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Friday, November 21, 2008

Gas Attack

Here's some new golf technology for you: PowerBilt is filling the head of a golf club with nitrogen gas. NO, it doesn't sound like a Whoopee Cushion when you hit it and NO it doesn't explode--although the company says the idea is to get explosive power off the tee.

Just in case you miss the point, the line is called "Air Force One."

PowerBilt says that by filling the head of a driver, fairway wood, or hybrid with nitrogen gas, it can offer clubs with multiple face thicknesses, thus allowing all golfers to flex the face the way pros do.

The compressed nitrogen, which is pumped in to a pressure of 150 psi, supports the face with no mechanical bracing. There is a face thickness for big hitters and one for golfers with a more-controlled swing in the line. The face of any good driver flexes when it hits a golf ball, producing what is often referred to as the “trampoline” effect. The thinner the face, the more it flexes, although there is a point beyond which the USGA police can arrest you for using a club that's "non-conforming."

I tried the technology out at Chelsea Piers in New York and was suitably impressed. It may have been my imagination, but I swear I could feel the club face flex when I hit one on the screws. That didn't happen often due to operator error, but when it did the results were as advertised--long and straight. I particularly liked the three-wood, probably because the shaft on the demo drivers was a standard length whereas I normally hit a driver that's cut down an inch.

The clubs will be a particular boon, I suspect, to those of us with slower swing speeds. We get no trampoline effect off a standard club face, so the thinner face on the PowerBilt line should give us a little extra "oomph" where it counts.

Dave Donelson, author of Heart of Diamonds a about in the

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