By Pete Wofford
In the past, the only interchangeable buzz in the golf industry was the never-ending marketing cycle of tour players switching manufacturer affiliations. Three years ago interchangeable meant perimeter clubhead weight ports allowing a more refined balance.
Today, however, the buzz on interchangeable has changed to shafts, allowing manufacturers to package clubheads separately. Credit the U.S. Golf Association’s Dick Rugge, equipment technical expert, for thinking ahead of the curve in giving manufacturer’s a new marketing push and giving consumers the “tour van in a box” clubfitting advantage. Last summer the USGA announced a rules change that allowed golf clubs to be adjustable in areas other than weight, so the story in 2008 will be interchangeable shafts.
“No one’s swing is the same from day-to-day— neither are the weather or course conditions,” said Jeff Colton, Senior Vice President of Research and Development for Callaway Golf. “Interchangeable shaft technology gives everyone the ability to quickly and easily customize their equipment, every time they play.”
Callaway Golf’s I-MIX Technology ($435 FT-5 clubhead; $500 FT-I square; and shafts $185-$435), features more than 1,600 shaft-head combinations.
TaylorMade’s entry, the r7 CGB Max, is available in April at a $1,000 retail price and will be packaged with a single clubhead and three different shafts based on weight. They are designed for different ball-flight trajectory and include nine changeable weights.
One of the first companies to market with the technology has been Nickent Golf, with the 4DX Evolver ($479). The series features a special shaft system from UST graphite for two different ball flights, and eventually include fairway woods and hybrids. Titleist and Nike have also indicated new products forthcoming, figuring a late spring debut. Even a New Zealand-based putter company Puku Golf ($250) has introduced an adjustable shaft length from 31-inches to 39-inches, and belly-length, with a reverse taper rubber grip.