With the average age of golfers creeping up, there’s a surge among top brands to target lightweight super game improving ranges as areas for significant growth in 2020.
Wilson are joining the emerging category with a brand new Launch Pad concept. The whole idea is centred around helping golfers avoid the need to shout ‘fore right!’
In development Wilson researched 27 self-described slicers, and found their typical swing path was 5.5° outside to in, with a 3° open club face at impact. That naturally robs ball speed, carry distance and means shots end up consistently down the right side of the course.
So the new Launch Pad woods specifically target closing the face at impact and neutralising any fade bias. How have Wilson done it? They’ve created a whole toolbox full of hidden tech, so golfers don’t feel self-conscious about playing a family of super game improver clubs.
Launch Pad woods have a large heel weight (13g), which naturally helps square the face at the impact. There’s extra loft and a forward centre of gravity to launch shots high with less backspin. Extra face radius disguises the closed face angle and an offset hosel with upright lie all help eliminate the frustrating high block right which is the taint on so many golfers' games.
With golfers over 60 typically losing 0.5mph of club speed each year, Wilson have also made it their business to ensure the whole Launch Pad family is very lightweight, to boost speed, launch and carry distance.
Wilson haven't limited their research to just optimizing woods either. They've done some serious investigation into the typical traits of 10+ handicappers too. And surprisingly the stats show even mid-handicappers hit 12% of shots fat or heavy, which costs golfers on average 10 yards of carry distance.
So Wilson came up with the new Launch Pad hybrid irons to help. And they feature hollow heads, with large cambered soles, which Wilson say have generous amounts of late bounce to ensure the leading edges are kept from digging at impact. Launch Pad soles are progressively wider in the long irons and narrower in the short irons to deliver more consistent contact and aid scoring.
According to Wilson's data, Launch Pad helped testers hit 25% more clean shots, reduced heavy strikes by 73% and increased ball speed and carry distance by 4.8mph and 9.8 yards.
What Wilson say about the new Launch Pad family
The Launch Pad are a super game-improving family of clubs. Forgiving irons, slice-combatting woods and a new FYbrid, all inspire confidence in high handicap golfers or thoose who are new to the game.
The secret behind Launch Pad is the advanced technologies which reduce the likelihood of ‘fat’ shots with the irons and how the woods have been specifically designed to combat the dreaded ‘slice’ off the tee.
“We see this new range as the launch pad to improve the fortunes of golfers starting out and those wanting to lower their handicap to enjoy the game more,” said Jon Pergande, Manager of Golf Club Innovation at Wilson Golf. “The features in Launch Pad will deliver confidence to those who need it and help those players who struggle to hit the club face consistently – experiencing distance loss, control and accuracy as a result,” he added.
What Wilson say about the Launch Pad irons
The Launch Pad irons incorporate a wide, progressive sole throughout the set, which improves ball launch for high handicap players. The technology prevents the sole from digging into the turf before impact. Late bounce on the sole keeps the leading edge up through ground interaction, creating a cleaner strike.
The short irons (7 - SW) feature traditional game-improvement sole widths, while longer irons (4 - 6) feature wider, more forgiving soles, for more consistent ball-striking and greater distance. Club heads across the entire range feature a hollow construction and incredibly thin faces for maximum ball speeds. Lower profile heads move the centre of gravity backwards, giving a higher MOI and more forgiving club to get the ball airborne.
“Our latest research shows Launch Pad irons reduce ‘fat’ shots by 73% and help players gain an extra 10 yards distance compared to other models in the super game-improvement category,” said Jon Pergande.
Launch Pad irons are also lightweight to make it easy to generate high club head speeds with minimum effort. The irons (5-SW) are available both right and left-handed with KBS Tour 80 steel or UST-Mamiya Recoil 460 shafts, for £549 (s) or £645 (g).
What Wilson say about the Launch Pad woods
Launch Pad woods (driver, fairway and FYbrid) all incorporate moderate hosel offset to help provide consistent contact and tight ball dispersion on every swing. The centre of gravity is postioned towards the heel and further forward to set golfers up for a left swing path, which promotes a closed face at impact and neutralises fade bias for straighter shots.
The Launch Pad is one of the lightest drivers the brand has ever created, at 272g. The ultra-lightweight feel translates into an effortless increase in club speed for greater distance with every swing. Variable Face Technology, ensures a solid connection, regardless of where contact is made on the club face.
13 grams of weight in the heel and a +2˚ upright lie angle generate a draw bias and cuts the frequency of sliced shots by over 50%. “The main goal with Launch Pad woods is to help the golfer hit straighter shots in the air more often and gain distance and accuracy off the tee,” said Jon Pergande.
The Launch Pad driver comes in 10.5° and 13° lofts in left and right-handed options, and the stock shaft is the UST Mamiya Helium. Expect an RRP of £269 for the driver, £149 for the fairways (15° and 18°) and £129 for the FYbrid.