First utility driving iron with heel located, draw-bias tungsten weighting / 2000 - Golfsmith XPC3 Driving Iron
In the late 1990s hybrid clubheads had begun to appear as a replacement for low loft irons. As they still are today, the early hybrids were designed to look like a “narrow body fairway wood” with the face to back dimension much greater than that of an iron, but not as broad as a fairway woodhead.
This shape allowed the center of gravity (CG) to be positioned both lower and much farther back from the face than in an iron to help the golfer more easily get the ball well up to fly higher than an iron of the same loft. The first hybrid driving irons were popular with a number of players on the professional tours because they were easier to generate a high, soft landing trajectory for long approach shots into greens.
However, because of their lower loft (<20*) average golfers could still slice the ball with a hybrid driving iron. To help reduce this tendency, Tom designed the XPC3 driving irons with tungsten weight on the bottom of the sole that was positioned on the heel side of the sole. The position of this heavy weight not only kept the CG low, but it also created a draw-bias capability for the clubhead to be able to reduce the golfer’s tendency to push or slice the ball.
First Small tip diameter hybrid clubhead and hybrid shaft for higher launch angle / 2004 – Wishon Golf 321Li Hybrid Long Irons; Wishon Golf GI-335 Hybrid Shafts
Hybrid clubs were introduced in the late 1990s to offer golfers an alternative that would be far easier to hit well up in the air to fly than irons of the same low lofts. Because hybrids were viewed as a replacement for the low loft irons, hybrid shafts were designed with the same tip diameter and flex characteristics of an iron shaft.
In 2002 when Tom was designing a hybrid clubhead model for the first year of his company’s business, like everyone else, his first hybrid heads were designed to be built with a shaft designed with the same characteristics and tip diameter size as an iron shaft. However, initial testing of Tom’s 321Li hybrids with their matching 0.370” tip diameter shaft showed that the clubs were only marginally easer to hit than an iron of the same loft.
Having a wealth of experience in shaft research and testing, Tom began to think about this and decided what was needed was a matching hybrid shaft design that would not feel more flexible than an iron shaft, but which could bend more in the lower half of the shaft to help kick the ball higher in the air. As a result, Wishon developed a uniquely different hybrid shaft design with a smaller tip diameter. The smaller tip allowed the lower half of the shaft to bend more and launch the ball higher in the air. To prevent this smaller tip section of the shaft from making the whole shaft feel too flexible, Tom then increased the stiffness of the upper half of the shaft. The net result of the unique Wishon Golf GI-335 hybrid shafts was to offer golfers a shaft for the 321Li hybrid heads that generated a 3.5 degree higher launch angle than any 0.370” tip size hybrid shaft, but with the same overall stiffness feel of the larger diameter shafts.
Through the combination of the unique small tip GI-335 iron shaft with the extreme rear-CG design of the 321Li hybrid heads, Tom once again proved his ability to understand ALL of the elements of golf club performance to create a truly easy-to-hit long iron replacement that can be experienced by golfers from the very first hit. Since the GI-335 shaft design, every succeeding hybrid clubhead and hybrid shaft designed by Wishon has been done using the smaller 0.335” hosel and shaft tip diameter construction.
First 0.830 COR Hybrid / 2008 – Wishon Golf 785HF Hybrid Irons
After completing the shallow face, 0.830 COR design of the 949MC fairway woods, Wishon began to speculate whether it might be possible to push the envelope of high COR face design one step farther and create a hybrid clubhead with its COR also at the limit imposed by the Rules of Golf. While hybrid clubs had been introduced to golfers in the late 1990s, as of 2007 no company had yet marketed a hybrid with a high COR. Again, because of the smaller face size of a typical hybrid clubhead, the industry had felt hybrids had too small of a face to be able to engineer their design to flex inward enough at impact to generate a high COR.
Having designed the first high COR irons in 2004 (770CFE irons) and just coming off having created fairway woods with a 32mm face height with a high COR (949MC woods), Wishon felt it could be possible to create a high COR hybrid design. What made this possible was the fact that at the time, hybrid clubheads typically were being designed with a taller face height than most fairway woods. While the width of a hybrid face was less than that of a fairway wood, being able to design the face with a little taller face height allowed Wishon to get enough face area that when combined with a very high strength steel alloy formed to a thickness of only 1.6mm, a COR of right under the USGA limit of 0.830 could be achieved.
In addition, very precise robotic welding was utilized to attach the thin face to the hybrid head body so that the width of the welding line could be minimized to allow as much of the face to be able to be deflected inward at impact. The result was the 786HF hybrids which stand as the industry’s first hybrid clubhead designed with a high COR.