How This Tiny Thing Can Make A Huge Difference In Your Next Driver

How This Tiny Thing Can Make A Huge Difference In Your Next Driver

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You care about your driver’s center of gravity. You may not realize it yet, but you do.

I will concede that this sort of science-y stuff can be a little bit boring, and it certainly hasn’t helped my cause any that the golf companies have tossed the phrase center of gravity around so much that it’s basically lost all meaning (while at the same time losing your interest).

But bear with me guys, keep your eyes open and read on, this CG stuff…it’s really interesting. And it’s not interesting because I said so, it’s interesting because, whether you know it or not, it’s a large part of the reason why you’re playing the driver you’re playing today.

So what exactly is Center of Gravity, and why exactly do I think it’s so damn important? Let’s get to it.

CG Defined

Center of Gravity (CG or CoG) is the point at which all of the weight of an object appears to be concentrated. An object can be balanced on a small flat point placed directly beneath its center of gravity.

That may sound complicated, but it really comes down to balance. Ever balanced anything on the tip of your finger, or as the R&D guys occasionally do, the tip of a pen? The physical point at which an object is perfectly balanced…where it doesn’t tip over one way or another and crash to the floor, that’s its center of gravity.

You might not think that a physics lesson most of learned on playground teeter totter would be relevant to a golf club performance discussion, but not only is it relevant, it’s at the very center of the discussion.

Sorry…won’t happen again.

center-of-gravity-balance

Why CG Location Matters

CG location matters because it heavily influences both performance and feel. How high your driver launches, how low it spins, how it feels, and how it sounds at impact, that all begins with its center of gravity.

Before we dig deeper into the specifics of how CG location impacts both performance and feel, there are a few things we need to make sure everybody understands.

1. It’s Called Center Of Gravity For A Reason.

As you might expect given its label, the center of gravity is always located very near the center of the clubhead. The CG of every driver measured for this series of articles is located within a box that’s 14mm front to back and 12mm top to bottom.

To put that into perspective, we’re talking about a box just a little bigger than your average Micro SD Card. It’s that small.

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You’ve probably seen some of the marketing/advertising graphics where golf companies claim to move the center of gravity from the extreme rear of the clubhead so far forward that it’s practically pressing against the face.

That’s total nonsense…outright shenanigans. Using our SD card (see the image above) as the example, while those OEM graphics convey a CG shift significantly more impressive than the equivalent of moving the CG from the ‘U’ to the ‘G’, in Samsung, actual reality is much closer to our example than theirs.

The reason it’s called center of gravity is because it’s near the center of the clubhead. Always.

Now that said, the CG location of a driver head has a slight forward bias because:

  • The face is much thicker and heavier than the rest of the body
  • The hosel (and all of its weight) is near the front of the club

2. Your Driver Is Stuck in the Box…Sorry.

We can talk physics and materials all day long, but the reality is that, with what engineers have to work with right now, it’s basically impossible to move center of gravity outside of that 12mm x 14mm box (SD card) we talked about before. Kind of amazing, right? Front CG, back CG…your driver, my driver, the center of gravity is always somewhere within that little box.

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3. How Millimeters Make Drivers Go Farther.

Small CG movements within our little box can have a significant impact performance.

Despite having CG locations that are only millimeters apart, a Ping G30 plays very differently from a Callaway Big Bertha Alpha Double Black Diamond. Why? CG location.

For those clubs with movable weight (adjustable CG technology), moving those weights around can alter performance significantly. For confirmation of that statement, try comparing numbers on an R15 with the weights in the middle to an R15 with the weights in the perimeter (MOI) position. Do the same with a FLY-Z+ with the weight in the front compared to the weight in the back. Grab a Callaway Alpha series driver and flip the core. Again…we’re talking about millimeters here, but those millimeters matter.

Changing the CG location changes performance.

4. Moving Mass Doesn’t Always Bring Significant Change.

I know…I just said nearly the opposite, but it’s important to understand that not all adjustable mass systems are created equal. The significance and impact of flipping, sliding, or any other type of CG movement depends on three things:

1. The direction the weight is being moved
2. How much weight is being moved
3. How far the weight is being moved

The more weight you can move over a greater distance, the more the CG will shift. Moving heavy weights over a comparatively small distance, or comparatively light weights over a greater distance doesn’t actually accomplish much.

How Center of Gravity Affects Performance

cg-quads-1

The above chart illustrates how changes in center of gravity impact performance. Here’s a quick summary.

CG Forward

Dynamic Loft: decreases
Spin: decreases
Closure Rate: decreases
MOI: decreases

CG Up

Dynamic Loft: decreases
Spin: increases

CG Back

Dynamic Loft: increases
Spin: increases
Closure Rate: increases
MOI: increases

CG Down

Dynamic Loft: Increases
Spin: Decreases

GeekTalk

Dynamic Loft is the actual loft delivered to the ball at impact.

At equivalent measured lofts, a driver with a back CG will produce more dynamic loft, and therefore launch higher than a driver with a forward CG placement. More loft produces more spin.

Closure Rate or Dynamic Closure Rate is the rate at which the clubhead closes during the downswing. The more forward the CG the slower the closure rate. Clubs with slower closure rates are generally described as being more workable. Back CG designs with faster closure rates are more forgiving, and can help to mitigate a slice.

MOI is often defined as the clubhead’s resistance to twisting. While technically accurate, that leads some to believe MOI plays a greater role in accuracy than it actually does. In perhaps simpler terms, MOI is a protector of ballspeed. The higher the clubhead MOI the more ballspeed, and by extension distance, is preserved on balls struck somewhere other than on the sweet spot.

geektalk

How Center of Gravity Affects Feel

While we can’t put hard numbers to feel the way we can performance, we can make some generalizations about how center of gravity affects feel.

On a comparative basis:

  • Drivers with forward CG locations often feel heavier than those with rear CG placements
  • A forward CG location will cause the shaft to feel stiffer.
  • Because of the effect on closure rate, forward CG drivers may be harder to square, and some golfers will find it difficult to control the club during swing

While it may not be universally true, I suspect that many of you favor clubs with similar CG locations. Whether driven by feel or performance, we like what we like, and whether we know it or not, that starts with CG location.

Details to Come

Check back tomorrow when we bring what we’ve learned today into the real world. We’re going to publish CG locations for several of the most popular drivers on the market this season. Whose drivers have the lowest CG? Who’s really forward? Who’s high and spinny?

We’re about to show you.

MyGolfSpy

Contest – Win The Next PIMP List Wedge

Contest – Win The Next PIMP List Wedge

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First, let me say a quick Thank You to all of you who kicked in theme ideas for the next #PimpList wedge.

The guys at Golf Alchemy are ready to get started bringing your ideas to life. Before they can, however; we need to select a winner from your Top 5 Submissions.

It’s time for the final vote.

The Giveaway

To be eligible fore the giveaway, all you need to do is vote for your favorite theme from the list of choices below. Once the final count is tallied, the guys at Golf Alchemy will create two wedges. One will be sent to MyGolfSpy to be kept in our vault. The other will go to one of you guys (selected at random) who vote for the eventual winner.

The winner will be selected at random.

Voting Ends 11/23/2014 at 12:01 AM Eastern Time. Basically, you have just over 1 week.

Vote Now

Mobile UsersClick Here

Golf Forum – Golf Blog (MyGolfSpy.com)

Is Big Bertha V Series the Next Optiforce?

Is Big Bertha V Series the Next Optiforce?

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Written By: Tony Covey

Freshly added to the USGA’s Conforming Clubs list this morning is what we’re reasonably certain is the follow-up to Callaway’s surprisingly likable FT Optiforce. Seriously. Lay out 2 season’s worth of Callaway drivers…X Hot, RAZR Fit Xtreme, X2 Hot, Big Bertha, Big Bertha Alpha…FT Optiforce is my favorite. It’s not even close.

Unfortunately for those of us who appreciate the radically different, this Optiforce Big Bertha doesn’t appear to have the spoiler described in the patent application we covered a few weeks ago. Bummer, right?

What We Can Tell from Grainy USGA Photographs

With respect to their photos, it’s the USGA’s job to document, not to win a Pulitzer, so as is usually the case, the photos don’t come close to telling the story. We’re going to have to do some well-educated speculating about this upcoming release.

Before we dig in any further, from a performance perspective, it’s important to remember that while aerodynamics are a legitimate way to increase head speed, the guys who already swing fast reap the greatest rewards. Simply put, if you swing 85 MPH, you’re not going to see nearly the same benefit as they guys who swings 115.  I know…it isn’t fair.

Still, something is always better nothing.

Because somebody else is surely going to point it out, the images suggest design elements that aren’t wholly visually dissimilar those found previously on Adams Speedline Tech driver. What I describe as channels can be found on both the toe side (similar to Adams) and the heel side (not similar). Those channels along with the phrase SPEED OPTIMIZED TECHNOLOGY, and Callaway’s inclusion of the scientific formula for Kinetic Energy into the graphics scheme, suggest a club designed to increase head speed through aerodynamics, and well, that fits very nicely into the Optiforce line.

If all of that wasn’t enough, I’m going to go out a limb and suggest that V is for Velocity. Hooray…more physics-y words.

And you know…it’s been about a year since the launch of Optiforce, so it fits from a timing perspective as well.

The USGA doesn’t do crown photographs, so we can’t tell if Callaway’s got anything akin to PING’s Tabulators in play, but my guess the crown is clean. The channels will account for the bulk of the story.

As far as lofts are concerned, the USGA has approved 9.5°, 10.5°, and a 13.5° HT model. With Callaway’s Optifit Hosel, that should cover just about all of us. Thus far no “Pro” models have been approved by the USGA.

v-series135

But It’s Not an Optiforce

Not surprisingly, it appears Callaway will position the new V series as part of the Bertha family. The company is clearly committed to the reinvigorated franchise, and so it’s just good branding to stamp Bertha on as many drivers as reasonably possible.

You love Bertha right? Well, here’s another one.

The new Callaway Golf (let’s call it the Chip Brewer era) has shown a willingness to play it a little campy at times. The marketing team refers to itself as the Zoo Crew (it’s cheesy right?…not that a little cheese is a bad thing), they sometimes tweet silly little graphics and assorted inside jokes along with their persistent message about physics. Now they’re stamping cartoons on the bottom of their drivers.

The fun stuff draws you in. You become an insider. You get the joke, and when they’ve really got your attention…#BOOM. Physics. Physics. Physics. Branding is serious business.

Let’s be real for a second. That Sir Isaac Newton logo on the bottom of the new driver…it’s pure cheese. It’s campy. It’s almost certainly going to get a rise out of the “No Real Golfer would…” crowd.

Could TaylorMade pull that off right now? Would Titleist ever try? That’s the beauty of being Callaway right now…they have a growing audience of golfers who aren’t categorically opposed to the notion that golf should be fun. That’s an audience I’m guessing some others would love to cultivate. Others have certainly tried.

v-series-9-10

Re-Building an Identity

Every brand has an identity…or at least every brand wants an identity (and the one they get isn’t always the one it wants). Titleist has Performance (and Quality). PING has Engineering. TaylorMade has … hmm…I don’t know…and that’s a problem. And while it’s almost certainly been calculated every step of the way, Callaway appears on the verge of cementing its place (real or contrived…doesn’t matter) as the most physics-inclined company in golf.

Physics is Callaway.

Have Your Say

Were you an Optiforce Guy? Are you a Bertha Guy…or just a Callaway Guy in a more general sort of way?

What do you think of the next Bertha and/or the idea that Physics is Callaway.

 

Golf Forum – Golf Blog (MyGolfSpy.com)

Callaway’s Next Driver – Inspired by Hyundai?

Callaway’s Next Driver – Inspired by Hyundai?

Post image for Callaway's Next Driver - Inspired by Hyundai?

As is often the case with this sort of thing, credit goes to Dave Dawsey over at Golf-Patents.com for tracking down this recently published Callaway patent for a “golf club head with improved aerodynamic characteristics“.

Dawsey suggests this could be the next Optiforce, and all reasonable logic says that he’s probably right.

The Prior Art referenced in the patent drawings looks unquestionably like last season’s FT Optiforce, and the aerodynamics/spoiler thing certainly fits within the FT Optiforce concept.

cally-spoiler-2

A Forgettable Q2

We’re hearing that Q2 was absolutely miserable. That’s hardly a Callaway-exclusive problem. By nearly every informed account, the industry got smacked around pretty hard over the last 3 months. Toss in the recent $100 price drop on Big Bertha Alpha (so much for holding the line), and the signs are that Callaway is ready (and likely needs) to move on to whatever is next in the pipeline.

There are decent odds that the next thing will have a rear spoiler attached. As Dawsey astutely points out, wings, and fins (and I suppose Turbulators qualify) have been tried before, but like PING, Callaway has the potential to bring the technology into the mainstream.

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What’s a bit more difficult to predict is how golfers, particularly the traditionalist crowd (generally not Callaway guys anyway) will respond to a driver that looks like it was inspired by a Hyundai Tiburon.

I’m pretty much of the whatever crowd, and hell, I really liked Optiforce, so I wouldn’t be opposed to having a go with an updated, spoiler-enabled model.

For those of you who think such things are a distraction…I promise you, if you focus on the ball you won’t notice a spoiler, or Turbulators, or even a giant white crown swoosh. These things are only actually distractions if you want them to be…and I suppose that’s not so much an actual distraction as it is an excuse, but, as usual, I digress.

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More Speed = More Speed

As with the original Optiforce, the PING G30, and other aerodynamically-inclined designs (Adams), whatever the head speed increase, it exponentially benefits higher swing speed players (they gain more than slower swing speed guys).

Some have tried to help the low-to-average speed crowd out by reducing the weight of the head, but there invariably MOI trade-offs that come with that approach. Should this product come to life it will be very interesting to see what Callaway’s approach, and storyline actually is.

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If we assume a 1 year release cycle, the timing is certainly right for the next Optiforce, or perhaps a Big Bertha Optiforce (that’s branding, people), so I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to see these drawings become reality…and likely very soon.

Golf Forum – Golf Blog (MyGolfSpy.com)

Tell Nike Which Driver Should be the Next Covert

Tell Nike Which Driver Should be the Next Covert

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While we can’t be certain of anything until we actually see the Nike VRS Covert 3.0 (or whatever Nike decides to call the next one), it’s far from unreasonable to think that the core design of the next iteration of Nike’s flagship driver is likely among several drawings we found in a recent patent application (actually, it’s a continuation of several previous patent applications, but you get the point).

If you gave Nike Golf’s President, Cindy Davis two words to describe Nike, or perhaps the Nike Spirit…not to put word’s in Ms. Davis’ mouth or anything, but I think Relentless Innovators would probably be in the general ballpark of her response.

That whole innovation thing certainly would explain why Nike’s application contains no less than 16 different descriptions of various ways to move mass through and around a golf club head.

Some of the drawings feature…shall we say familiar designs, while others are arguably unique.

Along the way there’s mention of things like plastic crowns, weight members with shock absorbing features, and adjustable MOI (and spin rate) too.

As you’d expect from most any patent application, there’s plenty of broad ambiguity as well.

The receptacle could be open or closed
Weights could be the same or different
Those weights could be moved independently or together

One of these could be the next Nike driver, or maybe none of them.

You Choose The Covert 3.0

It’s not like you get an actual vote or anything, but if it’s any consolation, neither did I. It’s safe to assume that by now any decisions about the tech that will power the next Nike driver has already been made, but that doesn’t mean we don’t get to have an opinion.

I’ve sorted through the various drawings and picked a mix of the interesting and the probable, and now we want you to tell us which of these 6 designs you think should become the Nike VRS Covert 3.0 Driver.

Here are the top contenders:

Figure 15 – Dual Weights (Crown & Sole)

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Figure 18 – Dual Weight Ports (Sole)

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Figure 19 – Adjustable/Swappable Weight Core

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Figure 20 – Horizontal and Vertical Weight Cores (adjustable CG and MOI)

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Figures 21-22 – Internally Placed Sliding Weights

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Figure 25 – Sliding Weights

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Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post’s poll.

What Other Features Would You Like To See in the Next Nike Driver?

Tell us in the comment section below.

Golf Forum – Golf Blog (MyGolfSpy.com)