Monday, February 18, 2013

Nike Files Patent for Adjustable Grooves on Irons

One of the most interesting golf blogs out there is Golf-Patents.com, a site run by an intellectual property attorney who scans patent filings looking for new stuff from golf manufacturers. And he often finds amazing things.

Such as? Well, Nike Golf has filed a patent for adjustable grooves on irons. Now, filing a patent doesn't necessarily mean that a company is anywhere close to manufacturing the described item. Many companies seek patents as protections of possible licensing fees as much as for protection of a product they hope to make. Or simply to troll other companies.

But the golf world is adjustability-crazy, and it's only a matter of time before adjustable irons start showing up in numbers.

But adjustable grooves? I have a hard time picturing how that would work. Grooves are manufactured to such tight specifications for sharpness, shape, depth, width. How do you maintain those tolerances with adjustability? Can you adjust grooves enough for 99.9-percent of golfers to notice any difference?
Also, as pointed out by Golf World Monday, the word "piezoelectric" appears dozens and dozens of times throughout the patent application. Golf-Patents.com concludes its post by asking, "What do you think, will we ever see irons with piezoelectric adjustable grooves?"

Piezoelectricity refers to electricity generated through pressure. Wikipedia explains, "Piezoelectricity is found in useful applications such as the production and detection of sound, generation of high voltages, electronic frequency generation, microbalances, and ultrafine focusing of optical assemblies. It is also the basis of a number of scientific instrumental techniques with atomic resolution, the scanning probe microscopies such as STM, AFM, MTA, SNOM, etc., and everyday uses such as acting as the ignition source for cigarette lighters and push-start propane barbecues."

Well, allrighty then! Microbalances, maybe? Again, having a hard time envisioning why an electric charge is necessary for adjustable grooves, not to the mention the efficacy of adjustable grooves.

But these days in the golf manufacturing world, things changes fast. Stay tuned. And if you want to see the full Nike Golf adjustable grooves patent, check it out here.

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