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Clubmaking: Maltby Playability Factor - Your Best Fitting Tool

  Industry-leading Club Repair and Service and the Most In-depth Clubmaking Info, How-to's and Videos - only at The GolfWorks  
Maltby Playability Factor - Your Best Fitting Tool by: Ralph Maltby - Founder of The GolfWorks
All of these are necessary for a clubmaker to do the best job of fitting in 2010. Along with the tools and supplies that have been found on every workbench for years, thousands of custom clubmakers have discovered the Maltby Playability Factor is every bit as necessary to ensure they are pairing their customers with metal wood and iron designs (and now even putter designs!) that are truly matched to their needs.

While the Maltby Playability Factor was newly introduced to the golf industry in 2002, it’s not new to The GolfWorks. Founder Ralph Maltby and The GolfWorks Technical Staff have been relying on his Playability Factor research to design high-performance clubheads for years. The science behind Playability Factor was first shared last year, however, so clubmakers could also see how small changes in center of gravity and moment of inertia can have a substantial impact on the overall playability of a club.

“Playability Factor is the guiding force behind every clubhead we produce,” said Ralph. “Whether we are designing a club for a beginner or for a single-handicap player, Playability Factor determines where we can place weight throughout the clubhead to achieve a desired performance characteristic.”

This tool has been derived through years of extensive laboratory and field testing on thousands of clubs from virtually every major manufacturer and component supplier. Only after that meticulous evaluation could Ralph and The GolfWorks Technical Staff understand and utilize Playability Factor in all of their design efforts. The result is a clubhead fitting index that helps you perfectly match a clubhead design to a specific player type.

To review, Playability Factor is determined by a simple evaluation of the laws of physics and applied advanced mathematics to develop a formula that computes an index of clubhead Playability. For example, for irons the formula evaluates five dimensional and mass properties of an iron head (as detailed at far right):

  • Vertical Center of Gravity
  • Horizontal Center of Gravity
  • Rearward Center of Gravity
  • Geometric Center of the Face
  • Moment of Inertia

In short, the higher the Playability Factor value generated by the formula, the more playable and forgiving the particular design should be. The six specific levels of Playability Factor are:

  • Ultra Game Improvement
  • Super Game Improvement
  • Game Improvement
  • Conventional
  • Classic
  • Player Classic

Each category represents a range of 150 Playability Factor points. This range encompasses the spectrum of performance characteristics. The higher the Playability Factor rating of a particular model ...

  • The more it will help a golfer get the ball into the air.
  • The less sensitive the design is to off-center hits (ie the larger its sweet spot).

Simply put, via Maltby Playability Factor, a higher handicap golfer will experience straighter shots and more consistent distance (typically longer) with a HIGHER Playability club. That same golfer, with a LOWER Playability club, would find it more difficult to get the ball up in the air and the feel at impact would be less solid The result would be a tendency for shots to miss to the right or left and be shorter.

The Maltby Playability Factor is the premiere clubhead fitting guide in golf today, because it is based on scientific data, not marketing hype. But don’t take our word for it. Here’s what Master Clubmaker Tom Grundner of Tucson, Ariz., said about Playability Factor: “If you are unfamiliar with Maltby Playability Factor, learn it! It is not just a marketing gimmick. For the first time we have a way of systematically knowing the ease with which a clubhead or shaft might be used by an average player, and it will revolutionize the way clubs are made and especially marketed.”

While the 2002 version of the Maltby Playability Factor represented a breakthrough in custom clubfitting and clubhead performance evaluation, this tool is even more dynamic now. Our Technical Staff has devoted hundreds of hours to refining our Playability expertise, and the products on this website reflect their efforts.