November 2008 Golfsmith Clubmaker Back to Main
Design and Technology 2009
by: Jeff Sheets
VP of Research and Development

The technology train keeps on coming. Every holiday season, Golfsmith introduces an assortment of new clubhead designs to bring further enjoyment to the game of golf. Component head design is pushed to new levels every year, and in 2009, it has reached a new performance plateau.

Let’s take a sneak preview of what’s coming down the pike this time: new head concepts from Snake Eyes, Killer Bee, Golfsmith and XPC in which you will see various approaches to improving your ball flight, distance and control. All of these new Golfsmith head designs will be available by January 1, 2009. Some will be available for the holiday season, with launches in November 2008.

Read about the newest club technologies below. Jump to:
Woods  |  Irons  |  Wedges  |  Juniors  |  Putters


WOODSShop New Metal Wood Heads

Snake Eyes Viper XTi

The Snake Eyes Viper family has moved into its sixth generation of products. With the exception of the first generation, each Viper model has incorporated adjustable weights. The new Viper XT wood family does the same, but this time with a single, trailing-edge sole screw, the purpose of which is twofold. You can dial in the swingweight of the club by using the appropriate screw weight, but more importantly, you can adjust the dynamic launch conditions of the club, too. Robot testing has shown an increase in launch angle and a decrease in spin rate as the rear sole weight increases. Each of the driver, fairway and hybrid woods has a neutral bias.


Snake Eyes Python XLS

We have extended the Snake Eyes Python family with the new Python XLS woods, designed for golfers with driver clubhead speeds below 75 mph. The styling of the Python XLS woods maintains similarities to the popular Python XL family, but the clubheads feature performance-enhancing specifications for slower swingers like seniors. For instance, the lofts are optimal for imparting a launch angle and spin rate that is better for those golfers. We offer a single driver and two fairway wood lofts, in addition to a pair of hybrid woods.


Snake Eyes Quick Strike Q4

Also from Snake Eyes, the fourth generation of Quick Strike utility woods — the Q4 family — is due for a 2009 release. Since the brand’s inception, the Quick Strike name has been synonymous with hybrid woods, and these models continue that legacy. Our traditionally smaller hybrid design is called the Q4-U, while the larger-footprint size is the Q4-M. Aside from the head size difference, both Q4 models feature the same technologies. Variable face thickness leads to improved distance on off-center impacts, while the concave sole of the Q4s provides excellent turf resistance and a solid setup for every shot. Four weight ports surround the skirt, providing enhanced perimeter weighting to help increase each head’s moment of inertia (MOI). A tungsten/rubber insert is installed in each weight port to provide additional mass, along with vibration-dampening characteristics.


Golfsmith Blackbird HC

Another of our new drivers is the Golfsmith Blackbird HC, a lower-profile driver with a maximum footprint dimension. What does this mean for the golfer? Most drivers push the head volume to the maximum 460cc limit. This, coupled with a maximum footprint dimension, puts restrictions on how the center of gravity (CG) of the club can be manipulated by the designers. By lowering both the face and crown profile of the Blackbird HC, we achieved a high MOI and a very low center of gravity. In fact, the Blackbird HC’s vertical CG is 25.4 mm high, 5.6 mm lower than the average vertical CG of all drivers on the market. The CG% is 51.4%, meaning that more than half of the face is above the club’s CG. Most drivers have a CG% of only 43%. Impacting the ball above the CG leads to more efficient ball flight for maximizing distance. These impressive statistics are possible through the application of Hi-Core design technology, which maximizes the trailing sole dimension of the club as far from the face as possible, helping impart vertical gear effect. The Blackbird HC is finished in a deep black PVD coating and finished off with gloss metal flake black paint for a rich look.


Killer Bee Yellow Hornet XD

Using our Killer Bee Yellow Hornet LD driver in its maiden outing, Patrick Dempsey finished as runner-up in last year’s RE/Max World Long Drive Championships. In exhibitions all over the world since then, Pat has continued to wow the crowds with the Yellow Hornet LD. Our new Yellow Hornet optimizes this club’s popular long drive head design to work with the clubhead speeds of everyday golfers. Killer Bee Yellow Hornet XD drivers incorporate the same powerful variable face design as the LD model, but the heads are slightly larger (460 cc) and available in more traditional lofts of 9° and 10.5°. The LD version is still available in 6.5° and 7.5° lofts for you long ball hitters out there.


Killer Bee Anti-Slice Killer Bee has another outstanding performance driver new for 2009, and this one’s performance has been fine-tuned to help the chronic slicer. The Killer Bee Anti-Slice driver has more slice-fighting bells and whistles designed into it than any previous draw-biased club. For starters, a square head geometry has been used in its design. This is very important because the CG of square-headed woods makes the clubface tend to close more naturally than traditionally shaped woods. For example, when we run our robot tests, we have to open the faces of square drivers anywhere from 5° to 9° to achieve a straight ball flight. Testing with the face square always leads to a hook shot. Clearly, this head shape is a natural for an anti-slice application.

We have introduced hosel offset into this square head design. Offset provides the golfer an extra instant to square up the clubface at impact. The other slice-fighting specs incorporated into the Killer Bee Anti-Slice are its 65° lie angle, 2° closed face angle and heelward CG bias. To further prohibit a slicing ball flight, we have also used variable bulge in the face radius. That is, there is greater curvature from the face’s center towards the toe to increase the draw/hooking spin on a ball impacted in that area. A center face impact will impart a natural draw spin, while a heelward face impact will fly straighter, as opposed to imparting more fade spin. The sum of all these parts — or in this case, the specs — equals one big slice-fighting club!


XPC Sapphire

XPC Sapphire has moved into its fifth generation with all new driver, fairway and hybrid wood designs for 2008. The Sapphire woods incorporate offset hosels to help women golfers achieve a higher trajectory with all clubs in the set. The specifications have been optimized for clubhead speeds below 75 mph, leading to a 13.6% increase in the head’s MOI. This is the first XPC Sapphire driver with an MOI over 5000 gm-cm2 (5115 gm-cm2, to be exact). The fairway woods are also more forgiving than any other Sapphire design from the past, while the hybrids remain versatile from the fairway or rough, or for chipping from greenside.

The soles of the Sapphire woods reduce turf resistance with relief around their perimeters and soft edges that provide smooth interaction with a variety of grass conditions. With the driver, two fairway woods and three hybrid designs, the XPC Sapphire woods are an outstanding means of handling those longer-distance shots.

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IRONSShop New Iron Heads

Iron designs tend to evolve over time. Because radical iron styles do not pop up overnight as they sometimes do with woods and putters, more subtle refinements in shape and styling distinguish our 2009 iron models.


Snake Eyes Quick Strike Q4

To begin with, we have evolved the design structure of our Snake Eyes Quick Strike Q4 transitional irons. Like past Quick Strike models, the new Q4s compose a hybrid-to-iron transition set, but the new model has greater flow in the design and specifications of each head. For example, hybrid wood designs replace the traditional long irons in the set. These lofts transition to more traditional iron shapes, but we have maintained hollow construction throughout the entire set. By sticking with hollow construction down to the sand wedge, we maintain a more consistent CG location throughout the set for better continuity in trajectory, spin rates and performance in all lofts.

For optimal performance, we have meticulously maintained the flow of the hosel offsets within the set. Many transition sets jump from face progression to hosel offset between the hybrid woods and irons. But we have addressed every detail of the Quick Strike Q4 irons in order to ensure the continuity of flow in its specs and performance.


Snake Eyes Python XLS

To complement the new Snake Eyes Python XLS woods, we are offering a new iron design also known as the Python XLS. As with the woods, we have designed the XLS irons to perform at slower clubhead speeds. Lofts within the set run from the 5-iron through the pitching wedge, plus a sand wedge. No 3- or 4-irons will be available, since slower swingers do not possess the clubhead speed to maintain ball flight efficiency with their lower lofts.


Golfsmith P2

Upon their introduction two years ago, our Golfsmith P2 irons were extremely popular. Now we have developed a new generation, also called the P2. The new model’s styling is similar to the original model, with refinement of the face profiles, hosel offsets and mass distribution behind the face. Like the original P2, the new design incorporates a highly ductile stainless steel material called 431-TTL, allowing you to adjust hosels 10° in any direction without damage to the clubhead. This makes the P2 irons an outstanding option for custom fitting those hard-to-fit specs.

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WEDGESShop New Wedge Heads

Snake Eyes 685BX

Snake Eyes has had a heritage of outstanding wedge designs for nearly two decades. With the new Snake Eyes 685BX wedges, the legacy continues. Available in black or chrome, the 685BX wedges incorporate the largest groove volume ever used on a Snake Eyes wedge. The total groove volume is 9% greater than any previous model’s, by way of an expansion of the groove width. The groove dimensions are the maximum allowable by the USGA.

To complement the greater groove sizes, we have used finely CNC milled faces. The face milling ensures perfect contact flatness across the clubface’s surface, in addition to increasing friction between the club and ball.

The design of the 685BX uses relief on the sole near the heel and toe areas. The sole’s center is its beefiest point, creating stability through deep rough or sand. We styled the shaping based on the grinds made popular by touring professionals.

Another unique feature of the Snake Eyes 685BX wedges is their construction: We have investment cast soft 8620 carbon steel into the wedge’s shape. Once formed, the head undergoes an 800-ton forging process to tightly compact the molecular structure of its grain, creating a softer feel and increased durability. This billet forging of the formed head increases the density of the material. Other form forging processes use a one-ton press to try and achieve the same result, but they fall severely short of the 685BX’s.


Snake Eyes 675WB

Another new Snake Eyes product is the 675WB wedge, which is billet forged from an extremely soft 1020 carbon steel, the softest material used for any Golfsmith clubhead ever. The styling of the 675WB wedges features a clean blade design, plus great versatility in each of the lofts’ sole designs.


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JUNIOR CLUBSShop Junior Clubheads

Snake Eyes Python XL-J

This year, we set out to develop a new full line of junior clubs under the Snake Eyes brand. With styling similar to their namesake, the Python XL-J driver, fairway and hybrid woods are junior-sized versions of the original Python XL woods. Likewise, the Python XL-J iron set is a smaller version of the men’s XL set. Lofts, weights and other specifications have been developed for slower junior swingers and optimized for shorter club lengths. A Python XL-J putter rounds out this rich-looking line of junior clubs.

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PUTTERSShop New Putter Heads

Snake Eyes Viper Tour

When it comes to putters, face technology is the big focal point for 2009. The new Snake Eyes Viper Tour putters carry forward traditionally shaped blade designs and roll optimization technology in their faces. Double milling lines cut horizontally across the putters’ faces create center friction zones.

The Viper Tours’ new face design requires less loft to achieve an efficient roll of the ball. The waffle milled face also results in dampened vibration upon ball contact. Less putter material contacts the ball, resulting in a softer feel.

These putters are available in a classic blade style and in an offset heel-toe option.


Snake Eyes Tour Platinum

Snake Eyes has gone high-end with the new Tour Platinum putters. Each of the four classic blade designs is produced in a soft 8620 carbon steel and finished in a rich black nickel plating. The cutting patterns on its milled surfaces feature fine detailing, resulting in rich cosmetics.

More important than the soft feel and rich appearance of the Tour Platinum putters is their performance. Upon impact, a face technology called A.R.C. (Advanced Roll Control) minimizes backspin on the ball. The combination of the A.R.C. face texture and lower loft spec imparts overspin into the ball faster.

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Shop the Aldila Brand Store
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