Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

High-Tech Titanium Joins Club

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

High-Tech Titanium Joins Club

Article excerpt

Titanium is taking off. That is not necessarily new for a metal

that has been used in everything from fighter jets to mountain

bikes -- but in the game of golf it is making a lot of impact.

What was originally a product designed for the high-handicap

golfer is now the most popular driver for golfers of all

abilities -- including professionals.

Tom Lehman won the British Open in July with the Taylor Made

Titanium Bubble and a month earlier Steve Jones took the U.S.

Open driving with the King Cobra Ti titanium. Callaway's Great

Big Bertha continues to be the most popular driver on all of the

professional tours.

The advantage titanium provides is its strength and the fact

that it is 40 percent lighter than steel. This, combined with

ultra-light graphite shafts, allows the manufacturers to

increase the size of the fabled "sweet spot" while decreasing

the weight of the club.

The larger sweet spot increases the forgiveness of the club,

making off-center hits fly straight and far. The decreased

weight allows for increased club-head speed, which translates

into more yardage -- the Holy Grail of golf.

When golf's newest gimmick first came onto the market, many

golfers scoffed, unwilling to shell out $500 or more for what

looked like just another empty promise. As more and more people

began to use the clubs and competition drove down prices,

however, sales took off.

"Six months ago, about 5 percent of the drivers we sold were

titanium," said Mike Dubia, manager of Pro Golf Discount on

Atlantic Boulevard. "Now it's more like 35 to 40 percent."

Callaway was the first to successfully market titanium drivers

and, due to a partnership with Ruger, enjoyed a huge advantage

over their competitors. With Ruger making the heads, Callaway

could ship product at a time when the other companies were

swamped with backorders. …

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