With all the jockeying for players among the top equipment companies, lots of money is essentially gambled on outcomes that are impossible to control. If a player is always there on Sunday, thats great ' but if he hits a bad patch (for example, as David Duval did), the endorsing company isnt getting exactly the return it wanted.
Thats not to say that Nikes endorsement of David is worthless ' far from it. David is generally acknowledged to be one of the nicest, smartest gentlemen in the game, someone you want associated with your brand. And it speaks well of Nike that it is sticking with a player who is re-finding himself, as it were. But would Nike like to see David with a big smile on his face, riding a magic carpet of a three-stroke lead up the eighteenth fairway about 6 p.m. Eastern time on a Sunday? Of course.
Still, uncertain as they are, endorsements occasionally create bottled lightning. How would you like it if your product, really a process with many supporters but some doubters, wound up in the bag of the worlds No. 1 player?
Thats essentially what happened to Advanced Shaft Dynamics. ASD is one of those companies that orients the shaft in relation to the clubhead, installing it so that the shafts most consistent properties become paramount. Some other companies use the terms spining or puring; ASD prefers locating.
Even shaft manufacturers admit that despite precision manufacturing that improves every year, no golf shaft is perfectly round throughout its length. Microscopic deviations persist, and they can affect the accuracy of shots, especially with irons, in this game of inches. ASD claims its process places the shaft in just the right place in relation to the clubhead. First comes analysis, from which scientific concepts such as centroids and the legendary moment of inertia are discovered, then the data is used to place the shafts proper axis in the proper place as the head is cemented on.
Its a process that takes some faith, because you really cant see it ' until the shots start landing. Thats what Vijay Singh found out.
As we reported in a recent story on Golf Central, Singh figured it couldnt hurt to try the ASD method, so he had his clubs located. And seven of his eight wins this year came after he had the process done.
But how did a well-known equipment skeptic come around to the relatively new process? (ASD is about three years old.)
I just saw more consistency in the shots, Singh said recently. When the club starts returning to the same spot every time, you dont have to do too much to figure out your mistakes, or why youre hitting it good.
Aha. The all-important clubhead squaring element. Everyone who knows anything about the golf swing recognizes a square clubhead at impact as an essential ingredient. For Singh, the ASD experiment has evidently worked.
In business, successful endorsements are an essential ingredient. Phil Talamonti, ASDs chief executive, was always glad to have Singh. The ascension to No. 1 in the World Golf Ranking this year is gravy.
Its certainly increased consumer awareness, Talamonti said as he watched Singh practice at the Funai Classic recently. In an industry thats crammed with all kinds of products, its not easy to get your technological story out there.
ASD offers shaft locating through authorized regional dealers, so the consumer outreach program is moving along. And thanks to an association with the worlds top player, another element of golf science is gaining credibility.
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