Technical Director Jeff Summitt Explains Draw Bias Clubheads
Have you ever heard the term “draw bias” to describe a particular clubhead model? Well if not, then you may want to listen up. Golfers who struggle with a fade, push or even slice should be aware of this terminology and how it could very well help you to hit the ball straighter and further. Even for those that hit the ball relatively straight may find draw biased or as I like to put it “draw enhancing” to your liking. Contrary to common belief these will not make what would normally be a straight ball flight and turn into a hook. But a draw flight will often provide more roll and overall more distance.
Draw Biased vs. Closed Faced
One thing I should first start out by stating is that one should not confuse the difference between a closed face angle and a draw bias clubhead. Face angle is the direction the face points relative to the target. Yes, a closed face club can help start the ball far enough left (assuming a RH golfer) to correct for when the ball fades or slices. This of course assumes that the player does not compensate and open up the face at address to make it look square.
Draw bias has to deal with creating a draw spin or at least encouraging the ball to produce a draw ball flight (see diagram below). Where a golf ball ultimately lands is caused by a few factors such as how open or closed the face is at impact and the swing path of the golfer. Normally when a golf ball impacts the center of the face a draw is created by an inside/out path. For example a 2º inside/out path with a 1º closed face angle would create draw spin (like the black line in the diagram). But with a draw biased club it is possible to create a draw spin with a center impact and a square face angle and straight path toward the target line. The latter would normally produce a straight ball flight only.
Have you ever wondered where the center of gravity of a clubhead is? Well, take a close look at a driver, fairway wood or hybrid. What you will find is the clubhead shape is very asymmetrical. Upon close inspection you may find there is a little more area on the face out toward the toe or the highest point on the crown is not in the center, but also toward the toe. Lastly, the most rear portion of the head may also be biased out toward the toe rather than the center.
In the accompanying diagram there is a top and bottom view of a clubhead that has been quartered. It is amazing the center of gravity is as close to the center of the face. After all we have a heavy hosel to contend with and why the shape is often biased toward the toe area.
Most golfers assume the best place to hit the ball is in the center of the face and that is a valid assumption. In a neutral bias clubhead, the center of gravity will be in-line with the centerline of the face (see diagram)
When discussing the phenomenon called “gear effect”, we state that a shot struck in-line with the horizontal center of gravity would not have any side spin. However any ball struck out on the toe side of the center of gravity would create draw spin. Any ball struck on the heel side; slice spin will occur.
A draw biased clubhead is where the center of gravity is shifted toward the heel. This would true for any clubhead where the center of gravity is far enough behind the face to produce a gear effect, like in the case with drivers, fairway woods or many hybrids.
With a draw biased head, the same scenarios occur, but the reference point changes. No longer is the centerline of the face the position where no side spin will occur. That would be toward the heel in line with the center of gravity. A shot struck in the center of the face now on the “toe side” of the center of gravity which will impart draw spin. How much will draw spin will depend upon how far the center of gravity has been shifted toward the heel.
Examples of Draw Biased Clubheads
There is a good chance that any driver that has been intentionally made to be draw enhancing will also be closed face, further reducing the likelihood the ball may be pushed, faded or sliced since that is what the majority of golfers do. Offset drivers and fairways can be draw enhancing by the nature of their design. Often times the longer hosel length and the extra weight required to form the offset hosel naturally shifts weight toward the heel.
There can be a strong argument that if impact not made in line with the center of gravity then some energy will be lost in the collision. True, especially if you just “nutted” one in the center of the face and you think you should be rewarded for that. But if the ball is slicing and heading towards the deep rough, tree line or worse yet – OB, then that become a moot point. This is where the aid of internal weighting and the shift in the CG is a huge benefit. Plus remember that a draw will likely produce a lower launch angle and greater run when it hits the ground which can lead to greater distance.
Examples of draw biased clubs, or draw enhancing are the new Acer XDS Insider drivers (both standard and Thriver edition), Acer XK Draw and the 21010 Dynacraft Prophet ICT driver and fairways (remember there are open face positions on this model).
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At Hireko we make every attempt to make all our models conform to the Rules of Golf. Each of the products that appear with the Tournament Ready logo has been submitted to the USGA to receive a ruling that they do conform to the Rules of Golf.
For the first time, not all the Rules of Golf will apply to all levels of golfers. This is due to stricter rules that will be in place starting Jan. 1, 2010 regarding the grooves of any club that is 25º of loft or more. Therefore we will have two icons to determine the difference of which clubs will be acceptable to play in the various situations.
After Jan 1, 2010, the Condition of Competition requiring clubs to conform will be changed only to those competitions involving expert professional players at the highest level of competition, including the professional tours plus the U.S. Open, U.S. Women’s Open, and the U.S. Senior Open starting with the sectional qualifying. Clubs with the icon Tournament Ready 2010 will be fine to use for these competitions.
Currently conforming clubs manufactured prior to January 1, 2010 may continue to be used in all situations wherein the Condition of Competition is not in effect until at least 2024. For the remaining 99% of golfers who don’t compete at the highest level of competition, those clubs that currently conform may continue to be used to maintain a handicap or post a score. Clubs with the icon Tournament Ready will be fine for these competitions.
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The annual PGA Merchandise Show is the “Super Bowl” of the golf club industry as over 1,000 vendors and 40,000 attendees from over 70 countries converge on Orlando to see what all is new under one roof. The event is not open to the public but to pros and golf shop buyers. If you like long days on your feet looking at and talking about golf club equipment, apparel, soft goods, teaching and training aids, etc. then this is the event to be at.
To kick things off at the 2010 PGA Merchandise Show was the 8th annual Demo Day event at the massive 42-acre Orange County National Golf Center and Lodge. This was the first time that Hireko had participated at this very
popular event. We were sandwiched between premium shaft maker Fujikura and About Golf; a high definition golf simulation software company. I was the fortunate one to be outside interacting with fellow golfers while the others on our staff had the laborious task of setting up the booth at the Convention Center.
Hireko had a full range of our products on display, including several new products that made their public debut. The morning hours were devoted to PGA professionals, while the afternoon hours were open to everyone. Early on, the wind was howling directly into the teeth of where people were hitting our products. Luckily no one commented on distance or accuracy as a result of the condition because it was fierce. Many of the pros were not familiar with
our products, but after hitting the Dynacraft Prophet Tour irons and ICT driver, they came away impressed and that was prior to finding out what the cost of our product was, which was icing on the cake.
In the afternoon the traffic increased considerably. Despite being in business for over 25 years, there were a lot of players who had never seen or heard of our products. But after all, that is why you attend, to get more exposure to products that may not be household names. I can’t say there was an overwhelming favorite as a lot of our products, new and old alike, performed well depending on the skill level and tendencies of the golfer. This is the reason why we have a broad range of products to choose from and why our emphasis is on custom fitting.
By day’s end I wasn’t only left with a sun and wind burn, but the opportunity to explain the new products and technology to a multitude of golfers while they we able to see for themselves what a great value our products were. After packing up the clubs and the tent, it was time for dinner with one of our key customers and then to get a good night’s rest for what was next to come – Day 1 of the Show.
PGA Show: Day One
2004 marked the last time since Hireko had a booth at the show displaying the latest wares. In the past few years I had been on the other side which was walking the aisles and talking to the various representatives. To have booth duty again brought back memories of aching feet and a sore throat from talking with one customer right after another. To give you some insight, to attend the show as a vendor is very expensive. Being a primarily component supplier you have to sell a considerable volume of product at the low margins at which we sell them for to break even. This might explain why Hireko was the only component clubhead supplier to attend this year.
We figured the first day would be busy as everyone would be wanting to come in one day to see the products they were interested in and then leave to go back home or at least get a round or two under their belts before they had to head back home to the cold. We were right about one thing, Day 1 was extremely busy.
Once people arrived, the first thing they wanted to pick up was the Dynacraft
Prophet Tour irons as the black finish was almost like a magnet. Black sells; as was evident of those picking up the Power Play Caiman driver as well. The sparkles emanating from the iBella Obsession and Bellissima lines were another thing that caught the attention of many as it was something the catalog could not show.
One more thing that caught the eye, or should I say nose, was the Karma scented grips. The attendee and not just the women could not get over the chocolate color grip smelling like…well, chocolate. Or the purple smelled like lavender.
There was a tremendous amount of attention to the 2010 Dynacraft ICT driver and fairway woods. Not only myself, but my colleagues manning the booth, gave the little wrench a workout by demonstrating the different lie
and face angle changes that were possible.
Another club that people wanted to see was the Acer XDS Insider. Once I sat the club in front of the player they instantly saw what we were trying to accomplish. The two new Acer irons, the Cabriolet and especially the XK Ti-Ceptional prompted lots of questions and fingerprints from the constant fondling.
By 6 PM, were we all exhausted and ready to head to dinner with our Australian distributor (and friend) Graeme Hardy of Executive Golf.
PGA Show: Day Two
We didn’t know what to expect on day #2. Would all the people wanting to see us have come on that first day? Well it didn’t take long to answer that
question. We were actually busier on day #2 than the first. Again, more demonstrating the ICT driver, talking about grooves and the new Acer XB wedges to picking up the ball with the Dynacraft On-Line putter and showing how you marked your ball with it.
As you can imagine there were attendees who stopped by our booth from virtually every state, plus our neighbors to the North and South of us. Customers flew in from all over the world to attend including the obvious golfing hot spots such as all of Western Europe, Japan and Australia. But we also spoke with new found friends from Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay, not to mention customers from the unlikely (Russia and Iceland). There was even a Barbie and a Beast who stopped by our booth.
The day flew by. I had only an hour at the very end of the show hours to have a meeting with owner and his chief engineer at our primary foundry to discuss some pending projects that are on slate for later this year or perhaps will be debuted a year from now. This is another reason for attending Day 2 of the Show is the face to face contact with those you normally contact by email or phone. So much more can be accomplished as we had a very productive brainstorming session.
Another day done and once again off to dinner with our one of our biggest accounts and possibly a new partner.
PGA Show: Day Three
The measure of success of a show is measured in many ways like the number of orders written or customers you are able to talk to. But if a company member can rattle off all of what they saw on the show floor, their booth must not have been very busy. That wasn’t anything any of the Hireko staff could say. Traffic was once again surprisingly strong on day #3 and chaotic in some cases. I managed to sneak off for only a brief period to have lunch with UST-Mamiya to talk some shop and to catch up with a dear friend. After all, the show is also about building strong relationships. It was amazing how many people I saw I can consider very good friends from as long as 20 years ago when I first started coming to the show.
After the show hours concluded and the attendees had left to go home or spend a few days vacationing in beautiful central Florida area, we were still hard at work for several more hours tearing down the booth and packing everything up. Going back to the van to grab the clubs from Demo Day to send back with the booth was the only time to realize just how big the show floor was and to set eyes beyond the Hireko booth.
As we were leaving after the last pallet was packed, we had already decided we would attend again next year based upon the success we had these past four days. So I have a year to recover form my aching feet and my sore throat from talking so much. Thanks to all those I saw. And for those that did not attend, 2010 should be a great year for Hireko equipment based on feedback we received from our customers, both new and old.