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cwcaesar

How does tape on the clubface affect a driver demo?

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I went today to a golf store to test hit the Mizuno MP-600 driver. They had a Demo club in a 9.5 loft and one on the shelf in a 8.5 loft. I am looking to bring my ball flight down and was interested in which would be the better club for me. I spent about an hour on the launch monitor and am now more confused than when I went in. I thought that the 8.5 would launch the ball at a lower angle, but it did not. Both drivers had the same stiff shaft. I was launching the 9.5 at 13.5* and the 8.5 at 15* as a rough average. Also, I was getting about 2500 RPM on the 9.5 and 4000 on the 8.5. These results are opposite of what I thought they would be.

My question is this: Would the masking tape that the store used on the 8.5 driver make that much of a difference in the launch angle? I would almost expect the higher spin rate as the ball would be on the clubface a fraction longer, but I don't understand how the launch angle would be higher on the lower loft driver.

Also, the exact same golf ball was used throughout the test, and I kept switching back and forth between the drivers so I was not more loose for one than the other. I hit 10-15 with one and then would switch.
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I don't think the masking tape, which would have to be...a thousandth of a inch thick, would make any difference. Like you said, I would expect the higher spin rate, but no change in angle.
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When I have demoed drivers that had tape on the face I found it certainly made a difference in the feel of the drivers. I hit a few drivers that were supposedly quite hot off the face, but I just could not get that feeling from hitting them, I am pretty sure it was due to the tape...

You said that the 8.5 had tape on it, what about the 9.5? If they both had tape on them then you would not thin there would be that much difference, but if one had tape and the other didn't that might explain it...
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Yeah the 9.5 didn't have tape on it and I didn't think about that until later in the day. I am going to go back and Demo the Tour Burner TP when they get some in stock and will try a few new things then.
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Tape won't affect anything, no. And most stores will just tape the top to eliminate idiot marks. Who cares if you hit the ball on the clubface? If they're putting tape all over the clubface, that's silly (and a waste of effort). That or their balls REALLY suck and really leave marks.

Same EXACT shafts? Seems unlikely. Same weights and everything?
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Yes, the shafts were exactly the same. Same brand, same flex, same weight, absolutely identical. The reason that they put the tape on the face is that they put a marker line around the ball so the launch monitor could pick up spin rate. I guess they didn't want black marker on the clubface. I just can't explain it. It makes no sense to me that the ball would launch 1.5* higher with a 1.0* lower face angle.
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Maybe a loft tolerance issue? Were the true lofts measured? There is usually a +/- 1 degree tolerance on loft, sometimes 1.5 (I think). So the 9.5 could have been an 8 and the 8.5 a 10. It is pretty unlikely that you would get two clubs that are at the opposite end of the tolerance range, but it would explain the results.
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What was the kickpoint in the shaft? Were both stock shafts?

FWIW, advice that I received from a fitter that I would like to pass along. When demoing a club, have it weighed and measured for flex. Sometimes, they don't play to what the specs are. You're spending good money and mistakes should be averted.
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My theory, right or wrong:

The tape might have caused the ball to slide up the face, creating more spin and a higher launch angle due to the fact that it launched off of a higher part of the face.

Just my guess. You wouldn't think tape would affect it though..
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You wouldn't think that the tape would affect it, but maybe to some extent it did. I guess that I will just wait for a Demo Days next year and get the true numbers.
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Absoultely the tape would make a huge difference...

Just think of the impact of a few millimeters of water on a road when you are driving.  You'd think there would be no effect but try braking hard...

I really think the tape thing is a waste of time and I don't ever bother trying when I see that...

But as always very keen to see where the best option for demo'ing clubs is.  I hate having to buy a new driver on reviews alone and demos are often so contrived.  If only there was an option to really try out a range of clubs...

Have any of you figured out the best way to choose yet?

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Originally Posted by elivate

When I have demoed drivers that had tape on the face I found it certainly made a difference in the feel of the drivers. I hit a few drivers that were supposedly quite hot off the face, but I just could not get that feeling from hitting them, I am pretty sure it was due to the tape...

You said that the 8.5 had tape on it, what about the 9.5? If they both had tape on them then you would not thin there would be that much difference, but if one had tape and the other didn't that might explain it...

I would have to agree - think tape on a club face would make a massive difference.  I would even go so far as to say you wouldn't be even able to accurately compare drivers...

Think about how much engineering goes into CG, sweet spot etc. Tape, even at 1000th of an inch thick would have a significant impact....and it is a compressible material so you would definitely lose something at the point of contact

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And I'm guessing that the tape is more than a 1000th of an inch thick. If you take 1000 pieces of that tape and stick them together you will only have a one inch thick stack? Sheets of paper don't have glue and a ream (500 sheets) is multiple inches thick.

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I would guess that the two most likely problems were either:

A) You were trying to swing up through the ball more with the 8* driver

B) The shaft was either inconsistent (likely for a stock, driver brand shaft, instead of an aftermarket shaft option) or the true lofts were different.

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When I went to get my 910D2, I couldn't notice a difference in performance or anything.

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This question made me curious, and being a believer in scientific experiment rather than speculation I went to a local outdoor range last night that also uses a good launch monitor for club fitting and talked them into letting me try an experiment.    Using my driver (Callaway Razr Fit in 8.5 degree loft) I hit a handful of drives with and without 1 layer of masking tape on the face.

  • Launch Angle:     This was essentially identical between the different configurations; any differences were easily within the variability of my swing, and there seemed no correlation with tape.
  • Spin Rate:      Again, it seemed pretty much the same.    It did seem that with tape the spin was slightly greater by a miniscule amount, perhaps 50 RPM at most, but there was enough variability in the numbers that I don't think there was a definitive conclusion that there is truly a difference
  • Smash Factor:    I did see a slight difference here.    Without tape my SF was around 1.45 to 1.46 pretty consistently, and with tape it was 1.39 to 1.41.    This seemed logical to me in that the 7 mil thickness of the tape is compressible, and during impact that compression would dissipate a slight amount of the energy at impact.

Based on my semi-scientific quick experiment, my conclusions are that the flight characteristics are essentially unchanged with and without tape protecting the face, but the tape slightly deadens the impact and robs you of a little distance.

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Originally Posted by Clambake

This question made me curious, and being a believer in scientific experiment rather than speculation I went to a local outdoor range last night that also uses a good launch monitor for club fitting and talked them into letting me try an experiment.    Using my driver (Callaway Razr Fit in 8.5 degree loft) I hit a handful of drives with and without 1 layer of masking tape on the face.

Launch Angle:     This was essentially identical between the different configurations; any differences were easily within the variability of my swing, and there seemed no correlation with tape.

Spin Rate:      Again, it seemed pretty much the same.    It did seem that with tape the spin was slightly greater by a miniscule amount, perhaps 50 RPM at most, but there was enough variability in the numbers that I don't think there was a definitive conclusion that there is truly a difference

Smash Factor:    I did see a slight difference here.    Without tape my SF was around 1.45 to 1.46 pretty consistently, and with tape it was 1.39 to 1.41.    This seemed logical to me in that the 7 mil thickness of the tape is compressible, and during impact that compression would dissipate a slight amount of the energy at impact.

Based on my semi-scientific quick experiment, my conclusions are that the flight characteristics are essentially unchanged with and without tape protecting the face, but the tape slightly deadens the impact and robs you of a little distance.

Excellent, I had been wondering if anyone had launch monitor access to test this with the same club as a comparison.

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