Is Bore Type Relevant in Clubmaking Today?

I am going out on a limb here, but sometime in the not-so-distant future, you will begin to see bore types in woods change. 

How the times are a changin’.  This year when I was proofing and editing our upcoming 2014 catalog I realized something, those special trim notes that give our clubmaking customers fits is soon to be a thing of the past. Many customers are already confused about how to trim a shaft, especially the trim note about bore type.

A. For M1 metal woods add 1 1/2″ tip trimming, for M2 metal woods add 1″ tip trimming, for blind bore add 1/2″ tip trimming, for through bore do not add to tip trimming. (Applies only to those shafts which have a Trim Note A next to the letter code)

They ask, “Do I need to follow that trim note or don’t I?”  Well I can safely say this; the only shaft this will apply to all of next year is True Temper’s Dynamic Gold wood shaft. That’s it – and you know how few steel wood shafts you see installed into clubs today.

Golf Driver Bore Type DrawingHowever, I am going to take this opportunity and treat this as a teachable moment as there are 5 other trim notes that apply to bore type that you will need to understand.  Here is a diagram with captions describing three of those bores.  The missing one is through (or thru) bore which penetrates through the bottom of the sole. Almost all manufacturers will lump our M1 and M2 bore designations together and call them a “standard” bore metal wood even though there are no standards.

The same concept even applies to irons where we are concerned with the bottom of the bore to the ground line (BBGM).  In most irons, standard is considered 1” and if you work on older Callaway irons, the shaft went through the bottom of the bore (bore thru).  But it is not uncommon to see blade-style wedges with a 1.5” BBGM or higher.

Download Hireko Golf Equipment CatalogDoes bore type matter then?
A long time ago when wooden woods were the only choice for golfers, the shaft penetrated thru the sole or what would be call a bore thru design.  Shaft manufacturers designed their flex around that.  Over time as a way to save time is assembly, manufacturers began making the bore of their woods to stop just short of going through the sole.  This became a blind bore design or where the tip of the shaft would rest approximately ½” above the ground line.

When metal woods came about in the late 1970’s, the shaft would seat much higher off of the ground than their wooden counterparts.  In order for the flex to be as designed, shaft manufacturers began suggesting tip trimming their shafts for the bore type.  At this point in time, the shafts were all parallel tipped and allowed for this type of practice.

In the late 1980’s, Callaway became popular with their S2H2 hosel (Straight, Short, Hollow Hosel or essentially a bore thru hosel).  Initially the S2H2 started in their irons and eventually became a staple in their woods. Once again there was resurgence in shaft manufacturers designing their flex and recommended tip trimming around this type of bore due to their volume and popularity.  It wasn’t too much later that Titlist also followed with a thru bore designs in their woods, but this time with a much longer hosel or insertion depth.

To flex or not to flex
Bore type directly affects the final flex of the shaft / club and here is why.  The difference in the BBGM of a M1 (or standard metal wood) versus a blind bore head today is 1”.  By inserting the same shaft into two heads with the only difference being their bore type, then the blind bore club will be stiffer.  How much?  It would be almost the same as if we were tip trimming the shaft an additional 1”.  When you put it in that context, then most of you will understand it is noticeable.

Today, there are no new heads with bore thru hosels.  This is good for clubmakers and repairmen as this is one less laborious step to perform.  But in the same token, there is no industry uniformity in the BBGM amongst woods, hybrids, irons and wedges today. Again, this is the reason one shaft in one head may feel slightly different when installed into another head.  With offset drivers or drivers with interchangeable adapter systems, it is not uncommon for some heads to have the BBGM as high as 2”.  Guess what, shaft manufacturers have been slow to adjust and thus the reason why drivers today are a little more flexible than they were just a few years ago.

A few manufacturers might make special notes on a through bore and blind bore heads not to insert the shaft beyond 2” as not to make the shaft any stiffer. While you may not encounter this unless you are re-shafting older clubs, be aware of it. You will most commonly find these trimming indications from Aldila and Graphite Design.

Future of bore type
I am going out on a limb here, but sometime in the not-so-distant future, you will begin to see bore types in woods change.  What was once popular will come back into favor.  Plus with all the talk about launch angle and spin rates, bore type can affect those too.  But just because you may not have to be concerned with our infamous Trim Note A doesn’t mean that bore type will become irrelevant.

 

Can You Experience Unprecedented Driver Distances By Using Additional Loft?

Having Trouble Off The Tee? Grab a Hireko Thriver Driver and Rip Yourself a 300 Yarder

I read industry press releases from time to time, but one recent one from TaylorMade made it sound they found something revolutionary that have been available to Hireko customers for a number of years. What was it in the press release? Believe it or not, the unprecedented achievement was a driver combining higher loft (14º) with a low and forward CG. {Spoiler alert} This has been the recipe for our Thriver starting with the Acer XDS Insider to the Acer XF Thriver Driver and the most current Acer XS Thriver Driver (which has the lowest CG of the all).

Acer XF Titanium Thriver – Custom Assembled Acer XS Titanium Thriver – Custom Assembled
$94.95 each $104.95 each

Customers who have hit one of our Thrivers know it doesn’t hit the ball as high as the loft would indicate. That can be explained by the fact there is more weight concentrated on the sole which reduces spin (due to vertical gear effect). Not only that, another key to tape measure drives is solidness of contact and that is where the heavier and slightly shorter Thriver excels. This is why I say year after year this should be our best-selling driver and the number of 5 star reviews validates it.

Download Hireko Golf Equipment CatalogDon’t worry if you are confused about whether you need low spin or high spin or low loft or high loft. To be honest there is not a combination that is going to be good for all golfers. This is why Hireko offers so many different styles of clubs in various lofts. If you are unsure of what you need, seek out a qualified local clubmaker in your area who is willing to work with you. But keep an open mind to using a more lofted tee club as it could be your secret to success.

2014 Avon Grips

How To Reduce Your Golf Score and Run Up the National Debt at the Same Time

Hey, I am not making this up – this following link was reported by Senator Rob Portman (R, OH) showing how your tax dollars are at hard at work.  I am going to help save the federal government a little money here and announce another Earth-scattering way of reducing one’s golf score and that is by greatly reducing the length of each hole.  Imagine if each hole was 100 yards less how much easier it would be to score.  Not only that, think of all the money saved in maintenance like watering and fertilizing as well as reducing the environmental concerns of chemical run-off into the local waters.

Help out your elected officials and add some other tips you think that will reduce golf scores.

Download Hireko Golf Equipment Catalog

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What Is The Secret To Success In The Golf Industry?

To survive in the retailer market, whether you are large like Edwin Watts or small like an independent clubmaking, fitting and repair shop, the key to success will be excellent customer service.

Download Hireko Golf Equipment CatalogState of the Golf Industry
Recently I saw a press release that long time retailer Edwin Watts is filing for bankruptcy.  That caught me off guard as that was one company if you wanted your products to be in it would be Edwin Watts.  I began to ask why such a well-established company is going through this ordeal and here are some of my thoughts which may or may not surprise you.

Brick and mortar trend
Let backtrack first. Sadly, the first victims in the retail golf sector were the independent or Ma and Pa retail stores, who have long since vanished.  Those were the kind of places you went for the personalized service, were convenient as you could walk out with a brand new club(s) right then and there.  With the increasing popularity of internet shopping, the convenience factor was no longer the lure to draw people into their store when purchasing was only a mouse click away.

MAP Pricing
One of the other lures that a store has to draw people in is price.  Several years ago manufacturers began implementing MAP (Minimum Advertised Pricing) and more importantly strongly enforcing it.  The penalty for a manufacturer selling below MAP is being cut off what potentially could be that one product or line that generates the bulk of their business.  Who wants to take that chance these days?

I have been on both sides of the fence.  Without MAP, you could be aggressive and negotiate price for better customers or throw in some free balls, hat or whatever.  Margins sucked though and you hoped to make it up on volume.   However, those practices are long gone as MAP pricing evened out the playing field and commoditized golf equipment.

Internet Freebies
There is a double-edged sword with a retail location.  The positive is a customer can look at, touch and feel the product and gain first-hand experience they cannot in a catalog or online. The downside is brick and mortar stores have the problem with potential customers utilizing their services and then buying elsewhere where they didn’t have to pay shipping or state taxes.  Yes, people will do this and spend 45 minutes with a sales rep (possibly tying up their launch monitor) figuring out what performed best out of a host of manufacturer’s clubs.  When it comes time for the salesperson to seal the deal, the customer says, “Let me think about it, I might be back tomorrow.”  At that point, the sales rep knows that is the kiss of death.  The customer is going online where they can save 7 to 9% on a $300 driver or $900 set of irons.  That same customer doesn’t realize that $25 or $75 doesn’t go back into their local economy and wonders why there is always a tax levy on their ballot each year.

The only way this practice will stop is if laws go into the books with uniform Internet sales tax reform.  Just don’t let our so called “representatives” in Washington DC to get their hands on one red cent of it; it should go to lower the national debt.

Limited product life cycles
Another deterrent nowadays for brick and mortar stores is the necessary evil of carrying a large assortment of inventory.  Let’s say company A releases a new model.  It takes a little time for the store to get proper stock of the most popular flexes, lofts, etc.  Edwin Watts stores were primarily in warmer weather places, but for areas north a hot new product may already be discounted by the time the peak of the season occurs.  It used to be a retailer had a couple of years that a product would be current.  Now the prices get slashed after 6 months and the retailer’s cost of goods is higher than the reduced going rate on the internet.  The manufacturer might help the retailer by giving the store free merchandise to offset their losses, but now they got more of the product people don’t want – they want the newest product.  It creates a vicious cycle for retailers.

Who is really to blame?
To a certain degree, the average consumer is because they demand newer products at a more rapid pace and the manufacturers oblige.  Believe me it is not hard to design new clubs.  You could tweak a model, change graphics and bingo you have a brand new model.  However, it is not going to be revolutionary or leaps and bounds much better than the generation or two before.   However, the biggest blame goes to shareholders of some of the major manufacturers who have flooded the market trying to gain market share. I am afraid that is an unsustainable path in the long term.  This will force more retailers to go out of business and leave only a few strong or well financed companies to act as distributors for them.  Maybe that is their end goal.

To survive in the retailer market, whether you are large like Edwin Watts or small like an independent clubmaking, fitting and repair shop, the key to success will be excellent customer service.  Golf clubs or equipment (like grips and shafts) may be commodities, but that cannot be said for customer service.  Maintaining efficient inventory levels and cash flow are two other keys.  Lastly, if you are selling on price alone, you will not survive – someone will always be willing to go lower.

2014 Datrek Golf Bags

How To Properly Store Your Clubs In Winter

Don’t just throw your clubs in the garage this winter! This helpful hints will help lengthen the life of your golf clubs

Download Hireko Golf CatalogFor all those fellow golfers who can play year round, I sure do envy you.  In my neck of the woods, sadly there becomes a time late in the year in which you can no longer play golf and need to store your golf clubs for the long winter season.  Just like the lawn mower, weedwacker or any other gas powered tool you own needs winterized, so too with your golf gear.  Here are some tips to help preserve your investment as well as have your clubs in tip top condition when spring comes, a golf vacation arises or you get a bonus day when the golf gods look down upon you where you can sneak out and play.

Give your golf clubs a good scrubbing
Don’t be the one guilty of having the dirt and grass from your last round of the year to be caked onto the face and

grooves of your clubs all winter long.  Don’t think cleaning means using the buckets at the course or driving range either; those are likely to be contaminated with fertilizer that will wreak havoc and create surface rust on your clubheads.  Use clean water with a little soap and a soft bristled brush.  Invest in a few minutes’ worth of prevention.  Finally, allow them to completely dry before sticking them back in the golf bag.

If you own one of those expensive milled putters, you might also add baby oil or Vaseline all over before putting on the head cover.  This tip will also work on unplated carbon steel wedges to prevent them from pitting and rusting. If you are storing your equipment in an area that might be humid (like a damp basement or live near the ocean), you might even want to put chrome cleaner or wipe the golf steel shafts with 000 steel wool from pitting and rusting too.

Take this time to remove the oil and dirt from your hands off the grips while you are at it unless you planned on re-gripping at the beginning of next golf season.  Again, mild soap and water and a soft bristled brush will work on all rubber grips, while rubbing alcohol on a clean rag will clean the surface on synthetics grips like Winn and SuperStroke.  Another convenient option is also the Lamkin Gripes, which I found work very well on all types of grips.

Don’t forget to clean the pockets in the bag
You’ll be surprised what you will find when you go to clean the clutter from your bag.  I doubt you need all those pencils or small broken golf tees.  Sort all the golf balls and put the natty ones in with your golf shag bag.

For the “glove” of it
Determine if your golf glove(s) have seen their final days and need thrown in the garbage or if there is still some good life to them.  Those that fit into the latter category make sure to wash them with soap and cold water, lay flat and allow to air dry for a few hours.  Put the glove(s) back over your hand to stretch them out and lastly take the glove back off and flatten them out and store them somewhere they will be easy to remember where you put them.  I like to put them in my shoe bag.

It shouldn’t be called a rain hood
Call me a fair-weather player or lucky this past year, but I can’t remember when I played in a pouring down rain that I needed to put the rain hood on the bag.  Sure, I endured a brief shower, but it didn’t require me to dig through the bag to remember which pocket it was in.  But I will tell you it is handy when it comes to end of the year storage.  It will keep the spiders or small critters from having a condominium to live in, not to mention the dust and moist air from attaching itself to your gear.  Just make sure the clubs are thoroughly dry before putting on the “storage” hood.

Winn Grips 2014

How To Eliminate Muscle or Joint Pain When Swinging a Golf Club

Change or lighten up the weight on your clubs to ease up on some of that body pain!

Download Hireko CatalogDid you purchase new equipment or have your existing golf clubs altered and all of a sudden have tennis elbow or pain in or around your shoulders?  If so, you might want to consider a change and lighten up on the weight of the golf clubs.

What is the cause of tennis elbow?  The root of the problem is using a racket that is too heavy to swing.  The same thing can occur with a golf club that is too heavy for a golfer.  Other muscles can be affected too that can be strained or worsened over repeated action as there is a lot of centrifugal forces acting upon the arms and body when swinging a golf club.

Avon Grips 2014 LineI confess I like to experiment with golf equipment.  As a matter of fact, it has been more than a decade (maybe much longer) since I went out and played the exact set of clubs or configuration.  I guess that is the hazard of my duties as a technical director at a golf club component company.  Recently I decided to add weight to the heads of my golf irons and golf wedges to make them quasi-MOI matched to my #5-iron rather swingweight matched.  In a nutshell, it makes the clubs have a progressively heavier swingweight (roughly 0.5 point per club) as they become shorter.

While that doesn’t seem like a lot of weight (I think the PW needed 3 swingweights or a little more than 6 grams), it did take its toll on my rotary cuff.  After a couple of rounds of golf and a trip or two to the range, I was experiencing pain I hadn’t had before.  That small amount of weight was compounded as it was located 3 feet from my wrists and another 2 feet from my shoulders.  While I did strike the ball quite well with the added weight it just wasn’t worth the soreness that lingered.  The experiment ended and a lesson learned that I thought I might share with you.

 

Why Are Wedges Heavier Than Irons?

The heavier weight of golf wedges provides more momentum with shorter swings thereby helping get the ball up and out around the green

Acer WedgesIf you look at the swingweight specification for the name brand wedges you will notice they are higher in relationship to the numbered irons.  This is for a very good reason as often times golf wedges are played from thicker grass and soft sand where the additional weight will help plow through those conditions.  In addition, the wedges are not all swung with a full swing.  The additional weight provides momentum on short ¾ and waist high swings as well as retains a certain amount of heft when the player chokes down on the grip.

Many golfers simply don’t possess the fine motor skills in the hands, wrists and arms to take something that is light in their hands and make those delicate little pitch or chips shots around the green.  The results are those chili dips, double chips or even “skulling” the ball over the green that lead to wasted shots, a high score, fits of rage, broken shafts and the threat to quit the game.

If you often find yourself, a fellow player or customer who has problems around the greens on a routine basis, start looking at increasing both swingweight and overall weight.  It may be as simple as adding weight to the head via lead foil tape, a heavier shaft, mid weight or longer length. Hireko’s standard golf wedge lengths will be the same even though the head weights gradually increase.  However, many name brand manufacturers will decrease the golf wedges in ¼” lengths to maintain swingweights to 2-4 points higher than the rest of the set.  This is why there is no magic formula when it comes to wedge fitting as it comes down to an individual basis. Don’t worry if it may take a D8 swingweight to accomplish a player’s goal; it is the final outcome that matters most.

Download Hireko CatalogAnother alternative
Many golfers may cringe when they hear the word golf chipper, but in some cases it can be a vital club for those with woes around the green.  The heads are generally heavier than a typical wedge to encourage following through by providing more momentum. The argument from naysayers is that it takes the space of one other club in the set.  Taking a longer low-lofted club and trying to chip the ball over a small mound and land near the hole won’t cut the mustard a lot of the times.  Plus, by choking down doesn’t provide enough heft in the player’s hands.  If adding a chipper saves 2, 3 or more strokes from occurring during a round, it is well worth replacing a less-often used club in the bag.

There are simply too many choices a customer has in regards to equipment available today plus the ability of being fit to accept poor results from off-the-shelf products.  The fact is most shots wasted in a round of golf come from 100 yards and in making wedge fitting important or at least the time to experiment to see if improvements can be made.

> CLICK HERE TO SHOP FOR HIREKO GOLF COMPONENT CLUBHEAD WEDGES!

Free Golf Pride Merchandise

Understanding Shaft Geometry and the Effects on Ball Flight

Key Golf Shaft Variables To Learn When Shopping For Your Next Set of Clubs or Re-Shaft Project

Following our back-to-school theme, last week I spoke about how the geometric shape of your putter grip could improve you putting.  Today, we are going to switch to golf shafts and show you a few things to look for when looking to re-shaft or purchase your next set of clubs.

Did you ever wonder why certain golf shafts hit the ball higher or to the left or right more than others? This has to do with a number of parameters, one of which is the shape or geometry of the shaft.  Let’s take for example parallel tip steel iron shafts. The majority of men’s flex parallel tip steel iron shafts have a tip diameter of 0.370” so they can fit into numerous heads across the industry and a butt diameter of 0.600” to accommodate the majority of golf grips.  The geometry between these areas is what alters the ball flight.

Golf Shaft AnatomyIf you look at steel iron shafts, each model has its’ own unique step pattern.  The stepping is done to change diameters or the rate of taper and ultimately the geometry of the shaft.  The same thing occurs on non-stepped shafts as well; the shaft becomes larger in diameter from the tip to the butt end.

Download Hireko CatalogThe step pattern may be constant, like the True Temper TT Lite with consistent 1.5” steps or an FST 115 with 1” steps.  The shaft might have variable steps such as an Apollo Shadow with 9 small ½” steps and then increasingly larger steps as you go toward the butt end. The stepping helps to identify a model.

Why does a more flexible shaft hit the ball higher in the same pattern of shaft?  This goes back to geometry as the step pattern will be the same, but the more flexible shaft will have a longer parallel tip section and shorter parallel butt section. Since the shaft is skinnier near the tip, it will allow the shaft the bend further forward prior to impact creating more dynamic loft and/or a more closed face. Conversely, if you want to stiffen a parallel tip shaft, you do so by taking more off of the tip and that will resist the forward bending.

Less than a year ago, we added a piece of equipment to help us measure shafts more precisely.  We have measured quite a few shafts already. Two of which are the Apollo Acculite 85 S-flex and a True Temper Dynalite Gold SL S-flex.  These might not be common shafts that our readers have had an opportunity to hit, but both are listed a high launching by the respectively manufacturers, had nearly the identical final frequency for a 5-iron and they are pretty close in cut weight (Acculite 85 at 87.3g and Dynalite Gold SL at 93.1g).  On paper these would appear to be similar.

Our shaft profiler measures the deflection or stiffness along the length of the shaft so you get more of a complete picture.  The following chart shows the deflection of the two shafts with the left side showing the tip end and the right side is the butt. More flex is indicated when the line is higher on the chart.

Tip Stiffness

From about 14” up from the tip to the butt end, these two shafts are nearly identical. Where you can see the main difference is tip section as the Dynalite Gold SL being much stiffer.  This is due to the fact that the shaft tapers quickly.  Instead of the entire parallel tip section remaining 0.370” up to the first step, both of these shafts has a tapered section before the first step to give them stability.  Just underneath the 1st step the Acculite 85 is 0.400”, but the Dynalite Gold SL is a whopping 0.445” below the first step!

That explains the difference as the larger cross section or shaft diameter, the stiffer the shaft becomes.  I shafted these up into identical heads and head to the range for me and others to hit as we could look at the effect on ball flight when one area of the shaft is decidedly different.  What we witnessed was the Acculite 85 would hit the ball more to the left than the Dynalite Gold SL (we were all right handed).  For those that fade or push the ball would prefer the Acculite 85 as the softer tip will help close the face at impact.  For those that pull or draw will prefer the Dynalite Gold SL. Or is it simple as that?

The reason I bring this question up has to do with clubhead selection.  While we saw a definite change in ball flight between the two shafts in the same head, we could have placed the Dynalite Gold SL in a head with more offset and the Acculite 85 in a model with less offset and you might hit the ball the same direction and height.  Just as easily, we could have had placed the Acculite 85 in a high offset head and created a draw or hook and the Dynalite Gold SL in a low offset head and produced a fade or slice.

Remember that a club is a system consisting of the head, shaft, grip and length. This is where fitting is extremely important and how our QuikFit system can help identify combinations of heads and shafts that will work harmoniously with a given player’s swing.  But now you may look at the shaft geometry in a different perspective and understand better why you may like or not like a certain shaft or why.

SK Fiber Wraith Golf Shaft

Tip For Swingweighting Taper Tip Steel Shafts With Tip Pins With Video Demonstration!

Hireko Golf Technical Director Demonstrates A Quick And Easy Way To Swingweight Taper Tip Steel Shafts

Lead Tip Pins For Steel Golf ShaftsThose lead tip pins you bought for steel iron shafts aren’t going to fit inside a 0.355” taper tip steel shaft – no way, no how! Those were developed for 0.370” parallel tip shafts only.  Sure, you can use tungsten powder, a cork and a ram rod but there is one other solution you might not have thought of to swingweight 0.355” taper tip steel iron shafts.

OK, I’ll admit our labeling of certain products could be a little better.  One of those examples is for the lead tip pins for steel wood shafts. If you are asking “Who still uses steel wood shafts anymore?” all I can say is they come in might handy for 0.355” taper tip steel iron shafts too.  These tip pins will fit the inside of the taper tipped steel shaft rather loosely, but the head on the pin will prevent it from going up and down the shaft as it will get trapped between the tip of the shaft and the bottom of the hosel.  Just make sure not to pound the head onto the shaft too much during installation otherwise you could break off the head of the tip pin.

To take up the slack, you can take a 7/8” long strip of ½” wide lead tape and wrap it around the stem.  You could always use masking tape as well.  In either case epoxy will fill up the void, eliminate any rattling and most importantly increase the swingweight to your desired setting.

VIEW VIDEO BLOG BELOW ON HOW TO SWINGWEIGHT TAPER TIP STEEL SHAFTS WITH TIP PINS!

> SHOP HERE FOR TAPER TIP STEEL GOLF SHAFTS

Taper Tip Steel Shafts