For The High Tech Duffer, A Cray Designed Club

Here's news that could lead avid golfers to a lower handicap: MacGregor Golf Co. in Albany, Ga., has introduced the T-920, a golf club made of titanium and designed on a Cray Y-MP supercomputer. MacGregor design engineers, working with Cray Research Inc., simulated the impact of a titanium driver striking a golf ball at 100 miles an hour--the approximate speed of a normal swing. The analysis led to such improvements as a larger head, longer shaft, and special corrugated surfaces on the crown and sole of the club to stiffen the structure. A ball hit with this club, when physically tested, traveled, on average, seven yards farther than one struck with a conventional club, says Clay Long, MacGregor's vice-president for research and development.

The simulation program can also be used to improve the design of tennis racquets or hockey sticks, says Cray Research's Carlos Marino, director of the industry science and technology group. But all this sophistication doesn't come cheap: Suggested retail for the T-920, which will be available in March, is $500 per club.

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