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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

15 Comments

  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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Whats in the Bag

Lydia Ko WITB 2021 (April)

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Lydia Ko what’s in the bag accurate as of the Lotte Championship. 

Driver: PXG 0811 X Proto (9 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Tensei Pro White 1K 50 S (45.75 inches)

3-wood: PXG 0341 X GEN2 (15 degrees)
Shaft: Project X RDX Smoke Blue 60 5.5

5-wood: PXG 0341 X GEN2 (18 degrees)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD IZ- 6 S. (42 inches)

Hybrids: PXG 0317 X GEN2 (19 and 22 degrees)
Shafts:  Graphite Design Tour AD IZ 65 R1

Irons: PXG 0311 P GEN3 (5-PW)
Shafts: Aerotech FC 70 S

Wedges: PXG 0311 Milled Sugar Daddy (54), 0311 Milled “Lydia” (58)
Shafts: Aerotech FC 80 S

Putter: PXG Prototype Thunderbolt C

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x

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Whats in the Bag

Corey Conners WITB 2021 (April)

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  • Corey Conners WITB accurate as of the RBC Heritage.

Driver: Ping G400 LST (8.5 degrees @8, standard)
Shaft: UST Elements Gold 6F5 (tipped 1 inch, D4+)

 

3-wood: Ping G425 LST (14.5 degrees @15, small +)
Shaft: Project X HZRDUS Black 76 6.5 (43 inches, tipped 1 inches)

3-hybrid: Ping G425 (19 degrees @20, small +)
Shaft: UST VTS Red Hybrid 85 X (40.25 inches, D2)

Irons: Ping iBlade (4-PW)
Shafts: Project X 6.0

Wedges: Ping Glide 2.0 Stealth (50-SS, 56-SS); Titleist Vokey SM8 60-M
Shafts: Project X 6.0

Putter: Prototype PLD Prime Tyne H (Stealth finish) 

Grips: Golf Pride MCC Black/Blue (60R +1 wrap)

Ball: Titleist Pro V1

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Equipment

Tommy Fleetwood puts prototype TaylorMade putter in play at RBC

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Earlier this week at the RBC Heritage, we spotted English golfer Tommy Fleetwood testing putters on the putting green, and we now have confirmation that said putter, a prototype TaylorMade “Bandon 1,” has gone into play.

The putter is a combination of the Truss TM1, along with a traditional plumbers neck hosel. It is also fitted with a Pure Roll insert. Tommy has a propensity for messing around with putters, so whether it stays in the bag long term or not will be something to follow.

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