Truth in Matching
by Chris Nolan
VP, Sales and Marketing
Apache Golf

The introduction of Multi-Matching marks a first in the industry in terms of a complete approach to shaft matching. The machine used for measurements is a creation of our Research and Development department which was originally used for the collection of advanced static shaft data during prototype evaluation. It proved to be such an accurate and reliable tool that we now employ it for many related purposes including quality control and sorting. It is our aim that our customers receive perfectly matching shafts in their orders.
The best way to described Multi-Matching would be to say that Apache has developed a way of truly matching shafts to each other in a set utilizing machines that are more accurate and reliable than the use of a Frequency Analyzer. The machine is available to OEM customers and clubmakers alike, but it is not a necessary investment for most clubmaker's needs since we are using this method to correlate our shafts prior to shipment.
The Multi-Match 100 is constructed with three towers, a roller mechanism, and calibration unit(s). The design includes fully adjustable towers allowing us to measure any longitudinal cross section of a shaft, while the roller system allows for readings 360 degrees around the shaft. The machine itself has a couple of parallel purposes. The roller system and median number matching are related in the following way.
It's first use is as a quality control unit for our manufacturing process. We use the roller system to measure the difference in strength of a shaft from a high to a low while the shaft is turned 360 deg. around it's axis. It is imperative to keep these values as close together as is possible during manufacturing to ensure proper dynamic response and to minimize the effects of ìspinesî, for lack of a better word. This type of measurement is called CFI, or Circumferential Flexural Integrity. The vast majority of the shafts available on the market today do not pass our initial CFI test tolerance. A shaft must have the same flex characteristics around it's circumference before it can be truly matched to another shaft. If a shaft exhibits a high degree of flexural change around itís circumference, matching them unidirectionally to each other is a dubious endeavor since they would not react uniformly throughout the human swing which is not unidirectional.
The second use is a series of tests which guarantees that clubmakers receive the most consistent product available at any price. Each shaft receives a thermal label affix to the unpainted grip section area with the following information. Weight, Torque, Tip Strength, Butt Strength, Estimated CPM, and Index number (ie: R1,R2,R3).
The most frequently asked question is how the compression readings from the butt and tip sections rate in accuracy against the frequency numbers that clubmakers have been using to match clubs. The answer is that the Multi-Matching machine is indeed more accurate in finding the individual properties of a shaft. Frequency Analyzers are certainly a convenient way of measuring the general flex characteristic of an assembled club or identifying the flex range of a set of clubs. They are not as adept at determining which shafts should be used from the beginning of the clubmaking process. An example of this is if we at Apache test nine iron shafts using a Frequency Analyzer to find that they appear to be correlated, the chances are highly likely that if we test those same shafts using the Multi-Match machine, those shafts will be determined not to match. They will most likely have differing strength values which would exclude them from becoming bundled into a set since the strength values are a true indication of the amount of human effort needed to properly load a shaft. Opposed to that, we can correlate nine shafts using the Multi-Match that may have differing CPM numbers. The CPM numbers may be a spread of +/-4 cycles from the median. The CPM numbers are disregarded because we have accurately matched them using more sophisticated means. These findings have been systematically supported over the last two years of testing.
We are looking forward to working with clubmakers in the 1999 season to provide information and to assist them in building the most accurate and performing clubs available today.

Watch for Apache multi-matched shafts at Clubmaker Online!



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