the adjustable drivers.


Have your teaching pro look at your flight patterns to determine optimal adjustments. Then return to the store and confirm your numbers on the launch monitor. There is revenue to be made in service and fitting if the industry embraces the concept. With the number of golfers staying static or declining in the US, and the need for publicly traded companies to increase sales and profits quarterly, the American retailers will have to adapt or share the same fate the electronics stores have: extinction by plummeting off the cliff.


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#2 Myherobobhope

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 11:50 AM

Very well said...

I think the focus on new color schemes on drivers is proof that there isn't much left to do in the driver markets.

It's going to be interesting to see how the various companies react to the "end game" of golf technology. Hopefully true custom fitting and tighter tolerances start to come standard with the big companies.

#3 ProjectX

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 12:03 PM

Great read. I think the missing link right now is the lie and length adjustability in the Driver, Fairway and Hybrid market. at 6'4" I have to special order everything to fit correctly anyways. Irons and Wedges can be adjusted around 3-4 degrees one way or another but the Drivers Fairways and Hybrids can only be adjusted in the neighborhood of 1 degree depending on the adjustment technology each company uses in their hosel. I'm 6'4", I have a playing partner that is 6'7" and another playing partner that is 5'2". There is no way we should all be playing the same lie angle in our woods nor should we even be within 1 degree from one another. Something's got to give here and I wouldn't be surprised to see this become the next big thing.
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#4 hoosiervolunteer

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 12:20 PM

I agree.  Proper fitting will be key, but not very many consumers will use it.  Over the years, I've seen too many people buy off the rack because they hit the iron into a net and it sounded great.  They want it now and want to use the club that weekend.  If the OEMs can figure out how to deliver the goods in a day or 2 not 2-3 weeks, then people will use that option.  Average Joe is not going to wait through a month of men's league play while his custom club is being made.

As far as technology being capped, it might be with drivers.  If length, loft, COR, and headsize are all capped, what's left that actually affects ball flight?  Not much.  It might head into different materials besides titanium.  The only place to improve on would be mishits where impacts anywhere on the face fly the same as a sweetspot hit.  Shaft technology might be an area of improvement.  Maybe more ball tech?  Who knows?

#5 KYMAR

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 12:21 PM

ProjectX is speaking my language, I too am, 6'4" and adjustable lie angles in long clubs that aren't easily bendable is hopefully something that continues to be explored.

And brad while I don't disagree that as far as the innovations you have mentioned we are nearing "the end of days" but i also don't know that the alternative is any better. Given unfettered design options, i can only imagine what these engineers could come up with for COR in drivers. I don;t want the ruling bodies to start making rules based on perspective sales for OEM's. I realize they have to consider the overall effects on the game, and when doing so, it seems there need be some set of rules governing the equipment. .830 and 460 have kept some courses viable especially in low handicap, top AMs and pro's, i almost don't want to think of what were to happen if the COR and Size were unlimited.

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#6 Troyefl

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 12:35 PM

' Right now, it’s graphics and all the colors of the rainbow. Why buy the newest equipment when top quality clubs with premium shafts are available for a song in the used market?"

This seems to be working for TMAG, but the crown graphics are a turn off for me.  If equipment is at it's maximum potential, fitting is one of the last things left to truly make a logical sale.  

Or turn a 7 iron into a 4 iron.... cough..cough RocketBladez

#7 dplasters

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 12:36 PM

"This is the “fiscal cliff” that looms in the golf world. By 2014, it is expected that an overwhelming majority of golfers will have converted to conforming grooves."

Speaks volumes to how much Joe Golfer understands the ruling and how it affects him/her.

#8 Par Fore

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 12:38 PM

Marketing, marketing, marketing.  Taylormade will still sell a ton of drivers regardless of caps because they mass market their drivers very well.  I believe that there are still a lot of folks out there that have money and will buy a new driver because they can see that Dustin Johnson gained 10 yards by adding a weight somewhere in the new Taylormade adjustable driver.  Just because distance related tech is capped there will still be a spin by the manufacturer.  Before anyone just says I don't like Taylormade you are wrong.  I play Taylormade driver, fwy, and hybrid.  I, in fact, will probably be one who continues to buy into the marketing.  There will still be plenty of recreational golfers out there who would rather spend $300-$400 on a shiny new,(insert color here), driver than spend the same amount for someone to tell them they need softer lighter shafts, or whatever.  Never underestimate the gullibility of the average consumer, myself included.

#9 SullGolf

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 12:46 PM

 Par Fore, on 31 December 2012 - 12:38 PM, said:

There will still be plenty of recreational golfers out there who would rather spend $300-$400 on a shiny new,(insert color here), driver than spend the same amount for someone to tell them they need softer lighter shafts, or whatever.  Never underestimate the gullibility of the average consumer, myself included.

It's not shiny, it's matte.  It makes a huge difference, and adds at least 7 yards since I'm not blinded by the glare off the club.

#10 stage1350

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 01:11 PM

Parsing quotes to save space:

 ProjectX, on 31 December 2012 - 12:03 PM, said:

...I think the missing link right now is the lie and length adjustability in the Driver, Fairway and Hybrid market. at 6'4" I have to special order everything to fit correctly anyways. Irons and Wedges can be adjusted around 3-4 degrees one way or another but the Drivers Fairways and Hybrids can only be adjusted in the neighborhood of 1 degree depending on the adjustment technology each company uses in their hosel. I'm 6'4", I have a playing partner that is 6'7" and another playing partner that is 5'2". There is no way we should all be playing the same lie angle in our woods nor should we even be within 1 degree from one another...
This was something that caught my eye when I saw the standard lie on one OEM was going to be 61° and their sleeve only allowed you to go more upright.  I remember when the 975D was 57° compared to persimmon at 56°.  For the tall gents like you, 61° may be close to correct.

 hoosiervolunteer, on 31 December 2012 - 12:20 PM, said:

...If the OEMs can figure out how to deliver the goods in a day or 2 not 2-3 weeks, then people will use that option.  Average Joe is not going to wait through a month of men's league play while his custom club is being made...
I've been lucky enough to experience rush custom builds from two different OEMs.  In both cases, the specs were close but not perfect.  Lofts and swingweights were pretty accurate, but lie angles lost progression on both sets.  At some point, a serious golfer needs to have the patience to get their clubs worked on by a good clubfitter.  The "right now" attitude is fine if you don't care about quality.  When I have suits altered, I know the tailor will have the garment for 7-10 days.  But it's worth it when you want your clothes to fit.

 KYMAR, on 31 December 2012 - 12:21 PM, said:

...Given unfettered design options, i can only imagine what these engineers could come up with for COR in drivers. I don;t want the ruling bodies to start making rules based on perspective sales for OEM's. I realize they have to consider the overall effects on the game, and when doing so, it seems there need be some set of rules governing the equipment. .830 and 460 have kept some courses viable especially in low handicap, top AMs and pro's, i almost don't want to think of what were to happen if the COR and Size were unlimited.
One thing I noticed this year when I played with persimmon was how little it cost me in distance and how much the gear effect helped save shots that were not well struck.

Next year's experiment will also include going back to a Titleist 983e to see how much distance is truly lost on a 1st gen COR driver compared to more modern stuff.  I was pleasantly surprised when I was with Leif (Discvrr St Louis) at the amount of forgiveness the newer drivers are on off center hits.  But distance is within a yard or two when you caught them in the center.

We also see the point of dimishing returns when we look at length.  You can take your driver out to 48" per the equipment rules.  But unless you can control the driver, you may not see an increase in distance.

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#11 Thrillhouse

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 01:21 PM

Nice article stage, lots of good points there.

I still stand by my position that the economic benefit of people buying consumer goods (like golf equipment) in relatively large quantities has a wide reach that does many good things that I don't want to give up, but you raise some interesting points about how this mass consumption affects the end user. I guess a lot of it depends on your priorities and how you see things.

#12 johnstitch

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 01:30 PM

I think 2013 will be a make or break year for Golf manufacturing. If Obi Wan does get his way and undermines the US economy, which is by my reckoning 50% of the global market then we will see a real slow down in development. Add in Asian countries getting richer and as a result costs going up to pay higher salaries and I think we are about to see clubs getting more expensive. We are already seeing Japanese stuff jump due to the strength or the Yen (Mizuno irons have jumped $100-$150 a set in Britain).
If hardware sales keep going down we may see stuff on the shelves a bit longer. Remember when Ping had at least 3-4 years between iron lauches and other clubs stayed in the catalogue for years...?
My biggest fear is Callaway. They have definitely lost their prestige tag and are now seen by my playing group as lower quality than Ping, TM, Mizuno and Titleist. We've had sqaure, shallow, ultra light, adjustable and now multi coloured. With the ball at its limit and false claims about iron distance thru jacked up lofts I can't see much radical stuff in the nexT1-5 years.
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#13 chickenpotpie

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 01:32 PM

Brad, I think you are on to something here.  I think you are right....fitters will become more important going forward, but I question whether more people will use them or not.  Certainly more Wrx'ers will, but I'm not sure your new/recreational player will.  There's an element of marketing at play, where guys just want to have the latest and greatest, simply because it's the latest and greatest.  Also, there's the instant gratification part of things.  I can see a lot of folks who just want to go into a store (or website) and buy something without talking to anyone.  In the end, the marketing tricks of the major OEM's will continue to work for that group of buyers.  There's also the part where new golfers don't think they should use new/expensive clubs because their game is not good enough to put them to use.  I know Tom Wishon says the opposite is true - new/bad golfers should be fitted so that they can improve and enjoy their game more - but will that really happen?  I'm not sure.

For the others who care about fitting though, the OEM's will have to work that much harder to show how they are differentiated from the other OEM's.  This will become a challenge, as it will go from an exercise in maximizing distance to one of maximizing consistency, as you state.

In either case, I do suspect that there are still too many OEM's out there, and I have a feeling that there will have to be some further consolidation for this industry to be profitable.
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#14 highergr0und

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 01:46 PM

As much as it pains me to admit, the reason the OEMS trump distance above all else is that's what the research shows golfers want.  These companies are marketing machines.  I also know that it's tough

I see the industry dividing to some level, notably with some moves I've seen TM make.  Between the Dicks exclusive SF 3, the RBZ at 299 and the R11S at 399, they had the market covered.  Now they've got the glued version of the RBZ at 199, effectively dropping the SF line.  This is quite a departure from the model of letting models die out slowly, but it's smart since now the consumer doesn't feel like they're buying old technology.  

I'm sure others will follow.  I know I love the used market, but honestly most people don't even really look there.  By keeping stuff on the shelves fresh, golfers will be more likely to buy.

#15 stage1350

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 01:56 PM

 chickenpotpie, on 31 December 2012 - 01:32 PM, said:

...fitters will become more important going forward, but I question whether more people will use them or not.  Certainly more Wrx'ers will, but I'm not sure your new/recreational player will...

One thing that you can see if you go through a lot of WRX threads is the focus on fashion and style.  I've seen numerous threads about getting their clothes to fit like (insert favorite player name here.)  The simple answer is that the Tour players rarely have clothes that come off the rack.  They are tailored to fit them by professionals.  The same applies to their clubs.

I'd guess that the majority of people out there are buying clothing off the rack as well.  It's a small amount of people that have bespoke garments or even bother to have their (non-suit) clothing tailored beyond the length of their trousers.  I had a dress shirt made for me once.  Compared to my normal dress shirts, the collar and sleeve lengths were the same.  But the way it draped on my body was much better.

If you want to be stylin' with your threads, your local tailor can cover you.  Yet, the amount of tailors I can find in the phone book has shrunk to roughly the amount of clubfitters in my neighborhood.  Thankfully, I'm pretty handy when it comes to building and adjusting my equipment.  The bad news is that I'm no good with a needle and thread...

Edited by stage1350, 31 December 2012 - 02:00 PM.

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#16 BirdieBob

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 02:12 PM

As I posted in the link you quoted:
http://www.golfwrx.c...60#entry6101989

"The Solution: To have a "Fitter" with Toms credentials at these golf super stores where all the latest and greatest are located. Then you have best of both worlds! You tell'em that I like the looks of those new xyz woods and abc irons, and they will get you fit perfectly into those....tough to find this available...per Toms credentials anyway."

So, I do agree that improved availabiltiy of fitting for those that want that is the way to go.

Oh, and just like when the hickory was replaced by the steel shaft.....don't think for a minute that advances in techology for golf clubs is done!!
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#17 jrodgers0622

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 02:33 PM

Great article, lots of great points. My view is that the usga doesn't really have any controll over what club manufactures can produce, only that certain clubs cant be used in usga sanctioned events, correct? So the usga rules dont apply to the average recreational golfer that just plays on the weekend at his or her local  course. So why dont manufactures create usga conforming clubs for individuals that play competitively and produce non conforming clubs for the average joe to help sales.
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#18 Thrillhouse

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 02:38 PM

 jrodgers0622, on 31 December 2012 - 02:33 PM, said:

Great article, lots of great points. My view is that the usga doesn't really have any controll over what club manufactures can produce, only that certain clubs cant be used in usga sanctioned events, correct? So the usga rules dont apply to the average recreational golfer that just plays on the weekend at his or her local  course. So why dont manufactures create usga conforming clubs for individuals that play competitively and produce non conforming clubs for the average joe to help sales.

Non conforming equipment is available, someone posted a link to a component company that sells things like 600cc drivers and wedges with huge grooves that spin the crap out of the ball in another thread.

The reason why it isn't popular is its not what the market demands. Even though most people don't really play by the rules (gimmes and whatnot), they sort of play by the rules, and they don't want to be seen with no conforming equipment.

#19 hayzooos

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 02:48 PM

 KYMAR, on 31 December 2012 - 12:21 PM, said:

ProjectX is speaking my language, I too am, 6'4" and adjustable lie angles in long clubs that aren't easily bendable is hopefully something that continues to be explored.

And brad while I don't disagree that as far as the innovations you have mentioned we are nearing "the end of days" but i also don't know that the alternative is any better. Given unfettered design options, i can only imagine what these engineers could come up with for COR in drivers. I don;t want the ruling bodies to start making rules based on perspective sales for OEM's. I realize they have to consider the overall effects on the game, and when doing so, it seems there need be some set of rules governing the equipment. .830 and 460 have kept some courses viable especially in low handicap, top AMs and pro's, i almost don't want to think of what were to happen if the COR and Size were unlimited.

I can't remember what the numbers were, but the Callaway guys told us what their first pass was with the XHP fairway woods. I don't even know what 'CT' means, but it was really, really high. Like almost unbelievable. Doc Hock said they were keeping the letter back from the USGA (or whoever approves and tests clubs) just to prove how high they could get it if they wanted to. Rumor has it, these heads can now only be found in Rodger Cleveland's golf bag ;)
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#20 jrodgers0622

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 02:56 PM

Why i do agree with you that there are lots of golfers out there that dont want to be seen with non conforming equipment i think its more that people want name brand equipment over no name component clubs. I believe if callaway, taylormade, etc. made non conforming clubs you would see a lot more people at local courses playing non conforming clubs from the big names in the biz. Thats just my opinion.

 Thrillhouse, on 31 December 2012 - 02:38 PM, said:

 jrodgers0622, on 31 December 2012 - 02:33 PM, said:

Great article, lots of great points. My view is that the usga doesn't really have any controll over what club manufactures can produce, only that certain clubs cant be used in usga sanctioned events, correct? So the usga rules dont apply to the average recreational golfer that just plays on the weekend at his or her local  course. So why dont manufactures create usga conforming clubs for individuals that play competitively and produce non conforming clubs for the average joe to help sales.

Non conforming equipment is available, someone posted a link to a component company that sells things like 600cc drivers and wedges with huge grooves that spin the crap out of the ball in another thread.

The reason why it isn't popular is its not what the market demands. Even though most people don't really play by the rules (gimmes and whatnot), they sort of play by the rules, and they don't want to be seen with no conforming equipment.

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#21 pgagreg1

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 03:04 PM

Nice, well thought out article.

But do you think that an average 18 handicapper, getting a brand new set of perfect fitting golf clubs by using launch monitors, high speed cameras and elaborate shaft software will lower their handicap? If they are still using their old swing what effect will these perfect fitting clubs have?

#22 gvogel

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 03:04 PM

What I see is this: the US Open at Merion is going to make a mockery of great old courses.  The course, which is short, will have very high rough, and very narrow fairways.  The longest drivers will be reduced to hitting 3-wood or iron.  The USGA will determine that the championship was flawed: that hitting driver should be part of determining a national championship.

So, the USGA and R&A will come out with new equipment guidelines for the ball and the driver.  Driver heads will be limited to 200cc for "elite" golfers, and the ball will be rolled back.

Smart equipment companies will determine that the new guidelines are in their best interests, as they will now be able to market a brand new product to golfers who want to play by the new rules for elite golfers.  But just as some people will by a car because of how "it" performs on the NASCAR circuit, golfers will be still attracted to brands, even though pros will be playing a much smaller version.

Many consumer/golfers, like me, will have two drivers - one 460cc model for colder condition, or very soft fairwaiys, and a new 200cc driver for firm fairways, shorter courses, and when we want to truly compare to elite pros.

Looking back, golf was a fine game when we all played wood in our drivers, and irons were all blades.  The type of equipment one played was much less important than how one used it.
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#23 BirdieBob

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 03:15 PM

 hayzooos, on 31 December 2012 - 02:48 PM, said:

 KYMAR, on 31 December 2012 - 12:21 PM, said:

ProjectX is speaking my language, I too am, 6'4" and adjustable lie angles in long clubs that aren't easily bendable is hopefully something that continues to be explored.

And brad while I don't disagree that as far as the innovations you have mentioned we are nearing "the end of days" but i also don't know that the alternative is any better. Given unfettered design options, i can only imagine what these engineers could come up with for COR in drivers. I don;t want the ruling bodies to start making rules based on perspective sales for OEM's. I realize they have to consider the overall effects on the game, and when doing so, it seems there need be some set of rules governing the equipment. .830 and 460 have kept some courses viable especially in low handicap, top AMs and pro's, i almost don't want to think of what were to happen if the COR and Size were unlimited.

I can't remember what the numbers were, but the Callaway guys told us what their first pass was with the XHP fairway woods. I don't even know what 'CT' means, but it was really, really high. Like almost unbelievable. Doc Hock said they were keeping the letter back from the USGA (or whoever approves and tests clubs) just to prove how high they could get it if they wanted to. Rumor has it, these heads can now only be found in Rodger Cleveland's golf bag ;)


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#24 Stretch

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 04:21 PM

 highergr0und, on 31 December 2012 - 01:46 PM, said:

As much as it pains me to admit, the reason the OEMS trump distance above all else is that's what the research shows golfers want.  These companies are marketing machines.  I also know that it's tough.

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#25 Sean2

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 04:33 PM

Yes, fitting is important (at 6'5" with relatively short arms I'm proof of that), but the best fitting in the world, matched with the best clubs for you, don't mean a thing if you can't put a half decent swing on the ball.

I don't know how many times I've seen guys get so excited about getting their new clubs and yet it has absolutely no impact on their golf game. And, to see the looks on their faces when their hopes get dashed. It's sad really.


#26 Shiram

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 05:20 PM

Seems about right to me.

It is still fun to buy new clubs and even non club HOs love the treat of some new sticks. There is also a psychological element to new clubs that can't be underestimated. When you get into a slump sometimes changing out a driver or a putter can break the slump.

#27 stage1350

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 05:32 PM

 pgagreg1, on 31 December 2012 - 03:04 PM, said:

Nice, well thought out article.

But do you think that an average 18 handicapper, getting a brand new set of perfect fitting golf clubs by using launch monitors, high speed cameras and elaborate shaft software will lower their handicap? If they are still using their old swing what effect will these perfect fitting clubs have?

Greg, I assume you teach. So you know the answer to that already.

You can fit a guy like Charles Barkley into perfect clubs.  But unless they can repeat the swing, it doesn't matter.  Lowering handicap is practice and dedication to the short game.

I actually have a long winded response to fitting, but that's for another article...  ;)
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#28 MtlJeff

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 05:36 PM

it's an interesting article for sure, and it may one day happen that fitting becomes the be-all end-all. But i don't see it happening soon. We are some of the most knowledgeable people in the world when it comes to golf and you still see in every single thread every year, even people here believe that they are going to gain 5-10 yards with the new stuff. I mean go read the Rocketbladez or Rocketballz threads, read the Xhot threads when those inevitably get released. Read the 910 versus 913 threads where guys are saying it's an upgrade to switch. Even the most knowledgeable base of guys in the golf market get consistently fooled. I would ask any member to seriously go re-read statements they've made over the years on this board and then honestly ask themselves how resistant to marketing they really are. Myself included....Read any thread about any new driver for god's sake. It's always longer then the previous one you owned even when we know subconsciously that's not really possible.

90% of consumers are 10x worse then us. If a major company releases an ad saying a club is 15yds longer many will still buy it no questions asked.

the proof is out there. Just go look at driving distance stats on tour. More guys are hitting it long now, but no one is longer then Hank Khuene was 10 years ago using an original R7

Imagine if he used an r7 Superquad...No wait imagine if he'd used an R9? No wait imagine if he used an R11, no wait imagine if he used an R11s???? He'd be hitting them to the moon. We can laugh at that but probably all of us have chimed into threads in the last 7 years promising that Driver X is just sooooo much longer then your current one. Like i said....i was guilty of this too
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#29 scotth830

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 06:07 PM

As a purely recreational golfer returning to the game at age 48, I can't see myself pouring cash into the latest & greatest..I'll be happy when I find a driver that I can hit farther than my 3 wood while staying in the Fairway. That technology already exists. But, when I have achieved a satisfactory level of consistency, I would certainly be interested in having clubs fit.

#30 TomWishon

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 06:30 PM

 pgagreg1, on 31 December 2012 - 03:04 PM, said:

But do you think that an average 18 handicapper, getting a brand new set of perfect fitting golf clubs by using launch monitors, high speed cameras and elaborate shaft software will lower their handicap? If they are still using their old swing what effect will these perfect fitting clubs have?

This is REALLY, REALLY, REALLY important for golfers to understand that the middle handicap players like this are the ones who benefit the most and benefit the soonest from accurate full specs professional clubfitting.

Low hdcp players do benefit but most typically in a totally different way - a little change in ball flight shape, a change in overall feel of the clubs, an improvement in confidence in the clubs being the most common.  Rarely do you see a low hdcp player gain 10 yards or more, hit 2-4 more fairways, reduce a misdirection tendency by 30%, hit 2-4 more greens, hit 25% more shots on center or take 3 months to synch in a lesson change instead of a year or never.

Those right there are some of the most common improvements seen by AVERAGE players when they are accurately and fully fit.  They may only achieve one of those improvements or they can achieve two, three or even all.  But the point is when you have golfers who do make mistakes in their swing, proper fitting can and does reduce (not cure) but does reduce the severity of such swing errors on their shotmaking.  And in a game where NO ONE hits all the shots right, incremental improvements are most definitely how we all get a little better at the game.

Yes, there is a point for sure when a golfer can be so bad that fitting cannot step in to help.  From 30+ yrs of fitting research I can tell you that most definitely we have investigated this so we can tell who needs lessons first before even thinking about a full custom fitting analysis.  If the golfer cannot get 50% of their shots airborne and or they miss shots severely both right and left, then hold off on the fitting and get them to spend their time and money on lessons and proper practice.

(Although I will say if such golfers go take their lessons with shorter woods, lighter total weights, more flexible shafts and grips that fit their hands for comfort, their lesson learning curve will be shorter.  This we have proven with several British PGA club pros over the past several years)

But if the golfer hits 95+% of their shots up in the air, if their misdirection is consistently more to one side of the fairway (no matter if one slice is 10 yds and the next one is 40 yds or one shot is low and the next one higher), then most definitely, MOST DEFINITELY, they can and will be helped by accurate full specs fitting in a very visible and overnight manner.  Absolutely anyone who has been seriously fitting for two yrs or more will verify these observations and comments because they will have done it for mid handicappers a lot and seen the improvements and the smiles on the faces of these golfers.

So please for all those who have this belief that an 18 or 23 handicapper can't benefit from fitting because they are not good enough, go find a good fitter in your area and ask him if you can just watch as he fits average golfers and you will see.

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