"The Harrison Shotmaker is definitely one of the most impressive golf technologies for 2011...it might be the biggest in the last 5 years! I can honestly say, I recommend EVERYONE contact Harrison immediately about getting one for their driver. A product that helps your game this much this easy only comes around so often."
Introducing: "MyGolfSpy Labs"
Today we launch something brand new and exciting at MyGolfSpy. It's called the "MyGolfSpy Labs"!
And trust me you are going to like some of the ideas we have in store for you inside the Lab. This has been in the works for long time so we are pumped to kick-off the inaugural article. Inside the MyGolfSpy Labs there are no scores, no grades, in the mygolfspy lab you either pass or you fail, simple as that. The MyGolfSpy Labs is about one thing: FINDING THE TRUTH!
Golf companies have always made outrageous claims about how much their product can improve your golf game. We're going to put these products and their claims to the test, once and for all. These tests are pass or fail, they either hold up to their claims and get the "MyGolfSpy Stamp Of Approval" (or) they fail and get the "Big Thumbs Down "
// Edition #1 - Harrison Shotmaker
We have some eye-popping concepts and ideas stewing in the labs that are going to blow your mind. But we had to choose a first product to put through the lab and this one surely does not disappoint. It's called the Harrison Shotmaker, and the results are nothing less than SHOCKING!
So, What Is The Shotmaker?
The Shotmaker is the first USGA rules conforming accuracy boosting shaft insert of its kind. It's a removable insert (aprrox. 12" long & weighing only 4 grams) that is made with ultra-thin-ply graphite (UTP). The most vulnerable section of a golf shaft is its tip section. The Shotmaker insert significantly stabilizes the tip section of the shaft, resulting in greater accuracy. The insert prevents excessive vibration and deformation and Harrison claims it improves accuracy up to 40% (We will just have to see about that).
This isn't exactly news to the shaft makers out there. Those guys have been trying various things to minimize the impact of distortion for a while. The most common approach has been to simply stiffen or increase the interior thickness near the tip of the shaft, but without exception those type of solutions have led to either a loss of, or just plain crappy feel, and to a large extent haven't worked very well anyway. Shaft manufacturers like Aldila and Matrix have tried things like uneven and angular shaft bores to try and improve stability as well, but this is the first time anyone has tried to solve the problem with an insert.
There may be some misconceptions out there that the Shotmaker is a substitute for Spine & FLO, or SST Puring. While those techniques might improve performance by guaranteeing that the shaft will flex most naturally along its linear spine, they don't directly address the s-shaped (wave-like) distortion that occurs when your driver hits the ball. Anyways enough with all the technical jargon, lets get to the test.
How We Tested
To test the Shotmaker we followed the same protocols we use for our ULTIMATE Reviews. Our 3 testers were asked to hit 12 shots each without the Shotmaker installed, and 12 more with the Shotmaker installed. Fitting the Shotmaker can be tricky. Fitting for swing speed is one thing, but trying to determine the optimal fit based on angular velocity isn't exactly our expertise. Fitting was admittedly a bit of trial and error.
Two of our testers hit a clone of a popular head outfitted with a 65 gram Harrison Mugen Black shaft. Our 3rd tester hit an Adams 9064LS outfitted with a 75 gram UST ATTAS T2 shaft. In both cases the shafts had been spined and FLOd prior to the onset of testing.
As you can imagine, Harrison has a lot to say about the performance of their Shotmaker. Most companies do when they have a new product. But we don't care about claims, we only care about results. So, below you will see what Harrison claims the Shotmaker will do for your game. We then put those claims to the test and give you the results.
- Improved Accuracy by up to 40%. (Yeah...bold statement)
- Lowers Spin Rates
- Produces More Solid Shots
- Has an Insignificant Effect on Stiffness
- Has an Insignificant Effect on Trajectory
- Does Not Alter Swingweight (when installed with the optional grip cap)
- Accuracy: So the big question everyone wants to know is "Does this thing actually work, will it make me more accurate?" Well, to say that our results are anything less then jaw-dropping would be an understatement! Based on dispersion from the center line, our 3 testers improved their accuracy by 45%! Yes, you read that right. I can honestly say I recommend EVERYONE contact Harrison immediately about getting one for their driver. A product that helps your game this much that easy only comes around so often.
- Lower Spin Rates: Our tests showed that average backspin rates dropped by 3.4%. The impact the Shotmaker had on sidespin was slightly more impressive. Average sidespin rates dropped by 229 RPMs, which is a 38% drop from the non-Shotmaker totals.
- Produces More Solid Shots / Insignificant Impact on Stiffness: It's very hard to prove or disprove "more solid shots". Where feel is concerned, or testers either told us they felt no difference, or that the club felt more stable with the Shotmaker installed.
- Has an Insignificant Effect on Trajectory: Comparing both vertical launch angles and total shot height leads us to once again agree with Harrison's claims. With the Shotmaker installed, the apex of the trajectory decreased by less than 1 yard, while the average launch angle decreased by only .3 degrees.
- Does not Alter Swingweight: With the grip cap installed, we're inclined to disagree ever-so-slightly with Harrison's claims. There are of course mitigating circumstances (grip weight, and the how close to the hosel the Shotmaker is installed), but in both clubs we tested, we found that the Shotmaker added approximately 1/2 of 1 swingweight point. Although negligible, it does constitute a change in Swingweight.
- Distance: Though distance isn't the major selling point of the Shotmaker, our testers actually increased overall distance by nearly 3 yards, while increasing carry distance by 2. From a percentage standpoint the gains are largely insignificant, but hey...this is golf, and 3 yards is 3 yards.
A 45% Accuracy Improvement!
Based on dispersion from the center line, our 3 testers improved their accuracy by 45%! This exceeds Harrison's claims. It must be pointed out that a single tester posted what we must consider anomalous results as he increased his accuracy by 57% (from 32 yards without the Shotmaker installed to just under 14 with the insert in place).
Obviously not everyone can expect those types of gains, but even if we exclude those results, our remaining testers reduced their misses from 19.3 yards to 12.55, which equates to slightly less than a 35% increase in accuracy, which is still a very significant gain.
For those interested in the shot by shot details, we've included the interactive range chart so you can sort our results by golfer, with and without the Shotmaker installed.
The Harrison Shotmaker is definitely one of the most ground-breaking golf technologies for 2011...it might be the biggest in the last 5 years! Based on our test results, we are extremely confident when we say that the Harrison Shotmaker will absolutely improve your accuracy.
With the results we got and a price tag of only $99, the Shotmaker is a bargain in the equipment industry. Many golfers are willing to spend several hundred dollars on a new club for the often false promise of improved results. The Shotmaker offers the promise of a measurable increase in accuracy without the cost of a new club or costly shaft upgrade. The Shotmaker 100% gets the "MyGolfSpy Stamp Of Approval"!
(*Note: In addition to the shafts with uneven or angular bores, current versions of the Shotmaker will only work in shafts with a .335 tip. Harrison is working on a compatibility chart, so it's recommended you confirm compatibility before making a purchase.)
Editor's note: shortly after publication a couple of alert readers noticed some errors in our calculations (I flipped the formulas by mistake). The percentage gains have been adjusted since the original publication, but the results remain impressive.
For those of you interested in shot by shot detail, we've included a sortable chart that shows every shot taken during our Shotmaker tests.