The flexibility of 3-D printing is bringing a better game to golfers.
TEXT LOW KA WEI
It’s a proven technology deployed in a wide variety of products, from homemade action figures to medical-grade prosthetic limbs. As a proof of concept, industrial giant GE has even wholly used it to create a miniature jet engine, capable of operating at speeds of up to 33,000 revolutions per minute. That’s a mind-boggling one rotation every two milliseconds.
Now, 3-D printing promises to improve your golf game, thanks to clubs that can be customised to suit your swing, rather than having you adapt to them. A small Parisian outfit is offering bespoke clubs tailored to individual golfers by examining a video of their stroke, and adjusting parameters of the equipment – such as its centre of gravity, lie, loft and so on – to suit.
Because 3-D printing – or more accurately, additive manufacturing – is a process whereby an object is made by adding material bit by bit using computer control, it is a lot more flexible than traditional manufacturing. In the case of metalworking, the latest advances involve using a laser to weld the powdered ingredients together, resulting in parts that are even stronger than, say, die-cast ones.
The Grismont club can be ordered with intricate patterns on the lee side of the head, such as Arabic latticework whose design dates back to the Middle Ages, or a more modern filigree. At least one other golf-equipment manufacturer, Ping, is on the verge of debuting such a customisable product. Neither brand’s offerings will come cheap, with each club estimated to cost between $2,500 and $14,000, but that’s the price to pay for being on the cutting edge. Fore!