Where Will You Be 5 Years From Now?
What the future hold for equipment
Labels: Shoes, Iron Play, Shafts, Grips, Iron Grips, Fitting, Buyers Guide, Equipment, Balls, Wedges, Irons, Woods, Clubs, Putting, Drivers, Blades, Hybrids, Fairway Woods
4. How much farther do you think average golfers will be able to hit tee shots five years from now?
TaylorMade: At least 25 yards.
Cleveland Golf/Srixon: There are some interesting developments in shaft technology, in that shafts are getting lighter and stronger. We have some of the lightest drivers on the market, yet we figured out how to control the torque and flex patterns so big strong guys can hit the ball farther. When you have a lighter shaft and deliver the middle of the clubface to the ball, it goes farther. They're not whippy anymore. I don't see much there for improving irons. With the groove ruling, it's all about how else we can make the ball spin. And there are some interesting things coming down the pipeline that will improve that. I think we'll get back to how balls spin, and lighter and stronger shafts. But it won't come from the clubheads.
Adams Golf: Realistically, maybe another 10-20 yards. Some of that gain can easily be achieved through custom fitting by optimizing launch conditions and identifying the proper overall weight and balance point of the club. We're also still developing technologies that take advantage of aerodynamics to increase ball speed.
Nike Golf: Distance is king to the average golfer. This is certainly why drivers evoke so much emotion with the equipment segment. There's still room for improvement off the tee especially on off-center hits. We've delivered longer drivers every year. We believe we've done it again this year with the introduction of our new club line, the VR_S, that features NexCOR face technology. We focused on the face to generate more ball speed, which translates to more distance. As products become easier and easier to fine-tune on demand for each individual swing, golfers will be able to dial their driver to precise specifications that could easily add 12 to 20 yards.
Cobra PUMA Golf: It's hard to predict, but biggest gains will come from technologies that enable less distance loss on off-center shots.
Callaway Golf: That's a difficult question to answer broadly. I'd say that almost every average golfer I play with has the potential to see significant distance gains. Technique is obviously a huge part of this. Most golfers just don't swing as well or as efficiently as they could, so they aren't realizing their full distance potential. Many could improve distance with improved strength and fitness. We've seen what a huge impact this has had on the distances that the best players in world are hitting now. But many golfers I play with still aren't playing with drivers that are optimizing their distance. Some are playing with older technology that's just not up to modern standards, some have drivers that aren't well fitted to them so they aren't optimizing their launch conditions, which is the way you improve distance, and some may not be playing the right golf ball for their game. When we conduct demo days and get people testing our latest drivers on launch monitors, almost without exception, we can get a golfer into a driver that will increase their distance off the tee.
5. Which area of golf equipment is best poised for the most dramatic improvement through technology, and why?
TaylorMade: Honestly, all categories have room for dramatic improvements in performance. We have a steady stream of revolutionary ideas, concepts and prototypes that will become real groundbreaking products in every category.
Cleveland Golf/Srixon: The shaft—the key is in the shaft. It's the primary engine of the club. Clubhead design is secondary. But the shaft is really key. Look what happened in shaft technology. It wasn't that many years ago when shafts were pushing 100 grams. Now they're down to 40 grams. That's dramatic. I don't see materials changing too much in clubheads.
Adams Golf: Hybrids and fairway woods still have tremendous growth potential. The inclusion of our industry-leading Velocity Slot Technology, which has a slot on both the crown and sole of the club has not only expanded the springlike effect across the entire clubface, but also allowed designers to increase launch angle without increasing spin for the first time to boost distance and forgiveness in ways never before imagined. Custom-fitting technologies like HITfit are helping average consumers optimally fit their clubs to play better and enjoy the game more.
Nike Golf: Innovation is an incredibly powerful tool. With launch-monitor improvements and new ways to capture and mine swing data, there's no telling where we could go from here. We continue to find ways to dramatically improve equipment across all categories and are optimistic about the future.
Cobra PUMA Golf: Most likely distance gains through fitting. As fitting technology becomes less expensive and more widespread, more and more consumers will realize that the proper loft, shaft type, etc. for their swing can deliver significant gains in performance.
Callaway Golf: You never know where the next great technology is going to come from—that's why we spend so much money on research and development. We're always looking for the next best thing and we're looking across all of our equipment categories. This is part of what makes our jobs so fun. We're passionate about golf and we're passionate about golf clubs (and balls) that make the game more fun for golfers of all abilities. So there will always be something new and better coming.
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