3D design putting golfers above par

A black stainless steel 3D printed golf club.

A Victoria University of Wellington design student is helping golfers improve their technique by creating 3D printed golf clubs that are tailored to the player.

Master of Design Innovation student James Irvine has developed a design process that takes data from a player’s swing and deciphers where their sweet spot is—the area of the club the player hits the ball with most.

“With this data I can design a digital version of a club using parametric 3D modelling software to distribute weight around the club to suit the player’s sweet spot,” says James. “The digital design can then be 3D printed.”

To test his design process, James made five prototypes to explore individual player’s data.

“I focused my attention on one of the prototypes to determine how effectively the weight was distributed, and whether it was aesthetically appealing.

“I then retrieved more data from the same player, and refined the club before printing it in black stainless steel,” says James.

James and his thesis supervisor, Ms Bettina Neu, co-wrote and submitted a research paper about the innovative design process to DeSForM 2015, an international design conference in Milan that investigates the evolving nature of design artefacts and how new forms or objects’ aesthetics convey meaning.

The pair are travelling to the conference this October where they will give an interactive presentation that will invite audience members on stage to experience how the process works.

“Time restraints won’t allow us to print a prototype at the conference, but 3D printing is rapidly improving, so one day it may be possible to take data from a player and print their clubs in the same day,” says James.

For more information contact James Irvine on irvinejame2@myvuw.ac.nz.