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SCOTTSDALE, AZ – Custom clubfitting giant Cool Clubs announced that it’s bringing its new game-changing S3 shaft simulation system, designed to help customers play better golf, to the 2015 PGA Merchandise Show being held
January 21-23 in Orlando.

A concept originally dreamed up by Cool Clubs founder Mark Timms, S3 recently became a reality with the help of Simon Grondin, the company’s research & development manager. S3 is the first-of-its-kind system to measure and analyze multiple parameters of a golf shaft on a single machine. In about two and a half minutes, it will measure and analyze a shaft’s straightness, consistency, deflection and stiffness profiles, frequency and torque.

It’s five machines in one: An adjustable butt clamp system to work with shafts of different lengths; pneumatic turning system to rotate shafts; backlit light bay for clear edge detection; high-resolution optic system that looks straight down on the shaft; and the main robotics platform with a two-axis system that finds how much torque and bend is needed to twist the club.

“First we put a shaft in our pneumatic clamping system,” says Grondin. “From there we press the start button and off the machine goes. It first measures straightness. Our optic system takes images of the shaft and we can see exactly how straight it is, and we test that on several different planes — not only to measure the tip deflection, but any bowing or bending along the length of the shaft. It’s going to rotate the shaft in 15-degree increments, to make sure we have a complete profile of the shaft’s straightness. That’s important because straightness is a great measure of quality control, and it can affect lie and loft and how the shaft plays, based on its orientation.”

Next the system tests the consistency of the shaft by putting a weight on the tip end of the shaft to simulate a driver clubhead weight. The machine bends the shaft using robotics, rotates in five-degree increments, and measures how that load changes. The machine will detect any changes in consistency.ImageProxy.mvc

“We’re the only company in the world testing golf shafts, and we’re able to isolate the material, wall thickness and imperfections of a shaft by eliminating the effective straightness,” says Grondin.

The heart of the process is when the machine tests the EI and deflection profiles. Using the optic system and load sensors, it bends the shaft with a certain amount of load just like it bends in a swing. Once it’s loaded, the machine takes an image of the shaft, traces the path of the shaft and then back-calculates the stiffness of the shaft using the deflection profile. During the process, it collects 2,000 data points and is much more accurate than previous systems on the market. The EI basically dictates how stiff the shaft is along every point — which affects your ball flight, kick point, trajectory, spin and feel.

“The fourth thing we detect is frequency, by using an LED infrared laser system to detect shaft oscillation,” says Grondin. “We also detect the shaft on several different planes. That way, we get an idea of how stiff the shaft’s going to play and also the quality and how much variation there is.”

The last thing measured is torque. “We place the shaft in a torque sensor, rotate it in two directions and average the angular deflection to give you a torque reading. Using software we developed, we’re able to take a tremendous amount of data this machine outputs and manage it, comparing directly one shaft to another, and identify which shafts have better qualities and which models fit specific swings.”

The machine is fast, repeatable and accurate, eliminating the human-induced error present in several of the industry’s current shaft profiling techniques. The data that’s currently being collected from S3 at the company’s Scottsdale headquarters will be used to take Cool Clubs’ fitting techniques to the next level. “Our aim is to continue to improve and develop our fitting and building techniques, so that we may provide unsurpassed service, information, and quality performing golf clubs for our customers,” says Timms.

“Too many golfers want to get fitted for new clubs because that’s what the salesman or club pro told them to do, or because of some sense that nobody buys “off the rack” anymore,” adds Timms. “For some, fitted clubs will be money well spent, but others would be better off investing in some lessons first.”