This past weekend Hireko’s technical Director Jeff Summitt attended the Upper Midwest regional symposium of the International Guild of Clubmakers (ICG) in Lorain, OH. The ICG is an independent organization designed to promote the growth of custom clubmaking, club fitting and repair. The attendees hailed from Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana and Pennsylvania spending two days discussing issues that affect their business. Saturday involved sharing stories at the barbeque and on the golf course, while five speakers were lined up for the symposium on Sunday.
The first guest speaker was Jamie Pipes who is the director of product development for UST Mamiya. Jamie spoke about the development and fitting attributes of their soon to be released Proforce VTS shaft series. In their testing they found some interesting results regarding torque and how it should be fit based on the player’s swing mechanics. You’ll hear more about this shaft in the future, but let’s just say that old theory of low torque is better for stronger golfers or in general is not necessarily true.
Next up was Chuck Mooney at Golfin’ Colors. He shared information about his custom powder coating process as a way to personalize (some hand painted) or simply refinish a golf club to look new again. Following was Frank Choi, who is in charge of sales and marketing for Harrison shafts. He spoke in depth as well as demonstrated their new accuracy boosting device called the Shotmaker. It is an insert that fits down inside a shaft to provide stability and limit deformation to increase accuracy and reduce spin.
Next, Jeff Summitt spoke about product development at Hireko as well new technologies. One of which is the QuikFit system to help clubmakers fit more efficiently. Jeff also showed some of the new 2012 clubheads that you will see in the next several months including two new putter concepts that got a lot of interest.
Lastly, Dave Skodny, a local web designer spoke about optimizing your website to gain rankings in the search engines as well as social media sites. A raffle was spread out between speaker with products donated by Aldila, Golf Pride, UST, SK Fiber and Hireko. All the attendees walked away with a lot of goodies and information.
If you are interested in clubmaking, all we can say is get involved! For addition information on the International Clubmakers Guild, please go to their website at www.clubmakersguild.com.
Hireko is now proud to offer aftermarket replacement grips for both TaylorMade and Cleveland Golf. If you or your customers wish to renew the original look and feel of their clubs, we can now supply you with select models. This is just one other reason for Hireko to be your one-stop shop for all your golf equipment needs.
We have the original replacement grips for the most popular name brand clubs in the industry today. This includes the Tour Preferred, Burner Standard, Arrow and Afterburner. Plus we are offering a specialty model called the Crossline Bubble. While TaylorMade no longer uses the Bubble graphite shaft, there are still many floating around in bags across the globe. This is the only grip that will still fit the Bubble graphite shaft as the butt end measures 0.810” and tapers down to 0.680” at the mouth of the grip (hence the odd core size).
|Taylor Tour Preferred||#RL216||$5.99 each|
|Taylor Made Burner Standard Ribbed
|Taylor Made Arrow Standard||#RL218||$5.99 each|
|Taylor Made Crossline Bubble Ribbed||#RL219||$5.99 each|
|Taylor Made Aeroburner Standard Ribbed
We offer three of the most recent grips for Cleveland Golf. First, there is the 845 Wedge/Iron grip. It has been the stock offering on all wedges for the past five years as well as the stock offering of their TA iron series. The CG Gold Wood grip is the standard offering on all HiBore XL, XLS and XLS Monster drivers, fairway woods and hybrids. The 2010 Launcher was specifically designed for the new Big Butt 2010 Launcher driver and fairway woods where conventional grips will not fit these clubs due to the larger 0.650” diameter.
|Cleveland Wedge Standard
|Cleveland XLS Standard
|Cleveland Launcher DST Standard
Hireko has added yet another shaft series to our extensive line up – the KBS C-Taper. Unlike most shafts we stock, the C-Taper shafts are not designed to fit any Hireko irons or wedges as they are a taper tip offering. These are designed to retrofit existing pro-line irons and wedges requiring a 0.355” taper tip shaft.
What makes this shaft different?
According to KBS, through state-of-the-art independent robot testing, the C-Taper advantage is to reduce the launch angle by 5%, reduced spin by 5% and gain up to 10 yards more distance versus competitor’s shafts. I should probably like to state that for certain golfer’s such as those with reduced swing speeds, less spin and trajectory are a recipe for disaster.
However, for stronger golfers or those that naturally hit the ball high like myself, a more driving trajectory can produce more distance and control, especially in windy condition. KBS targeted the C-Taper shaft toward the aggressive player that has a rapid swing tempo and high shot trajectory proving once again there is not one shaft that will fit all golfers.
The C-Taper shafts are eye-catching. First, they are a stepless design. Secondly, instead of the traditional high-polished chrome finish, these shafts have a brushed satin almost machined finish.
The two-tone shaft decals are applied lengthwise giving them a more prominent appearance than the smaller shaft bands you are accustomed to seeing.
The C-Taper shafts are offered in some flexes you might not be familiar with. There is your standard R and S flexes, but there is also a R+ and S+ version. The key difference is the plus (+) version is a heavier option, not necessarily stiffer. That will be a better fit for players who have more of a quicker tempo or where accuracy might command a little more of a premium without going up to the next flex.
Here is the DSFI data that we produce for our annual Shaft Fitting Addendum so you can compare them to other shafts we have tested:
I had an opportunity to shaft up a few of the flexes in identical 5-iron heads of the same loft, lie, weight, etc to compare them to what typical use as my baseline shaft. For a stiffed tipped, high bend point shaft they did not have a harsh feel. This must be the “signature feel” that is written about in their literature. Unfortunately I didn’t have a launch monitor handy for testing the 5% claims. For someone that hits a 5-iron 170 yards, adding 5% (8.5 yards) with no additional effort is nothing to sneeze at. On the range there were definitely no shorter than what I was normally.
The KBS C-Taper are not going to be for every golfer. But if you (or your customer) have a name brand iron requiring a taper tip shaft and you have a more aggressive swing looking for reduced trajectory and improved performance, then the C-Taper is an option for your game.
|KBS C-Tapered Steel Shafts||#KB07||$35 each|
The Dynacraft Avatar Evolution Driver
The concept that bigger is better has been the mantra of golfers everywhere. By far, the vast majority of drivers sold today measure at the maximum allowable size (460cc) under the Rules of Golf. It has been proven that as the mass is spread out it increases the forgiveness or that fancy term “moment of inertia” to make off-center shot less penalizing and retain a greater amount of distance and feel. However, there is a right way and a wrong way to spread the mass out.
If golfers could get their hands on a bigger head that was within the rules, believe me they would. This is how the Dynacraft Evolution driver concept was conceived – make better use of the volume and dimensional limits as humanly possible. The Dynacraft Evolution’s footprint would normally result into a volume of 512cc, but with some creativity this driver design is able to stay within the limits.
But that is only part of the story how the Dynacraft Evolution is pushing the envelope by making this our highest moment of inertia driver. Using a new construction technique, we shed weight from the only place possible – the crown area. Our super-thin crown technology allows additional discretionary weight to be at our disposal for even greater forgiveness and at the same time ensures the center of gravity is in the right place to create those high launching, tape measure drives.
Comes with FREE Headcover!
|Dynacraft Avatar Evolution Titanium Driver Custom Assembled||$99.95|
The Acer XF Leggera Titanium Driver
The Acer XF Leggera is designed specifically for those who already hit a fairly straight ball but seeking the maximum amount of distance off of the tee. If you are not of Italian descent, Leggera translates into light and here is how this driver works.
Golfers try to obtain more distance by using a lighter weight shaft, which most do so already. But that is only half of the equation if someone is seeking additional distance. The other component for tape measure drives is to increase the club length for greater leverage. But there is a potential problem. You see, existing head weights are too great to allow drivers to be made longer than they are already today creating a club that feels head heavy and unwieldy. This situation only defeats the purpose of a longer club by resulting into a weak fade or slice off of the tee. And who wants that?
The solution is to marry a lighter weight head to a lighter and longer length shaft which further reduces the overall weight of the club for an even faster clubhead speed. Realize that manufacturers can’t just magically remove weight from a massive 460cc titanium driver without some consequences. That is why we shed the weight from only the crown area using a new construction technique.
Our super-thin crown technology ensures the center of gravity is in the right place to create those monstrous drives you have only dreamed of.
Greed is good, so go long and not wrong, with the Acer XF Leggera…
|Acer XF Leggera Titanium Driver||$104.95|
Aldila’s R.I.P. Shaft Additions
A year ago, Hireko introduced the new Aldila R.I.P.™ shaft and explained it’s technology and construction in what made it different from other shafts on the market. Back then it was known only as the R.I.P., but it should have been labeled the Alpha version. Hireko has now added the two latest versions to their R.I.P. line – Beta and Gamma – which I want to explain their differences and who they are for.
At first glance
I had an opportunity to shaft of each of the 60g S-flex shafts into identical heads and head to the range. Before I did, I made sure to measure the information for our annual Shaft Fitting Addendum as I do any shaft I get my hands on.
As you can see, the frequency (stiffness) of these were all fairly close. But upon closer inspection, you can understand the differences between these shafts. Let’s first start with the Beta version. According to Aldila, this is a slightly higher launching and higher spinning shaft than the original Alpha. Most of the specifications are identical to one another except for the torque, with the Beta a degree higher according to how we measure torque (which is always a higher reading than the manufactures publish as we measure a greater beam length.) If the higher torque attributes to the greater spin rate, that would explain a slightly higher ball flight.
The Gamma has two key specifications which makes this shaft different. First of all it is the heaviest of the three versions, however that is offset by a higher balance point (BP1 uncut shaft / BP2 cut shaft / BP3 assembled club from the tip). What this does is it places more mass toward the player’s hands. The Serrano, Wasabi and Habanera are also counter-balanced shafts in the Aldila line. This was designed to allow more head weight to be used so it doesn’t become head heavy if you are striving for more distance although this amount is marginal. Aldila also states this is a lower launching shaft closer to the Alpha version than the Beta.
Another excuse to go to the range
There are few things I would like to say about shafts. First, no one shaft will ever fit all golfers. This is why shaft manufacturers will make different versions of their shaft using their latest technology. Typically I do not fare well with tip stiff, low torque shafts as I have more of an early release than I should. As a little background, the Alpha version was designed for tour players. These players are strong, typically have a late release and hit the ball a long way, so accuracy is extremely important for them. Let me be frank, I will never be confused as having a tour player’s swing.
Secondly, not every golfer responds to a shaft or parameter the same way. Case in point is bend point. The Alpha version is listed as a low-mid launching shaft as it has a firm tip section and low torque. Using heads with the exact same loft, face angle, etc., I found myself hitting the ball the highest of the three. But there is a reason for that. The stiff tip and low torque are designed to prevent the head from closing and snapping into the ball. As a result I experienced a high fade unless I could hang my weight back on my right side. The Alpha did feel good and I will put it into another head with a more closed face and/or draw biased and try it again.
The Beta shaft I tested was the black version with the green eyes rather than the white version that is also available. I should also tell you this, the graphics on the R.I.P. Shafts are phenomenal all the way down to the R.I.P in raised lettering. I hit this shaft better than the Alpha. Even though the tip and overall stiffness of the shaft were the same as the Alpha version, the additional torque was a godsend for someone like me. Remember, low torque inhibits the clubhead from rotating or closing at impact. The ball flight was straighter, although misses were still a fade they were not nearly as much. As a result the ball trajectory was not noticeably any higher and if there was any additional spin it did not create any problems. From a feel standpoint, I honestly could not tell a difference between it and the Alpha. I now have a head picked out for the Beta that should produced my desired ball flight.
The Gamma – what is the best way to describe it? OMG, it was the bomb! Even though this shaft was a little heavier, this was by far for me not only the straightest, but the looooongest too. I have dabbled in counterbalancing clubs for over 20 years and know it’s value. When a club is properly balanced, it gives the golfer that perfect timing where no adjustment are necessary to go after the ball with confidence and sometimes reckless abandon. That ball seemed liked it climbed forever without dropping out the sky.
There is something about these high end shafts that gives players an advantage. Is it those subtle differences in trajectory and spin versus other shafts that might similar specifications at least on paper? Or could it be how the impact marks on the face are clustered so much closer together? Or the feel? All I know is the R.I.P. Family had three distinct shafts that will produce different results. If you are a stronger golfer, get a chance to hit one of these models to see if it can improve your game like it did mine.
The R.I.P. (Reverse Interlaminar Placement) employs patent-pending technology and exclusive materials to completely transform the shaft from the inside out. The R.I.P. Technology repositions the materials and shaft design patterns to maximize the flexural and torsional performance characteristics of the carbon fiber. Through the use of computer modeling technology and exclusive materials, Aldila created a revolutionary shaft with optimum flex and torque characteristics with incredible feel. In addition, the hoop strength, or cross-sectional stability of the shaft is also increased to provide greater stability near the clubhead for maximum shot control.
The R.I.P. Beta white version is a slightly higher launching (mid) than the original stiffer tipped R.I.P Alpha version (skull with red eyes) that has been PGA Tour tested and PGA Tour proven.
|Aldila RIP Beta||Price|
|Aldila RIP Beta 70 White Graphite||$199.95 each|
|Aldila RIP Beta 70 Graphite||$199.95 each|
|Aldila RIP Beta 60 White Graphite||$199.95 each|
|Aldila RIP Beta 60 Graphite||$199.95 each|
The R.I.P. Gamma version (skull with gold eyes) has a same low launching characteristics as the original R.I.P Alpha version (skull with red eyes) that has been PGA Tour tested and PGA Tour proven. The difference is in the higher balance point. This prevents the the club from becoming head heavy if it is either a longer club or a heavier head is used for generating greater distance.
|Aldila RIP Gamma||Price|
|Aldila RIP Gamma 70 Graphite||$199.95 each|
|Aldila RIP Gamma 60 Graphite||$199.95 each|
Sunday sorrowfully marks the anniversary of one of the most significant events of our generation. This was the Pearl Harbor of my Dad’s day. I am sure most of you can remember exactly where and what you were doing at the moment on 9/11 as we will take time to reflect and honor those that have fallen.
That morning I was diligently working at Dynacraft Golf doing much the same thing I am doing today – working on projects for the following year. I got a call to turn on the TV in the clubmaking auditorium where I taught, which happened to be adjacent to my office. Soon, all my fellow co-workers would join me to see the aftermath left behind as the first plane went through one of the twin towers long before we knew it was an act of terrorism. Then we all witnessed the second and finally the news of the plane that crashed in Shanksville, PA. But what I vividly remember the most was the eerily silence. Golf, at that moment, had insignificant meaning.
Little did the perpetrators realize how much of a ripple effect it would have emotionally and economically even a decade later. Not only did it cost nearly 3000 innocent lives that day, the anguish it caused their families and friends, their communities, a nation, but eventually every single person on the planet in one way or another for the next ten years.
My best friend growing up happened to be visiting New York City on business that day. Only blocks away, he would end up breathing the dust that would eventually take away half his lung this past summer. I recall a phone call I had a few days later from a customer in Connecticut who tearfully told me his customer base was gone. Sadly as a result the tragic events on 9/11, today there are less golfers than there were 10 years ago playing less less golf and buying less equipment. Most other industries experienced the same situation as we are all interconnected on this tiny planet.
While my pulpit is small, I would like to think I was put on this planet to help individuals each and every day in some form and fashion no matter how trivial of an impact it will have on their lives. While our age of innocence my be gone and we live under a new norm, I sincerely hope our civility as a human race never goes away. However I am glad to be still associated with golf ten years later as it is indeed meaningful teaching a lot of virtues.