Connect with us

Equipment

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

Published

on

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.

Your Reaction?
  • 119
  • LEGIT20
  • WOW16
  • LOL7
  • IDHT7
  • FLOP16
  • OB8
  • SHANK100

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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Equipment

Dustin Johnson joins LA Golf as a partner, member of board of directors

Published

on

The No. 1 golfer in the world is joining the reigning U.S. Open champion. Dustin Johnson, who put an LA Golf Prototype shaft in play at the PGA Championship, is now an LA Golf partner and member of the company’s board of directors.

As a refresher, the company’s, which rose from the ashes of Matrix Shafts, features a unique structure and not only offers ownership stakes to professionals but also relies heavily on the feedback of the best golfers in the world in crafting future iterations of its shafts.

Not surprisingly, DJ is switching to LA Golf’s wares in the pursuit of greater accuracy and distance.

As we wrote for PGATour.com when Johnson put an LAGP shaft in play at the PGA Championship, Reed Dickens, LA Golf’s CEO had this to say about Johnson’s prototype: “We custom designed a low torque shaft for Dustin for lower trajectory and have been iterating with him for a few months. We’re excited that the No. 1 player in golf trusts LA Golf enough to put our product in play for the first time at a major championship.”

Johnson himself had this to say about his testing and the prototype development.

“I…have been testing the LA Golf shafts for months. I have been really impressed with how much more consistent my ball striking has been and really like the ball flight I’m seeing. I don’t swing hard often, but with the LA Golf shaft, I can really go after it and know I am going to hit the ball more consistently in the middle of the club face. My misses have also been much better…”

CEO Reed Dickens founded LA Golf in 2018 after a tenure as the founding CEO of Marucci Sports. The small-batch company boasts the distinction of being “the only shaft manufacturer where each structure is co-designed with players and built in the USA,” and it has a particular focus building shafts that perform at the top end of the swing speed spectrum.

LA Golf shafts counts dozens of golfers on world tours among its partners, and the company has seen an uptick recently, with more than 20 pros signing on in the past three months.

LA Golf’s board is an interesting one as well, featuring not only Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau, but TV personality Amanda Balionis, entertainer Kelley James, Duck Commander’s Willie Robertson, and Marucci Sports CEO Kurt Ainsworth as well.

Your Reaction?
  • 0
  • LEGIT0
  • WOW0
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK0

Continue Reading

Whats in the Bag

WITB Time Machine: Tiger Woods’ 2008 U.S. Open WITB

Published

on

Driver: Nike SasQuatch Tour 460 (7.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana White 83 TX

3-wood: Nike SasQuatch2 (15 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana Blue 103 TX

5-wood: Nike SasQuatch2 (19 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana Blue 103 TX

Irons: Nike Forged Blade (3-PW)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100

Wedges: Nike Pro Combo (56 degrees), Nike SV (60 degrees)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400

Putter: Scotty Cameron Newport 2 GSS

Ball: Nike One Platinum

Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet Cord

Your Reaction?
  • 18
  • LEGIT1
  • WOW0
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP1
  • OB2
  • SHANK4

Continue Reading

Equipment

Sweet Spot? Triple Play? Examining the Callaway Apex combo set options

Published

on

The combo set is not a new concept, and Callaway has been doing de-facto combo sets for a number of iron generations.

However, with the Apex 21 line of irons, Callaway decided to take the combo concept to another level, making a major investment in tooling and precisely calibrating loft, life, bounce, and blending in the Apex 21 irons to allow for uniform set makeup.

For Callaway, it was a serious endeavor and a thoughtful effort at the front end to design a family of irons for ease of combination, rather than an assemblage of combinations at the back end.

“With the rise of custom fitting, we knew we wanted to go beyond just a traditional combo set. By creating dedicated models and specialized tooling, we are making the transition to combo sets a seamless experience. It shows our dedication and leadership position in irons.”

–Dave Neville, Sr. Director, Brand & Product Management

Callaway offers a “menu” of four combo sets using ingredients from the Apex iron family — Apex DCB, Apex 21, Apex Pro 21, Apex MB.

Michael Vrska, Callaway’s Director of Custom Fitting & Player Performance, says the decision to offer four sets in general and their specific makeups was arrived at after lengthy discussions with the company’s network of fitters and the R&D team, as well as a close look at past iron sales and custom fitting data.

“Working with the R&D team to understand how they thought the different AI face designs, sole configurations, specs and other design details could be best blended together started the process, but working with our National Fitters Board and other top club fitters across the country was key to creating the four sets. We then used custom sales data and additional feedback from our internal fitting team to fine tune. I’m proud of the work we did and it’s been exciting to see positive the feedback from golfers about these new fitting options.” — Michael Vrska, Callaway’s Director of Custom Fitting & Player Performance

Sweet Spot

The first of Callaway’s four combo sets is targeted toward players who need more help in the long irons, the “Sweet Spot” combo features the Apex DCB in 4 and 5-irons and Apex 21 in 6-AW. It’s designed to offer maximum distance and forgiveness in the longest irons.

Mixed

According to Callaway, the “Mixed” set player is generally a mid-handicap who struggles to hit long irons but doesn’t want to replace long irons with hybrids. The Mixed includes Apex 21 in 3 through 7-irons and Apex Pro in 8-iron through A-wedge.

Triple Play

The “Triple Play” generally appeals to a similar player as the Mixed but one with a preference for more technology and a more compact look at address in the scoring clubs. It features Apex DCB (4-5), Apex 21 (6-9) and Apex Pro (PW-AW).

Player

Offering true blades in the scoring clubs, the “Player” combo set, appropriately, is designed for the better player. Outfitted with taper tip shafts throughout, the Player set is composed of Apex Pro irons in 3-7 and Apex MB in 8-AW.

The most popular of the new Callaway combo sets, according to Neville, is the Apex Mixed. The Mixed, again, features the Apex 21 in 3 through 7-iron and the Apex Pro in 8-iron through A-wedge.

Roughly 15 percent of Callaway’s full iron set orders are for combo sets. But with the embrace of customization generally, the continued growth of custom fitting, and fitters familiarizing themselves with the new “menu” — and who is best suited for each “dish” — that percentage will grow.

Ultimately, the Callaway combo set options — and the introduction of the Apex DCB — are evidence of the company’s commitment to offering not only viable irons but an optimal set makeup for every golfer.

For more details, and answers to the questions we know WRXers want to ask, we spoke with Michael Vrska.

GolfWRX: For the combo set, how does adjusting the lofts weak or strong affect the bounce? Will it affect playability?

MV: For the Apex Pro heads in the Mixed and Triple Play sets we actually do separate tooling for those, so the lofts are adjusted independently from bounce during the design phase. For the other Apex heads in the other combo sets we need to bend to get loft dialed in, we limit that to one degree so turf interaction differences are minimized. And remember, loft and bounce changes are a one-to-one ratio. One degree stronger loft equals one degree less bounce and vice versa.

GolfWRX: For the higher handicapper, is it more effective to have short irons that launch higher and land steeper, or is there a method to bringing down trajectory?

MV: For higher handicaps with slower swing speeds, they typically don’t generate a lot of spin on their own, so yes, descent angle and peak height are optimized so the player can still carry the ball far enough and limit roll out, though spin is still a factor to that player in terms of ball flight. On the other hand, some higher handicap players swing very fast and generate a lot of spin, but controlling that spin or having consistent contact may be more of their issue. And this is a good example of why we don’t like to fit for handicap, but we strongly recommend players get fit for their club delivery and ball flight. There are many different ways to become a 19-handicap, or a 2-handicap for that matter.

GolfWRX: For players who are married to taper tip shafts like Dynamic Gold. How do those shafts work in parallel hosels?

MV: Taper tip shafts work great in parallel hosels for those that want that. We can assemble taper tip shafts in both taper and parallel hosels and there are some players who love a shaft model that is only available in a taper tip. It doesn’t work the other way though. Parallel tip shafts do not work in taper tip hosels without boring them out, which is not something we generally recommend at it can negatively impact the structural integrity of the hosel.

GolfWRX: How do you optimize spin with the higher launching faster heads? Is it addressed through descent angle?

MV: Descent angle certainly matters, but we don’t like to put too much focus on any one single factor. For every player type and iron set we look at speed, launch angle, descent angle, peak height and spin to maximize distance, with proper gapping, and also to make sure iron shots will hold the green. There is no one size fits all answer to that. It’s why we offer multiple Apex sets, multiple Apex combo sets and recommend all golfers get fit.

 

Your Reaction?
  • 13
  • LEGIT3
  • WOW1
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK0

Continue Reading

WITB

Facebook

Trending