Equipment Report

    PGA Merchandise Show: Wednesday Roundup

  • (Photos courtesy of Jonathan Wall/PGA TOUR)(Photos courtesy of Jonathan Wall/PGA TOUR)

ORLANDO, Fla. — The first thing that catches your eye is the price tag. At $1,200, Seven Dreamers' shafts are arguably the most expensive on the market. But as Michael Rossi, Seven Dreamers' VP of sales and marketing, pointed out there's a reason for the four-figure asking price.

Launched in early 2014, the shaft company is the only one on the market using an autoclave — a machine that's used to sterilize equipment and supplies via high-pressure saturated steam at 249 degrees — to create the shaft.

The process differs from the standard practice of wrapping the shaft in shrink tape and placing it in a standard oven. Once the shaft is pulled from the oven, the tape is removed, leaving an uneven surface. The surface is then sanded down, further deforming the carbon fiber strands.

Using an autoclave process removes the need for tape, or additional resin, and ensures a perfectly round shaft — the outer mold keeps the shaft perfectly round during the autoclave process — that doesn't require grinding, polishing or paint. It also guarantees each shaft design is consistent and carbon fibers remain intact.

"I like to call the cosmetics of our shaft simple elegance," says Rossi. "That means we don't put three to five grams of useless weight, whether that's paint or ink, on there. We are producing a net part, where the only thing we do out of the mold is wipe the shaft down and trim to length."

Once available in Asia, Seven Dreamers now has a North American presence that offers 33 different bend profiles, identified as the "most common and beneficial," to optimize performance.


TPT Golf shafts

If you're a gearhead, you've likely heard of TPT Golf in recent months. The Swiss-based composites and technology firm made a name for itself by creating high-performance parts for satellites, Formula One, Richard Mille watches and the sail of the 2003 America's Cup winning boat Alinghi, before entering the golf shaft industry four years ago.

In recent months, TPT has seen Justin Rose win with their shaft on two separate occasions; Jason Day also showed up with one of the company's models this week at the Farmers Insurance Open.

The near-immediate acceptance on the PGA TOUR is an interesting story, but there's a reason for the intrigue by two of the biggest names in the sport, and it starts with the company's Thin Ply laminate — the material is roughly one-fourth the linear density of graphite shaft carbon fiber — that offers unique mechanical properties including the ability to ensure each carbon ply is laid concentrically for a perfectly symmetrical shaft with no spine.

The robot-driven Thin Ply Winding process controls the ratio of longitudinal plies to angle plies at every position along the shaft, while also controlling the wall thickness and alignment of fibers, leading to a smooth flex profile and tighter dispersion. The automated process eliminates the need for hand-rolling and greatly reduces the inconsistencies found in conventional shafts.

Because the shaft uses a thinner, more flexible ply, the overall weight of the shaft has been greatly reduced as well.

"There's no guess work here," said Jeffrey Meyer, TPT's technical director. "Removing the human element gives you tighter tolerances and the ability to build identical pieces that have the same profile."

The 11 shaft models are broken down by swing speed, ranging from 120 mph down to 60 mph, with each series offering a low-kick-point model and mid-kick-point model.


TaylorMade Spider Interactive

TaylorMade, Blast Motion and SuperStroke are teaming up to create an integrated golf sensor product that automatically captures stroke metrics via a newly designed grip that measures timing (backstroke time, forward stroke time, tempo), impact stroke speed and face rotation.

With the help of Blast Motion's real-time motion analysis, users are able to analyze details of their stroke and track progress over time with performance history and interactive graphs, along with training modules and drills to improve putting.

TaylorMade co-developed a matching mobile app that houses all of the data gathered from the putter. The app makes it possible for video recording and playback capabilities so users can review and analyze their strokes.

TaylorMade's Spider Tour is the only putter in lineup offering Blast Motion technology. According to the company, the sensor housed in the grip does not impact the putter's performance.


Topgolf Toptracer Range

Topgolf's Toptracer technology is coming to a driving range near you. Instead of going to the range to mindlessly pound balls for a couple hours, Topgolf is now offering a range version of its popular Toptracer technology — the same technology used during golf television broadcasts — that allows golfers to see flight and in-depth launch monitor statistics of every shot hit.

With the help of high-speed cameras that pick up and record ball speed, carry, total yardage, launch, height and hang time of each shot, it's possible dial-in yardages and get in a productive range session without having to spring for a personal launch monitor.

For those who want to have fun, Toptracer Range offers 18-hole virtual rounds at Pebble Beach or the ability to compete against friends in closest to the pin competitions.

According to Topgolf, the range operators who have adopted Toptracer have already seen the amount of time spent at the range double.