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LA Golf Partners buys Matrix Shafts’ assets, launches “LA Golf Shafts”

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Reed Dickens, Founder and Chairman of the newly formed LA Golf Partners, is bringing a concept he once used in a baseball bat company into the world of golf shafts.

Marucci Sports, of which Dickens was the co-founder and former CEO, is the No. 1 bat in Major League Baseball (by a reported 20 percent over its competition), and it’s different because the company partnered with professional players who not only helped with product development, but who actually invested in the company.

Now, Dickens is bringing the same strategy into golf after winning a bid and purchasing assets (inventory, equipment and patents/IP) from Matrix Shafts on March 9th. LA Golf Shafts will partner with professional golfers; the company will build shafts for these pros “from a blank sheet of paper,” meaning they will be fully custom, according to Dickens. Also, those players will become partners with the company. As of now, LA Golf Shafts has not announced exactly which players will become partners.

LA Golf Shafts will also sell aftermarket shafts, with emphasis on the word aftermarket. According to Chief Operating Officer Chris Nolan — who’s the former General Manager of North America for Matrix Golf Shafts — LA Golf Shafts will be made with extreme attention to detail and with a different scaling approach. Therefore, the new shafts will be aftermarket-only, meaning they will not be the “stock” shafts in the golf clubs of OEMs. LA Golf Shafts will also offer the signature shafts of pros to the public, according to Nolan.

So, what’s the connection between baseball bats and golf shafts?

“There’s not just a few parallels, there’s dozens,” says Dickens.

Dickens, who was a baseball player growing up but is also a lifelong golfer and has a handicap in the “low teens,” says when the opportunity arose to buy the assets from Matrix he drew a number of connections between the baseball bat industry and the golf shaft industry. The similarities he noted included materials used, industry size, trade secrets and attention to detail of the products. He also recalls that player-after-player in the majors had issues with baseball bat specs that were off: “Some players kept a scale in their locker to make sure their bat actually weighed [the proper amount].” Now, Dickens says making golf shafts that are fully custom and “absolutely perfect” makes perfect sense given his background. He says that “custom” shafts doesn’t mean engravings or colors, however; he says they’re making prototypes for specific player needs.

Just four days after winning the bid, Dickens and Nolan said they already began making prototypes. While no player-partner for LA Golf Shafts has been announced, they say they’re shooting for Quarter 2 — “as early in Quarter 2 as possible” — to have a product at market.

In terms of pricing, Dickens says LA Golf Shafts will “position as a premium brand.” They will be “aggressive with margins,” and expect to sell “on the high end and above the high end” of what’s currently on the market, possibly “at a few different price points.” Dickens says philosophically that he places a premium on value, meaning he “won’t ask for more money than [the shaft is] worth” and that the company will “spend more money on making these shafts in order to give more to the consumer.”

As for LA Golf Partners, Dickens says the brand new company will continue “looking for good opportunities and looking for the right partners.” Dickens says the company will focus on not just traditional strategies in the golfing space, but will be looking for strategies that are different, possibly partnering with companies not in the golf space.

“I’m on a mission to grow and expand the game of golf,” Dickens says. “[LA Golf Partners will] invest in diverse golf businesses and grow the audience of who plays golf.”

The takeaway here? Dickens and LA Golf Partners have big plans for growing the game of golf, and they’re starting with a shaft company.

Certainly, GolfWRX will be the first to bring you in-hand photos of the new LA Golf Shafts when they release, along with all of the information on materials, tech and specs when we know them.

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He played on the Hawaii Pacific University Men's Golf team and earned a Masters degree in Communications. He also played college golf at Rutgers University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism.

27 Comments

27 Comments

  1. Pingback: Dustin Johnson joins LA Golf as a partner, member of board of directors – GolfWRX

  2. the dude

    Aug 28, 2018 at 11:56 am

    LA??….time to rethink that name

  3. Be Warned

    Aug 3, 2018 at 11:41 am

    Good luck getting a shaft that’s not a complete forgery. Unless they throw out the entire old inventory, don’t even waste your money. You’ll receive a repainted, random shaft.

  4. Tiger whisperer

    Mar 22, 2018 at 9:37 am

    GolfnRide – it would not take much research to find that composite bats are made out of the same materials that composite shafts are made from. Marucci makes composite bats, so it actually makes a lot of sense.

  5. ~j~

    Mar 21, 2018 at 1:23 pm

    Another high end ‘solution’ for one’s swing flaws. Whe I’m sure it’ll he ‘fun’ and ‘cool’ to create ylur own personel shaft, I’m betting the only increases one will see is the dent in gheir wallets.

    Walt, you must have 100% driving accuracy and distance like DJ if you’re vested in one of those seven (wet) dreams shafts. Your strokes gained against your other rich friends must be thru the roof ????

  6. GolfnRide

    Mar 21, 2018 at 12:37 pm

    Sounds cool, but am I missing something? Aren’t MLB bats made from wood? I don’t see the crossover “similarities” here.

  7. george

    Mar 20, 2018 at 4:58 pm

    “n terms of pricing, Dickens says LA Golf Shafts will “position as a premium brand.” They will be “aggressive with margins,” and expect to sell “on the high end and above the high end” of what’s currently on the market, possibly “at a few different price points.” …”
    ———————-
    Only the upper 1% and neurotic gearheads will afford to buy these overpriced status shafts to fix their swing faults with money and equipment.

  8. Ryan

    Mar 20, 2018 at 2:35 pm

    I preordered an M3 with a Matrix Black Tie 80 and I’m still waiting. Now I know why. I wonder if I’ll ever get it?

    • Jack Nash

      Mar 21, 2018 at 1:41 pm

      Check Ebay. You’ll probably find a ton there.

  9. DB

    Mar 20, 2018 at 1:08 pm

    “spend more money on making these shafts in order to give more to the consumer.”

    So the cost to make them will be $20 instead of 10-$15? I’m guessing the prices will be $400+. Also, LA Golf is a terrible name. Most people don’t have good thoughts when they think of LA.

    • Jack Nash

      Mar 21, 2018 at 1:43 pm

      Well, if they’re in LA a sanctuary city/State labor will be cheaper. He did say he’d be aggressive on margins which doesn’t necessarily mean tighter.

  10. walt

    Mar 20, 2018 at 12:14 pm

    “n terms of pricing, Dickens says LA Golf Shafts will “position as a premium brand.” They will be “aggressive with margins,” and expect to sell “on the high end and above the high end” of what’s currently on the market, possibly “at a few different price points.” Dickens says philosophically that he places a premium on value, meaning he “won’t ask for more money than [the shaft is] worth” and that the company will “spend more money on making these shafts in order to give more to the consumer.”
    Golf shafts only affordable for the top 1%… and gearheads will have to bleed for these shafts.

  11. carl spackler

    Mar 20, 2018 at 8:23 am

    seems like a bad move to drop the matrix name, especially when there are alot of pros using existing matrix shafts now

  12. Miuralovechild

    Mar 20, 2018 at 1:38 am

    LA Gear would be a better name! I’ll stick with no nonsense Oban unless my club fitter tells me different.

    • Robert Parsons

      Mar 20, 2018 at 11:23 am

      Wasn’t LA Gear a cheesy clothing company from the 80’s? They did a lot of neon, pastels, & stretchy nylon stuff. Hahaha

    • stueldo

      Mar 16, 2019 at 7:10 pm

      Like that comment.

  13. SImms

    Mar 20, 2018 at 1:26 am

    Before you believe all this and that about shafts find and read Mr. Adams (original founder of Adams golf) article about golf shafts…..from a guy that made a living competing with the best golf club OEM’s in the world. In a nut shell once you have the right flex, kick point for your swing it matters little how “Premium” the shaft is….

  14. walt

    Mar 19, 2018 at 11:40 pm

    Great, but will your shafts beat out the autoclave cured Seven Dreams $1200 graphite shafts …. or will they be floppy soggy oven-cured shafts filled with excess epoxy plastic?
    Autoclave curing sucks out the redundant expoxy and the shaft is predominantly graphite fibers. All of the graphite shafts on the market now are oven-cured and reinforced with exotic metallic of graphite fibers to compensate for the spaghetti performance…. and after 40 years of graphite shafts the engineers still haven’t figured out how to improve performance…. other than Seven Dreams.

    • F

      Mar 20, 2018 at 12:27 am

      They haven’t tried to figure anything out. It’s all been figured out already. The question was how any of these companies could make any of these types of things affordable at the recreational golf level. Any rich tech and materials companies in cahoots with the world governments supplying space-age advanced materials can make anything, and have always done so. It was always the questions of costs allayed to the public, was the issue, not the ability to make anything. You wouldn’t have been able to afford anything they had put on to the Space Shuttle 40 years ago at Walmart and Target, or even Apple and Microsoft levels – until now. But there are still materials and tech being developed and used that Joe Public won’t be able to afford, until they can make them readily available and affordable again. Where do you think microchip tech came from. Where do you think graphite and graphene came from. It’s as if each one of us could own the Large Hadron Collider one day. But we won’t be able to.

      • walt

        Mar 20, 2018 at 12:10 pm

        Haven’t you noticed? All the OEM club and shaft makers have given up on the shrinking recreational golfer market and are now catering to the super-rich where price doesn’t matter…. e.g. PXG, Muira, TM, Ping, etc.. They are overpricing their latest and greatest super game improvement clubs so they can survive. Look at the U.S. car companies who only make a profit selling pickup trucks for blue jean crowd personal use. Same with golf clubs.

    • Aaron

      Mar 20, 2018 at 12:44 am

      Walt won’t stop telling anyone and everyone about Seven Dreams shafts. Super annoying.

      • rebfan73

        Mar 20, 2018 at 8:01 am

        Agreed

      • walt

        Mar 20, 2018 at 12:03 pm

        Yup… super annoying for the gearheads who are stuck with their floppy soggy inconsistent pizza oven-cured graphite shafts loaded with extra epoxy plastic that makes them play like limp spaghetti and spraying the ball all over the place. Losing pride in yer WITB sticks must really hurt…. boo hoo 🙁

    • JDS

      Mar 20, 2018 at 9:29 am

      Nice Ad.

    • Skippy

      Mar 22, 2018 at 1:18 pm

      It’s Seven Dreamers.

  15. Steve P

    Mar 19, 2018 at 11:30 pm

    Worst name they could have ever picked for this new company. When I think “LA”, I don’t think of quality golf equipment.

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Equipment

New Mizuno JPX923 irons: Everything you need to know

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What you need to know: Mizuno is launching the successor to its JPX921 series. Engineers leveraged the company’s custom-fitting program — including data from 350,000 golfers — in the creation of the JPX923 series, which includes five models: JPX923 Tour featuring a new V-Chassis and thinner topline, JPX923 Forged with features Mizuno’s third generation of chromoly forging, JPX923 Hot Metal, JPX923 Hot Metal Pro, and JPX Hot Metal HL all featuring new, faster 4335 nickel chromoly, which is 35 percent stronger than Mizuno’s original chromoly.

Mizuno JPX923 irons: What’s new, key technology

JPX923 Tour

Featuring a copper underlay for “Mizuno feel,” the JPX923 Tour is one-piece Grain Flow Forged in Hiroshima Japan from 1025E Pure Select mild carbon steel. Narrower top line and sole in tandem, more rounded trailing edge for cleaner turf interaction.  Features Mizuno’s new ‘V-Chassis’.

“The goal was to engineer a compact, players cavity back that looked and felt like a muscleback at impact. With the copper underlay and new topline, the JPX923 Tour is right there,” says David Llewellyn.

JPX923 Forged

Mizuno’s third-generation of chromoly forging places a wider milling slot heel to toe in the 4120 chromoly 4 through 7-irons as well as well as a thinner clubface. JPX923 Forged are mid-sized, full body Grain Flow Forged irons with a thinner topline and bevelled sole throughout. The scoring irons (8-GW) also feature more compact design and are forged from 1025E Pure Select mild carbon steel.

“The new JPX923 Forged pulls off two impressive achievements. First it feels more solid even though it’s faster from the face. Second, it looks sleeker with a thinner topline and narrower sole even though it plays more forgiving,” says Chris Voshall, Mizuno’s Director of Product.

JPX923 Hot Metal, Hot Metal Pro, Hot Metal HL

With the JPX923 Hot Metal, Mizuno introduces “4355 nickel chromoly,” which is 35 percent stronger than the original Hot Metal material and allows for an eight-percent thinner clubface. Cup face construction works in tandem with a deep center of gravity for high launch with stopping power.

Mizuno developed Hot Metal Pro, Hot Metal and Hot Metal HL (High Launch) from 175,000 real golf swings recorded via Mizuno’s Swing DNA system and describes the three models as follows.

  • JPX923 Hot Metal Pro is a player’s speed cavity that’s compact, with minimal offset for confident ball-strikers seeking maximum ball speed. It’s suitable for low to mid handicap golfers.
  • JPX923 Hot Metal is a forgiving speed cavity suitable for mid to high handicap golfers. It features a full speed, high stability cavity for straight flight and distance.
  • JPX923 Hot Metal HL is a high launch speed cavity delivering a higher launching option for players with moderate swing speeds or aggressive shaft lean, it’s suitable for mid to high handicap golfers.

What Mizuno says

“The new JPX923 series was planned out with Mizuno’s custom ethos at its core” says David Llewellyn, Director of R&D for Mizuno. “We already offer more than 50 unique shafts within our custom program, by expanding to five iron models, there’s an ideal combination for every type of player.”

“We’re constantly evolving the JPX series based on more than 175,000 unique swings we capture every year on the Mizuno Shaft Optimizer,” says Bill Price, Mizuno’s Director of Fitting. “Recently we’re seeing an increase in the number of players with slightly slower swing speeds being fitted – and a trend to more shaft lean. Hence a slight increase in bounce angles through all the models and the introduction of the Hot Metal High Launch.”

Resident Club Junkie Brian Knudson’s take

Note: GolfWRX has not yet gotten an in-hand look at the JPX923 Tour or Forged irons. 

Mizuno’s Hot Metal HL irons look easy to hit and high flying with their larger sole and longer heel to toe shape. You can see some of the tech that is packed into these irons around the badge like the Harmonic Impact ribs and the Stability Frame. Like you would expect from Mizuno the finish quality and badging all look very good and catch your eye without the need for wild colors.

The Mizuno Hot Metal irons look to be the bread and butter of the lineup. The Hot Metal features a little smaller footprint than the HL, less offset, thinner top line, and narrower sole. The look from address will please most golfers and it is still packed with the technology for easy distance and effortless launch.

Hot Metal Pro irons are the smallest of the three but should still offer a great combination of looks and performance. They are still a little longer from heel to toe while offering the least offset and thinnest toppling of the group. The short irons are shaped really well and the whole set flows great from 4 iron down to the pitching wedge.

What they look like

JPX923 Hot Metal Pro

Mizuno JPX923 Hot Metal

JPX923 Hot Metal HL

Pricing and availability

JPX923 Hot Metal Pro: 4-PW RH and LH
JPX923 Hot Metal: 4-LW RH and LH
JPX923 Hot Metal HL: 5-SW RH only

Tour, Forged will hit retail in February of 2023. Hot Metal models at retail late September.

  • JPX923 Tour/Forged – $187.50 per club
  • JPX923 Hot Metal/Hot Metal Pro/Hot Metal High Launch – $137.50 per club

Loft comparisons to JPX921

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Equipment

Mizuno introduces new JPX Fli-Hi

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Mizuno has today introduced the JPX Fli-Hi in a bid to meet every golfer’s demand for greater playability and easier ball-flighting potential at the longer end of the bag.

“We see a lot of players with moderate swing speeds who hit many of their longer irons the same distance – they just don’t have the clubhead speed or consistency of strike to launch the stronger lofted clubs. The JPX Fli-Hi is designed to give those players more practical distance gaps and consistency of flight.” – Chris Voshall, Mizuno’s Director of Product

The new addition features a 17-4 stainless steel face and 431 SS body in a bid to deliver an upgrade in ball speed, while the bendable hosel allows for adjustments in lie angle.

The clubs feature a lighter crown which allows for a higher ball flight, while a re-engineered Wave Soleplate is designed to increase the effective high ball-speed area of the Fli-Hi’s clubface to deliver more consistent ball speeds.

The JPX Fli-Hi is designed to slot seamlessly in to a set, with the models from #4 to #7 designed to correspond directly to the irons they have been created to replace.

The JPX Fli-Hi range features a graduating profile from fairway wood to hybrid to maximize playability. The 20 degree (#4) has a wider fairway type profile, moving towards a tighter hybrid type shaped 29 degree (#7) with a deeper face.

With a deeper center of gravity than the replaced iron, the JPX Fli-Hi is designed to produce more predictable launch and spin rates, thereby more reliable distance gaps between clubs.

The JPX Fli-Hi hits retail this month and costs $137.50 per club.

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Whats in the Bag

Taylor Pendrith WITB 2022 (September)

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Driver: Ping G410 LST (9 degrees @8)
Shaft: Project X HZRDUS Smoke Green Small Batch 70 6.5 TX

3-wood: Ping G425 MAX (14.5 degrees)
Shaft: Project X HZRDUS Smoke Green Small Batch 80 6.5 TX

Irons: Srixon ZX (3), Srixon ZX7
Shafts: Project X HZRDUS Smoke Black 100 6.5 (3), True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore (46-10 Mid, 52-10 Mid, 56-10 Mid, 60-10 Mid)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 (46-56), True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400 (60)

Putter: Odyssey O-Works Black 3T
Grip: SuperStroke

Grips: Golf Pride MCC, Golf Pride Tour Velvet Cord

More Taylor Pendrith WITBs

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