In Their Own Words - Graphite Design International

By Casey BiererAugust 30, 2005, 4:00 pm
A Conversation with Robb Schikner
Robb Schikner is the Vice President of Research and Development for Graphite Design International. His primary responsibilities include materials and performance research, product development and evaluation, and advancing GDIs industry-leading graphite shaft brands.
 
Established in Japan in 1989, Graphite Design is one of the world's three largest golf-club shaft manufacturers. Graphite Design made its mark manufacturing high-performance shafts for most of golf's major OEMs worldwide, including the top four companies by sales volume.
 
In 1997, Graphite Design created Graphite Design International ' a U.S. based, 100 percent owned subsidiary company headquartered in San Diego. The company researches, develops and markets shafts throughout the U.S.
 
GDI's trademarks are revolutionary technology, design and sourcing the most advanced materials so GDI shafts are of highest quality and performance. GDI shafts specifically promote Accuracy and Distance by way of their Ultra-High Modulus Materials ' a combination of multiple types of carbon graphite fiber.
 
The core components of the companys AD logo, these key competitive advantages help professionals and amateurs optimize their game after switching to GDI shafts. The companys popular YS series, new PM (Prototype Model) shafts, and new Tour AD shafts are taking this message to the next level.
 
Casey / Q:
The PGA Champion this year used the PM 702 shaft in his driver and the PM 902 in his 3-wood and 5-wood. How did these shafts come about?
 
Rob / A:
We came up with the PM line to kind of capture some of the shafts that we use and promote out on tour that may not fit in to a current consumer product category. PM stands for prototype model. Originally they were prototype shafts. We wanted to be able to track those products out on the PGA Tour so we really knew what the usage was. Obviously when you get a high profile player playing a product like that then it gets some momentum and you have customers calling asking about that shaft and what that shaft is and is it available to the market. Eventually, the momentum gets such that thats when we make the decision to launch it out to the public. But I think the mystique of the PM shaftsthats still there. Its not necessarily a shaft for the masses.
 
Casey / Q:
The 702very stiff shaft. Developed for extremely strong players?
 
Rob / A:
The winner of the PGA Championship this year is a very strong man. Tremendous raw strength and enormous club head speed. The PM 702 we originally developedwe didnt make it for himbut we developed it with him in mind based of the kind of swing profile he has. So basically that goes in to how he loads and unloads the golf shaftthe way he actually hits the ballwith his strength hes going to be looking for a stiffer bend profile then a lot of other products that were in our product line at the time.
 
Casey / Q:
So you designed and made a shaft on spec that you thought this player might like?
 
Rob / A:
We came up with a bend profile that seemed to match the swing characteristics that he has. So you can have different kind of bend profiles for different shafts. You can have stiff butt with a soft tip, a stiff tip and a softer buttthe PM 702 is really a stiffer tip and butt section so the overall stiffness of that shaft is a lot higher than say YS 6 or YS 7 ' other shafts that we have that are very popular on the PGA Tour. The 702 is really a different animal altogether. It didnt really exist before.
Casey / Q:
Most players, even with similar looking swings, have different swing profiles. Are you using launch monitors to help determine what shaft a player should be using?
 
Rob / A:
We can do it by launch monitor, but also our tour representative, Robert Meyer, who is out on the PGA Tour every week ' he gives me excellent feedback of what he sees visually. Hes a great player in his own right and he has a very keen eye to really watch a player. Not only how hes swinging the club. Because Robert can tell if a guys swinging fast or not just because hes out there every weekbut also really watching the ball flight. You know you can use a launch monitor. It gives you a lot of good data, but, also visually you can really see if the ball flight a guy is hitting off of the driver is ideal or not in terms of too much backspin or sidespin or whatnot. Sometimes a trained eye like Roberts is more effective than a launch monitor.
 
Casey / Q:
Any more info on what type of player will fit best in to the PM 702?
 
Rob / A:
That shaft (PM702) is something stronger players with higher club head speed that need a stiffer bend profile might be interested in. A good example of that is on the long-drive tour. Those guys are playing fairly stiff shafts ' double X and triple X is really common out there. Apparently, from one of my conversations with one of the long-drive competitors, the PM 702 is starting to get some play out there. So, it is actually becoming a good long-drive shaft in addition to being used on the PGA Tour. Its a shaft we actually sell at 47 inches. The maximum shaft length out there on the long-drive tour is 48 inches finished club length. So they basically take that shaft and stick it straight in to the head and itll come out the perfect length at 48 inches in a finished club. I know there is at least one competitor out there that is using the PM 702 as a long-drive shaft. That was never the intention of that shaft but weve designed some long-drive shafts in the past and it does have a similar overall bend profile of a long-drive shaft.
 
Casey / Q:
And the overall weight of the 702?
 
Rob / A:
Its about 72 grams. Thats where the 7 and 2 come from in the name. And the 902 is about 92 grams. Same thing ' the 9 and the 2.
 
Casey / Q:
72 grams for such a stiff shaft. That seems light.
 
Rob / A:
Thats the great thing about composite materials, the graphite materials that we use. You can really tailor stiffness of the shaft more so than any other material thats used for golf shafts. Just the different types of fiber materials that are available to us allow us to create these unique designs at a low weight. If you look at the consumer level a majority of the shafts that are going in to OEM club heads are in the 50 to 60 gram range. So, the benefit to consumers is going in a lighter weight direction.
 
Casey / Q:
There are enormous forces placed on a shaft during the golf swing. Explain to our readers how a shaft loads and unloads.
 
Rob / A:
The two components of any golf shaft are flexural stiffness or stiffness along the length, but, also the torque of the shaft or torsional stiffness. On the backswing theres really very little load thats going on in the shaft because a backswing is not very quick. Its at the top of the swing and the transition ' the first movement down ' thats when youre starting to see the shaft bend. If you look at slow motion photography or still photographs in sequence youd see that the shaft on the initiation of the downswing is starting to load. The shaft would deflect backwards and the head would actually start to go backwards. As it cuts down through towards impact and the player rotates the hands, thats when youll see some of the torsional forces begin to be applied. Its just that head is trying to resist the twisting. As it gets down towards impact the shaft is starting to react and swing closed. Of course it depends on the individual swing and how that player loads and unloads the shaft. Typically, a PGA Tour playerthat shaft will still be bending back and away from the golf ball as it gets closer to impact. But as he releases, the shaft will start to square back up to hit the ball and right around the impact point the shaft should be back almost straight again. And just past impact then its going to move forward. The shaft releases the head through impact and then all of a sudden the shaft will be moving forward where its bending back up towards the player again.
 
Casey / Q:
Can you match data from a swing and pinpoint exactly what shaft a player should be playing?
 
Rob / A:
Its tough to analyze empirically how a particular swing ' how long a player holds the the angle of attack prior to impact ' what shaft exactly that swing will benefit from. Thats why a keen eye ' like Roberts (Meyer) on tourto really know a guys swing and see how hes swinging the golf club. From that he can get a very good idea based on his knowledge of our product how to fit players in to the right shaft. Its not an exact science. A lot of times you give it a logical guess. But, sometimes that guess is not going to be correct and thats where you have to work and maybe modify a few things in the shaft and the fitting in order to get that combination of the head and shaft correct for the player.
 
Casey / Q:
Talk us through the construction of a graphite shaft under the paint ' what we cant see.
 
Rob / A:
If you look at graphite shafts, layer by layer construction from one manufacturer to another is very similar. The basic philosophies of construction are the same but the design methodology and materials from one manufacturer to another can be completely different. Typically youd start off at the base of the shaft with bias plies which are at plus/minus anglestypically around 45 degrees. Theyre wrapped in multiple layers on the base. Our tooling does that. Then from there we have what we call unit directional bias or the straight lines that go down the length of the shaft which provides actual flexural stiffness. And based on the design there could be two, three, four, even five layers of those straight plies on the outside surface of the shaft.
 
Casey / Q:
We covered off the 702 driver shaft pretty well. What about the PM 902?
 
Rob / A:
The 902, if you compare that to the 702, its a completely different animal. Its not only 20 grams heavier but the deflection, the bend profile, is completely different. The 902, actually side-by-side, its slightly softer of a shaft ' its softer down in the tip section compared to the 702. I think with fairway woods you want to have enough options with the parallel length for trimming so you can tip up the shaft and tip it for a shorter fairway wood. If you look at what this years PGA Champion has in the bag ' its usually a 3-wood, 5-wood or 4-wood ' depends on the tournament hes playing. So in a fairway wood shaft, like the PM 902, he can tip that shaft up enough in to the shorter clubs or the higher lofted fairway woods allowing him to get the good performance hes looking for. A strong player with the PM 902 is going to be able to get the right trajectory, the right ball flight hes looking for.
 
Casey / Q:
Whats behind the fact that traditionally fairway wood shafts are heavier than driver shafts?
 
Rob / A:
The typical progression of weight ' driver shafts are going to be in the 60 or 70 even 80 gram range. Then fairway woods may go 10 or 20 grams heavier in a shaft. If you look at a total set make-up of clubs in a players bag, for drivers you typically want to go as light as possible in order to gain more club head speed. But some players arent happy or comfortable using lightweight shafts in their drivers so theyll go heavier. But, in the fairway woods typically you go a little bit heavier because then it progresses in to the overall club weight of your irons. If youre going up to 90 grams in a fairway wood shaft, then go in to your irons ' your irons are 120, 125 gram shafts - the weight progression in the shaftswell, its an easier transition to go heavier in to the irons. But then again, if you look at the Darrel Survey, that theory can be blown out. There are tour players that prefer a heavier shaft in the driver than in the irons. Theres actually one player out there actually playing a 75 gram iron shaft which is very surprising. Extremely light by tour standards.
 
Casey / Q:
So whats the rule? There are no rules?
 
Rob / A:
At the tour level there are no rules. There are trends but there are no hard and fast rules. The majority of players on tour are going to play what works for them and what feels right and what gives them the best performance. A lot of players, if you looked at them week in and week out on the Darrel Survey, theres a lot of change out of shafts. Not only is it very easy from a time standpoint to change shafts, players are always trying to tweak their equipment a little bit to get better performance. There are certain other players who been playing our product with little or no change. We put the shaft in, they love it, and they dont change. They can change any time but they tend to stay consistent. But, there are other guys out there who are constantly tinkering. They want to change shafts and try something thats new on the market when it comes out. So each player is completely different in their approach to the equipment and the shafts that theyre using.
 
Casey / Q:
Your final thoughts on the PM 702 and PM 902?
 
Rob / A:
The 702 may be a little narrower in player profile because of the stiffness of the shaft. The 902 is actually a little bit softer so it probably does fit a bit broader of a category of player.
 
Email your thoughts to Casey Bierer
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How to watch The Open on TV and online

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 5:30 am

You want to watch the 147th Open? Here’s how you can do it.

Golf Channel and NBC Sports will be televising 182 hours of overall programming from the men's third major of the year at Carnoustie

In addition to the traditional coverage, the two networks will showcase three live alternate feeds: marquee groups, featured holes (our new 3-hole channel) and spotlight action. You can also watch replays of full-day coverage, Thursday-Sunday, in the Golf Channel app, NBC Sports apps, and on GolfChannel.com.  

Here’s the weekly TV schedule, with live stream links in parentheses. You can view all the action on the Golf Channel mobile, as well. Alternate coverage is noted in italics:

(All times Eastern; GC=Golf Channel; NBC=NBC Sports; GC.com=GolfChannel.com or check the GLE app)

Monday, July 16

GC: 7-9AM: Morning Drive (stream.golfchannel.com)

GC: 9-11AM: Live From The Open (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)

GC: 7-9PM: Live From The Open (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)


Tuesday, July 17

GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From The Open (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)


Wednesday, July 18

GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From The Open (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)


Thursday, July 19

GC: Midnight-1:30AM: Midnight Drive (stream.golfchannel.com)

GC: Day 1: The Open, live coverage: 1:30AM-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

GC.com: Day 1: The Open, Spotlight: 1:30AM-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/spotlight)

GC.com: Day 1: The Open, Marquee Groups: 4AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/marqueegroup)

GC.com: Day 1: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 4AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/3holechannel)

GC: Live From The Open: 4-5PM (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)


Friday, July 20

GC: Day 2: The Open, live coverage: 1:30AM-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

GC.com: Day 2: The Open, Spotlight: 1:30AM-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/spotlight)

GC.com: Day 2: The Open, Marquee Groups: 4AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/marqueegroup)

GC.com: Day 2: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 4AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/3holechannel)

GC: Live From The Open: 4-5PM (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)


Saturday, July 21

GC: Day 3: The Open, live coverage: 4:30-7AM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

NBC: Rd. 3: The Open, live coverage: 7AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

GC.com: Day 3: The Open, Spotlight: 4:30AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/spotlight)

GC.com: Day 3: The Open, Marquee Groups: 5AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/marqueegroup)

GC.com: Day 3: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 5AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/3holechannel)

GC: Live From The Open: 3-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)


Sunday, July 22

GC: Day 4: The Open, live coverage: 4:30-7AM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

NBC: Rd. 4: The Open, live coverage: 7AM-2:30PM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

GC.com: Day 4: The Open, Spotlight: 4:30AM-2:30PM (www.golfchannel.com/spotlight)

GC.com: Day 4: The Open, Marquee Groups: 5AM-2PM (www.golfchannel.com/marqueegroup)

GC.com: Day 4: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 5AM-2PM (www.golfchannel.com/3holechannel)

GC: Live From The Open: 2:30-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)

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First-, second-round tee times for the 147th Open

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 5:30 am

Three-time champion Tiger Woods is playing in The Open for the first time since he missed the cut in 2015 at St. Andrews. Woods will begin his first round Thursday in the 147th edition at Carnoustie at 10:21 a.m. ET, playing alongside Hideki Matsuyama and Russell Knox.

Defending champion Jordan Spieth delivered the claret jug to the R&A on Monday at Carnoustie. He will begin his title defense at 4:58 a.m. ET on Thursday, playing with world No. 2 Justin Rose and Kiradech Aphibarnrat.

Other notable groupings:

  • Rory McIlroy will look to capture his second claret jug at 7:53 a.m. Thursday. He goes off with Marc Leishman and Thorbjorn Olesen.
  • World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is playing with Alex Noren and Charley Hoffman. They will play at 8:04 a.m. ET in the first round.
  • World No. 2 Justin Thomas goes at 8:26 a.m. with Francesco Molinari and Branden Grace.
  • Masters champion Patrick Reed will play with Louis Oosthuizen and Paul Casey at 5:20 a.m. ET.
  • U.S. Open champion and world No. 4 Brooks Koepka is grouped with Ian Poulter and Cameron Smith (9:59 a.m. ET).
  • Phil Mickelson, the 2013 Open champion, will begin at 3:03 a.m. ET with Satoshi Kodaira and Rafa Cabrera Bello.

Here's a look at the full list of times for Rounds 1 and 2 (all times ET):

1:35AM/6:36AM: Sandy Lyle, Martin Kaymer, Andy Sulliva

1:46AM/6:47AM: Erik Van Rooyen, Brady Schnell, Matthew Southgate

1:57AM/6:58AM: Danny Willett, Emiliano Grillo, Luke List

2:08AM/7:09AM: Mark Calcavecchia, Danthai Boonma, Shaun Nooris

2:19AM/7:20AM: Kevin Chappell, Oliver Wilson, Eddie Pepperell

2:30AM/7:31AM: Ross Fisher, Paul Dunne, Austin Cook

2:41AM/7:42AM: Tyrrell Hatton, Patrick Cantlay, Shane Lowry

2:52AM/7:53AM: Thomas Pieters, Kevin Kisner, Marcus Kinhult

3:03AM/8:04AM: Phil Mickelson, Satoshi Kodaira, Rafa Cabrera Bello

3:14AM/8:15AM: Brian Harman, Yuta Ikeda, Andrew Landry

3:25AM/8:26AM: Si Woo Kim, Webb Simpson, Nicolai Hojgaard (a)

3:36AM/8:37AM: Stewart Cink, Brandon Stone, Hideto Tanihara

3:47AM/8:48AM: Gary Woodland, Yusaku Miyazato, Sung Kang

4:03AM/9:04AM: Ernie Els, Adam Hadwin, Chesson Hadley

4:14AM/9:15AM: Pat Perez, Julian Suri, George Coetzee

4:25AM/9:26AM: David Duval, Scott Jamieson, Kevin Na

4:36AM/9:37AM: Darren Clarke, Bernhard Langer, Retief Goosen

4:47AM/9:48AM: Matt Kuchar, Anirban Lahiri, Peter Uihlein

4:58AM/9:59AM: Jordan Spieth, Justin Rose, Kiradech Aphibarnrat

5:09AM/10:10AM: Jon Rahm, Rickie Fowler, Chris Wood

5:20AM/10:21AM: Louis Oosthuizen, Paul Casey, Patrick Reed

5:31AM/10:32AM: Tony Finau, Xander Schauffele, Jhonattan Vegas

5:42AM/10:43AM: Yuxin Lin (a), Alexander Bjork, Sang Hyun Park

5:53AM/10:54AM: James Robinson, Haraldur Magnus, Zander Lombard

6:04AM/11:05AM: Kodai Ichihara, Rhys Enoch, Marcus Armitage

6:15AM/11:16AM: Sean Crocker, Gavin Green, Ash Turner

6:36AM/1:35AM: Brandt Snedeker, Sam Locke (a), Cameron Davis

6:47AM/1:46AM: Patton Kizzire, Jonas Blixt, Charles Howell III

6:58AM/1:57AM: Charl Schwartzel, Daniel Berger, Tom Lewis

7:09AM/2:08AM: Alex Levy, Ryan Moore, Byeong Hun An

7:20AM/2:19AM: Michael Hendry, Kelly Kraft, Lee Westwood

7:31AM/2:30AM: Henrik Stenson, Tommy Fleetwood, Jimmy Walker

7:42AM/2:41AM: Matthew Fitzpatrick, Russell Henley, Jovan Rebula (a)

7:53AM/2:52AM: Rory McIlroy, Marc Leishman, Thorbjorn Olesen

8:04AM/3:03AM: Dustin Johnson, Alex Noren, Charley Hoffman

8:15AM/3:14AM: Zach Johnson, Adam Scott, Brendan Steele

8:26AM/3:25AM: Justin Thomas, Francesco Molinari, Branden Grace

8:37AM/3:36AM: Jason Day, Shota Akiyoshi, Haotong Li

8:48AM/3:47AM: Todd Hamilton, Beau Hossler, Jorge Campillo

9:04AM/4:03AM: Ryuko Tokimatsu, Chez Reavie, Michael Kim

9:15AM/4:14AM: Kyle Stanley, Nicolas Colsaerts, Jens Dantorp

9:26AM/4:25AM: Tom Lehman, Dylan Frittelli, Grant Forrest

9:37AM/4:36AM: Lucas Herbert, Min Chel Choi, Jason Kokrak

9:48AM/4:47AM: Padraig Harrington, Bubba Watson, Matt Wallace

9:59AM/4:58AM: Ian Poulter, Cameron Smith, Brooks Koepka

10:10AM/5:09AM: Sergio Garcia, Bryson DeChambeau, Shubhankar Sharma

10:21AM/5:20AM: Tiger Woods, Hideki Matsuyama, Russell Knox

10:32AM/5:31AM: Jason Dufner, Ryan Fox, Keegan Bradley

10:43AM/5:42AM: Ryan Armour, Abraham Ander, Masahiro Kawamura

10:54AM/5:53AM: Jazz Janewattananond, Fabrizio Zanotti, Jordan Smith

11:05AM/6:04AM: Brett Rumford, Masanori Kobayashi, Jack Senior

11:16AM/6:15AM: Matt Jones, Thomas Curtis, Bronson Burgoon

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The Open 101: A guide to the year's third major

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 5:30 am

Take a look at some answers to frequently asked questions about The Open:

What's all this "The Open" stuff? I thought it was the British Open.

What you call it has historically depended on where you were. If you were in the U.S., you called it the British Open, just as Europeans refer to the PGA Championship as the U.S. PGA. Outside the U.S. it generally has been referred to as The Open Championship. The preferred name of the organizers is The Open.

How old is it?

It's the oldest golf championship, dating back to 1860.

Where is it played?

There is a rotation – or "rota" – of courses used. Currently there are 10: Royal Birkdale, Royal St. George's, Royal Liverpool and Royal Lytham and St. Annes, all in England; Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland and St. Andrews, Carnoustie, Royal Troon, Turnberry and Muirfield, all in Scotland. Muirfield was removed from the rota in 2016 when members voted against allowing female members, but when the vote was reversed in 2017 it was allowed back in.

Where will it be played this year?

At Carnoustie, which is located on the south-eastern shore of Scotland.

Who has won The Open on that course?

Going back to the first time Carnoustie hosted, in 1931, winners there have been Tommy Armour, Henry Cotton (1937), Ben Hogan (1953), Gary Player (1968), Tom Watson (1975), Paul Lawrie (1999), Padraig Harrington (2007).

Wasn't that the year Hogan nearly won the Slam?

Yep. He had won the Masters and U.S. Open that season, then traveled to Carnoustie and won that as well. It was the only time he ever played The Open. He was unable to play the PGA Championship that season because the dates conflicted with those of The Open.

Jean Van de Velde's name should be on that list, right?

This is true. He had a three-shot lead on the final hole in 1999 and made triple bogey. He lost in a playoff to Lawrie, which also included Justin Leonard.

Who has won this event the most?

Harry Vardon, who was from the Channel Island of Jersey, won a record six times between 1896 and 1914. Australian Peter Thomson, American Watson, Scot James Braid and Englishman J.H. Taylor each won five times.

What about the Morrises?

Tom Sr. won four times between 1861 and 1867. His son, Tom Jr., also won four times, between 1868 and 1872.

Have players from any particular country dominated?

In the early days, Scots won the first 29 Opens – not a shocker since they were all played at one of three Scottish courses, Prestwick, St. Andrews and Musselburgh. In the current era, going back to 1999 (we'll explain why that year in a minute), the scoreboard is United States, nine wins; South Africa, three wins; Ireland, two wins; Northern Ireland, two wins; and Sweden, one win. The only Scot to win in that period was Lawrie, who took advantage of one of the biggest collapses in golf history.

Who is this year's defending champion?

That would be American Jordan Spieth, who survived an adventerous final round to defeat Matt Kuchar by three strokes and earn the third leg of the career Grand Slam.

What is the trophy called?

The claret jug. It's official name is the Golf Champion Trophy, but you rarely hear that used. The claret jug replaced the original Challenge Belt in 1872. The winner of the claret jug gets to keep it for a year, then must return it (each winner gets a replica to keep).

Which Opens have been the most memorable?

Well, there was Palmer in 1961and '62; Van de Velde's collapse in 1999; Hogan's win in 1953; Tiger Woods' eight-shot domination of the 2000 Open at St. Andrews; Watson almost winning at age 59 in 2009; Doug Sanders missing what would have been a winning 3-foot putt at St. Andrews in 1970; Tony Jacklin becoming the first Briton to win the championship in 18 years; and, of course, the Duel in the Sun at Turnberry in 1977, in which Watson and Jack Nicklaus dueled head-to-head over the final 36 holes, Watson winning by shooting 65-65 to Nicklaus' 65-66.

When I watch this tournament on TV, I hear lots of unfamiliar terms, like "gorse" and "whin" and "burn." What do these terms mean?

Gorse is a prickly shrub, which sometimes is referred to as whin. Heather is also a shrub. What the scots call a burn, would also be considered a creek or stream.

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Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship

By Tiger TrackerJuly 20, 2018, 5:25 am

Following an even-par 71 in the first round of the 147th Open Championship, Tiger Woods looks to make a move on Day 2 at Carnoustie.