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Tour head vs. Retail golf clubs


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Has anyone have some knowledge of this subject?. I just googled the title and was shocked that the manufacturers of clubs can almost "sell knock offs " of their own club line. I understand the pros have more of need for perfection with their equipment but I didn't' think the difference between say my driver and Spieth's was THAT much different. 

 

Any Thoughts?

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1 hour ago, sinned123 said:

Has anyone have some knowledge of this subject?. I just googled the title and was shocked that the manufacturers of clubs can almost "sell knock offs " of their own club line. I understand the pros have more of need for perfection with their equipment but I didn't' think the difference between say my driver and Spieth's was THAT much different. 

 

Any Thoughts?

I don't know where you're getting this. Tour clubs come off the same manufacturing line as retail clubs. The difference, if any, is that the tour vans make sure that the specs are exactly what the pros need and asked for, in addition to whatever customization they ask for. Obviously they get access to prototypes and pre-retail products, but if Rose games an M1 driver, you can get it set up the same way.

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3 hours ago, sinned123 said:

Has anyone have some knowledge of this subject?. I just googled the title and was shocked that the manufacturers of clubs can almost "sell knock offs " of their own club line. I understand the pros have more of need for perfection with their equipment but I didn't' think the difference between say my driver and Spieth's was THAT much different. 

Retail and tour heads are basically the same. Like @dkolo said, the heads are made in the same factories using the same materials. Few years ago there were more "tour versions" of heads but now with most OEM's offering a "pro/low spin" version of every driver, adjustable hosels, adjustable CG, there really isn't a need for it.

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This came up in a similar thread last week.

Answers are above -- they once made exclusive heads for tour pros, now not so much, and when they do, they usually bring it to market.

Even if they continued to do so, some tour pros have special needs, and OEMs want to keep them in their stable - so the clubs were made.

They used to make jokes of clubs made with baby tears or unobtanium.

Now, OEM clubs are tour clubs, except for hot melt and shafts - the shafts, you can buy, usually a few months after the pros have them.

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here is an excerpt of an article.... sorry for the length...
 

Quote

 

Jetlv25:
Ok, there seems to be alot of mis-information online about tour vs. retail.  So I started doing a little fact finding from experienced people in the industry that are well know, honest and have credentials.  I am also contacting OEMs for more specific information on what each one does.  Please remember this is not my opinion but the opinions and facts from people actually qualified.  To start off below is the infamous post that is posted on several boards other than where it was originally found.  This is not meant to be any type of bashing post but rather a fact finding mission for the general golfing public so please keep your comments as such.  I welcome any information from OEM's or actual industry people that can offer honest opinions or facts or members from other boards.  Lets keep this clean and see where it leads and what we can find out.  

The titanium used in the production of the Tour heads is generally NOT the same as the retail models. It is a very high grade titanium which is stronger and less prone to failure. The average player will never hit 10,000 balls with his driver like a Tour pro will, and thus, has no real need for this quality of materials. It is also more free of imperfections, and much more costly to tool because of the hardness. This grade is mildly heavier, but that is not of great concern because no Tour player plays a 46 inch driver. Just a few grams heavier, which is why you will always see the weight discrepency in Tour and retail heads, even raw and unweighted.

The COG in the Tour heads is almost ALWAYS at a different point than the retail models, generating a mildly lower ball flight and spin rate that most good players desire. There also are NO weight bias' built into the head, unlike retail heads which 99% of the time, have a heel weight bias. This is pretty much true with all Tour drivers no matter what the companies might LIKE the consumer to believe. With a Tour driver, the COG is generally around 2-3mm higher in the Tour head, which results in about 1-1.5 degree of launch angle lower, and 300-600 rpm of spin rate lower than the retail heads. Of course, this can vary slightly.

In Tour fairway woods and utilities, there will also be a mildly higher COG, and either neutral or fade bias built into the COG of the head. 99% of retail fairways and utilities have a heel/draw bias, and generally a more upright lie angle to help the "average" player control their slice.

Of course we all know the face angle is generally square or open on a Tour head, but this is an adjustment made by the Tour department or van, and is really not relevant to any production or internal differences, but is still a difference none the less.

All heads are also tested and conform to the maximum allowable COR.

In terms of Tour irons, most manufacturers will have their heads forged by one of the premium facilities like Miura or Endo for the Tour product, but go with a large mass forging facility in China for the production heads. TaylorMade for example uses Miura to forge the Tour sets, Titleist uses Endo, and Nike has used both in the production of the Tour heads. Tour irons are generally dead on spec in terms of weight. You will not get a Tour set of irons with swingweights all over the board like you do with retail sets. This is because of the quality control at the high grade forging houses. These heads are also nearly free of imperfections both external and internal, and generally have an entirely different feel than their retail counterparts. These forgings are, obviously, higher quality accross the board, and MUCH more expensive to have done than the retail line.

Often time the sole configuration is a bit different as well. Much of the time Tour irons will have a slightly more narrow sole, a blunted leading edge, and more bounce, as the Tour player generally hits down through the ball, taking a divot, where the "average" player generally does not. Often times the Tour heads will have less offset as well as certain lower glare finishes like black or satin, as opposed to the shiney chrome of most retail clubs.

Grooves can also be different in Tour irons as well, not only in configuration, but in actual production. Tour iron heads will ALWAYS have precision milled grooves, where the cutting tool is changed prematurely to make sure there are no imperfections in any of the grooves, unlike retail which are mass produced and generally MUCH more sloppy in terms of quality and precision. Tour iron heads are also often made with both box and V grooves. This is distinguishable on TaylorMade Tour iron heads by the lack of swirl marks on the face of the iron. This has NOTHING to do with the face being milled, as all Tour iron heads are milled for precision. They just remove the swirl marks on the V groove heads to help reduce the spin slightly. V grooves are a lower spin head for the player who wants a flatter and more penetrating ball flight.

Tour wedges also are drastically different than their retail counterparts. They share many of the characteristics of Tour irons, but also have their own unique differences as well. Tour wedges will often have unique finishes and very unique sole grinds. More so than iron heads, to combat a variety of conditions and player styles. The most obvious difference to the eye are facial milling marks on many occasions, varying grinds, and Tour only finishes.

The main difference that makes a Tour wedge perform differently than a retail wedge is the groove. 99.9% of all Tour wedges will have a more agressive groove than retail. This groove is meant to generate more spin. This spin is a God send on very fast greens, from deep rough, and in the wind. Common sense will tell you that more spin means a higher ball flight, but with the way a groove like TaylorMade's Tour exclusive Y groove bites the ball, the flight is actually lower and more penetrating, which allows the player to generate great spin for bite, and a lower flight for MUCH improved control. Many average players enjoy seeing a high arcing wedge shot. PGA Tour pros prefer the lower, more controlled flight, assisted by their wedge grooves and confidence that the ball will bite, even when hit low and flat. Most Tour wedges will have an agressive box groove design, with the exception of TaylorMade's Y Cutter wedge which is a TaylorMade exclusive groove design which lowers flight even more, generates more green biting spin, all while not destroying premium golf balls to a great degree. It truly is THE revolutionary design in wedge grooves"

 

google "the truth between tour vs retail golf clubs "

another fascinating tidbit....tour players wedges have at the least ...DOUBLE the bounce that us amateurs play with...somewhere in the 20 degree range.I have an extra SW and went to a club fitter the other day and asked if he either can configure my wedge to 20 degree bounce or I'd buy one (titleist or callaway) and have him configure that....He couldn't or wouldn't do it.....probably thought I was a crazy guy....!!   

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50 minutes ago, dkolo said:

@sinned123, here's an interview with Nick Arthur, one of the Club Performance Specialists at the Ely Callaway Performance Center. He addresses your concerns specifically at around 1:55

 

Hey, I've met that guy!!  At that very place.  Check out the video in the op of this thread: http://thesandtrap.com/forums/topic/58537-the-sand-trap-visits-callaway-golf-razr-fit-driver-fitting-at-the-ely-callaway-performance-center/#comment-941279

 

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4 minutes ago, Golfingdad said:

Small world!

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1 hour ago, dkolo said:

@sinned123, here's an interview with Nick Arthur, one of the Club Performance Specialists at the Ely Callaway Performance Center. He addresses your concerns specifically at around 1:55

 

Also, around 4:40 to 5:40 or so they both talk a little about some of the "stupid monkey" personality traits of tour players. :)

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34 minutes ago, Golfingdad said:

Also, around 4:40 to 5:40 or so they both talk a little about some of the "stupid monkey" personality traits of tour players. :)

They're stupid distance monkeys. Best of both worlds

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@sinned123, I read that post several years ago on another forum.

Things change. The only difference I've heard, besides the video above is driver head weight and loft. But if you order specifically, let's say from Callaway, for example, and request a specific swing weight, they will attempt to pick a head weight to meet your request. I said "attempt" ... we are not PGA Touring Pros.

Do not worry about an issue that no longer exists - OEMs have upped their game, manufacturing techniques change, technology changes. Some things move forward. You can get custom clubs, OEMs have fitting centers as do customer makers like Edel.

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8 hours ago, mvmac said:

I'd say a lot of this stuff was true several years ago, not the case now.

Bingo.

I've been around Tour players, equipment vans, been inside facilities when PGA Tour pros are testing stuff… Aside from more choice and more accurate measurements on those choices, they hit the same stuff you can hit.

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Couple more things reading the article. First, it dates itself with the box groove talk; those have been banned on Tour since 2010.

Another thing is that the entire business model the manufacturers have is being able to sell consumers what the players on Tour use and win with. Representative example: Nike releases all of their drivers with adjustable necks. Tiger hates those and wants a glued neck, which Nike obliges since it's Tiger Woods. So Nike releases a glued version of the Vapor Speed in the exact loft and shaft combo Tiger uses to consumers as a limited edition, even down to the TW logo Tiger has them put on all of his clubs. Nike is very happy to sell you the same equipment their pros use.

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1 hour ago, iacas said:

Bingo.

I've been around Tour players, equipment vans, been inside facilities when PGA Tour pros are testing stuff… Aside from more choice and more accurate measurements on those choices, they hit the same stuff you can hit.

Yeah if a player needs a head to be exactly 10° they can get it with whatever shaft they want but they aren't using any "special" titanium.

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8 minutes ago, mvmac said:

Yeah if a player needs a head to be exactly 10° they can get it with whatever shaft they want but they aren't using any "special" titanium.

No but they do use adamantium and vibranium for the top pros - shhhhh!!!

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55 minutes ago, Golfingdad said:

No but they do use adamantium and vibranium for the top pros - shhhhh!!!

If the quality of materials in your driver depended on how good of a golfer you were, mine would be a composite of tin, paper, and a stale baked potato.

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Gentlemen...(...and I use that term loosely...:-))......Thank you for all the info that you all provided.

I was looking at serial #'s, product dates etc....I guess that's because it's the engineer in me, no my 14/15 handicap that's going to make a world of difference.....

 

Thanks again, this site is fantastic, the info that can be gleamed from these forums....!!

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Note: This thread is 1944 days old. We appreciate that you found this thread instead of starting a new one, but if you plan to post here please make sure it's still relevant. If not, please start a new topic. Thank you!

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