Grafalloys Epic Shaft Breakthrough

By Adam BarrJanuary 24, 2007, 5:00 pm
Its not steel, but its metallic. Its not graphite, but its firmly rooted in carbon fiber. And its very newness is what the industrys largest shaft company is banking on.
The new Epic shaft, from Grafalloy, the graphite shaft company owned by steel shaft giant True Temper, seeks to combine the best features of steel shafts and graphite shafts in a new material called NanoFuse.
Yes, you heard right: the magic and often-invoked nano word, which involves design at the sub-molecular, nearly atomic level. By fusing a nanocrystalline alloy with a carbon fiber composite polymer sublayer in a proprietary manufacturing process, Grafalloy engineers say they have been able to develop a shaft with the consistency of steel and the distance and feel benefits of graphite. But the knocks on steel (its weight and distance limitations) and graphite (its inconsistency) have been eliminated, Grafalloy says.
The result, the company says, is a longer shot with 35 percent less dispersion ' the all-important tighter landing pattern in a group of test shots. The distance improvement has been measured at as much as 20 yards with the driver, Grafalloy says. The new shaft will first be available for drivers, fairway woods and hybrids.
The nano part is a step out of the box for Grafalloy and True Temper. Many products have used carbon nanotubes, but Grafalloy insists this is true design at the smallest level. That leads to an unimaginably small and tight grain structure in the NanoFuse material, which is so strong that when painted onto a ping pong ball, the formerly delicate orb can withstand 200 pounds of vertical pressure. In a golf shaft, the combined strength and flexibility properties make for a potent combination, say the new materials co-developers, PowerMetal Technologies of Carlsbad, Calif.
And just how small is the design framework? Twenty nanometers is the size of a molecule of the nanocrystalline material used in the Epic. Some perspective? A golf ball dimple is 4 million nanometers wide.
If a golf ball dimple were a shopping mall, a NanoFuse molecule would be a coin in the fountain in the middle of that mall, said one Grafalloy exec.
Grafalloy and True Temper claim that the Epic is the first sporting goods use of this technology. They also say the Epic is being received very well in consumer and elite player testing, and that it will have its PGA TOUR coming-out party at the FBR Open in Scottsdale next week. The shafts low torque fights twisting, but its feel properties arent boardy, many of the testers have said.
Significant investment and three years of development went into the Epic. For True Temper/Grafalloy, it was a matter of stepping out of a box they believe has been containing much of the industry: the decades-long effort to improve existing materials, instead of finding new ones.
You dont want to just stay in the comfort zone of what you know, doing evolutions of golf shafts, said Scott Hennessy, True Tempers president & CEO. We set out a number of years ago to say, What is revolutionary?; to keep looking at other materials.
What will a first-time Epic hitter notice?
He will definitely notice a softer and less harsh feel than some of the super lightweight steel shafts that are out there, said Graeme Horwood, vice president of engineering and research and development for Grafalloy. But also, I believe hes going to appreciate the light weight. And thats going to give them more distance, and with the accuracy benefits we saw in our testing, more confidence as well.
Club manufacturers and component distributors will have the shaft ready to go this spring. Soon after, True Temper will know if its newest Grafalloy brand will move the business needle as significantly as predicted.
If you just sit back and just want the status quo for your game and equipment, youre destined for failure ultimately as a company Hennessy said. You have to keep pushing the envelope, and thats what were trying to do.
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - PGA Merchandise Show and Convention
  • Getty Images

    After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 2:19 am

    Each week, takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

    On the current state of golf as Tiger Woods returns to competition ...

    Less than four days before Tiger Woods returns to official competitive golf for the first time in a year, Jon Rahm, the new second-ranked player in the world, won on the PGA Tour and Rory McIlroy made an impressive 2018 debut on the European Tour (T-3).

    Not since Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus crossed paths at the 1960 U.S. Open has there been so many superstars all poised for big seasons, with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson having already won this year and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas both coming off stellar seasons.

    It’s a good time for golf. - Rex Hoggard

    On Tommy Fleetwood's continued success ...

    There have been scores of talented European players whose skills didn’t translate to the PGA Tour … and maybe, in a few years, Tommy Fleetwood will prove to be no different.

    He sure looks like the real deal, though.  

    His title defense in Abu Dhabi – on the strength of a back-nine 30 in windy conditions – was his third title in the past 12 months and 11th top-10 overall. A few of those have come in majors and World Golf Championship events, too, which led the reigning Race to Dubai champion to accept PGA Tour membership for this season.

    Beginning at Riviera, he plans to play exclusively in the States through May, then reassess for the rest of the year. Hope he sticks, because he’s a fun personality with tons of game. - Ryan Lavner

    Getty Images

    Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2

    By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:25 am

    With his win Sunday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Jon Rahm picked up his second PGA Tour victory and moved to No. 2 in the FedExCup points standings.

    He picked up one more No. 2, too.

    The 23-year-old Spaniard passed Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, behind only Dustin Johnson.

    In 19 months, since June 2016, Rahm has rocketed from No. 776 in the world to No. 2, thanks in part to his low divisor, his number of events played.

    Asked after his playoff victory over Andrew Landry to discuss his rapid ascent up the world rankings, Rahm was almost at a loss.

    “It's hard to believe to be honest, passing Jordan Spieth,” he said. “That's a three-time major champion. I only have two wins. He's got 10-plus, right? It's again – I've said it many times – I never thought I was going to be at this point in my life right now.”

    Rahm may only have two PGA Tour titles, but this is his fourth worldwide win in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. He also took the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the DP World Tour Championship on his way to claiming the European Tour’s 2017 Rookie of the Year Award.

    Dating back to the start of last season on the PGA Tour, Rahm has racked up 12 top-10s, three runner-ups, and two wins.

    He will head to Torrey Pines next week ready to defend for the first time.

    Getty Images

    Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 1:05 am

    Tom Brady and Tiger Woods are two of the all-time greats in their respective sports ... a fact that is not lost on the five-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.

    Fresh off leading the New England Patriots to a AFC Championship victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady was asked about winning the game despite a cut on his throwing hand - which made national news heading into the matchup.

    His response invoked the name of a certain 14-time major winner, something that would be tough to pull off, if not for the fact that he is, you know, Tom Brady.

    “I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that," the 40-year-old told reporters after the game. "It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament."

    Tiger Woods winning with his "C game" may be a distant memory for golf fans, but no matter what game he brings, his next chance to win comes next week at Torrey Pines during his official comeback to the PGA Tour.

    Brady has a shot at his sixth Super Bowl title in two weeks. The Patriots would probably benefit from him bringing a little better than his "C game" as well.

    Getty Images

    Rahm beats Landry in playoff to win CareerBuilder

    By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:00 am

    Jon Rahm birdied the fourth extra hole Sunday to defeat Andrew Landry in a playoff, win the CareerBuilder Challenge and move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Here’s how things played out in overtime at PGA West:

    Leaderboard: Rahm (-22), Landry (-22), John Huh (-20), Adam Hadwin (-20), Martin Piller (-20), Kevin Chappell (-19), Scott Piercy (-19)

    What it means: This is Rahm’s second PGA Tour win and his fourth worldwide victory in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. Rahm took the early lead Thursday with an opening 62 and after rounds of 67-70, he started the final round two back. On Sunday, he made five birdies without dropping a single shot on the intimidating Stadium Course. In the clubhouse at 22 under, Rahm watched as Landry made birdie on 18 to force a playoff.

    Rahm missed birdie putts that would have ended the tournament on the final hole of regulation and on each playoff hole. Finally, on his fourth trip down 18 of the day, his birdie bid found the cup. With the victory, Rahm passes Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, trailing only Dustin Johnson. He enters next week at Torrey Pines looking to defend for the first time.

    Best of the rest: A two-time winner playing his second full season on the PGA Tour, Landry shot 68 Sunday, making birdie on the 72nd hole to force extras. Once Rahm finally made birdie on the fourth playoff hole, Landry's putt to extend slid by on the right edge. This is Landry's best career finish on the PGA Tour. Had he won, he would have secured full Tour status through the 2019-20 season and earned invites to the Masters, Players, and PGA Championships.

    Round of the day: Sam Saunders fired an 8-under 64 to register this best finish of the season, a tie for eighth at 18 under. The reigning Tour Championship winner was 9 under par through 12 holes before making bogey at 13 and parring his way into the clubhouse.

    Biggest disappointment: Overnight leader Austin Cook was eyeing his second win of the season but never contended. The RSM champion carded two double bogeys Sunday en route to a 3-over 75, dropping him from the 54-hole lead to a tie for 14th.

    Shot of the day: Rahm's putt to win:

    Quote of the day: "One of us had to do it and either one of us would have been a well-deserving champion." - Rahm on his playoff victory over Landry