SLOTS O’ FUN By Scott Kramer

SLOTS O’ FUN By Scott Kramer

You may have noticed that many big-name clubs have a slot directly behind the clubface and running parallel to it. Why is this a big deal? Primarily because it adds distance to your shots while solidifying feel at impact. Adding these gaps is a technological feat that really couldn’t have been accomplished even a few years ago, as effectively as it is now. They’re advertised under various names, such as TaylorMade’s Speed Pocket, Honma’s Double Slot, Cobra’s Speed Channel and Tour Edge’s Power Channel, to name a few. Their purpose is essentially to create some space behind the clubface so that at impact, the clubface — which is likely thin and flexible — has room to flex backward before quickly catapulting forward to add thrust into your shot. That sequence adds ball speed and thus distance. And depending where on the face the slot is, it can also boost height to the shot trajectory. Plus, because the face has some give behind it, that means impact feels and sounds more solid or cushioned. By the way, when you see irons with an undercut channel — essentially a gap between the clubface and the rear of the iron — it’s a similar premise. So where will you find this kind of technology to help you max out distance?
In TaylorMade’s new 2019 P790 irons, the “Thru Slot Speed Pocket” is the company’s most flexible Speed Pocket design to date, made to maximize ball speed and provide forgiveness for shots lower on the face. It works in conjunction with forged hollow-body construction to maximize distance.

Honma’s XP-1 driver clubhead uses proprietary “Double Slot” technology that allows the entire front of the driver to flex, with more flex occurring in the heel and toe to help retain speed and accuracy on mishits, including shot-enhancing gear effect.

Cobra’s KING F9 and KING SZ irons feature a deep undercut sole with a 1.2mm internal “Speed Channel” that absorbs and returns more energy to the ball for higher launch and faster ball speed. “We design flexibility into the structure,” says Tom Olsavsky, vice president of research and development at Cobra. “The channel allows the system to flex more, so you get higher launch, more speed and a little less spin. All those are great for distance.”

Tour Edge’s HL4 driver sports a “Power Channel” on the club sole behind the face that’s wider and deeper, for better weight distribution and increased face flexing. That delivers amplified ball speed and less spin and adds forgiveness on shots struck lower on the face.

In its CLK hybrid, Mizuno’s deep sole channel results in what the company calls “Wave Technology.” As Chris Voshall, Mizuno’s golf brand manager, explains, the structure’s “geometry compresses and rebounds at impact for greater COR area and higher ball speeds. It gives you the extra pop you need and moves the weight forward so that you can be sure you’ll get the proper launch characteristics. That is, it’s going to launch high and spin low.”

So if you're seeking distance, forgiveness, higher trajectory and enhanced feel in your next clubs — and who isn't — you can see that brands each take their own approach. Your best bet is to be custom fitted, where you can compare the various clubs side-by-side to see which works best for you.



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