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The Sand Trap Visits Titleist's Oceanside Facility


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How long does the process of testing and tuning new equipment usually take before a pro will make a bad change? Which piece of equipment takes the longest?

The driver often takes the longest, but that's only if you don't count, say, a set of irons that a pro simply likes and sticks with. They just had to make up a new set of 680s for one of their pros, for example, so you could say it's taken him at least six or eight years and he STILL hasn't switched. :)

But if a pro comes and is just looking to be fit, the driver often takes the longest because of the combinations of shaft and head and settings. Wedges are second just because of the versatility.

When will we start seeing the next line of woods in the hands of pros?

I'll answer for Titleist (this is my answer, we didn't ask them because they would probably say "no comment"): The U.S. Open, as always.

Which course on the PGA Tour has the nicest practice area?

You'd have to ask someone who leaves Oceanside. Like the Tour Van people.

And just how very different are the pros clubs - after all of the fine tuning and such - than what we can buy off the shelf?

They're the same. They don't have separate factories. They're measured to slightly tighter tolerances: a driver measured at 15° might be 14.6° and a driver that says 9.5° might be 9.7°. But otherwise, they're the same. Oh, and they give them a different serial number.

And this is true of pretty much ALL equipment from all companies, not counting some one-off putters made by Cameron or whomever, or the grinds that pros will get on their wedges (they'll still START with a wedge you could buy off the shelf, though).

It wouldn't be cost effective AT ALL to make equipment differently for Tour players.

Is my made-for Titleist Mitsubishi shaft a big pile of dogcrap that's keeping me from hitting it like a tour pro?

The line on made-for shafts (which Titleist wanted me to point out they don't even have in their current woods - they sell the true Aldila R.I.P., etc.) is the same as it has always been: they're basically the same shaft with some slight modification to make it a better fit for the specific clubhead into which it's going. For example, when the 909 shipped with some "by Titleist" shafts, the torque went up a few tenths of a degree because it was a better fit for the clubheads.

And consider two things:

  1. Aldila or Fujikura or whomever would not put one of their top brand names on a shaft if it was crap. If the Fujikura Hot Shaft 2K15 was selling for $600, the "Fujikura Hot Shaft 2K15 by Titleist" would do them no good if it was not basically the same shaft - if it was crap, they'd be destroying the "Hot Shaft 2K15" name.
  2. The $600 shaft still costs about the same as a less popular, more basic shaft to make, or whatever… companies just realize that sometimes a shaft gets hot and demand lets them charge a lot more for it.

Honestly I am curious about loft and lie tolerances for "custom" irons. But i doubt they'll tell you "yeah those are way off."

The stock answer is that they measure all custom irons for loft and lie and have very tight tolerances.

I'm more interested in the workout routines, myself. What do they recommend in terms of building a good routine? How do they balance strength, power, and flexibility? Do they prefer body weight, dumbbell/kettlebell, or resistance bands, or is it a combination? Are there any "must have" workouts one should incorporate in a routine?

We didn't ask the TPI guys any questions. Sorry.

This deals with wedges.

In most iron sets, the numbered irons have 1/2" increment differences in shaft length. (I know, in long irons the increment is sometimes .625", to allow for only 3* difference in lofts).

In wedges, Vokey has 1/4" shaft length increments between types of wedges (in SM4 line, PW = 35.75", GW = 35.5"... ).

So, why does Vokey (and many other OEMs) have the 1/4" shaft increments in its wedges, rather than the 1/2" increments?

Because it gaps the clubs properly. 3° and 1/2" in irons will give you the 10 yard gaps, but in wedges, the gaps are often much larger than 3°.

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