Model: 600B/C/XC Irons
Material/Mfg: Billet Forged S45C Carbon Steel with Nickel/Chrome Plating
This series of three irons was my first forging project to work on for Golfsmith. All of my forging programs to date had been exclusive to Endo Manufacturing in Japan but this new project was orchestrated through Charles Su at VirageTech in ChengDu, China. I was internally conflicted in who I brought my newest forging project to. Mr. Katsuhiro Miura in Japan had invited me to bring a project to his boutique forging company in Himeji when I had visited his factory with the Wilson Japan staff. I was going to approach him about the 600 series irons but first had to give Charles Su an opportunity to show me his newly expanded capabilities. Needless to say his operational upgrades and technologies expansion impressed me, especially when it came to his multi-step forging operations. A final “as forged” part was only 8-grams heavier than the final target weight prior to any polishing operation. Compared to more than the 50-grams we had seen from U.S. forging houses or 20+ grams from Endo in Japan VirageTech’s was now producing the industry’s highest precision forgings. The 600B (blade) and 600C (cavity back) irons underwent a novel 5-step forging process while the 600XC (larger cavity design) required a 6th forging step. This was a new process that had not been commercialized by any other manufacturers. The multi-stage forging operation resulted in an extremely tight molecular compaction of the carbon steel for a solid yet soft feel in each club. Four years later other large OEMs would following behind with this same forging process. Each of the 600B/C/XC models could be mixed and matched to create a completely customized set based on a golfer’s ball striking ability.
Model: FMC-1 Irons
Material/Mfg: Investment Cast 8620 Carbon Steel – Form Forged
I call these a cavity/blade style of iron. The top line and sole widths match up to traditional blade dimensions yet there’s a liberal size cavity in the club for a moderate level of game forgiveness. These were originally intended to be billet forged but once I made it to the foundry in Taiwan we made the decision to form forge the set. By form forging we could offer the design in both right and left handed due to the savings in tooling costs. I had this particular design concept in mind for a Wilson Staff iron but ended up joining Golfsmith before I could get the design executed at Wilson Sporting Goods.
Model: Compressor and Compressor 450 Drivers
Material/Mfg: 6-4 Titanium with titanium and 7075 Aerospace Aluminum Locking Rod
Introduction: Compressor - 2005, Compressor 450 - 2007
In 2004 Golfsmith purchased what remained of the Zevo Golf company. In addition to acquiring all the inventory we also took control of their intellectual properties (patents). The year before Zevo had introduced a compressor technology in their drivers that kept the crown from flexing at impact (thereby reducing the spin rate on the ball). I redesigned elements of the compressor device which consisted of a high strength strand material called Zylon and incorporated titanium and 7075 aluminum rods in its place. The titanium rods were used in the Snake Eyes Compressor drivers while the aluminum design locked the crown of the Compressor fairway woods. The first Snake Eyes Compressor driver was an engineering feat. It was produced from stamped construction and consisted of 7 separate pieces. Two years later I developed a larger Compressor 450 driver that was investment cast and reduced the number of its parts down to three pieces.
Model: Viper Woods
Material/Mfg: 6-4 Titanium (drivers), 17-4 Stainless (fairways/hybrids) – Adjustable Weights
Introduction: 2004 – 2009
Since 2004 the Snake Eyes Viper woods have been an adjustable weight product ranging from as few as a single weight up to four. Head sizes ran from 420cc-460cc over the life of the product line. Innovative face technologies, new approaches to thinning out the crowns and a variety of titanium and steel alloys have been used to elevate each model’s performance over past designs.
Model: Fire Forged 2 Irons
Material/Mfg: Investment Cast 431 Stainless Steel, Custom 455 High Strength Face, Tungsten Sole
The Fire Forged 2 irons appeared to be a one-piece undercut design to most golfers. It was in fact a three-piece iron consisting of a Custom 455 high strength steel face that was 50% stronger than stainless steel. The investment cast 431 stainless steel body had a heavy tungsten-alloy sole which helped to keep the club’s center of gravity from gravitating too high in the oversized face profile design. The Custom 455 face was “fire forged” to help achieve its resilient performance benefits at such a thin dimension. Using such a high strength steel face material was not yet being done by U.S. manufacturers. Only a few Japanese OEMs had explored using such a material in their sets and it would be a couple more years before U.S. club companies instituted its use in irons. Originally appearing large and chunky by the day’s standards the Fire Forged 2 irons fit in amongst today’s oversized game improvement models. Note the unique Snake Eyes knurling on the hosel.
Model: Quick Strike Hybrid Woods
Material/Mfg: Investment Cast 17-4 Stainless Steel with Tungsten-Based Weights
Introductions: 2004, 2006, 2008
The Quick Strike models have been the highest volume selling woods in Golfsmith’s history. To date I have designed the QS II, the Tour, the Q3 and the Q4. Additional tungsten based weighting has been used in each model with the Q4’s also incorporating variable face technology for a more consistent coefficient of restitution on off-center impacts. Various sole technologies have been introduced into the line over the years in addition to the unique weighting characteristics of each model. To supplement the stand alone Quick Strike woods are the Quick Strike transitional irons sets.
Model: 600T Woods
Material/Mfg: Titanium Body with DAT600C Beta Titanium Cold Rolled Faces
Introductions: 2004 – 2005
Originally a 380cc head the Snake Eyes 600T was one of the most popular drivers in the brand’s history. A Japanese beta-titanium called DAT600C was developed by Japanese metals specialists Daido Steel. The DAT600C utilized an alloy blend similar to their popular DAT55G but ramped the heat treating process up to 600° Celsius to give the material a sound and feel preferred by serious competitors. Small by today’s 460cc standard the 600T continues to remain securely in many golfers’ bags. Larger iterations of the driver followed in the form of the Snake Eyes 600T-C (420cc with a carbon crown) and the 650T (450cc with a gold PVD coating).
Material/Mfg: Investment Cast 6-4 Titanium Face and Sole with Carbon Fiber Crown and Skirt
Half titanium and half carbon fiber the Snake Eyes PowerLink had an extremely low center of gravity. To the layman golfer such a low weight distribution should get the ball airborne with a high trajectory, however the opposite is true with drivers. The PowerLink provided a low boring ball flight due to its low spin rate. Vertical gear effect contributed to this unique performance. This driver catered to the high ball hitter who had more ball spin than desired. The carbon fiber wrapped over the crown and skirt locking into the sole and was oriented not to flex, much like the body of the Snake Eyes Compressor woods.
Model: Python PowerLink
Material/Mfg: Investment Cast 6-4 Titanium, Carbon Fiber Crown/Skirt, Tungsten Rear Weight
This unique driver had a wrap-around carbon body and dense tungsten rear weight to shift its center of gravity low and deep. The sole incorporated an expansion joint that compressed due to the centrifugal force of the tungsten at impact. We had found faster energy transfer to the ball on robot testing when placing extra weight in the tungsten’s position. The Python PowerLink was a very high tech club that appeared lost amongst the abundance of club designs being offered by Golfsmith at the time.
Model: Tour Platinum Putters
Material/Mfg: Investment Cast 8620 Carbon Steel, Skim Milled
David Cersley and I developed this family of tour quality putters using an ingenious face technology we called an ARC (Advanced Roll Control) face. The impact area consists of a series of 3-dimensional arcs which bite into the cover of the ball to help lift it into motion. These putters received a Golf Digest Hot List award in 2009. There is a great deal of CNC milling on each putter along with a black PVD finish.
Model: 675B/C/XC Irons
Material/Mfg: Billet Forged 1030 Carbon Steel
After the Snake Eyes 600B/C/XC thrived for many years it was time to replace them with more contemporary designs and softer material. I began with a 1030 carbon steel which was softer than the S45C materials used in the 600 series irons. The 675C and 675XC utilized the cavity-blade concept that I initiated in the Snake Eyes FMC irons in 2003. Again, a 5-step forging process was used for the 675B and 675C while the 6-step forging process was required for the 675XC. By the time these models were introduced TaylorMade and Callaway were following in line with the same multi-step forging process we pioneered through Charles Su at VirageTech. I have been a big fan of the 675C model in particular. It is traditional and contemporary at the same time with very clean lines and simple graphics. I have continued to play with the 675C irons and 675W wedges since their introduction in my own set.
Model: 650PM Wedges
Material/Mfg: Billet Forged Light Density Powdered Metal
Technology is written all over these wedges. We began with a powered metal matrix (PM) blended to be 10% lighter than carbon steel with improved dampening characteristics. The powered metal has a greater percentage of copper in it to improve its feel. The powdered metal is formed into a billet and then fire forged by traditional forging presses into the shape of these wedges. Unlike other composite metal wedges (i.e., Cleveland CG series) the hosels of the 650PM wedges can be adjusted for loft and lie without snapping. Cosmetic options included traditional mirror chrome plating and an alternative dark bronze anti-glare finish.
Model: 653TM Wedges
Material/Mfg: Investment Cast 400-14 Steel, True Form Forged and CNC Milled
The 653TM wedges were investment cast in a low ductile steel called 400-18. The material was 10% lighter than traditional carbon steels allowing for larger dimensions without increasing the wedge design’s weight. Prior to polishing each wedge underwent an 800-ton compression from a forging press. This process uses a true forging compaction unlike many other form forged products that are pressed using 1-ton. One unique feature of the Snake Eyes 653TM wedges were the three bored out weight ports behind the face. Each was designed to accommodate Golfsmith’s hosel weights so that higher than normal head weights could be achieved. The 653TM wedges were finished off by 100% surface milling the face and CNC engraving each score line for perfect groove dimensions.