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Tour spec. quality Miura clubs from AGT

Introduction
Miura’s forged irons and wedges command a well-deserved reputation as the industry standard against which all other forged heads are judged. Miura clubhead quality is guaranteed but, in order that the clubs perform to your satisfaction, much depends on the standard of club fitting/club building provided by your Miura dealer. Quality and price may vary significantly so choose your Miura dealer carefully and don’t just base your choice on price alone or you may well end up disappointed with the final product.

Applied Golf Technology (AGT) has over 12 years experience as an authorised Miura dealer so here are 4 good reasons why we hope you will always consider AGT when purchasing Miura golf clubs.

Miura CB-57 Cavity Back

Miura CB-57 Cavity Back

1 – Club Fitting
The key to a successful set of golf clubs is having them fitted to your own personal specifications. We provide club fittings at the the Custom Fit Centre in the prestigious St Andrews Links Golf Academy at the Home of Golf. Here the clubfitters have a wealth of experience fitting Miura golf clubs. Shot performance is measured on Trackman and you will be able to compare the best-fit Miura option against your current irons. Optimum settings for club length, shaft type and flex, grip type and size, and loft and lie are determined and explained to the customer. All of these specs must be known before the clubs can be built.

2 – Club Assembly
At AGT we assemble Miura clubs with meticulous attention to detail. Shafts are checked and aligned for optimum performance. Loft and lies are set to a tolerance of +/- 0.25 degrees and swingweights are matched to within 0.5 swingweight points. Ferrules are perfectly finished and grips are precisely sized and aligned. We also offer Moment of Inertia (MOI) matching as an alternative to swingweight matching if required.

Miura MB-001 Blade

Miura MB-001 Blade

3 – Competitive pricing
We offer very competitive prices for our sets of irons include shaft alignment (an upcharge elsewhere) and  a customer fitting session to the value of £65.  Any upcharges for specialised shafts or grips are kept to an absolute minimum. You may hear of cheaper Miura prices elsewhere, but we would advise you to question their build quality and after-sales service to make sure you are comparing like with like.

4 – Customer service / after-sales service 
Our helpful and friendly customer service has one aim in mind …… a totally satisfied Miura customer. Our testimonials will bear that out. We often beat our quoted turnaround time of 7-10 days. After receiving the clubs, we encourage customers to test them and report back. If they feel that lofts and lies need to be adjusted then this will be provided by AGT free of charge.

In summary
At AGT we believe that the quality and performance of our Miura clubs are second to none. “Built to Perfection – Built to Perform” is no idle boast but reflects our care and attention to detail which ensures that Miura retains their reputation for being the most desirable forged clubs on the market. Please check out our Miura product pages for more information or call 01334 828090 to discuss your own personal requirements.

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Driver loft adjustment using shaft connectors

What the manufacturers fail to tell the customer

Introduction
Nowadays, virtually all major brand drivers incorporate shaft connector technology. The designs vary but in general the intention is that the user can set various positions on the shaft connector to adjust driver loft and face angle. A change in loft theoretically affects launch angle and spin rate whilst a change in face angle theoretically affects shot direction and/or shot shape. The impression often given by the manufacturers is that these two adjustments are independent of each other. However in most instances this is not the case and, as a result, the change in ball flight is often not as expected. The aim of this article is to explain the key limitation of these connectors and to show how a loft change can actually be achieved.

Callaway Optifit

Callaway Optifit

The problem
In spite of what you might read in the OEM marketing material, adjustment of driver loft using  shaft connectors is generally not independent of face angle. To test this, place the driver down on the ground in the normal playing position. Let’s assume the face looks square to your target line. Now add 1 or 2 deg. of loft to the driver by adjusting the shaft connector. When you lay the club back down in the playing position it will likely appear closed to the target line (pointing left). Conversely if you subtract 2 deg. of loft the driver face will appear open to the target line (pointing right) in the playing position. This applies to a right-handed player. For a left-handed player the opposite applies. If you then grip the club, leaving the clubhead looking open or closed at address and swing the club as normal, you will likely hit the ball right or left of your target line depending on face angle and the effective driver loft at impact will remain unchanged!

How come?
What the manufacturers fail to tell you is that the loft change only becomes effective if the ball is hit with the clubhead face angle in its original position in relation to the target line. So if your driver face angle was originally square to the target line in the playing position prior to changing the loft on the connector, it needs to get back square to the target at impact. This either requires a swing change or a grip change.

A grip change is much simpler to implement than a swing change, so here’s how it is done. Let’s say you have adjusted the driver for more loft as described above and when you place it in the playing position the face looks closed. Rotate the driver head in the playing position so that the face angle looks square to the target line again. Note the clubhead may not be lying in its natural playing position in order to achieve this but that doesn’t matter. Re-grip the club with the clubhead in this orientation and swing the club as you always do. This time the clubface should impact the ball with a square face angle and the loft change you have made will become effective. Taylor Made’s adjustable sole plate (ASP) technology was a novel way of achieving the same thing whilst allowing the clubhead to rest in its natural position on the ground.

In summary
Driver loft adjustment using a shaft connector is only achieved when the clubhead face angle in relation to the target line remains unchanged. This generally requires a swing change or a grip change. The grip change is the easier option as discussed above.

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End of the line for Scor Wedges

Since they were launched at the 2012 PGA Golf Show in Orlando, the revolutionary Scor4161 wedges have gained a well deserved reputation for quality and performance. Sadly this line of excellent wedges has now been discontinued.

Wedges

 

The main reason why this successful product has been phased out is the fact that the parent company has acquired the Ben Hogan brand and has launched a completely new range of forged Ben Hogan irons and wedges, which incorporate many of the innovative design features of Scor wedges. You can check out these new clubs on the Ben Hogan Golf website.

We have asked if this new range might be made available to us as components, but so far we have received no definite answer. So the current situation is that our stock of new Scor components is virtually finished and there is no possibility of getting more. It appears the Scor website is still taking online orders but for how long this might continue is anyone’s guess.

We do however still have all our Scor fitting clubs which we are selling off at less than half price. They offer great value for money as most of them have hardly been used. If you are interested in purchasing any of these then please call us at 01334 828090 for details of available lofts and shafts. 

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The Lack of Standards in the Golf Industry – Loft and Lie Measurement

Introduction
We live in an age where more and more industries are being regulated in the best interests of the consumer. Product information must be understandable and factual. However it appears that the golf equipment industry has managed to avoid much of this legislation in relation to product labelling, and continues to sell golf clubs with questionable specifications. Surely it is about time this issue was resolved so that the golfing public can feel confident in the specifications of the golf equipment they are buying. Let’s take loft and lie measurements as a prime example of this ongoing problem.

In a previous article I highlighted the issue of inaccurate lofts on drivers and offered some suggestions as to what the consumer has a right to expect. However in that post I omitted one of the key factors contributing to erroneous loft and lie measurements in the golf industry as it required a more detailed explanation. This article is therefore by necessity a little more lengthy and technical than usual, but hopefully still easily understood.

When questioned about loft or lie issues, the OEM’s will invariably claim they use more sophisticated measuring equipment …. implying they are able to measure loft and lie angles more accurately than we can. Their method of measurement may also vary from ours. Unfortunately, with no industry reference standard for calibrating loft and lie equipment, we are not in a position to determine who is right and who is wrong and the true static loft and lie value always remains in doubt. So the key contributory factor to be discussed here is the obvious lack of appropriate standards in the golf industry.

Currently the only standards in the golf equipment industry are those imposed by the R&A and the USGA in relation to equipment conformability including COR/CT testing and measurement of grooves. Since loft and lie do not really impact on golf club conformability, we are free to measure them by our own methods on our own equipment. Problem is that, without proper internal and external quality control, most measured values remain questionable.

The need for quality control (QC)
Whether loft or lie is being measured on sophisticated digital equipment or on more affordable analogue analysers, accuracy and precision (reproducibility) figures must be known and proper internal QC must be in place if results are to be relied upon. This will be news to most users of loft and lie machines as it is rarely if ever mentioned in the equipment manuals, nor taught in PGA or clubmaking training courses. Few operators come from scientific, engineering or mathematical backgrounds so the vast majority of users just assume that the loft and lie figures shown on their instrument are correct and then act on these measurements totally unaware of their limitations.

My background is in medical laboratory science and if biomedical scientists randomly introduced and operated laboratory equipment in a similar fashion, patients would be mis-diagnosed, hospitals would be sued, staff would be fired and equipment manufacturers would go out of business. Medical laboratory staff will never consider purchasing a new analyser which does not come complete with calibration instructions and published performance stats for accuracy and precision. Prior to purchase, the analyser is then fully evaluated by the laboratory staff to ensure the manufacturer’s claims are justified. Once purchased, the instrument will only be used for patient testing after a standard operating procedure (SOP) and internal quality control programme are in place and staff have been properly trained. In addition to this, each laboratory is regulated by a professional body which provides compulsory external QC programmes for each laboratory. This is required for professional accreditation and ensures that results from all participating laboratories are comparable. The golf industry would do well to introduce similar professional standards for the benefit of its paying customers.

How does this lack of standardisation affect the unsuspecting golfing public?
1. When you buy golf clubs you cannot rely on the loft and lie specs even if the clubs have supposedly been built to your fitting requirements by the major OEMs.
2. Standard loft and lie tolerances on new clubs are at best +/- 1 deg. so your club specs may not match those quoted in the company literature or on their websites and this can have a significant effect on shot performance.
3. Same thing applies when your clubs are adjusted for loft and lie by your local pro or clubmaker.
4. Comparing loft and lie results between OEMs, pro shops or fitting centres is virtually pointless as there are no industry standards or external QC programmes in place to make this possible.
5. At present if you want your loft and lies measured with any degree of reliability, then you must take them to a reputable centre which knows the accuracy and precision of its equipment and carries out daily internal QC.

Checking accuracy of loft and lie with reference standards

Checking accuracy of loft and lie with reference standards

Recommended internal QC for loft and lie measurement
Golf Instruments Digital Loft-Lie Gauge (shown above) is a top quality instrument with a price tag to match. It comes with its own machined reference standards for loft (0 deg.) and lie (60 deg.) so the instrument digital gauges can be calibrated for optimal accuracy. We use this instrument to measure the exact loft and lie of our own internal calibration club. By taking multiple measurements of this club we can verify the instrument’s precision of +/- 0.1 deg. This same club is used to calibrate the digital gauges on our Mitchell loft and lie machine (used for loft and lie adjustments). Multiple measurements of our internal calibration club have shown the precision of this instrument to be +/- 0.2 deg. Our reference club is then checked periodically throughout each working day to make sure that this level of accuracy and precision is being maintained. This is what we consider to be best practice internal QC which ensures our day to day results are consistent and reliable. However to standardise our measurements with those of other centres would require a national reference standard and an external QC programme, neither of which exist at present.

The need for an industry standard
There is a real need for a national/international loft and lie standard which can be used to calibrate measuring devices in participating centres. It could take the form of a reference iron and driver with specified values for loft and lie, determined extremely accurately by an independent authority. What better independent authority than golf’s ruling bodies, the R&A and USGA. I am not in favour of the PGA taking on this role as the temptation would then be to only offer this service to PGA members rather than the golf industry as a whole.

Summary
The lack of standards in the golf equipment industry is causing confusion and misleading customers. I have used loft and lie as an example here but the lack of standards and QC applies to most other club specifications such as shaft flex, shaft torque, swingweight, etc. Right now there is more reliable product information on a 60p can of Heinz baked beans than there is on a £300 golf club and nobody within the golf industry is doing anything about it. Since it is unlikely that the golf equipment industry will ever introduce self-regulation, perhaps only the R&A and USGA have the influence and means to resolve the problem. Let’s hope so or golf club specifications could remain a contentious issue forever.

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Solving the Driver Loft Problem

The problem
A customer recently asked me to check the loft of his Cobra driver as he was wondering why he was hitting drives so high when set at 10.5 degrees. It actually measured 12.5 degrees which explained the high ball flight. On the lowest loft setting of 8.5 degrees it measured 11.3 degrees, so at least this improved his ball flight and he could then brag he was able to hit an 8.5 degree driver. This didn’t surprise me as Cobra drivers have a reputation for being significantly more lofted than their stated value. However Cobra is not the only OEM company guilty of this. MyGolfSpy showed that Callaway and Ping have equally suspect driver lofts

OEM companies will say that to maintain current price points they have to work to tolerances of +/- 1 deg. That is understandable. This means a 10 deg. driver should have a loft within a range of 9 – 11 degrees. However in our experience it is rare for a driver loft to be less than the stated value so it appears these OEMs are purposely adding loft to their drivers. Their logic might be that whilst most amateurs would like to be seen using a 9 degree driver, they would benefit from playing with 11 degrees or more. However rather than solving a problem they are just creating another one because not every player needs more loft and the confusion of not knowing the true driver loft is just adding to the problem. The golfing public would be much better served if the measured loft was closer to that stated on the club.

Measuring driver loft

Measuring driver loft

Whilst at St Andrews, AGT offered Trackman troubleshooting sessions and a common request was to investigate high ball flight from drivers. Our first step was to check the driver loft and invariably the loft was higher than that stated on the club. In one instance the player had a Mizuno driver which measured 2 degrees more than the stated loft. This was before driver loft could be adjusted so he took the driver back to his pro and asked for a replacement driver with the correct loft. The following week I received a call from a Mizuno representative criticising us for measuring the driver loft. He said, “Surely you know that the stated loft on our drivers doesn’t mean much. We used to keep to the stated loft but we found that Callaway’s drivers were outperforming ours because they were adding loft, so we now do the same.” I told him that was his problem not ours and that in this case their elevated loft was causing too high a ball flight from increased launch angle and spin, so we felt the customer’s complaint was justified. On another similar occasion a customer took a driver back to Auchterlonies in St Andrews and as a result Callaway instructed us (the Scottish Callaway Performance Centre) never to check the loft of Callaway driver, even if the customer requested it. They didn’t want any customers asking for replacement clubs because of erroneous lofts.

It could be argued that the current trend of adjustable hosels allows golfers to vary their driver loft 1 or 2 degrees and that the stated loft is irrelevant, as in the case of our Cobra customer. However it was only by measuring his driver loft that we put his mind at ease since he didn’t think he was capable of hitting a true 8.5 degree driver. Much of golf is played in the mind, so confusing the player is just adding to the problem, not resolving it.

Our solution to the problem
Here is what we would suggest:

1. Equipment manufacturers should ensure that their driver lofts are within +/- 1 degree of the stated loft on the club. If you buy a club off- the-shelf then that is what you should expect to get. If the loft is found to be outwith this range then the customer should have a justifiable complaint.

2. Equipment manufacturers should carefully check the driver lofts on their fitting clubs at authorised dealers or national performance centres, in order to make sure that they are within 0.2 degrees of what is stated on the club. Otherwise the custom fitting process is at best misleading and at worst totally pointless.

3. If a player has been fitted for a driver at an authorised dealer or national performance centre, then the clubhead selected for his/her custom build should be measured for loft to make sure it matches the loft in the fitting spec. with the same tolerance of +/- 0.2 deg. Even if there was a minor charge for this then I am sure the customer wouldn’t complain.

This driver loft problem has existed for far too long. It is about time that equipment manufacturers accepted responsibility for correct product description and stop misleading or confusing the golfing public. Surely this is in the player’s best interests and should help to avoid unnecessary customer complaints in the future.

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