Innovative golf club design is good news for decent players and even better news for mediocre ones
Words by Alex Moore
The fairway: a hotbed of tantrums. If a groundskeeper had a pound for every wrath-induced divot they had to iron out… we’d all be groundskeepers. Only, it’s getting increasingly difficult to blame your club for those rotten shots. For golf’s equipment manufacturers are tireless in their innovation, and the fruits of their labours are genuinely transforming players’ games – with technical improvements that can potentially turn any half-decent player into, well, a decent one.
“Every year, the manufacturers come out with something new, better, more exciting,” says Bunkered magazine’s Michael McEwan. “And just when you think they’ve reached the pinnacle of what they can achieve, they amaze you with something else.”
Callaway Golf has always been among the most pioneering of manufacturers. The brand used artificial intelligence to develop its latest clubs, the Epic Flash series, using a machinelearning algorithm and supercomputer to reduce what might have been 30 years of product design to a matter of days. The club’s “Flash Face” is the product of 15,000 virtual prototypes, each developed from the previous one, until the computer arrived at the best design to match the brief. It bears no resemblance to anything else Callaway has ever designed.
“Manufacturers have been focusing on clubs that help you hit the ball further since the days of hickory clubs,” explains McEwan. “These days, however, as much thought goes into the size of the ‘sweet spot’. It’s larger now, so there’s a better chance of hitting the ball with the right part of the clubface. We call it a more ‘forgiving’ face. There’s more room for error.” It’s this kind of development that is quite literally a game-changer.
What’s more, some of the best off-the-rack clubs are now fully customisable. TaylorMade’s new M5 employs moveable weights in the clubhead that can be repositioned to get the optimal launch conditions for a player’s individual swing. This allows club engineers to “dial in” the club to specific settings – 21,000 specific settings, to be precise.
“Ultimately, club manufacturers aim to increase people’s enjoyment of playing golf and they do that in two ways,” explains McEwan. “One: the ability to hit further. And two: the ability to hit the ball and keep it in play. If you can do both of those things, chances are you’re going to be a good golfer. And a good golfer tends to be a happy golfer.”
If you are interested in upgrading your clubs, the Golf At Goodwood Academy offers a complimentary custom fitting service using the latest technology in Trackman and the SAM PuttLab system. Take your pick from the latest clubs from Callaway, Mizuno, Titleist and Ping.
This article was taken from the Summer 2019 edition of the Goodwood Magazine.