2002: Equipment Update - Beem’s victory major for graphite

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In winning the PGA Championship, Rich Beem became the first player to claim one of golf’s four major championships using graphite-shafted irons. Every iron in his bag, including three wedges, was outfitted with Tour Gold graphite shafts from Aldila.

Beem also used Aldila Tour Gold shafts in his three woods, meaning that every club in his bag except his STX Sync Tour 3 putter had a graphite shaft.

Call him a rebel or call him a trend-setter. Whichever is true, Beem is challenging conventional wisdom.

“There are still all those myths out there when it comes to irons and graphite,” said Aldila tour rep Mike Dorow. “Some people believe you get fliers. Others believe you get inconsistent distances. These are 15-year-old myths. They may have been partially true that long ago, but I guarantee you they aren’t true now.”

Most tournaments on the PGA Tour are won by players with steel shafts in their irons. By far the most popular steel shafts are True Temper’s Dynamic Gold (used by Tiger Woods) and Royal Precision’s Rifle (used by Phil Mickelson).

Only three tournaments in 2001 and three in 2002 were won by players using graphite-shafted irons.

Scott Hoch, with Yonex graphite shafts, captured two events in 2001, while Scott Verplank carried UST graphite to take the third.

Beem, who has won twice in 2002, was joined by K.J. Choi (Apache graphite) this year.

Mickelson, before he switched to steel in his Titleist irons, was by far the winningest player with graphite in his irons. A former Yonex staff member, Mickelson recorded at least 10 victories with graphite-shafted Yonex irons.

Beem had 12 TaylorMade clubs in his bag at the PGA. His driver was a TaylorMade 580, which under the company’s new designation is known as the R580.

In another precedent, Beem became the first player to win one of the four men’s majors with a Callaway golf ball. Beem used Callaway’s CTU30 Red.

Everyday golfers can purchase the same black-and-gold Tour Gold iron shafts carried by Beem.

Aldila makes two versions of the Tour Gold iron shaft weighing 85 grams and 100 grams. Beem uses the 100-gram model. By comparison, a Dynamic Gold steel shaft weighs about 125 grams.

The torque in Beem’s Tour Gold iron shafts varies from about 2.5 degrees to 3.5 degrees, which is more torque than found in steel.

Tour Gold wood shafts are available in weights of 65, 75, 85 and 95 grams (Beem uses the 85-gram shaft in his driver).

The 95-gram version is identical to Aldila’s venerable HM-40, a gold-colored shaft that first appeared in the mid-1980s and became famous as the shaft of choice in early TaylorMade metalwoods.

Beem was not on the Aldila payroll at the time of the PGA, although he has since been paid for appearing in print ads.

Aldila has a bonus pool on the PGA Tour, with players earning points that can be redeemed for Loomis fishing equipment. Beem indicated he will allow his fishing gear to be auctioned for charity.

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