2003: Coming soon: Double-face drivers?

The double-face driver could be the newest craze in golf, at least if the U.S. Golf Association decides to approve the idea.

For several months, the USGA has been evaluating at least two different drivers with double faces – the outer face plus an inner face inside the clubhead.

When asked if the clubs were being appraised for performance as well as construction, USGA senior technical director Dick Rugge answered, “Yes, we’re looking at both of those. We hope to have a ruling fairly soon.”

One of the double-face drivers was submitted to the USGA by independent club designer Clay Long, who has created clubs for several major golf companies. He presently is one of the primary designers for Nicklaus Golf.

Long explained that the space between the two faces is in the “range of 10- to 30-thousandths of an inch.”

Callaway Golf has been issued a patent on a double-face golf club, but has not submitted a design to the USGA for approval. Long said his driver does not infringe on Callaway’s patent.

KZ Golf of North Hollywood, Calif., also has sent the USGA what the company calls “a twin-faced driver.”

Why two faces? According to Jennifer King, president of KZ Golf, the driver has less distance falloff on off-center hits. KZ’s expertise lies in metals, and the company supplied the maraging steel face for the original Orlimar TriMetal fairway woods.

Long explained that the outer face flexes, while the inner face aids stability. He said the driver, with an ultra-thin center section in the outer face, could allow golfers with lower swing speeds to gain extra distance.

“I’m certainly not trying to build a driver that goes farther for touring pros,” Long said. “This is for the golfers who don’t hit it so hard. I don’t see any problem with COR (coefficient of restitution, or spring-like effect).”

The USGA never has declared a driver nonconforming because of its internal design. Titanium drivers developed in the last six or seven years have featured myriad internal weighting schemes.

“I think this is the next big thing that people have to talk about in drivers,” Long said.










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