It is time to provide a sneak peek of some of the new ’09 products and a little about their background. One of the many exciting new models slated to be introduced will be the Dynacraft Avatar XMOI driver. But before it came to the final approved version that you will see next year it went through several – and I mean several design variations.
The goal was to make this project the highest moment of inertia (MOI) design we had to date. From detailed initial drawing begun at the end of last year, to CAD, to the first sample received back in the early part of summer ’08, we finally produced a head which had a MOI of over 5400g-cm2. We could have stretched the MOI close to the highest allowable limit, but we wanted to maintain the normal 200g head weight we use on our other driver models. Our staff was very excited, as our previous highest driver measured in the 4700+ range. But this begged to question, “Just how much more forgiving was this driver over our other models?”
To give you some idea of what it might have looked like, let me describe its unique appearance as a square wedge-shape that had a very large footprint at address. It might have had its own zip code, could be spotted by the Hubble telescope from outer space or if you stood on it you could have seen Russia. Did I mention it was large?
Using a fitting system that allowed the same shafts to be screwed on and off in order to limit all but the one variable we were testing – in this case the driver head – I headed out to the range armed with a box of heads and shafts along with a few other golfers (unsuspecting guinea pigs). In addition to the first version of the Dynacraft Avatar XMOI driver, we had two other prototype drivers to test as well as our best selling / performing drivers. Call it tough work, but someone has got to do it.
I strongly feel the use of live golfers is irreplaceable to provide feedback. While our guinea pigs did hit the original Avatar XMOI driver well, they were not overly enthusiastic as I thought they were with the two other prototypes, which had no where near the MOI value of this club. Truthfully, not one of those testing the heads felt the higher MOI produced any more accuracy, in fact the results may have shown more dispersion.
There might have been several reasons. First, a lot of golf is played between the ears. At address, this wedge shaped driver was pretty bland (hey, we weren’t producing a Picasso), plus the size was “too large” to some. Another problem was the ear-piercing sound by stretching the metal so thin and creating the contours to enable the head to remain within the 460cc USGA limit. Whenever expanding the breadth from front-to-back, there had to be some compromises made and that was the very shallow face height. Some of those that tested the club were concerned about hitting under the ball, while others were intimidated and did not have the same confidence of deeper-faced clubs at their disposal.
More importantly MOI can be measured in an infinite number of planes. Just because the MOI was high in the heel-to-toe and face-to-back plane (how golf club MOI is currently measured) doesn’t mean that it is high MOI in the other planes. What you may gain in one sense, you compromise in other areas.
It was back to the drawing board. I took the negative criticism to heart and made the necessary changes. We made the face not only deeper, but larger. We also put more curvature on the crown to be much more attractive than the flatter crown on the various wedge-shaped versions plus nixed the square profile.
After scrapping two full sets of tooling and countless months of effort by not only us but the foundry as well, we ended up with the final result. While the Dynacraft Avatar XMOI driver looks no where like what was originally envisioned, we ended up with an extremely forgiving, playable, and yes still high MOI driver. The lesson learned – do not get caught all up in the numbers as they only tell part of the story!