Friday, September 9, 2011

Harrison ShotMaker Insert Review

I will be doing a series of review on the blog over the next few days as there has been a lot of equipment and stuff that I’ve recently purchased and I wanted to go over it. First up, the Harrison ShotMaker Insert

The Harrison ShotMaker Insert is a 12 inch graphite insert that goes into the shaft of a club, down towards the tip end of the golf shaft. The claim is that it stabilizes the tip section and will increase accuracy up to 40%. The claim is backed by a 30-day money back guarantee.

Those claims along with the guarantee piqued my interest. Of course, people disputed those claims and then referenced the movie ‘Tommy Boy’ when it came to guarantees. Call me crazy, but I’m not sure taking purchasing advice from a fake character that Chris Farley portrayed in a movie is a smart way to live life. Still, it’s not completely wrong.

While I work as a statistician, I’ve worked in the marketing field for 13 years and have worked extensively in product marketing. With that, companies do give money back guarantees all of the time while knowing that if they make the rules difficult enough, they won’t have to worry about getting a lot of returns. But for a company like Harrison, a smaller company that recently had to make cutbacks due to the weakened economy, to offer a 30-day money back guarantee on a product that they have been doing R&D on for the last 7 years…it tells me that they are very confident that this product is a superior product and that they are trying to combat skepticism along with market their product with this guarantee. Either that or they are making an extremely risky decision because something like this could force a company out of business if it backfires as I’ve seen it happen before.

The other part that drew me to the Harrison ShotMaker insert was that I can install it into a club and remove it and install it into another club. I often experiment with different shafts, drivers and 3-woods, so I liked the idea that I could use it on a variety of different clubs and essentially use it for the rest of my life if I wanted.

Here’s a video showing the installation process.

The installation is as easy as it looks. I use an air compressor to put my grips on, so I can put grips on with ease and take them off with ease. Since I do that, I decided to not install the Shotmaker thru the butt end of the grip. Instead, I just let it slide down the shaft and then did exactly as the video showed. It took me all of 10 seconds to perform.

However, if you do not use an air compressor to install your grips, you do have the option of installing it thru the grip. This also provides the capability to test the club on launch monitors like Trackman and FlightScope. A golfer can hit some shots with the ShotMaker Insert and get the data and then remove the Shotmaker insert and get the data and then re-install it.


The ShotMaker itself only weighs about 4 grams. Harrison claims it does not influence the swingweight, but I found that it changed my swingweight by about a ½ point.

But, what is important to note is that for right now, the ShotMaker mainly works with only .335 tip diameter shafts. Typically, driver and fairway wood shafts are either .335 or .350 in tip diameter. Harrison has reported that the ShotMaker does fit into some .350 shafts, but for others it will be loose inside the shaft and rattle. Harrison is reportedly working on a model for the .350 shafts.

I would recommend looking up your shaft tip diameter on the web.


I talked to a few readers about the Harrison ShotMaker and they gave me rave reviews about it. A couple of them tried it out on Trackman and one of the older FlightScope models and the results were pretty similar in that the ShotMaker lowered the launch angle and the spin rate. Trackman doesn’t calculate ‘side spin’ while FlightScope does. FlightScope showed reduced side spin as well.

These findings again piqued my interest.

I had an Adams 9064LS driver with a 10.5* loft. The stock shaft was an Aldila RIP Gamma shaft, regular flex.

I took the stock shaft out and trimmed it about 1-1/8” from the tip to stiffen up the golf shaft. However, the Gamma shaft is a high launch, high spin shaft to begin with. When you trim from the tip end, not only do you make the golf shaft stiffer, but you also increase the launch and the spin because the bend point of the shaft is now effectively lower which results in higher launch and spin.

The first day I tried this driver out, the ShotMaker was not installed in the shaft. I generally found that I could hit about 50% of the drives well and pretty long. But the other 50% were too high and had too much spin. Even the good drives were quite high in their trajectory.

The next day I got the ShotMaker in the mail and installed it into this shaft. I then went onto the range and have noticed a much lower launch angle immediately. I would say that on average the ball spins noticeably less, but the difference in launch angle is far more distinguishable.

Did I hit it more accurately?


Then why is it legal?

My feeling is that the ShotMaker doesn’t give good results on all swings, particularly on poor swings. Thus it is still making the golfer utilize skill in order to get satisfactory results.


From a D-Plane and equipment perspective, I believe that the Harrison ShotMaker does stabilize the tip section of the shaft and does allow for golfers to be more accurate.

I believe that allows for the clubface to stay squarer to the target as it makes impact with the ball and then compresses the golf ball and into the separation stage of the impact zone.

As I’ve stated for awhile now, when a golfer is having trouble with the curvature of their ball flight, it’s typically a clubface issue. If I have a 0* path on each swing, but on one swing my face is closed 5* and on another swing it is open 5*, it is going to result in different ball flight curvature.

Thus, if an insert claims to be up to 40% more accurate and reduce the side spin, I believe that it is making the clubface more stable thru the impact interval.

Therefore, I believe that if the clubface is coming in at 2* closed into impact, it will stay close to 2* closed thru impact. With the insert, I believe it is less likely (not always) to get 5* closed thru impact. 2* closed is something that we can work with most of the time, but 5* closed could present problems.

However, if the golfer takes a poor swing and has a 5* closed face coming into impact, all that stabilization of the clubface will not help them as the club goes thru impact.

I would really like to experiment with this ShotMaker some more. I wonder if it works better with high launch shafts versus low launch shafts. How well it works with the Talamonti shafts (I’ll be trying it this weekend). I also wonder if I were to put it in a high lofted driver head (12*) with a low launch shaft, how well that would work. Or perhaps a lower lofted driver with a very high launch shaft.

Also, most of these graphite shafts play soft to flex. Ironically, the Harrison Saga shaft that I installed in my Adams 9015D says it is an X-Stiff shaft, but when we measured it on the frequency machine it was a stiff flex. And the Fujikura Fit-On shaft on my Cleveland 3-wood says stiff, but it’s actually a Ladies Flex.

Currently I feel that this is where it will make the most difference, for golfers who have graphite shafts that are quite soft to flex. But, I will see.

For me, it was well worth the price of $140 (which came with the install tool). I plan on getting into some clubmaking in 2012 and would like to use this tool in some of the clubs I repair. And while I don’t believe that the Adams 9064LS driver I have been using is ‘optimal’ for me, I feel confident that it’s a driver that I can use to get the job done.



Parcheval said...

Very interesting review!
Which shotmaker flex did you install?
How did you do to find out your angular velocity, therefore the flex you need according to the Shotmaker Fitting Guide ?

Rich H. said...

I inserted the 'F' felx. I asked what I should get as I have a clubhead speed of around 110 mph.