Jeff Summitt Explores Marketing Misconceptions and Inaccuracies in Golf Club Design – Center of Gravity

As a technically inclined person, I take information seriously.  I shouldn’t matter whether the information is laid out as written text or appears as a diagram trying to describe something complex, but there should be a level of truthfulness in the context.  One of the pet peeves I have (and I have many) is when companies exaggerate claims of shifting the center of gravity in one of their designs

Center of GravityOne example of what you might see is the following hybrid. The yellow/black icon shows the center of gravity of the original clubhead, while the blue/black icon represents the center of gravity moving rearward as the clubhead is expanded.  While there is some truth to the CG placement becoming more rearward; it is no where near the proportionality that really occurs.

It is the responsibility of a marketing departmentCenter of Gravity 2 (or outside agency) to tout the claims and benefits of a product and come up with a marketing angle to help sell it through. In what starts out as good intentions becomes exaggerated.  For instance, the engineers / technical staff present the diagrams to the marketing department. In reality it looks like the following.

Like something out of a Dilbert cartoon, the members of the marketing department may hear the words that are spoken, but they don’t sink in as presented.  Rather what they see is not enough difference to get the point across so they innocently move the two icons in the diagram further apart.  Every manufacturer is trying to squeeze as much discretionary amount of weight out of the head to optimize the performance.  Even by saving 10 to 15 grams (which is considerable) may only shift the center of gravity 4 or 5 millimeters.  Converting this amount to a unit of measure you may be more familiar will accounts for only two-tenth of an inch.  To the lay person this may not seem like much difference nor look sexy in a diagram when the icons overlap, but believe me the technical people get excited by these small, but meaningful amounts.

So the next time you see a comparison of centers of gravity amongst clubheads in a catalog, magazine ad or in somewhere in cyberspace, you may want to think again and realize it may only be implying the difference is there but maybe not to the extent and accuracy that they really are.

8 Comments on “How Come The Marketing Department Keeps Screwing Up My Designs?”

  1. [...] As a technically inclined person, I take information seriously.  I shouldn’t matter whether the information is laid out as written text or appears as a diagram trying to describe something complex, but there should be a level of truthfulness in the context.  One of the pet peeves I have (and I have many) is when companies exaggerate claims of shifting the center of gravity in one of their designs.  Continue Here. [...]

  2. MW says:

    Jeff, amen!

    I’m also technically inclined (professionally) and have been known to have a few pet peeves. What always amazes me is how other technically inclined golfers (I play with a number) tend to believe these “exaggerations”. There seems to be no end to what golfers will believe in their search for the “holy grail”.

    If we believed the cumulative technical hype over the years from the golf industry, then every weekend hacker should be able to play Kim Jong Il flat — his official bio claims that he scored 18 for a round on a championship course (besides being a fighter ace and other major accomplishments).

    Keep up the good fight and thanks for all you have done for golf.

    MW

  3. David Pendleton says:

    Jeff,

    Good Job. Keep it up.

    David

  4. John Celano says:

    Jeff,
    I always enjoy your articles and your advice!

    John
    (from Florida)

  5. James L. Jones says:

    Jeff,
    As a mechanical engineer ,I can only say keep up the good work. It is refressing to have an honest opinion

  6. neil duncan says:

    I’m as guilty as the next duffer of anxiously seeking the next big thing. I think the best perspective is to be thrilled that there is so much innovation and accessability to new products.
    Hireko Golf is a prime example of both.

  7. HornDawg says:

    Well then, make all marketing guys play to a single digit index and have an engineering undergraduate. Their job is to get people to buy the product. Remember PT Barnum’s admonishment.

  8. Butch Evans says:

    As a retired Development Engineering Manager, I really do understand the marketing delema…! While we want to be precise, we also want to stay in business. The competition is always looking for a way to gain an advantage at the retail level, and inoder to keep up, marketing must do something competitive. Granted 99% of it is pure hype, but that is the reality of the market place we all enjoy! I actually get some real good laughs at some of the things claimed. As a custom clubmaker, I am always looking for new and better ways of building clubs that perform for an individual rather than the public at large. I would love to find a research archive that contains things like how to teak spine position to affect ball flight. I am sure that kind of information is carefully guarded. !$#^%@*&!!! Best thing we technocrats can do is keep an information flow going that focuses on the real issues of making a better performing club. SO.. keep the technical discussions flowing and THANKS !

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