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Latest patent filings: Sound-tuning, sound-analysis and adjustable irons

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It’s been a few months since we took a peek at the technologies major OEMs are working on. In an ever-increasingly competitive space amid an industry in contraction, OEMs seem to be digging deeper and going bolder to attract consumers (Callaway’s driver with a spoiler from the July edition of this series comes to mind here).

In a survey of what’s recently been made available for public consumption, that trend continues.

Let’s take a look at how our friends in Fairhaven, Carlsbad, Fort Worth and Phoenix are pushing the envelope.

TaylorMade: Multi-layer face insert

Golf club head - TMAG

TaylorMade is working on a driver with a multi-layer face insert that includes the prepreg plies technology we discussed in a previous installment in this series. The filing also makes mention of an “undercut fill structure,” which “can include at least three ribs equidistantly spaced from each other.”

TaylorMade: Contrast-enhanced club heads

Contrast-enhanced golf club heads - TMAG

TMag is also looking at “contrast enhanced” crowns. As the company’s filing states, “new approaches that permit more accurate and repeatable alignment are needed.” The filing also makes clear that the both black and white crowns are being developed.

Callaway: Adjustable iron-type golf club head

Adjustable iron-type golf club head

Callaway is exploring a highly adjustable iron head. As you can see from the image above, multiple sections can be adjusted. The filing refers to “features that allow for the adjustment of the principal moment of inertia angle and/or turf interaction, including an adjustable weight cartridge or an adjustable sole plate and a lightweight face.”

Callaway: Multi-material putter

Multiple material putter-CALLY

The Carlsbad-based company is also working on a “multiple material putter having a high moment of inertia and a low center of gravity,” according to another filing.

The filing further states: “Most putters are constructed in such a way that the head is made from a single type of parent material, such as steel. There is a need for putters that have increased moments of inertia and low centers of gravity.”

Titleist: A workable and forgiving iron

Set of golf clubs-Titleist

Moving on to Titleist’s R&D efforts: The company is continuing to work on cavity-backed players irons that offer more forgiveness and more workability at the same time. A lengthy paragraph from the filing lays this out in detail.

Previous game improvement club heads have relatively higher MOI-Y, at the expense of a higher MOI-SA because they are relatively large. Generally, better players have a tendency to prefer golf clubs having a lower MOI-SA so that they can control the orientation of the club head throughout the swing with greater ease….There remains a need in the art for an improved iron-type golf club. In particular, there is a need for an iron-type golf club that provides a lower MOI-SA in combination with a higher MOI-Y.

Titleist: Optimizing club heads for sound

Golf club head optimized for sound-Titleist

Titleist is also working on a driver that’s sound is “is aesthetically pleasing when the golf club head impacts the golf ball.” The filing indicates that today’s large, flat driver typically produce lower frequency sounds, which golfers, according to Titleist, don’t like.

Ping: Tuneable everything

Club head sets with varying characteristics and related methods-PING

The denizens of Phoenix are toying with irons with multiple adjustable weights, as a recent filing makes mention of. The filing further suggests that loft can be tinkered with.

Nike: Actually analyzing impact through soundImpact and sound analysis for golf equipment-NIKE

If you remember the “microwavable golf ball” Nike applied for a patent that we mentioned a few months ago, then this might not surprise you: Nike is working on technology to analyze impact sound to “determine one or more characteristics of the impact, and generating an output based on the determined impact characteristic.”

What does that mean? A few paragraphs in the filing sheds a little light on what Nike’s up to:

“The amplitudes and frequencies of the audio signal may be analyzed to determine various characteristics such as a magnitude of compression of the golf ball, an impact location on the surface and/or a speed with which the surface impacts the golf ball.

“The determined characteristics may be used, in some arrangements, to determine a golf ball impact location on the surface of the golf club head. Alternatively or additionally, the characteristics may be used to identify a type of golf ball best suited for a particular user (and/or, e.g., golf club head speed). In yet other arrangements, the determined characteristics, such as golf ball compression, may be used to insure the quality of a golf ball.

“According to other aspects, a mobile communication device may be configured to detect golf ball impact sounds and to determine the various impact characteristics. In one example, a mobile communication device may record the sound of a golf ball impact and to visually indicate the golf ball impact location against a golf club head.”

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15 Comments

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  1. Joe Golfer

    Oct 16, 2014 at 1:13 am

    Ralph Maltby of Golfworks has been selling irons for quite some time that have adjustable weights in the heel and toe.
    I think their latest is the Maltby KE4 iron head, which can be seen at the Golfworks site.
    I’m not advocating it, as I don’t know anyone who has ever tried one.
    I’m just saying that adjustable irons in this weighting respect have existed already for many years now.

  2. Archie Bunker

    Oct 14, 2014 at 4:26 pm

    These patents are technically worthless, and only provide marketing direction to sell more product. I can only imagine the absurd claims that will be made for these “breakthroughs” in the future.

  3. nikkyd

    Oct 12, 2014 at 8:39 pm

    I like the adjustable bounce on the callys. I was just thinking that the other day. Why couldnt a guy weld a flange on the sole of an old set of blades ? Callaway has done it. Bravo.

  4. BigBoy

    Oct 12, 2014 at 6:31 pm

    the sheer stupidity of manufacturers today, it knows no bounds to that stupidity.

  5. Tom

    Oct 12, 2014 at 11:50 am

    From the looks of the design concepts, it would appear that there is more on the clubs that can break or fall off.

  6. Jay

    Oct 12, 2014 at 10:47 am

    Adjustable irons are ridiculous. Get fit for length,loft and lie and call it good. More does not equal better.

  7. moses

    Oct 11, 2014 at 8:18 pm

    Hmmm. If only the USGA would let us have COR .860 it would save the golf equipment industry for the next 10 years.

    • No

      Oct 12, 2014 at 2:50 am

      No, it wouldn’t. It would make it worse.

      • Joe Golfer

        Oct 16, 2014 at 1:08 am

        @No
        the comment by @Moses was meant to be sarcastic.

  8. Shelton Cooper

    Oct 11, 2014 at 7:38 pm

    So Nike will just be using the Mizuno harmonic impact technology then. Does Mizuno not have a patent on that already?

    • Josh

      Oct 11, 2014 at 7:52 pm

      That is different. Mizuno’s tech is about making the feel and sound good to the player. Nike’s idea is about actually determining where the ball hit on the club face or how much compression a player got from the ball. From what it reads it sounds like it will be an app based on sound. So instead of using impact tape or a high speed camera to determine where the ball hit on the face, the app will determine it based on the impact sound.

      • RAT

        Oct 11, 2014 at 9:23 pm

        I can do this myself. I can tell by sound and feel that it was a good strike or not.

    • MHendon

      Oct 11, 2014 at 9:49 pm

      Patents have become a joke and are virtually worthless.

      • 1badbadger

        Oct 18, 2014 at 4:18 am

        I think some of these IDEAS are a joke, but patents can be very valuable. Golf equipment companies will aggressively protect their intellectual property, and if a competitor infringes on another manufacturer’s patents the settlements can be in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

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Equipment

Inside Jon Rahm’s putter switch before U.S. Open win

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Editor’s note: We filed this piece for PGATour.com’s Equipment Report

His 18-foot, curling left-to-righter breaks toward the hole, eyes locked on its path, Jon Rahm raises his Odyssey Rossie S putter and unleashes jubilant fist pump as his ball dives into the darkness.

We’ve seen the highlight how many times in the handful of days that have passed since that putt clinched Rahm’s U.S. Open victory?

It’s hard to imagine after seeing the confidence and firm conviction the ball would roll inevitably into the hole Rahm displayed on Torrey Pines’ 17th and 18th greens, Sunday, that the world No. 1 only switched into the flatstick the tournament prior to the U.S. Open. It’s surprising, too, that the mid-mallet model he settled on was a significant departure from the gigantic rear-center of gravity, high MOI mallet he had been using for months.

So, how did we get here? How did Rahmbo look more like 2008 Sunday Tiger Woods on the 72nd at Torrey Pines and less like a golfer who was so frustrated with his putting he went back to the drawing board less than a month ago?

The week prior to the Memorial Tournament presented by Workday, Rahm visited with Callaway head of tour operations Tim Reed and Odyssey rep Joe Toulon at the Ely Callaway Performance Center in Carlsbad, California, to test putters. There, Rahm was most intrigued by an Odyssey Rossie S mid-mallet putter. He remained happy with the Microhinge Star insert that had been, well, inserted into his 2-Ball Ten at the PGA Championship, so Toulon and company had the Rossie built with the Microhinge.

After evaluation on SAM PuttLab and Quintic (two putting analysis systems), it was clear the Rossie performed better than the higher-MOI, rear-CG 2-Ball Ten he had been putting with since joining Callaway’s tour staff in January. And as evidenced by his barnstorming three rounds at the Memorial Tournament and his clutch putt-filled win at the U.S. Open, the Spaniard’s putting performance was indeed elevated.

For the inside story of Rahm’s Rossie S, GolfWRX spoke with Odyssey tour rep Joe Toulon.

GolfWRX: When Rahm signed with Callaway, he was using a putter that looked very much like the Odyssey 2-Ball Ten he ultimately put in the bag. It intuitively made sense that’d be his choice, but he switched to a different putter at the Memorial. Why?

Joe Toulon: When he came into our putter studio in January, he hadn’t really been putting great. He was anxious to get into something. We had, probably, 20 putters made up for him, and the whole time, we were thinking the 2-Ball Ten with the S-neck would be the winner because it was similar to what he was using coming in.

But through that process, you have to listen to what the player is saying and how they’re saying it. He was struggling with setup and how his putter sat on the ground…and he found himself fidgeting.

In his college days, he used a 2-Ball. So the 2-Ball Ten, the way it sat on the ground for him was the reason he gravitated toward that. He felt comfortable with it…and with his path, he squared it up a little bit more and hit more putts in the center of the face.

The last thing we did with that putter was change to a White Hot insert. He’s such a feel player, and he told us that White Hot felt good at impact.

So that’s what he switched to at the Farmers Insurance Open and used through the PGA Championship.

Read the rest of the piece on PGATour.com.

*Featured image via Callaway’s Johnny Wunder

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GolfWRX Spotted: Dustin Johnson returns to ‘old faithful’ driver set-up at Travelers Champ

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Dustin Johnson has been back and forth with a variety of his clubs this year, but it looks as if the World Number Two is set to return to a trusty set-up at the top of his bag this week.

The 37-year-old made a significant change last month before the PGA Championship, putting an LA Golf Prototype shaft in his SIM2 Max driver.

The move was significant since DJ has used his Fujikura Speeder 661 Evolution 2.0 Tour X Flex shaft for the best part of 5 years, and though just becoming a partner of LA Golf, our photos from the range this week suggest he’s ready to return to the Speeder shaft.

It also appears that DJ will return to the original SIM driver after playing the SIM2 Max for large periods this year.

We’ll keep an eye on DJ during today’s opening round to see what driver and shaft go into live tournament action at the Travelers Championship.

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Coolest thing for sale in the GolfWRX Classifieds (06/24/21): Tour Only Bettinardi Inovai 6.0 putter

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At GolfWRX, we love golf, plain and simple.

We are a community of like-minded individuals that all experience and express our enjoyment of the game in many ways. It’s that sense of community that drives day-to-day interactions in the forums on topics that range from best driver to what marker you use to mark your ball. It even allows us to share another thing we all love – buy and selling equipment.

Currently, in our GolfWRX buy/sell/trade (BST) forum, there is a listing for a Tour Only Bettinardi Inovai 6.0 putter. ($1500)

From the seller (@sajohn12345): “Tour Only Bettinardi Inovai 6.0 with a crescent neck. Has the matching hexperimental prototype headcover. $1500, offers will be considered.”

To check out the full listing in our BST forum, head through the link: Tour Only Bettinardi Inovai 6.0 putter

This is the most impressive current listing from the GolfWRX BST, and if you are curious about the rules to participate in the BST Forum you can check them out here: GolfWRX BST Rules

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