True Temper’s dynamic history
Tuesday, January 21, 2014
The Dynamic steel golf shaft was introduced in 1942. Today, 72 years later, it is still manufactured by the same company, True Temper, and remains the most popular iron shaft on the PGA Tour.
In the early days of the Dynamic shaft, the company was known as American Fork & Hoe. Because the golf swing is intended to be slightly more graceful than a slash-and-gash stroke with a yard implement, the name was changed to True Temper in 1949.
Another new name: In 1980 the Dynamic name was expanded to Dynamic Gold.
Dynamic was a heavy, solid, stable shaft from the beginning. Dynamic Gold and Dynamic Gold Tour Issue maintain this heritage, weighing more than 130 grams in their heaviest flexes.
Although Tiger Woods is not paid to endorse True Temper, he replied to a question about iron shafts by saying, “I’ve never used anything else (his iron shafts are Dynamic Gold X100). They work just fine, and I’m comfortable with them.”
American Fork & Hoe began making steel golf shafts in 1923. Five years later it patented the step-down process for manufacturing shafts.
As a matter of history, Bobby Jones won the Grand Slam in 1930 with hickory shafts in his clubs. However, the world of golf was poised to adopt steel for its endurance, reliability and relative low cost. The U.S. Golf Association banned steel shafts in 1923, then approved them the next year. After the R&A approved steel shafts in 1929, golfers around the world (albeit without the initial blessing of Jones) began the inevitable process of converting to steel.
By the time A.G. Spalding and Brothers introduced a signature set of Bobby Jones irons in late 1930, the clubs had steel shafts that were painted brown to make them look more like hickory. Golfers quickly learned they could hit the ball farther with steel, and Billy Burke captured the 1931 U.S. Open with steel-shafted clubs. Thus, he became the first person to win a major championship with steel shafts.
Over the years True Temper has introduced many innovations and contributions to the game. Shaft flexes and sub-flexes, for example, were perfected by True Temper. In the 1960s, True Temper began producing experimental golf shafts made with composites, fiberglass and aluminum. In 1967, True Temper introduced Iron Byron, golf’s first mechanical robot. After the appearance of Iron Byron, the testing of clubs and balls by the ruling bodies was advanced significantly.
Scott Hennessy, president of True Temper since 1996 and chief executive officer since 1998, has strong feelings about steel shafts, as might be imagined.
“We produce and market graphite shafts,” Hennessy said. “In fact, we are the fourth largest graphite shaft company in the world.” True Temper owns graphite shaft manufacturer Grafalloy and also makes graphite shafts under the True Temper and Project X brands.
“So, in understanding both shaft materials, I can safely say this: Steel shafts remain the market leader for a reason. Steel is more consistent in its material properties and that is why most golfers continue to use it for performance throughout the set. If we are making one particular model, every single shaft in that production design is identical.
“There are still more steel shafts sold globally than graphite shafts – we peg the worldwide market at approximately 55 percent steel, 45 percent graphite. We make 80,000 to 100,000 shafts a day in a large variety of weights, flexes and ball flights.”
Little did they know all those years ago at American Fork & Hoe that Dynamic and its brethren would become, well, dynamic.
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Shafts available for 2014 in the Dynamic Gold family
• Dynamic Gold Tour issue
Playability: This is the shaft most used by touring pros. Playing characteristics (heavier weights, penetrating flight) identical to Dynamic Gold, except weight-sorting tolerances here are plus or minus .5 grams. Available in X100 and S400 flexes.
Weight: X100 130 grams, S400 132 grams
Cost: MSRP $400 (3-PW)
• Dynamic Gold
Playability: The original Dynamic, featuring heavier weights, high flex point and penetrating trajectory. The design uses True Temper’s Variable Wall Technology.
Weight: 124 grams to 137 grams, depending on flex and tip configuration
Cost: MSRP $280 (3-PW)
• Dynamic Gold SL
Playability: True Temper says the feel is identical to that of the original Dynamic Gold, although Dynamic Gold SL weighs 20 percent less for faster clubhead speed and added distance. Low-ball hitters should expect a higher trajectory with these shafts.
Weight: 104 grams to 109 grams, depending on flex and tip configuration
Cost: MSRP $320 (3-PW)
• DG Spinner
Playability: Designed to increase ball spin on wedge and approach shots. The recessed section below the grip acts as a hinge, increasing spin rate by as much as 700 rpm.
Weight: 124 grams to 131 grams, depending on model
Cost: MSRP $50 each
• DG Pro
Playability: DG Pro is a progressive iron shaft with trajectory-tuned performance from long irons through short irons. This means higher shots in the longer irons and lower shots in the shorter irons, equalizing the apex of the trajectory for all irons.
Weight: X100 125-129.5 grams; S300 118-122.5 grams; R300 109-113.5 grams
Cost: MSRP $320 (3-PW)
NOTE: True Temper XP has replaced Dynamic Gold XP in the True Temper lineup. Available in weights of 95 and 105 grams, the XP iron shaft is touted for its length (6 to 8 yards longer in robot and consumer testing, according to True Temper). The shaft is available in R300 and S300 flexes. Cost: $400 for set of eight.
• • •
Here’s a look at iron shaft usage from the 2013 major championships.
Steel iron shafts, 89 (95.7%)
Graphite iron shafts, 4 (4.3%)
Dynamic Gold iron shafts, 50
Total True Temper iron shafts, 71
U.S. OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP
Steel iron shafts, 150 (96.2%)
Graphite iron shafts, 6 (3.8%)
Dynamic Gold iron shafts, 71
Total True Temper iron shafts, 125
THE OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP
Steel iron shafts, 147 (94.2%)
Graphite iron shafts, 9 (5.8%)
Dynamic Gold iron shafts, 71
Total True Temper iron shafts, 119
Steel iron shafts, 146 (93.6%)
Graphite iron shafts, 10 (6.4%)
Dynamic Gold iron shafts, 77
Total True Temper iron shafts, 117