Wilson Staff Dynapower Irons – Key Takeaways
- Wilson revives a classic tech name for 2023.
- Game-improvement irons designed by AI
- $799.99 in steel, $899.99 in graphite
- Presale Feb 22; at retail March 1
The new Wilson Staff Dynapower irons check all the requisite boxes for a modern game-improvement iron.
Low CG for high launch? Check
AI-designed variable face thickness for max ball speed? Check
Lofts strong enough to cause outrage in certain circles? Double-check
Retro naming that highlights a 67-year-old—and still relevant—technology? Wait. What?
On their own, the new Wilson Staff Dynapower irons are intriguing. But when you throw in the Dynapower name and the fact Wilson plans to go all-in on a retro-classic campaign, well, things get downright fascinating.
If, of course, you’re a history buff.
And, of course, if these things perform.
Wilson Staff Dynapower Irons
We’ll get to the nuts and bolts in a minute. But first, what’s up with this Dynapower thing?
For you history buffs, the original Wilson Dynapower was actually an early application of iron design fundamentals we take for granted now: mass behind the hitting area coupled with a low and centered CG.
In 1950, Wilson introduced Top Notch Dyna-Weighting in its forged blades, which moved weight down and toward the toe. Dyna-Weighting nudged the sweet spot away from the heel and moved the CG lower. In 1956, Dyna-Weighting morphed into Dyna-Power with a Wilson-patented bore-through hosel. That removed weight from both the neck and hosel. And if you read MyGolfSpy at all, you know club designers love saving weight in an area where it doesn’t do anything and moving it someplace useful. By 1962, Wilson added Fluid Feel to Dynapower, which further removed weight from the heel, giving designers even more discretionary weight.
And, as any good MGS reader knows, discretionary weight is the Holy Grail for improving launch, power and forgiveness.
Dynapower technology is pretty standard now but it was groundbreaking back in the day. And it proved so successful that Dynapower stayed in Wilson’s marketing and technical lexicon until 1975.
But, hey, it’s 2023. Is Wilson really relying on 67-year-old Elvis-era technology? Well, while the concepts are still the same, I’m pretty sure they didn’t have AI-powered supercomputers back when “Hound Dog” was a hit. And any club designer working for any OEM will gladly tell you the search for optimized mass properties, CG location and ball speed is never-ending.
Wilson is just putting an old name back on it.
Is Wilson “OG”?
“We’re starting to use this language called ‘The Original Golf Brand,’” says Wilson Golf Global Marketing Director Tom Gruger. “When you talk about other longstanding names in golf, they’re not around anymore.”
The Wilson Golf brand is 109 years old but when you think “OG,” Wilson probably isn’t top of mind. Wilson does have history, however, and Gruger says that history—and the Dynapower name—resonate with two very different demographics.
“The first is what we call the ‘in-the-know player,’” Gruger explains. “This is someone who’s a little bit older and a good player. They’re not really wowed by $50-million product launches. They’re going to say, ‘I’m going to hit it and see if it works and I’m going to call bullshit on all the marketing.’”
This group instantly taps into Dynapower, says Gruger. “We see this whole misty-eyed, ‘let me tell you about my dad’s set.’ It’s a really easy connection to make.”
There’s also a younger group which Wilson calls the “young executive.” That group is all about retro.
“They love the retro look, feel and vibe,” says Gruger. “They don’t remember our past. Instead, they feel like they’re just discovering us. They like retro brands and that’s our history. It’s not a marketing campaign. It’s just who we are.”
So, based on its market research, Wilson Golf is all-in on retro.
“We like this idea of the ‘original golf brand,’” says Gruger. “This historical stuff, it’s not just being retro for retro’s sake. It’s art. We’ve dug into the archives for old catalog covers and things like that. These are images people would literally put on their wall as cool, retro golf designs.”
Now, About Those Irons …
Ah, yes … the Dynapower irons.
Wilson’s previous-game improvement irons, the D9, were the longest overall in MyGolfSpy’s 2021 Most Wanted testing. The new Wilson Staff Dynapower irons are the next logical step.
“The original Dynapower talks about weight adjustments, manipulations and how we can hit the ball farther: all of the same things we talk about now,” says Wilson Golf Club Innovation Director John Pergande. “But what’s changed now is our ability, either through materials, production techniques or experience, to put those into play a lot better with significantly more technology.”
To do that, Wilson is leaning hard on what it’s now calling Dynapower-AI. That means unleashing the power of a supercomputer to iterate, simulate and reiterate designs way beyond what any design committee could dream of.
“The computer goes through it all, creates a face, puts it in CAD, impacts the ball and measures ball speeds,” says Pergande. “Then it iterates all that information to converge on a series of solutions that are better, better and better.”
The new Dynapower irons will feature Wilson’s first-ever computer-designed variable face thickness. It’s a forged-stamped, super-thin 17-4 stainless steel face that is welded onto a 17-4 stainless steel chassis.
To maximize face flex, Dynapower-AI is also refining Wilson’s you-either-hate-‘em-or-you-don’t-mind-‘em-all-that-much Power Holes.
Power Holes 3.0
Power Holes are key to Wilson’s face flexing, ball speed-producing technology. And our 2021 Most Wanted testing shows they work. You may not like the looks but they do the job. However, with Dynapower-AI recreating variable face thickness, Power Holes needed to evolve.
“We need to balance the stiffness and response of the face with the stiffness and response of the Power Holes,” says Pergande. “With every computer iteration, we learn more, we react more and we wind up with a very different Power Hole configuration.”
Wilson leveraged data from Arccos and others to point the AI computer in the right direction. For the typical 10-plus handicap target golfer, the data says 40 percent of their iron approach shots come up short of the green. Additionally, nearly 85 percent of all their irons shots are struck between the center of the face and the toe. With those marching orders, AI trimmed down the Power Holes to three thin urethane-filled slots on the sole, which is a far cry from the original Power Hole technology from 2016.
So, between variable face thickness, purpose-built Power Holes and MOI-boosting heel-toe weighting, the new Dynapower is designed to reduce losses in ball speed and distance on less-than-perfect strikes.
Sort of like the original 1956 Dynapower.
“Dynapower was fundamentally a game-improvement technology, albeit for a forged blade,” says Pergande. “It pulled the CG toward the toe, increasing MOI. Fast-forward to today with large, thin faces and cavity-back construction. We’re doing the same thing and using the computer to optimize low heel, center and toe hits across the face.”
Specology Versus Technology
Whether you like it or not, the Dynapower loft structure is standard operating procedure for the game-improvement category.
“We set a pretty good benchmark with D9,” says Pergande. “We were at 27 degrees with the 7-iron and talked about going down to a 26 but it didn’t need to happen. The priority became playability.”
As we’ve mentioned many times, strong lofts and low CGs are equal partners in game-improvement distance. It’s basic science that goes as far back as Dyna-Weighting. A lower CG launches the ball higher. When that happens, you can make the ball go farther by strengthening the lofts while keeping an appropriate launch. You won’t be able to stop the ball on the green with spin but that’s not a big problem for two reasons. First, the descent angle on a well-struck shot will add considerable stopping power. And second, the target golfer struggles with distance anyway so a little roll isn’t a bad thing.
“There does seem to be a bit of a pause in some of the specologies in the industry,” says Pergande. “Golf has added a few categories, like player’s distance, but for pure distance clubs like Dynapower, I’d say the industry has stabilized (in lofts) and is in a pretty good spot.”
So, yes, loft is part of the distance game. But so is variable face thickness and the delicate balance between CG and MOI.
“We have to look at all of the impact locations over the face because that’s where these clubs get hit,” says Pergande. “We’re able to be more focused on how to balance our performance and be mindful of who will be gaming these irons.”
Will Dynapower Resonate?
No golf brand on the planet has more heritage than Wilson Staff. But heritage alone doesn’t feed the beast. In marketing, however, you play to your strengths. And for Wilson, that’s going retro.
And not for nothing, the new Wilson ownership is on board.
“Overall, we just crested $1 billion as Wilson Sporting Goods,” says Gruger. “And Wilson Golf is the fastest-growing division within the business.”
We don’t know how much of that $1 billion is golf but Gruger confirms double-digit growth over the past five years. That’s getting ownership’s attention. And dollars.
Double-digit growth for any size company is impressive. But it’s important for armchair experts to understand what that means for a company like Wilson. For example, say a company sold 50,000 iron sets last year (I’m making these numbers up) and its volume grows 10 percent. At the end of the year, its new sales volume is …
That’s nice growth but it’s not knocking-the-competition-on-its-ass growth nor is it altering the market share picture growth. This is the uphill battle all of golf’s challenger brands face.
And if you think Wilson would sell more if it charged less, consider two business truths. First is math. A 10-percent price cut off a 20-percent profit margin, for example, means your volume has to double to make the same amount of money. And a 10-percent price cut is not going to double your volume.
The second truth is psychology. Golfers are typical consumers. And to typical consumers, high price denotes high quality and performance. Low price denotes lesser quality and performance. It’s why the biggest-selling drivers every year are generally the most expensive ones.
Wilson Staff Dynapower Irons: Specs, Price and Availability
The new Wilson Staff Dynapower irons will come in a seven-piece set, from a 21-degree 5-iron to a 47-degree gap wedge for both lefties and righties. An optional 18-degree 4-iron and 53-degree sand wedge are available via custom order.
Stock shafts are the KBS Max Ultralite in steel and the UST Recoil Dart 65 in graphite. The Lamkin Crossline 360 is the stock grip.
For women, Dynapower will be in right-handed only with the Project X EvenFlow graphite shaft and Lamkin Women’s Crossline 360 grip stock.
The Dynapower irons will retail for $799.99 in steel and $899.99 in graphite.
Presale starts online on Feb. 22. Retail availability starts March 1.
For more information, visit the Wilson Golf website.
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