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GolfWRX Audio Chat Transcripts and Audio Download - UST Golf Shafts May 2007,

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Posted 10 June 2007 - 10:39 PM

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

0:12 – Jamie Pipes:  This is Jamie Pipes and I am Manager of Field Research and Product Testing.  

0:17 – Don Rahrig:  Hi this is Don Rahrig, I am Vice President of Product Development and OEM Sales.

0:23 – GolfWRX:  Okay we’re here today with Don and Jamie from UST Golf, how are you guys doing today?

0:31 – Both:  We’re doing great.

0:32 – GolfWRX:  Before we get started we were hoping to get a little background about your history with UST and in golf in general?

0:40 – Jamie Pipes:  I’ve been with UST for almost seven years now.  I started in 2000 and Don hired me to come in and help with product testing and product development.  Before that I was working at a local club, I worked at several local clubs as a PGA Professional in the Dallas / Ft. Worth Area.  I’ve been a PGA member for fourteen years now.  Even before that I worked for the Hogan Company traveling on the Ben Hogan Tour building clubs for professionals and helping set up tour vans back when the Hogan Tour first started back in 1990 and 1991.  That’s about it.  

1:30 – Don Rahrig:  Okay, I have been at UST now for eleven years.  Prior to working at UST I also worked at Hogan for twelve years.  What I focused on mostly in my earlier days was more manufacturer type engineering, process engineering, in the early days at Hogan when we were actually doing a lot of the stuff in-house when we were finishing our own forgings, back in the days – I’ll show my age here a little bit – back when we were making persimmon woods.  We actually produced golf balls there, we produced grips in-house so it was a great place to learn just about product.  Then I moved into product development at Hogan, probably the last four or five years and had an opportunity to come to UST and really learn a lot about golf shafts after coming here.  What was great was having that golf club background, knowing what it takes to produce a good golf club.  My history prior to that is a mechanical engineering degree.

2:49 – GolfWRX:  Excellent.  You guys are certainly well qualified to answer all of our questions here.  This is more of a marketing question, it has to do with the fact that the UST brand seems to have made a really strong effort the past couple of years to really come to the forefront of the golf market.  Why was this change made and can you talk a little bit about UST’s current business model?

3:10 – Jamie Pipes:  To me it really started back when our former president decided to paint the old Proforce Gold the colors it was – purple and gold and then having Jose Maria Olazabal win with it in the Masters in 1999.  Larry Bodle our former President decided we needed a shaft that was visible on Tour to be the billboard for the company.  With that victory that changed the custom shaft market.  Since then in 1999 and 2000, since I came aboard we made a conscious effort to really be visible and be innovation leaders on Tour.  We have an in-house group and a Tour group that’s really concentrating on taking products to Tour players and then both designing products for Tour players and the golfing public.

4:22 – GolfWRX:  You guys have certainly succeeded in that because UST shafts are everywhere whether it’s on Tour or in golf shops, municipals, and country clubs.  These days it seems like golf shaft prices are starting to push $800 and $300 shafts are everywhere now.  Why does UST produce such great products and why do you guys keep your prices so low?

4:46 – Don Rahrig:  First of all, there’s not really a relationship between cost and selling price as far as design and performance goes.  What we’re trying to do is focus on performance.  We do have some expensive shafts, the Accra product that are out there, the new Accra Axiv retails for $425 or $450.  What we try to do is look at what’s happening in the market and we not only want to sell components in the aftermarket, but we also want to sell products at the OEM level.  What we’ve seen is that at the OEM level there’s been somewhat of a price ceiling on drivers.  It seems like there’s a lot of drivers out there in the $299 range.  What we want to do is we not only want to sell the OEM the exact same market that’s used on Tour that’s used in the aftermarket.  We don’t want to paint a shaft so it looks the same and sell a different product for a different price.  Based on that we’ve tried to keep our pricing – let’s say we sold a shaft for $300, it’s hard to have that shaft show up in a driver that’s being sold for $300.  I don’t know if that answers your question, but maybe we’re not making as much on the margin side as some of the other guys, but what we’ve focused on is performance and at the end of the day if the products are being played on tour and have the consistency of the product – meaning it’s the same product that’s played on Tour, sold on the OEM level, and sold in the aftermarket.

6:37 – GolfWRX:  That answers the question perfectly, that’s something a lot of your consumers appreciate is being conscious of the cost of shafts and how much it costs them and that really helps.  Now can we walk through the development process of a golf shaft?  Do you start with a specific golfer’s swing type in mind and then go from there, where does it all begin?

6:57 – Jamie Pipes:  I’ll start with that one and I’ll let Don walk through the whole process for you.  We don’t really start with a specific swing type in mind, but we may target a specific segment of the market whether it be for ladies, or top amateurs and pros, or maybe it’s a certain swing speed or tempo player that we’re going after and then maybe we’ll develop products for that.  That’s really the starting point of the process we need to know what the target market is before we even start a shaft or model or a design.  

7:52 – Don Rahrig:  What will happen is we will look at the market trends and see where things are going.  Then we will get together with the shaft designers and come up with a concept.  It’s a very iterative process that we do and we do all player testing.  Jamie’s a big part of that working with the designers.  It’s great to have someone like Jamie on board who can bridge between the player and the shaft designer.  So they’ll design a product, obviously we use computers to do all that to model and predict what we’re looking for: the torque, tip stiffness, flex profile, those types of things.  He’ll take it out and a lot of times we try to use the current heads of products that are out there.  Heads change obviously and we’ve got to do some changes in the designs, but test the product, not only look at the initial conditions the certain segment is coming back with – their initial spin and launch angle but also try to get the feel aspect of what they’re perceiving in the product, how it’s feeling in their hands.  Then we’ll go back and forth.  The other thing that we’ll do a lot of I almost call it eye doctor type of testing where we’ll have the same head where we’ll have maybe two or three heads that are as identical as possible and then we’ll use the same grip and change the shafts.  What we’ll do is we’ll paint all the shafts black so we may have a V2 in there, if that’s the current product we’re bench marking against.  We don’t want the consumer to know what they’re hitting, we want to get their real feedback so we’ll test product and all they’ll know is it’s A, B, and C.  What we’ll try to find is which product do you like better?  Then what we’ll do sometimes is go through a series of rounds where B seemed to win and we’ll take B into the next round and then we’ll change A and C as far as different attributes.  Some of the products, we may go through ten or fifteen different iterations when we’re developing the shaft.

10:58 – Jamie Pipes:  It all comes down to what the golfer feels and ultimately they’re going to pick the one they hit the best.  If we get enough golfers to test it, we can come up with what trends and come up with a design that will fit the target we’re after.

10:20 – GolfWRX:  Okay, that’s great stuff.  Obviously you guys have made a big effort in working with OEM’s recently and I think you’re found in every OEM on the market.  How closely do you work with OEM’s when you’re designing a shaft such as the V2?  Do they come to you with specific needs they have for a shaft and do you fulfill that?  Or is it the other way around?

10:44 – Don Rahrig:  It works both ways actually.  What will happen is we will contact OEM’s and say, “We’ve got a new concept, can you send us some heads?”  What we’ll try to do is get heads that are as close as possible that are being the same and in turn we will send products to OEM’s and say, “Test this product for us,” because they’ve got their own routines they do for testing and they give us feedback.  Obviously the more we work with the OEM’s and the trends and knowing where they’re trying to move, whether it’s club length, whether it’s static weight, whether it’s launch conditions, MOI, or wherever things are moving, what we’re trying to do is make sure our products are going to work in their clubs.  

11:37 – GolfWRX:  The new big buzz word now are these super-high MOI driver heads.  How have these high MOI driver heads changed shaft design?

11:51 – Don Rahrig:  What we’re seeing right now with the MOI heads is as the companies are trying to get the heads up to the maximum MOI number, that one of the things – and also it seems like clubs are getting longer again, one of the trends is 46” drivers, moving in that direction.  From shaft design, the first thing we have to look at is shaft weight.  Obvioulsy lighter weights are going to help these guys get their static numbers, meaning instead of being able to use a 200 or 202 gram head, these guys are pushing the limit now at maybe 204, 205, 206 on some of these new generation type heads to try and maximize MOI in the head.  So the lighter shaft is going help keep a reasonable swing weight on the product and keep the static weight down.  Obviously as these heads evolve we’re having to look at the shafts and say, “What can we do to help complement the performance of the new types of heads?”

13:04 – Jamie Pipes:  Also on that one there we’ve looked at the high MOI heads being a lot more stable.  With them twisting less, we’ve shifted our focus away from the tip section and concentrated more on the butt end of the shaft and trying to make it respond and react in a much more consistent fashion.  One product that has worked really well in the testing of the new high MOI heads are the new Axiv shafts.

13:45 – GolfWRX:  So are you guys seeing a trend away from focusing on tip stiffness and concentrating more on making the butt stiffer?

13:52 – Jamie Pipes:  Well, it’s not a trend; it’s just something we’ve done.  The V2 worked really well in the high MOI head.  It was probably second in the testing I did.  The Axiv was the best shaft we tested in high MOI heads.  But the V2 has hung in there for about three rounds so it was second in my testing.

14:20 – Don Rharig:  In fact we’ve got a V2 MOI shaft that we came out with and we did something a little bit different with the product.  It’s actually a slightly heavier product and it’s a counter balanced product.  What we tried to do and what came back from the testing of this shaft was that the shaft actually is very stable because we’ve got a little bit more mass and it helps because of the counter balance technology we use.  So the control is there for the player but it doesn’t have that really heavy feel.  So again, we went about it a little bit differently because of the trends and what is happening with the heads.

Part II

0:08 – GolfWRX:  The other big buzz-word in the golf industry seems to be multi-material technology and carbon nanotubes, those kinds of things.  Do you guys have any plans to work with multiple materials and do you see any advantages to that?  

0:25 – Jamie Pipes:  Well, I think that’s a pretty broad category the multiple materials.  We’ve done several things at UST if you go back there were shafts we used that had Boron in the shafts.  Everything we’ve done at UST is based on performance and why would we use this material and will it help in the performance of the product.  Boron was very important ten years ago because in the performance of the product themselves the resin systems weren’t as tough as they are today in the systems.  We also did some shafts with titanium strands which we found really helped from a durability point of view.  We’ve done interlinked carbon with woven carbon material with IROD.  With Axiv we’re using a four axis material and then with frequency filtered putter shaft we have a combination of steel, carbon and then the filter section, the diffuser section in the center that’s a different material.  So we’ve done a lot with multiple materials.  Specifically with nano, what we’ve seen with nano in the designs we’ve done is that there is no performance advantage.  Obviously there is a high cost involved with nano, but we haven’t really seen any benefits from durability or benefits from performance.  So up to this point we have not used any nano material in our designs.  

2:09 – GolfWRX:  Now your online fitting system Professor Shaft is a really neat idea, how do you guys recommend consumers get fit into your shafts?

2:16 – Jamie Pipes:  Any golfer should go through a dynamic fitting with a professional or a professional club fitter out on a range where they can see the ball flight.  I prefer to see the ball flight.  What Professor Shaft does is get the golfer to start thinking about what they might need to improve their game.  The dynamic fitting and even using a launch monitor is good, but being able to see the ball flight is the best as far as getting fit.  

3:08 – GolfWRX:  So use Professor Shaft as a starting point and then get to see your local club fitter?

3:14 – Jamie Pipes:  Right, exactly.  The online stuff should just help the golfer start thinking about what they need to be testing or looking to try out on the driving range or in a fitting session.

3:28 – GolfWRX:  UST made some huge news with the signing of your Tour staff.  How did you guys chose those players and how much input do they have on the design of your products?

3:42 – Jamie Pipes:  You’re referring to Davis Love III, Jim Furyk, those guys on our staff?  First of all we approached them because they were using our product already and were really believers of UST products on Tour.  That’s how it came about.  We chose them for different reasons, Davis is a great driver of the golf ball, Furyk’s Mr. Consistency, Rod Pampling is someone people relate to for his tenacity, and Cristie Kerr is one of the top LPGA players.  We chose a wide variety of golfers so hopefully they would help every golfer recognize the UST brand and UST products.

4:42 – Don Rahrig:  The other thing we did with the Tour staff is – marketing is about visible staff, visible players.  What we wanted to do is find guys that not only are playing our product, but also we wanted to find guys that when the consumers turn on the television on Saturday and Sunday they’re going to see these guys playing UST products.  So instead of going after counts, we’ve kind of backed off on counts and say, “Hey what do counts mean anyway?”  Again any time a PGA player plays your product on the PGA Tour it’s great, it gives your product credibility, but it seems like everything’s getting lost in numbers.  What we’re saying is that with our visibility of the product, it’s more impact to have marquee type of players playing the product.  So we try to find guys, like Jamie says, supported the product but will also be there on the weekend.

5:41 – GolfWRX:  That makes perfect sense.  Can you guys talk a little bit about the fitting process for Tour players?  I know you said they were mostly playing your product to begin with.

5:53 – Jamie Pipes:  All those players have a contract with a club company so they’re tied into playing certain clubs with those club companies.  Our Tour Rep will work hand in hand with the Club Reps and help the players find what they’re looking for in terms of feel and ball flight.  Davis is a good example, he had played a certain weight range driver shaft for as long as I can remember and we got him to test this new product in a new Titleist driver and he liked the feel of it and it performed.  It hit the launch and distance he was looking for, so that was a pretty easy fit – he switched right away.  Furyk is ALL feel.  He’s going by what the shaft feels like at impact, he wants it to do a certain thing and he wants it to launch a certain way.  We’ve gone through several iterations.  The question before about what kind of input they have on our equipment, we’re just at the very beginning of dealing with these golfers and we haven’t really gotten much feedback from them.  We’re just now finding out what they like and what they prefer.  Maybe down the road they might have more input on the design of a specific shaft or something.  

7:33 – Don Rahrig:  What we’ve tried to do with our products is not overlap the products – meaning the IROD products will perform different than the V2 and the V2 will perform different from the HTD to give our Tour Reps options when they’re working with them.  Accra products obviously perform different, have different attributes to those shafts.  The other thing we’ve tried to do which we’ve learned out on Tour which I think has helped in the fitting process is we’ve really tightened up our tolerances over the several years on our product.  So when a Tour player tests a V2 75 in his driver, if he wants to try another driver head, the OEM’s are coming out with it, we can then give him another shaft that would be the exact same model and it’s going to have very similar characteristics because of the tighter tolerances.  So I think that’s also helped with the fitting process with these players.

8:38 – GolfWRX:  Getting into your Tour models, what are the differences between the Tour models and the “standard” line?  Are they extensions of the standard line, or are they completely different profiles and designs?

8:54 – Jamie Pipes:  It’s mainly just an extension.  What we consider Tour models are the heavier products.  Anything that’s over 80 grams, like in the V2 line the V2 55 all the way to the V2 95 is the same flex profile.  It’s just that some of our catalog distributors and some of our distributors don’t want to put anything that’s very heavy in their catalogs just because they don’t think it’s going to sell.  

9:25 – GolfWRX:  Getting into the V2, it’s quickly become one of the most popular shafts in golf today, how did its development come about?

9:36 – Don Rahrig:  With the original Proforce, the Proforce Gold we pretty much had a homerun with that product and I’ll talk about that briefly and have that lead into the V2.  When we were developing that product, we looked at heads, we looked at what was going on with golf clubs and we really focused on tip stiffness of the product to try and control launch.  We felt like we were the innovator in coming out with tip stiffness in woods.  With V2 what we did is we took all the feedback, questions that came into our website from different people, comments we receive from OEM’s, comments we got from our Tour Reps and on Tour and so on.  What can we do with V2 to improve that product over Proforce, number one.  Number two – heads kept changing, heads kept getting larger and larger in size.  What we felt is that the shaft had to be designed differently to complement that.  We changed the flex profile of the V2 shaft and we actually softened the product over the original Proforce.  We felt based on the testing of the original heads, Jamie and all his testing, we were getting better launch conditions with what was evolving in that design.  We also lowered the torque a little bit to help from a control standpoint.  The other thing on that product was to have a whole family of shafts where as we changed weight we still had the same sort of flex profile.  So it’s something where we looked at a lot of different areas and just said, “What can we do, where are the trends going, what’s happening with the market, and what can we do with this shaft to help complement and help the majority of the people that are out there and are looking for this new type of golf club?”

11:44 – GolfWRX:  Why do you guys think the V2 has been such a good fit for so many different type of swings out there, and why have OEM’s taken to it so well?

11:54 – Don Rahrig:  I think that goes back to the last question, and that is just doing our homework.  Saying what’s going on?  What type of product is gong to perform best in these new heads as heads evolve and change the shafts have to change along with those and complement the heads.  Working with the OEM’s what all these guys are dong now, they’re putting the shaft in, they’re putting it on launch monitors, so it does come down to performance.  I think it was just doing our homework and knowing what factors were most important and what attributes of the shaft are going to help the most in these clubs.

12:40 – Jamie Pipes:  Going back to how the Proforce Gold performed, it being one of the most popular shafts in the marketplace and like Don said, how we can make that shaft better and make it perform better in the heads that were coming out in those days.

13:01 – GolfWRX:  A lot of the users on our board have remarked that there is a pretty significant playability difference between each weight range of V2 shafts as you go from 50 to 60 to 70 to 80 grams with the heavier shafts playing much stiffer.  Can you guys come up with a reason for this?

13:23 – Jamie Pipes:  We did design the flex profile for each weight model to be the same, where the butt stiffness in a 50 gram shaft is very similar to the butt stiffness in a 90 gram shaft.  The main difference is just weight and torque.  With this shaft family, with some of the club fitters in the marketplace that have even gone to doing torsional profiles to be able to tell the difference on why they perform differently.  But it just boils down to heavier weight and lower torque.

14:02 – GolfWRX:  The V2’s obviously really popular in bore-through heads such as the 905R and the new Titleist D1 and D2 that have come out recently.  Is the V2 a good fit for bore-through heads only, or can it be effectively trimmed down to play well in standard bore heads as well?

14:23 – Jamie Pipes:  We think it can, we designed it with a longer parallel tip section from the beginning with bore-through heads in mind so it will fit in the bore-through head.  But it can be trimmed to match up with a bore-through head where if you’re looking at the reference point on the logo and you get that to the same as the distance on the sole of the club, you can get a similar feel.  The longer parallel section is going to give the club builder a lot more flexibility in fitting a particular golfer they’re trying to fit.

Part III

0:09 – GolfWRX:  Now you guys just recently introduced the V2 High Launch.  What does this shaft address that the original V2 does not?

0:22 – Jamie Pipes:  In developing the V2, it was more of a mid-launch shaft.  Going back to the old Proforce Gold, it was a pretty low-launch, stiff tip shaft.  So we still felt like we could do a little bit more in complementing the V2 in creating a higher launching shaft, a little softer shaft torsionally that would help the smoother tempo golfers that needed to increase their launch and carry and maximize their distance.

1:00 – GolfWRX:  Are there any plans to have V2 iron shafts made in the future?

1:07 – Don Rahrig:  We do really well now with the Rv2.  Iron shafts are one area we’re looking at and it’s on our drawing board at the R&D Department.  We’d like to see what we can do to improve the Rv2 iron shafts we have now.  As far as making it match up with the V2 wood shafts, that’s kind of hard to do in that iron shafts to me are completely different than wood shafts.  You’ve got to look at what you want to accomplish in iron play and make it fit that.  

1:51 – GolfWRX:  Can you go into that a little bit more, what makes them so different between one and the other?

1:54 – Jamie Pipes:  Well, going back to improving driving, it’s a given that every golfer wants to hit it longer and straighter.  So you try to help them improve their launch conditions and you do that in driver heads.  But in iron play, you’ve got to look at distance control, ball flight, and being able to fit the golfers.  You can fit them again in irons according to weight, but it really depends on their what I call their distance versus control factor.  Whether they are truly wanting more distance, or whether they want a combination of distance and control, or whether they really want to control their shots and control their distance on their irons.  

2:47 – GolfWRX:  Getting into the IROD, where does the IROD fit in compared with V2 and the Proforce Gold?

2:56 – Don Rahrig:  The IROD was the first hybrid shaft on the market.  So, I guess one of the things about the IROD is we saw a need for what was happening in the hybrid market and designed a shaft that we felt would really help in that segment.  Being early on, the concept that we used on the IROD hybrid is the product has a relatively stiff tip.  The concept there was to have the shaft repeat and bring the head back into the impact zone every time.  Using the interlinked carbon in the butt section we were able to soften the butt of that shaft and make it so it doesn’t feel boardy at all.  It was kind of a different way to design a shaft.  We got a lot of comments from club fitters that, “I put this thing on the flex board and your S flex measures like an A.”  Well those are the things at UST, when we develop product, it’s kind of interesting and goes back to one of the other questions, we don’t specifically say an S flex has to have these kind of stiffness characteristics.  Our products will, depending on the category and who we’re going after, they will evolve.  When Jamie’s testing a product, this one may end up being an S, but before if you look at traditional type of measurements, that shaft could have been a XX or an A, who knows depending on the attributes of the product.  So the IROD was more of a lower ball flight, a little bit lower launch on the product.  With the V2 as hybrids have evolved more, and more and we got more feedback, one of the things we were hearing from Tour players is they wanted the ball higher.  What these guys want to do is hit these hybrids and hit them 220 or 230 and have them land on the green and not really move.  They want it to not roll.  So with the V2, what we did is use some of the technology we learned with the IROD and complemented it with the V2 to come out with a little bit higher launch product.  So again, a little bit different attribute on the product, but the main thing is they’re going to launch differently.

5:28 – GolfWRX:  So basically to boil things down, the IROD is basically going to launch lower than the V2?

5:34 – Jamie Pipes:  Yes, also, when the IROD came out too with the first hybrid clubs on the market, the IROD helped the golfer keep from hooking the hybrids.  So it was kind of an anti-left.

5:51 – Don Rahrig:  This comes back to us at UST understanding the golf club.  The first generation of hybrids, when guys were missing them they were missing them left.  As companies came out with their second and third generations of hybrids, they took that out of the heads which meant we had to design the shafts differently again which is what we did with the V2.

6:14 – GolfWRX:  With all this innovation you guys have done in the past couple of years, is there still room in your product line for the old Proforce Gold?

6:25 – Jamie Pipes:  Sure, I think the old Proforce Gold provides a different type of launch for golfers looking to hit it a little lower than what they’re hitting it now.  I still think there’s plenty of room for our best selling shaft ever.

6:52 – GolfWRX:  Now getting into the Frequency Filtered putter shafts, a lot of companies are satisfied with making a standard steel putter shaft.  What problems do conventional steel shafts present, and how does the Frequency Filtered shaft solve those problems?

7:07 – Don Rahrig:  The Frequency Filtered putter shaft, I think the one thing that confuses people about it is it’s not about dampening.  It doesn’t dampen; it doesn’t remove, or cut down vibration.  What it does is it filters out a certain frequency range which we found that those frequencies don’t give positive input to the guy putting the golf ball.  With steel shafts there wasn’t a way to filter out certain frequencies.  The analogy that we use is like a radio, where if you’re not tuned right on the station with an analog radio you get that static until you tune right on it.  It’s not like we’re changing any amplitude or we’re not changing what’s coming through, we’re just filtering that noise out that’s not giving the golfer any feed back.  What we’ve found then is that with the frequency filtered shaft is you get better feedback and you’re going to hit it more on the sweet spot of the putter, or you know when you’re miss-hitting it, and we also found that it helps in lagging the ball.  You get more consistency in your feel and your lag putts are a little bit better.

8:25 – Jamie Pipes:  It’s all about feel, the more I putt with it, the better I can tell when I make a good solid strike at impact.  In putting, that’s one of the places where even the average golfer can feel it and tell a difference.  It just helps you when you hit a good putt and it helps you with feedback.

8:48 – GolfWRX:  Now spining and Puring are two very controversial topics we debate all the time on GolfWRX.  What’s your take on the idea?  Do you recommend that all golfers take their shafts to be spined?

9:02 – Jamie Pipes:  For spining and Puring, we use the analogy of balancing tires.  Every shaft that is made can be balanced better.  If you buy the most expensive set of tires and put them on your car, you’re still going to have the balanced on your car.  No matter what shaft you buy, whether it be steel or graphite, it’s really up to the golfer whether they believe in Puring.  It’s really a personal preference deal.  If they feel it will perform better when spined or Pured, then they should do that.  What we’ve learned from the Puring process, and we’ve actually sold some Proforce shafts that were what we called “Pure Gold” they were actually Pured and then painted with the logo positioned in the right place.  What we’ve learned from that process is that we actually need to improve our shafts.  It brought about us tightening our tolerances on weight, tightening our tolerances on cpm or frequency, and we’re really striving to make a shaft that’s very, very concentric and very consistent from shaft to shaft.  

10:23 – Don Rahrig:  The Puring process is a function of roundess, straightness, and stiffness.  It’s impossible to make a shaft that’s perfectly round, perfectly straight, and perfectly stiff, no matter what materials it’s made out of.  The Puring process is a way you’re going to be able find the stiffest point or spinning, Puring, whatever.  The thing is as Jamie was saying as shafts become better and better, now that range becomes tighter and tighter.  Now you take a player like Furyk, he may be able to feel it, because he’s such a feel player, but it’s really where do you draw that line.  It’s not that we would say, “Spine that shaft or don’t spine that shaft.”  What we’re saying is that as these shafts become better and better and better, the difference you’re going to see is going to be smaller.

11:26 – GolfWRX:  That’s great information.  What do you guys think has been the greatest innovation in golf shaft technology in the past five years?

11:38 – Don Rahrig:  For UST, there’s been a lot of different types off innovations out there, but consistency has got to be the one thing we’d have to go back to as far as technology.  Being able to learn more about how to use some of the best materials in the world and produce very, very consistent products.  So the club builders out there, when they put a Proforce V2 X flex, let’s say 60 gram in a product and a guy comes back and he wants to do it in another driver, that those products are going to be consistent.  We feel from a product standpoint, that is so important, that products are repeatable and that the players are going to have that consistency when they’re repeating and using the same shaft.  That’s been done with a lot of hard work with our manufacturing guys, a lot of process control, and just a lot of different things we’re doing in the manufacturing environment to produce a very consistent product.

12:42 – GolfWRX:  What comes next for UST Golf Shafts?  Do you guys have any new products on the horizon?

12:51 – Don Rahrig:  Of course, there’s lots of things on the drawing board right now.  We’re still doing a lot of testing with shafts for MOI, as MOI increases or as head weights increase we feel we’re going to have to come out with the next generation of product.  We’re always looking at different materials, saying, “What can these materials do to help improve performance?”  And it’s great working with the OEM’s because we get good feedback from those guys on what’s happening with our product.  So we’ve got a lot of products on the horizon that are in the queue so to speak, it just depends on the needs at the time for the product, but what’s next, you’ll just have to stay tuned and stay on our website and just try to keep up with what we’re dong.

13:52 – GolfWRX:  Okay guys, we’re going to get you out of here on this last question.  We can’t let you leave without finding out what’s in your bags?

13:59 – Don Rahrig:  In my driver, I’m playing a V2 60 gram shaft, and what I’ve found is that with a big head, I’ve been able to go a little bit softer in flex and still get good distance.  My fairway wood, I’ve got a V2 75, I like to have a little bit heavier product there.  I’ve got a couple of hybrids, in those hybrids I’m playing IROD S flex in the hybrid.  In my irons I’ve got Proforce Rv2’s, those are S flex and my putter I’m playing a Frequency Filtered shaft.  I’m just trying to stay with all the technology in there and the stuff really is making the game a little bit easier because I don’t know if it’s this way with you, but with us being the golf business, I don’t think we get to play as much as we used to.  So we’ve got to rely on having the shafts help us as much as we can.

15:09 – GolfWRX:  Excellent, Jamie, how about you?

15:10 – Jamie Pipes:  I have a Frequency Filtered putter shaft in my putter.  In my driver I play a Proforce V2 65 stiff, in my three wood I have a Proforce V2 CB that’s out on Tour, it’s 69 grams in a stiff.  In my five wood I have a V2 85 stiff.  I have two hybrids and they are using and IROD Tour 90 stiff.  In my irons I’m using Rv2 95 stiff.

15:53 – GolfWRX:  Excellent, guys we really want to thank you for taking the time out of your busy days to answer our questions.  It really means a lot and the information you’ve provided here is really excellent.  From all of us here at GolfWRX, thank you very much for your time and efforts, and we hope you have a great day.  

16:09 – Don Rahrig:  You’re welcome, we appreciate everything you guys do and working with UST and giving us the opportunity to come on here and share this information with the members on your site.

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