By Arnaud Maurin, independent clubfitter & clubmaker (Bordeaux, FRANCE)
We all know this famous verse from Mark 12 : 17 : « Then Jesus said to them, « Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s. » And they were amazed at him ».
In France (I don’t know about the other countries!) it is very common to hear or use this quote when we want to pay tribute (« rendre hommage », in french) to someone’s original work, creations, innovations.
In the golf industry, which I’ve been working for 7 years now as an independent clubfitter & clubmaker, it is yet very rare to find articles or reviews that pay a tribute, or a fair tribute to say the least, to the very people (golf designers) who are truly the ones behind innovations.
Even worse, some people or companies have gotten people (golfers from all levels) to believe that they are the ones behind innovations … « repetition is persuasion » is a famous quote from one of the « popes » of advertizing (I believe it was Ted Bates?) , and I felt it was my duty to try, at my own and very small scale, to educate some golfers who are willing to listen and maybe change their mindset.
So, tonight, I have a particular thought for all the golfers, men & women alike, who have come to see me and are now playing clubs that were designed by Tom Wishon, and who tell me that sometimes they are mocked during a round by their partners who tell them « what the hell is that brand ? ».
For these golfers, since I do not have a million dollars to spend on advertizing, I would like to give them some insight , some FACTS I should say, on what Tom has achieved in terms of innovation, over the last 20 years.
So that the next time they play, they will be proud to inform the disinformed.
To date, I believe Tom has more than 50 different significant clubhead design technology firsts (the following list gives some benchmarks only).
In 2016, he decided to semi-retire but I know that he is still working hard to push more innovations forward so that any golfer can enjoy the game just a fraction more.
DRIVER & WOOD DESIGNS
1994 : First wooden driver head to exceed 250cc in volume
1996 : First heel weighted draw bias metal wood driver for fade reduction or draw enhancement
1997 : First metal woodhead to exceed 350cc in volume
1997 : First metal wood with titanium cup-face construction
2000 : First USGA C.O.R. non-conforming driver with steel alloy face construction
2004 : First driver with constant roll face design (CRT) for more consistent launch angle
2004 : First driver with a center of gravity more than 40mm behind the face for higher launch angle with higher ball speed
2004 : first fairway wood to reach the legal COR limit of 0.830
2006 : First « illegal » Driver to achieve a COR of 0.900 (foreign markets)
2008 : first hybrid to reach the legal COR limit of 0.830
IRON & WEDGE DESIGNS
1995 : First set of ironheads with all CNC machined faces
1999 : First titanium iron with bi-metal construction
2000 : First Thin Face Forged Steel Set of Irons
2007 : First Wedges With a CNC Milled Face Combined with Micro-Groove Scorelines for Increased Backspin
2009 : First Set of Irons with Variable Thickness Titanium Face with a COR tested at 0,829 (R&A)
If you wish to contact me for more info on the subject :