The r7 CGB MAX Limited comes as a packaged set which includes one head and three shafts. The choice of head is interesting because it contains three ports to accommodate TaylorMade's Movable Weight Technology.
The nine weights included in the set allow for 357 different positions for the center of gravity, which translates to launch angles and trajectory. When that is multiplied by the three shafts, the r7 Limited chalks up 1,071 possible sets of launch conditions.
"If a golfer believes in the concept of adjustability and that changing can help performance, than we've found they are interested," said Toulon, who pointed out that since movable weights were introduced by the company in 2004, "millions of golfers have bought adjustable weight drivers."
With the r7 Limited set, early feedback is showing that golfers are not making a lot of changes based on wind, course conditions or other factors.
"Typically, with adjustable weights, most golfers find a position they like and leave it, until they feel a need to move the weights again," said Toulon. "With the shafts, they'll get one of the sets, experiment a little, and also decide which shaft they like best ... until a few months later, when they will make a change, typically, when the club is not working the way they want."
Toulon charged that shaft makers need to play a bigger role in promoting changeability.
"This is an opportunity for shaft companies to help educate golfers," he said. "Golfers should realize that changing a shaft can affect launch angle and spin rate. Shafts are definitely a part of the equation."
According to the company, the r7 CGB MAX Limited will continue to be offered next season. Outfitted with Fujikura, Mitsubishi and Matrix graphite shafts that range in weight from 55 to 75 grams -- with a further a variety of launch and flex options -- suggested retail price for the TaylorMade set is $999.
"Interchangeable shafts and heads have been a modest success at retail," said John Hoeflich, Nickent senior vice president. "Locations that do a lot of club fitting have done a better job with it than big (chain stores). Some of it is a lack of understanding from in-store sales people and some of it is a lackluster year for club sales."
Nickent's 4DX Evolver uses a tour-caliber head with some minor adjustments to accommodate the company's IST hosel technology. The titanium head has a very thin crown, allowing for strategic weight redistribution to help raise the MOI, a factor that relates to stability on off-center hits. Lofts available include 8, 9, 10.5 and 12 degrees.
The company has also been working with interchangeable shafts for its fairway woods and hybrids, but nothing along those lines has been introduced yet.
Golfers can choose among several Evolver driver offerings. Nickent's boxed package includes one head and two shafts (UST V2 and UST V2 High Launch) in a variety of flexes with a list price of $499. A multitude of other compatible shafts with varying weights and flexes, and varying prices, are available from Aldila, Fujikura, Grafalloy, Graphite Design, Matrix, Mitsubishi and Nippon.
According to the company, tour pro Dave Mathis won a Nationwide event this season while wielding an Evolver driver.
"Tour players totally get it when it comes to taking advantage of the flexibility of changing lofts and shafts to meet changing course conditions," said Hoeflich. "The average golf consumer has been a little slower to adopt the technology primarily due to price considerations. In 2009, when more new models are only available with interchangeable shafts, (we) believe more people will jump on board."
There are four club heads offered with Callaway's I-MIX Technology: FT-5 and FT-5 Tour, which are fairly traditional in shaping; and FT-i and FT-i Tour, which are geometrically progressive with a square-like shape to elevate the MOI factor.
Golfers can purchase any one of the four heads in a choice of lofts, combined with a huge selection of interchangeable shafts. List prices for the heads, which also come in Draw or Neutral bias, range from $199 to $299.
Shafts from Aldila, Fujikura, Graphite Design, Grafalloy, Matrix, Mitsubishi and UST are offered. Each company has a selection of shafts that vary in weight, flex and other characteristics. Overall, more than 1,600 shaft-head combinations could be assembled. Shafts range in list price from $100 to $349.
"We understood from the start that I-MIX Technology was not for everyone and made efforts to target those who seek the most innovative equipment on the market," said a Callaway rep in reviewing the season to date. "Up to this point, demand has met our expectations.
"We're proud to boast the most expansive offering of interchangeable club heads and shafts within our product line and will continue to serve those who are in search of the latest and greatest clubs."
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