We haven’t covered golf patents in a while, but yesterday we found something cool that I thought was worth sharing.
The idea, which comes from Srixon, is for a Golf Club Head with Interior Weight Adjustable in Multiple Directions. It’s the latest patent application for an idea that dates back to at least 2014. There’s no guarantee Srixon plans to bring the design to market, or that the design itself is even feasible. But, given that it’s been quite some time since we’ve seen anything unique from an adjustability standpoint, we thought it was worth a closer look.
As the images suggest, one embodiment of the design includes an internal primary weight affixed to a series of struts. The position of the weight can be manipulated using a ball-in-socket joint connected to the weight. Adjustments would be made by way of an external mechanism or mechanisms that would almost certainly look like small screw ports.
The crux of the idea is that the adjustment mechanisms would allow for the weight to be moved in any direction; front to back, left to right, up and down, and theoretically, in any combination. Consider it the ultimate in three-dimensional adjustability.
If you’re wondering how the user would know the precise position of an internal weight he can’t see, Srixon has an answer for that.
The golf club head may further include a sensor coupled to or disposed within the weight and configured to generate and emit an electronic signal associated with the position of the weight within the interior chamber.
There’s been talk of putting sensors in clubheads for years, but to date, nothing viable has come of it. This isn’t exactly an onboard club head monitor, but it does give us a sense of where the technology might be headed.
It should go without saying that there are some obvious challenges with the design. The images suggest plenty of moving parts and given what golf club heads go through, durability is absolutely a concern.
While the choice of materials could potentially reduce the burden, there appears to be a significant amount of structure required to make it work. Structure comes with a mass cost, and that could limit the effectiveness of the design.
Along the same lines, the images suggest a significant portion of the mass would be allocated in the center of the clubhead, which is exactly where designers don’t want it. That could limit the ability to push weight to the perimeter, and there’s not much value in moving weight around the center of a club head. The effectiveness of any movable weight design ultimately boils down the amount of mass and the distance over which it’s being moved. To be effective, you need to move a meaningful amount of weight over a large area.
Finally, internal structures bring with them acoustic challenges. It’s not easy to make a driver sound good when you’ve got a whole lot of stuff on the inside. I suspect that would prove to be an even bigger issue when those structures are designed to move.
And all off that’s before we talk about consumer comprehension concerns.
Will this come to market?
There are dozens if not hundreds of applications like this one floating around the golf industry. Many are several years away from being used in viable products, and others are just cool ideas that may ultimately go nowhere. We certainly can’t say where this one is headed; it’s only a matter of time before someone brings an internally adjustable driver to market.