Harrison Golf recently introduced a new product that they’ve been working on for some time called the Shotmaker. This is a shaft insert that is designed to reduced shaft deformation and vibrations at impact, which Harrison believes can cause inaccuracy with the driver. They supplied the product to THP for a review and I had the opportunity to use it over a number of rounds of golf and range sessions. Harrison advertises that it is the “first legitimate accuracy booster” and that it will “Improve accuracy up to 40%”. Those are both very broad and very bold claims. It is essentially a piece of very light graphite that fits inside a graphite driver shaft with the goal of stabilizing the tip section. It’s removable and conforms to USGA standards. Harrison claims that the insert does not change the stiffness of the driver shaft since it can move with the shaft.
The Shotmaker can be purchased with an installation kit that includes a locking Grip Cap, a telescoping rod, and a drill bit. You are able to drill a hole in the butt end of the grip, install the Shotmaker, and then seal the grip with the locking cap to ensure USGA conformity. The other benefit of the locking grip cap is that it is designed to offset the weight of the insert, thus avoiding any changes in swing weight. You can also take the grip off, install the Shotmaker, and re-grip the club. I opted to go with the drilling method. I followed Harrison’s suggestion and read the instructions carefully before getting started. I learned that the Shotmaker is very fragile and it is important to handle it gently. Installation was extremely simple after getting the hole drilled in the grip. Just place the insert in the shaft, stick the telescoping rod in after it, twist until you hear a click, and do the same for the locking grip cap. It took me about five minutes from start to finish.
As for removing it, I did have a bit of difficulty. The hole I drilled did not have clean edges and the insert would not come back out through it. I had to pull the grip to get it out, which wasn’t a big deal since I needed to re-grip anyway. This was most likely a user issue, but it’s worth mentioning.
I was very interested to see how the Shotmaker performed and thought that the best way to start testing it was to get it on a launch monitor. The following numbers were taken from an aboutGolf simulator, which is recognized by many as a very accurate judge of launch conditions. I used the same driver, the Taylormade R9 SuperTri with a Miyazaki Kusala Silver shaft, and ball, the Bridgestone B330-RX, for both the before and after measurements. I chose to use the ‘E’ flex Shotmaker as my swing speed can approach 97 to 99 mph on good days and it seemed like the middle of the road option. Truthfully, I was not really sure which flex would work best for me, so I guessed.
Here is a rundown of my statistics with and without the Shotmaker installed. These are all averages.
You can see a couple things pretty quickly. First, I have a real backspin problem that saps my distance with the SuperTri and the Shotmaker didn’t help me with it. Secondly, there were some small improvements in my directional numbers with the Shotmaker installed. Specifically, about a 15% improvement in side spin, which I don’t have a huge issue with to begin with, and I was six yards closer the center on average. I will say that I didn’t sense any noticeable differences in the way the driver felt at impact with the Shotmaker installed, though it did appear to feel less flexible.
I didn’t see any corresponding improvements to my accuracy when I took the Shotmaker onto the golf course. I will stop short of saying I was less accurate with it installed, but I did not see the positive results I was hoping for. I put it to use throughout a number of rounds of golf and struggled quite a bit with accuracy during that time. I will not attribute those struggles to the Shotmaker, but I will say that I didn’t see any positive effects from it. I was disappointed to see this, but not incredibly surprised. My misses are generally caused by swing flaws and I don’t believe the Shotmaker is designed to counteract that. I’m not sure my accuracy issues are really a product of shaft deformation as much as they are a product of the swing I put on the club.
After finishing my testing of the Shotmaker and discussing some of my observations, I was contacted by Harrison who advised that the Shotmaker doesn’t fit properly in every shaft on the market, which can decrease performance or possibly render it unusable. Apparently, my Miyazaki shaft is one in which it does not fit exactly right. Looking back it would have been useful to know this information considering I publicly discussed the shaft I was going to be using it in.
One glaring problem that I see is there is not any definitive documentation from the company detailing all of the shafts the Shotmaker is compatible with. Apparently this is being handled in the form of a word-of-mouth discussion on a forum at the Harrison website. You may want to consult the company or a fitter before choosing to purchase the product, though I do wonder how easy it is for a fitter to do their job if they aren’t being supplied information from the company that builds the product. There is a 30 day guarantee, but the time and effort involved could be frustrating if you find that your shaft is incompatible.
I have some mixed feelings about this product. On one hand, I did see some small improvements in side spin when testing it on a launch monitor. However, those results didn’t translate to the course. I did not see any reduction in back spin, which was probably the one thing I was hoping for the most. Afterwards, I was told that the product does not work optimally with my shaft and I may need to try it out with a different shaft to see the benefits. I was also told there is no real official list from the company as to which shafts are compatible with their product. As a consumer, that isn’t really a great option for me. I was already fit for a shaft that I like, so purchasing a different one that is compatible with the Shotmaker doesn’t make a lot of sense financially or for my golf game. In the end, this is a product that appears it may work for some golfers, but I would recommend speaking to a trusted fitter before purchasing it. At $150, the Shotmaker is not a small investment and I would advise against fitting yourself into it. There seems to be a large amount of guesswork involved and I don’t feel that is a great approach when finding equipment suited for your game. As always, thanks for reading and best of luck out on the course this year. You can see more about this product on their website www.harrison.com. You can also pick up this product at online retailers such as Blind9Golf.