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USGA Adjustibility – TaylorMade’s Response

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The USGA recently announced that on January 1, 2008 a new rule would be in effect allowing different types of adjustability for golf clubs.

How will this new rule affect manufacturers and OEM’s? GolfWRX recently asked Dr. Benoit Vincent, Cheif Technical Officer for TaylorMade Adidas Golf about how this new rule would influence TaylorMade clubs in the future.

GolfWRX:  What impact will the the USGA’s recently approved changes in the adjustability ruling have on TaylorMade?

Dr. Benoit Vincent:  The USGA’s adoption of adjustability validates the efforts made by TaylorMade to create products offering customization – such as our Movable Weight Technology – in order to fit the performance of the products with the swing characteristics of individual players. Our Movable Weight Technology recently reached a new level with the release of the r7 CGB Max driver. It has three weight ports, with the heaviest weighing 16g, allowing the player to dial in his/her trajectory with a 35-yard right-to-left variance. As the USGA has now permitted adjustability beyond weight, we will continue to create additional performance benefits for players that result in the best specifications for that player’s exact preferences.

What is still in question is how the consumer will react to certain facets of adjustability. For practical purposes and simplicity, will the masses continue to play equipment as it is known today or will they engage heavily into adjustability? We’re not sure that players will immediately jump into products that offer adjustability. That is part of the research and market studies we’ve been working on.

GolfWRX:  Will the new rule for adjustability in clubs be a catalyst for any revolutionary changes in design, especially in traditionally conservative items such as irons and wedges?

Dr. Benoit Vincent:  The level of complexity with irons increases a lot as you need to dial everyone for 8 clubs plus wedges. Even if it is technically possible to bring adjustability for these clubs, it may be too much for golfers to deal with. Practicality may limit what players can embrace.

GolfWRX: What impact does SelectFit have on feel for the end product compared to a traditional epoxy bond?

Dr. Benoit Vincent:  What we’ve been able to accomplish with our SelectFit system is no difference in feel coming from the mechanical bonding link between the head and the shaft. You do not feel the portion of the shaft that is secured in the head, you feel only the part that is free to flex outside the head. Our SelectFit fastens the shaft at the same level as the bond does, so the free portion of the shaft outside the head is the same.

GolfWRX:  Do you expect traditional players to readily move into a system like SelectFit for their rounds?

Dr. Benoit Vincent: Yes, because once the clubhead is affixed to the shaft through the SelectFit system, the performance and feel of the club is the same as if it were bonded with epoxy. It’s similar to players who have moveable weights attached to the sole plate of the club head. Unlike most of the systems created, SelectFit is blending with the hosel and does not change the length, fit or weight of the attachment. We designed SelectFit to be mechanically similar to a bonded link. Traditional players will not be able to tell the difference. Now, how long before they can overcome fear in their head? It may be as fast as the 50+ PGA Tour golfers who embraced our r7 driver overnight.

GolfWRX:  How far away are we from completely removing traditional epoxy bonds? When do you think TaylorMade will release a product that takes advantage of the changes in this rule?

Dr. Benoit Vincent:  We may never totally walk away from epoxy bonds for a lot of reasons. If you do not need to change your shaft, why do you need to have a club with the additional complexity that allows you to do it? Why would you pay for something that you may not use? Both systems may exist side by side for a while. As you know, TaylorMade already has a product with a shaft that can be removed in its SelectFit cart and we think it is greatly beneficial for fitting. In January 2008, for the golfers who borrowed some of our SelectFit clubs from the carts, they may post their scores.

GolfWRX:  How will this affect the way golf clubs are bought and sold? Do you see a time when golfers could walk into a store, buy a head only and pair it with an already prepped shaft?

Dr. Benoit Vincent:  Buying golf clubs is somewhat complicated today when you consider all variations offered. I am not sure that golfers are looking for too many additional levels of complexity and choices to make. For sure, we will see few golfers experimenting with heads and shafts separately because they do it today with the extra effort to unglue the shaft from the head and glue another shaft in it. Is it going to be the normal way of buying equipment? Do you buy your computer, do you buy your bicycle in pieces today? You can if you want to, but do you? 

GolfWRX:  Does this rule change hurt or help you as an OEM? It seems like you might sell less products on the whole, but could possibly minimize custom departments and excess stock?

Dr. Benoit Vincent: The removable shaft-head liaison requires additional components compared to the bonded version, starting with a tool to lock and unlock the liaison, which introduces cost to the system. All adjustability mechanisms will require additional “devices” or “design features” which will generate cost and will use weight. We are not sure how many golfers will pay for adjustable features in their products or want to deal with adjustability altogether. We may see a portion of golfers currently buying custom clubs who will pay for additional custom possibilities and also a portion of golfers who are not willing to pay for or be involved beyond current custom services offered by manufacturers. Not everyone adjusts their car tire pressure or changes tires themselves, even though a kit and spare wheel are included with the car.

GolfWRX:  The big beneficiary here seems to be amateur golfers who can receive Tour player treatment without costly shaft changes or purchases. Do you see big advantages for Tour players as well?

Dr. Benoit Vincent: We do not foresee a significant increased level of benefit for Tour players who already have our Tour van to build clubs with different shaft specifications. We see a handful of amateurs who are very involved with specifications of their products gaining some advantages with more modifications of their clubs.

GolfWRX:  Are there any physical changes to the club or playability characteristics that change from the addition of a system like SelectFit?

Dr. Benoit Vincent: The design of the SelectFit system does not affect the playability of the club at all. The hosel length was reduced slightly to compensate for the additional length from the fastening bolt. That slight modification provides a system that has the same overall hosel length and same shaft-head link portion. Again, we saw golfers using our SelectFit clubs today, certainly in anticipation of the rule!

GolfWRX would like to extend our appreciation to Dr. Benoit Vincent and TaylorMade for taking the time to answer all of our questions. 

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Darryl Hardi

    Dec 17, 2007 at 2:55 am

    Is this the same Benoit Vincent that invented the totally useless and technically unsubstantiated Bubble Shaft? He’s all marketing hype and not engineering substance. The MWT is no different than clubs of yesteryear that had removable tungsten weights. The only difference is the TaylorMade hype!!!

  2. Harry Oeters

    Dec 5, 2007 at 7:45 pm

    I purchased a Select Fit R7 Draw clubhead but cannot find anywhere to get the fastening bolt. My clubhead has threads at the end of the hosel. I live in Dayton. OH.

  3. Jeffrey Rosenberg

    Oct 16, 2007 at 7:36 pm

    I met Dr. Benoit Vincent today and he is EXTRAORDINARY! So much fun to pick his brain about clubs and the science of it all. Keep reading his stuff in the future if you get a chance.

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Whats in the Bag

Lee Hodges WITB 2024 (May)

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Driver: Titleist TSR2 (8 degrees, A1 SureFit setting)
Shaft: Fujikura Speeder 757 Evolution VI TX

3-wood: Titleist TSR3 (15 degrees, A1 SureFit setting)
Shaft: UST Mamiya LIN-Q Blue M40X

Hybrid: Callaway Apex UW (21 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Blue 8 X

Irons: Titleist T200 (3), Titleist T100 (4-6), Titleist 620 CB (7-9)
Shafts: KBS Prototype 95 X (3), KBS C-Taper 130 X (3-9)

Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM10 (46-10F, 52-08F, 56-10S), WedgeWorks (60-L)
Shafts: KBS C-Taper 130 X (46, 52), KBS Hi-Rev 2.0 125 S (56, 60)

Putter: Scotty Cameron TG6

Grips: Golf Pride MCC

Ball: Titleist Pro V1

Check out more in-hand photos of Lee Hodges’ WITB here.

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Club Junkie WITB, league night week 6: New combo iron set!

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Another week down and we are already into week 6 of Thursday Night Men’s League! Last week was a scrambler’s paradise. Thankfully the putter was pretty hot and it kept BK in the round after some inaccurate iron shots. The forecast looks good, so let’s hope he can put a good number up!

Here are the 14 clubs in the starting lineup.

Driver: PXG 0311 Black Ops Tour-1 (10.5 degrees, neutral setting)
Shaft: Project X Denali Blue 60 6.5

4-wood: Sub70 Pro V2 (16.5 degrees)
Shaft: Project X HZRDUS Smoke Red RDX 70 6.0

7-wood: Callaway Paradym Ai-Smoke Triple Diamond (20 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus TR Blue 8-S

4-iron: Edel SMS
Shaft: Fujikura Pro Tour Spec 115 Stiff

Irons: Edel SMS (5 – 6)
Shaft: Prototype

Irons: Edel SMS Pro (7 – PW)
Shaft: Prototype

Wedge: Bettinardi HLX 5.0 Forged (50-8C)
Shaft: True Temper Dynamic Gold S400

Wedge: Bettinardi HLX 5.0 Forged (56-14RJ)
Shaft: True Temper Dynamic Gold S400

Wedge: Bettinardi HLX 5.0 Forged (60-10RJ)
Shaft: True Temper Dynamic Gold S400

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour X Proto
Shaft: LA Golf P-Series 135

Ball: TaylorMade TP5 Pix

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WITB Time Machine: Daniel Berger’s winning WITB, 2020 Charles Schwab Challenge

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At the 2020 Charles Schwab Challenge, Daniel Berger bested Collin Morikawa in a playoff, making four to the latter’s five at Colonial Country Club after the pair deadlocked at 15 under at the end of regulation.

After a three-month break, the tournament was the first of the Tour’s resumed season amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Berger saved par from off the green on the first playoff hole. Morikawa couldn’t convert a three-footer to par.

The victory was Daniel Berger’s third tour triumph.

Take a look at what “db_straitvibin” had in play four years ago.

Driver: Callaway Mavrik Sub Zero Triple Diamond (9 degrees) Buy here.
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Black 6 X

3-wood: Callaway Epic Flash (13.5 degrees) Buy here.
Shaft: Fujikura Speeder 857 TR 85 X

Irons: Callaway Apex Forged ’16 (3) Buy here, TaylorMade TP MC ’11 (4-PW) Buy here.
Shafts: Project X 6.5

Wedges: Callaway Mack Daddy Forged (50-10, 56-10) Buy here, Callaway Mack Daddy 4 (60-12C) Buy here.
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour (Chalk) Buy here.

Ball: Titleist Pro V1 Buy here.

Grips: Golf Pride Tour Wrap

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