Future Shock: The Future of Golf Equipment

Future Shock: The Future of Golf Equipment

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The entire face of the driver will be at the limit for spring-like effect, making mis-hits a thing of the past --- Clubhead shapes will change radically to redistribute weight for greater stability --- Golf balls will sport new surface geometries — grooves or swirls, for example — and manufacturers will make balls specifically for you --- Golfers will be able to customize alignment aids.
Splashlight

Today’s golf equipment bears little resemblance to the clubs our fathers
used, so what will your grandkids be playing years from now? Here’s a sneak peek at what manufacturers
are planning in their dogged pursuit of golf’s holy trinity: greater distance, consistency and control.

DRIVERS
Today: 460 cc titanium head with a 45-inch graphite shaft. Aerodynamic designs,
movable weighting and adjustable
clubface mechanisms are trendy.

The Future: The entire driver face is at the legal trampolineeffect
limit. Clubhead shapes will change — hourglass
(pictured above), C-shaped, or cavities in the body will
redistribute weight for stability. Drivers will vary by
look, center of gravity (CG) location, and shaft length
to create a personalized performance package.

FAIRWAY WOODS
Today: Most have small steel or multi-material heads.
The Future: Clubface design will advance so that center strikes
will fly like shots hit by a driver.

HYBRIDS
Today: Iron-like hybrids (narrower from face to rear)
launch shots lower and with less spin than
wood-like hybrids.

The Future: A removable rear wall will open the door to full
customization, and this will allow the golfer to dial in
precise weight and placement (high, low, heel, toe, etc).

IRONS
Today: Three classes of cavity-back (better player,
game-improvement, max game-improvement)
offer different levels of forgiveness, workability
and feel. Varying face thicknesses tighten
spin-rate and ball-speed differences
from shot to shot.

The Future: Clubfaces will be made from durable, lightweight,
non-metallic materials (e.g., composites), or laminates.
Removing mass from the face will contribute to greater
forgiveness. Irons will be based on loft rather than
number, similar to woods. Tailored shaft lengths — rather
than standard 0.5″ increments — will suit each club’s role.

WEDGES
Today: Head shapes similar to those from 60-plus years
ago. Multiple lofts and bounce angles match the
club to your swing and course conditions.

The Future: Unconventional-looking sole designs based on increased
understanding of how clubs perform in different grasses
or lies will be introduced.

PUTTERS
Today: Heel-toe-weighted blades and mallet heads
feature face inserts (made of polymer or metal)
to soften feel. Face technologies (such as
grooves) are used to create consistent roll.

The Future: Customizable kits will let you select head style,
lie, length and alignment aid. Technology virtually
eliminates spin or speed variation from putt to
putt. The bottom line: Putters will produce forward
spin regardless of where on the face you hit the ball.

BALLS
Today: Solid-core balls constructed from two, three
or four pieces. Balls with urethane covers are
considered “premium” due to their ability to
create more greenside spin and softer feel.
Ball makers are at the “5- or 10-yard line”
with current materials and processes.

The Future: Balls will fly like rockets in breezy conditions due
to newfangled surface geometries (possibly swirls
or grooves rather than circular dimples). Nano particles
and advanced construction techniques will help refine
spin levels to ideally suit a player’s game. Manufacturers
will be able to produce balls just for your swing.

CUSTOM-FITTING
Today: Launch monitors measure what’s happening
during your swing and prescribe the proper
set based on the results.

The Future: Fitting technology will be even more at your fingertips
thanks to pocket-sized ball-flight monitors that will
allow you to tweak your gear on the fly.

SET MAKEUP
Today: Titanium driver, steel-headed 3- and 5-woods,
3-hybrid, 4-iron to PW, gap wedge, sand wedge
and putter. Hybrids have killed the long irons.

The Future: Full hybrid iron sets, hollow irons with “wood”
attributes (like rebound and feel) and transition
sets (wood- and iron-like hybrids, cavity-back
irons) are seen as “traditional.”

GADGETS
Today: Lightweight, portable, handheld electronic
devices take the guesswork out of distance
to the pin, to hazards, etc.

The Future: It’s anybody’s guess what we’ll have 50 years
from now. Let us know your idea for golf’s
must-have invention for 2059 here.