University of Washington

Building a better golf club

December 2, 2010: 3:00 AM ET

To design and manufacture its next generation of golf clubs, equipment maker Callaway teamed up with the University of Washington and automaker Lamborghini to develop a carbon-based material for the crown of its drivers and fairway woods, forged composite, that it claims is lighter and stronger than titanium. Here's a look at the technology in the new high-performance club.

1. In the mix

Instead of weaving carbon fibers together to create laminate sheets that are then layered to make club heads, Callaway combined bundles of 3,000 carbon fibers -- seven microns in diameter and one inch long -- with a special resin. The toothpaste-like stuff can then be poured into molds.

2. Secret sauce

Forged composite's proprietary vinyl ester resin has a lower density (i.e., it's lighter) and more strength than its epoxy predecessor. The new resin enables the carbon fiber bundles to be randomly dispersed for uniform strength. This process is more precise and less labor intensive than the sheet-layering system.

3. Fore!

Callaway says the main advantage of forged composite is the material itself. The head of its new Octane driver is three grams lighter than the all-titanium version -- Callaway distributed another seven grams of "savings" to an internal titanium weight. And the results (see chart above) speak for themselves.

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