Tom Stites, the man behind Nike’s golf hardware revolution, reckons he’s produced a new club to put the magic back in everyone’s game – from pro to beginner.
"And if I said I didn't set out to create a club that would benefit me too, I'd be lying," said Stites of the Slingback irons, due to be launched here in November.
Stites reveals he’s been working on these clubs for nearly ten years and soon he believes the phrase 'slingback' will be added to the generic golfing vocabulary of blade, cavity and muscleback.
What started as a plan to develop game improvement irons for his son led Stites, director of product creation at Nike Golf, on a journey of designs, prototypes, and testing. He was determined to shift the centre of gravity (CG) of each iron to encourage the ball into the air with minimum effort and increased forgiveness.
He discovered back in the early 1990's that the slightest alteration to CG in a club could dramatically change the interaction between ball and club. After countless sketches and more than 200 hand-made models, Stites recognised that if the CG is pulled behind the clubface and lower in the clubhead, progressively from short to long irons, you get a higher launch angle and it promotes a square clubface.
A metal bar, arching from heel to toe, positions the CG low, towards the rear and in the heel of long irons which he reckons helps square the clubhead at impact and creates a higher ball flight for long shots with soft landings. As clubs progress through the set, the weighting shifts, launch angle reduces and spin rate increases.
Clubs will be fitted with either lightweight Speed Step steel or Constant Weight Slingshot graphite shaft. There’s also a women’s Slingshot Graphite Shaft for higher trajectory. They will cost £599 for steel and £699 for graphite and will be available (from November 15) in women’s and left-handed versions.
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